4th and a Mile with Paul Muth

What does sports media look like without sports? We're finding out

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

It's the job of sports media to provide content that draws readers to their site. Traffic generates marketing opportunities, marketing opportunities draw advertisements, and so on and so forth.

Until now, there have only been thought projects on what sports media would look like without sports. And it isn't until probably this past week or so that we've really begun to see how the sports media market reacts when sports are ripped off of the menu.

Until recently there has been at least a little meat on the bone to pick at. There was the "Ok this is happening" article wave. Then there was the "Here's an interesting way to start the season back up," wave. There were articles about how athletes are spending their time, what teams this benefits, etc. Then NFL free agency kicked off and there was a small injection of content.

As someone who writes exclusively about sports, I can tell you firsthand that it is difficult. One tactic I use when I'm struggling to come up with something to write about is that I don't allow myself to listen to music or anything while driving. It gives me a moment to focus, which is something I'm terrible at. That said, these past few weeks have been pretty quiet on the way to work.

Now, outside of the NFL draft, we're starting to see the bottom of the well. Without new content sports media is searching for anything they can to put on a front page. Here are a few examples:

"Ray Allen challenges LeBron James, Shaq and other ex-NBA players to show off their hairlines in quarantine."

Why? Just do what everyone else is doing and just stop grooming your facial hair. There's solidarity in a country of unkempt beards. There's no need to prove what we already know.

"Sources: CP3, Young, LaVine plan on H-O-R-S-E"

This is front page material on ESPN.com. The best part is that not only are there are people out there that will watch this, it's also a virtual lock to be in the SportsCenter Top 10.

"Alabama coach Nick Saban adopts email while adapting to recruiting during extended dead period"

Wait. What? Will this make him even more unstoppable?

It's been interesting at least to watch the coverage pivot. Luckily here in Houston we have Bill O'Brien, which is the editorial gift that keeps on giving.

So what happens next? What happens after the NFL draft, and the 2K Tournaments and the H-O-R-S-E games transpire? The NBA draft will probably get a level of exposure it has never seen before.

It looks like we're on the cusp of the next wave of articles though. The "should we even have a season?" wave. Personally, I'm on the fence. But of that were to in fact happen, it's an almost guarantee that sports coverage would look more like tabloid coverage if the above mentioned headlines are any indication. That, and a ton of Top 5 lists.

So that's it. Next week I'll be doing my Top 5…

Yeah right.

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Houston now focused on postseason

Altuve and Correa homer, Astros drop final regular-season game

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With no playoff impact at stake if the Astros won or lost the game, Houston took Sunday's final regular-season game as a chance to get their lineup a few more at-bats before shifting focus to Tuesday's first game of the post-season. Here is a quick recap of the game against the Rangers:

Final Score: Rangers 8, Astros 4.

Record: 29-31, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Wes Benjamin (2-1, 4.84 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Chase De Jong (0-1, 14.73 ERA).

Houston's main bats get a final tune-up

Knowing they'd only have a couple of at-bats to work with, some of Houston's big bats took advantage, starting with Jose Altuve. He crushed a pitch in the top of the first, a solo homer to put the Astros in front 1-0. After the Rangers tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the second, Altuve started the third with a walk before moving to third base on a Michael Brantley single, which improved Brantley's season average to .300.

Aledmys Diaz would pick up the RBI on a groundout to score Altuve, putting Houston back in front 2-1. In Correa's last at-bat in the top of the fourth, he extended the lead to 3-1 with a solo home run of his own.

Rangers hand Astros a loss to end the regular season

After getting the early run against Chase De Jong, the Rangers would put together a big inning against him in the fourth. After two one-out singles, Rougned Odor would give Texas their first lead of the day on a three-run homer to make it 4-3.

De Jong would continue to struggle in the inning, getting just one more out while loading the bases, prompting a move to the bullpen to bring in Nivaldo Rodriguez to try and eat up more innings. The Rangers greeted him with a two-RBI single to extend their lead to 6-3 before ending the fourth. Odor would hit his second home run of the game in the bottom of the fifth, a solo shot to make it a four-run lead at 7-3.

Rodriguez allowed another run in the bottom of the seventh, making it 8-3. Diaz, who drove in a run earlier, would account for another RBI in the top of the eighth, getting Houston's third solo homer of the day. That would make it an 8-4 game, which would go final as the Rangers would win the regular season's last game.

Up Next: Houston's first game of the playoffs will be on Tuesday, with the start time and opponent TBD while the rest of today's games wrap up, and the schedule is announced. Regardless, the Astros are expected to begin that best-of-three series with Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).

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