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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The Astros will look to bounce back after a tough week. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

After a 6-3 record to start the season, the Houston Astros had a tumultuous week to say the least. They were swept by the Tigers, lost 2 of 3 games to the Seattle Mariners and placed five players on the COVID injured list.

The Tigers' new manager AJ Hinch returned to Minute Maid Park for the first time since the Astros let him go after the cheating scandal in early 2020.

The Tigers swept the Astros and outscored them 20-8 over their three matchups.

Before the 3rd game of the series, the Astros found out they would be without five players on their active roster. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado and Robel Garcia were all placed on the COVID-19 injury reserved list.

"It's hard on the team but you have to carry on. The show must go on," manager Dusty Baker said. "And it went on today with some younger players we have here."

Garrett Stubbs, Taylor Jones and Abraham Toro were called up as well as Alex De Goti and Ronnie Dawson who made their major league debuts last week.

The Tigers were able to score runs early on Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers and Jake Odorizzi (who made his Astros debut) and none of these starters lasted more than five innings in the outings.

Yuli Gurriel was the one Astros bright spot against the Tigers as he had 7 hits and drove in 2 runs. He is still continuing to hit the ball consistently as he finished the series with a .429 batting average.

After a 1-5 home stand the Astros looked to bounce back on the road against the division leading Seattle Mariners (you read that correctly).

Friday night proved to be the Astros' best offensive performance since their home opener on April 8th against the A's.

They scored five runs on Yusei Kikuchi through 7 innings behind good hitting from Aledmys Diaz, Chas McCormick and De Goti who drove in two runs on his first major league hit.

The Astros had a 5-2 lead at this point, but Seattle was able to score 4 unanswered to win the game.

Bryan Abreu, Blake Taylor and Ryne Stanek were credited with those four runs.

Ryan Pressly tried to clean up the bottom of the 9th inning after Stanek put the first two batters on base. His effort was unsuccessfully as Ty France hit a game-ending single that scored J.P. Crawford from second to secure a Mariners victory.

Saturday was the best game of the week for the Astros as they finally broke their six-game losing streak.

After failing to pitch more than five innings on Monday against the Tigers, Zack Greinke threw eight shutout innings with 91 pitches.

He struck out six batters and gave up only 4 hits.

"That's what aces do," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "Guys like (Greinke) ... they stop the bleeding and we're about bled out."

Greinke finished the game with 2,705 career strikeouts. He is now third amongst active players in strikeouts behind Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.

Ryan Pressly got some redemption too as he threw a perfect 9th inning giving him his first save of the year.

The Astros won this game 1-0 as Taylor Jones drove in the game's only run with an RBI single.

Sunday's game ended the Astros week with a whimper, as the Mariners bested Houston 7-2.

Jake Odorizzi got off to a good start, but he gave up three hits and was pulled after Mitch Haniger's fifth-inning triple made it a 3-2 lead over the Astros.

Odorizzi is now (0-2) with a 10.57 ERA after two starts with the Astros.

Houston's offensive woes continued Sunday, as Aledmys Díaz had their only hit, an RBI double in the second inning that fell in when outfielder José Marmolejos lost the ball in the sun.

"It's tough to take when you only got one hit and the one hit we got was lost in the sun," Baker said.

UP NEXT: The Astros (7-8) will finish their road trip with a two game series against the Rockies who have the worst record in the league (4-12) before starting an eight-game homestead.

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