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Football games on baseball infields now thing of the past

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For as long as most of us have been alive there have been a handful of NFL games each year in which, in the early part of the season at least, football was played on a dirt infields of Major League Baseball ballparks.

September Jets games at Shea Stadium and Falcons games at Fulton-County are the ones that immediately spring to my mind, but there were a ton of them during the era of the multi-use stadium. Anaheim. San Diego. Miami. Even Detroit as late as the mid-70s. No matter how common it was, however, it never seemed quite right to see a wide receiver cross over the middle and make a catch only to be tackled at, roughly, second base, hitting the white line-painted dirt in a cloud of dust.

As of today, however, that’s almost certainly a thing of the past. As Jay Busbee of Yahoo notes, yesterday’s Chiefs-Raiders game in Oakland most likely ends a very long era. The Raiders have one more “home” game before the end of the baseball season, but it’s in London. Between that, road games and a bye week, the next time they’ll play in Oakland is on November 3 against the Lions.

By then it’s likely that new turf will have been laid down to cover the infield, as is done every year once the Boys of Summer go home for the winter. Although if the A’s make the World Series and they have home field advantage — and if the thing goes six or seven games — there could be a baseball game there four or five days before, which may not provide enough time to make the new grass happen.

If that’s the case we may get one more dirt bowl.

On a night full of letdowns, Yankees’ defense let them down the most

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Game 4 of the ALCS was a gigantic letdown for the Yankees for myriad reasons. They lost, first and foremost, 8-3 to the Astros to fall behind three games to one. Their fans continued to act boorishly. CC Sabathia exited with an injury, likely the final time he’ll pitch in his career. The offense went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

The biggest letdown of the night, though, was the Yankees’ defense. They committed four errors, their highest total in a postseason game since committing five errors in Game 2 of the 1976 ALCS.

Make no mistake: the two three-run home runs hit by George Springer and Carlos Correa, given up by Masahiro and Chad Green respectively, were the big blows in the game. But the errors contributed to the loss and were downright demoralizing.

The first error came at the start of the top of the sixth inning, when Alex Bregman hit a cue shot to first baseman DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu couldn’t read the bounce and the ball clanked off of his knee, allowing Bregman to reach safely. He would score later in the inning on Correa’s blast.

The Yankees committed two errors in the top of the eighth, leading to a run. Yuli Gurriel hit another grounder to LeMahieu, which he couldn’t handle. That not only allowed Gurriel to reach safely, but Bregman — who led off with a double — moved to third base. He would score when second baseman Gleyber Torres couldn’t handle a Yordan Álvarez grounder.

Error number four occurred when Altuve hit a grounder to Torres to lead off the top of the ninth. The ball skipped right under his glove. Facing Michael Brantley, Jonathan Loaisiga uncorked a wild pitch which advanced Altuve to second base. Brantley followed up with a line drive single to left field, plating Altuve for another run. Loaisiga would throw another wild pitch facing Bregman but that one didn’t come back to haunt him.

The Yankees can’t control injuries, the behavior of their fans, or how good the Astros’ pitching is on any given night. They can control the quality of their defense. On Thursday, it was a farce, and now they’re staring down the barrel of having to win three consecutive games against the Astros to stave off elimination.