The New (MLB) Deal

Fun Fact of the Day: On a budget and looking for the perfect Christmas gift? We’ve got just the thing. You can buy NFL tickets to a Cleveland Browns v. San Diego Chargers game for just $6! Just be forewarned, the game is on Christmas Eve and it probably won’t be super exciting because the Browns are 0-12 so far this season.


Today’s Rundown

MLB 

What will I do without baseball?  Have no fear. You won’t have to worry about a lockout or player strike. Last night, MLB and the players’ union reached a new 5-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) just before the midnight deadline. Most of the negotiations were relatively small changes about money or banning chewing tobacco for new players, but there was one new term that that everyone will be talking about: the MLB All-Star game will no longer give home-field advantage in the World Series. Instead, home-field advantage will go to the pennant winner with the best regular season record. Rejoice! This is something that baseball fans have been griping about for years. MLB decided back in 2002 that the All-Star game would be more intense if it had real stakes, but fans thought linking the World Series to the outcome was just plain stupid. Now, the MLB All-Star game will go back to being a fun and pointless exhibition game like in the other major sports leagues.

 

GOLF 

Do my eyes deceive me?  Is that Tiger Woods playing golf again? Why, yes, it is! Today, Tiger will begin playing in the Hero World Challenge, a charitable golf tournament that benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. For the past 15 months Woods has been focusing on getting healthy after undergoing 2 back surgeries. While he’s been on hiatus, his ranking fell all the way down to 898th in the world. But now he’s back (pun intended), and he’s ready to compete! Yesterday, he scored a 2-under-par 70 in the pro-am (the 1-day event before the actual tournament where pros and amateurs will play for charity). Let’s see how he does in the real competition that starts today and runs through Sunday.


Spotlight on J.R. Smith

Yesterday, an embarrassing video clip of Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith made the rounds on the internet. In it, he stepped off the court mid-game to give a hug to Milwaukee Bucks player Jason Terry, leaving the man he was supposed to be guarding wide-open for an easy dunk. Afterwards, when he was asked about his less than stellar defense, J.R. just said, “I didn’t know I was in the game.” Good, good. 

Here’s what you need to know about the inimitable J.R. Smith:

Good J.R.  J.R. can be an incredible shooter. When he’s in the zone, he’ll get super hot from 3-point range and can make seemingly impossible shots. 

Bad J.R.  The trouble is that J.R. does not discriminate when it comes to shooting the basketball. He frequently takes terrible contested shots because he thinks open shots are “boring.” He’s even said that his motto is, “When in doubt, shoot the ball.”

Ugly J.R.  J.R. also has a history of bad behavior on and off the court. He’s been caught for harmless, immature behavior like untying opponents’ shoelaces, partying shirtless, and posting NSFW messages to Twitter. But he’s also gotten in trouble for more serious and worrisome behavior, like a suspension for elbowing Jason Terry (yes, that same Jason Terry) in the face. The most serious and egregious J.R. incident was a car accident in 2007. He served 30 days in jail for vehicular manslaughter after he plowed his car through an intersection, which killed his childhood friend Andre Bell.

Redemptive J.R.  Since joining the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015, J.R. has really turned things around and has even become a pretty good defender (*ahem* minus his lapse on Tuesday night). He attributes the change to playing with an excellent teammate like LeBron James and drawing inspiration from his daughter.


Hot Read

NFL 

Dallas Cowboys (10-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (6-5).  The Cowboys have won 10 games straight, behind blazing hot rookies QB Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott leads the NFL with 1,199 yards and is one of this season’s front running MVP candidates. Tonight they’ll go up against Minnesota’s stout defense, which has allowed the second-fewest points per game. 8:30pm ET on NBC