The NHL — and, to be honest, my employer — seem to have struck gold by playing hockey games outdoors on New Year’s Day, so they shall continue the tradition on 2012. Well, except in 2012 it won’t be on New Year’s Day, it will be on January 2nd because the NFL likes to ruin everything by scheduling games opposite cool things like outdoor hockey on New Year’s Day. Whatever.
Next year: Citizens Bank Park. Sounds like a cool choice. Although really, the NHL has to do something about this northern bias they’ve been showing in their Winter Classic site selections. Why not play outdoor hockey in Atlanta? Nashville? Dallas? Sunrise, Florida? There are both hockey teams and perfectly good ballparks in those places that are sitting empty in January!
In other news, I’m not a very knowledgeable person when it comes to hockey.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.