Citizens Bank Park to host the 2012 Winter Classic

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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.

Brandon Morrow injured his back taking off his pants

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The Cubs’ bullpen got into trouble in the ninth inning on Tuesday afternoon during the first game of a doubleheader. Justin Wilson started the inning with the Cubs leading 3-2, normally a situation for closer Brandon Morrow. Wilson issued a leadoff walk to Austin Barnes, then gave up a single to Justin Turner. Morrow wasn’t warming up, curiously. Wilson ended up giving up a go-ahead two-run double to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer and the Cubs went on to lose 4-3.

We now know why Morrow wasn’t available. He says his back tightened up taking off his pants early Monday morning, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports. Morrow said, “It’s frustrating any time you can’t get out there, especially when you can’t go for something as stupid as taking your pants off.”

Morrow, 33, has been terrific in the closer’s role this season for the Cubs. He owns a 1.59 ERA with a 25/9 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings. He is also not available for the back end of Tuesday’s doubleheader, but it sounds like he won’t need to go on the disabled list.