MLB Approves 10-Team Playoff, Will Begin HGH Testing

MLB Approves 10-Team Playoff, Will Begin HGH Testing

Major League Baseball is heading for collective bargaining oblivion, and there is going to be a work stoppage, and we could miss games and...

Wait, what? They're done?

They struck a new deal before the old one expired?

There was minimal acrimony?

This is still possible?

Oh...well...that's cool. Uh, wanna talk about it?

Major League Baseball announced that its players and owners came to a settlement Tuesday afternoon on a new collective bargaining agreement that will expand the league's playoff format to include two extra wild card qualifiers and drug program to include blood testing.

The expanded playoff will see the two wild card teams in each league meet in a one-game playoff immediately following the end of the regular season, with the winners moving on to the division series. Unlike what was speculated earlier in the week, there has been no additional information released regarding the stripping of those rules that currently prohibit division rivals from meeting in the LDS.

As for the drug program, the deal certifies the MLB as the very first North American sporting league to authorize blood testing so as to check for HGH. Violations are expected to be met with the same suspension scale as for other performance-enhancing drugs (50 games for the first failed test, etc...).

No timetable has been announced for when the blood tests will begin nor when the new playoff format will take effect. Commissioner Bud Selig remains nonetheless hopeful that fans will be watching a new version of the Wild Card race in the Fall of 2012. Other updates to the agreement allegedly include an expanded use of replay and some other ancillary notes that very few of you will actually care about.

One parting thought, though it's sort of generally accepted that the aforementioned Selig is somewhat of a (insert your preferred insult of choice here), this deal now guarantees 21-consecutive years of labor peace for baseball, dating back to the 94-95 strike. After all the issues throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, if someone would have told you in 1995 that there would not be a single missed event in baseball as a result of a labor dispute over the next 21 years, would you have believed it?

Thoughts on the extra wild card? Like it? Don't like it? Wish guys were still on steroids? Just happy some rich dudes got together and decided to just be all rich together and not have to see who could piss farther into a headwind?

Add a thumbnail to your comment handle and tell us about it.

In cruel twist, former Eagle Byron Maxwell one of NFL's top corners now

In cruel twist, former Eagle Byron Maxwell one of NFL's top corners now

Remember how excited you were when the Eagles signed Byron Maxwell to a huge free-agent contract in 2015? Remember how much more excited you were this past April when the team traded Maxwell and Kiko Alonso to the Dolphins to move up five spots in the first round of the NFL draft?

Well, as it turns out, Maxwell may not have been the dog most everybody in Philadelphia seemed to think he was. At least, the sixth-year veteran is having a good enough season in Miami to boast without a hint of irony that he's the best cornerback in the league, and smart writer-types like Armando Salguero for the Miami Herald are actually buying it.

Maxwell's performance this season has him so filled with confidence, he's going right after Cardinals All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson for an imaginary title.

“Man, listen, if he wants to say that, he can say that. I’m pretty sure he believes that,” Maxwell said of Peterson being the best. “Just like I believe I’m the best.

“Nothing against him, he is a great cornerback. The answer depends on who you ask.”

The answer might depend who you ask, but pretty sure the only people who would respond with "Byron Maxwell" are Maxwell himself and maybe a few people in his family. I'm not even sure Maxwell's own mother would proclaim him the best corner in the NFL.

This isn't just Philly picking a bone with Maxwell either, a free-agent bust who the team couldn't wait to unload this offseason. While his attitude was questionable and he had little chance of ever living up to the six-year contract worth $63 million the Eagles gave him in the offseason, Maxwell actually got a little bit of unfair shake here. He made terrible first and last impressions, but was okay in between.

Whether he's one of the best corners in the NFL or not though, it turns out the Eagles probably could've used him this year. Leodis McKelvin is terrible, Nolan Carroll isn't much better, Ron Brooks is on injured reserve and the defense has had to ask way too much of seventh-round draft pick Jalen Mills.

It's just another example of how the Eagles improperly prepared at the position heading into this season. Trading Maxwell and then Eric Rowe to the Patriots as well — two players that accounted for 19 starts in 2015 — left the club little room for error with regard to how they filled those jobs.

The sad thing is, both Maxwell and Rowe are probably better than anything the Eagles have, and Maxwell in particular gets to go around bragging about how he's the best in the league. It's a gut punch to be certain, and amid an Eagles season increasingly filled with them.

Eagles Injury Update: Eagles hurting at wideout vs. Washington

Eagles Injury Update: Eagles hurting at wideout vs. Washington

The Eagles are a little banged up at their skill positions heading into Sunday’s game against Washington at the Linc. 

Jordan Matthews (ankle), Ryan Mathews (knee) and Dorial Green-Beckham (abdomen) are all listed as questionable. 

Right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) is the only player who has been ruled out. 

Ryan Mathews, who has missed the past two games with an MCL sprain, was a full participant on both Wednesday and Thursday. “Today, we’re going to back [Mathews] down just a touch, so we can keep him ready to go for Sunday,” head coach Doug Pederson said on Friday morning. 

Jordan Matthews missed the Bengals game after injuring his ankle against the Packers. It was the first missed game of his career. Matthews was a limited participant on Wednesday for precautionary reasons, according to Pederson. 

“[Matthews] was great on Thursday and no setbacks,” Pederson said. “He made it through practice. We look forward to having him a good day again today.”

It seems a little more likely that Matthews and Mathews will be able to play on Sunday than Green-Beckham. 

Green-Beckham, who hurt his mid-section during the loss to the Bengals, wasn't able to practice on Wednesday or Thursday. Still, earlier in the week, Pederson said he thought DGB would be able to play this weekend. 

“He’s still on that path,” Pederson said Friday. “He worked yesterday a little bit. It’s still sore. I want to see where he’s going to be today before making a full decision on him. I don’t want to risk having a guy out there that’s not 100 percent.”

With Green-Beckham and Matthews banged up, it looks like the Eagles will go into this game with just three fully healthy wide receivers – Nelson Agholor, Bryce Treggs and Paul Turner.

Pederson said there’s no immediate plan to sign another receiver to the 53-man roster. 

So what’s the plan at wideout? The same thing the Eagles did last week. 

“Well, I’ll probably lean more on the tight ends,” Pederson said. “Trey [Burton] has kind of taken that role the last couple of weeks. Trey Burton and Zach [Ertz] and Brent [Celek]. That’d be the direction we’d go.”