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NFL players approve new CBA

NFL.COM

In what was an extremely close vote, the NFL Player's association voted to approve the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The owners proposed it and it took the players about two weeks to vote and approve. When I say close, I mean close like you and 20 of your closest friends in a phone booth close. The final tally was 1019 to 959. Yes folks, 60 votes decided the fate of the NFL players for the next 10 years! So, what does this actually mean?

17 game schedule

The 17 game schedule will take place between the 2021 and 2023 seasons per the window agreed upon. Why the window? The new television contracts will be in place by then, which will allow the new money from those deals to infuse into the new split of league revenue between owners and players. How will they figure the 17th game into the schedule? Personally, I think it should be a rivalry game and they should market it like college football does. The NFL loves their marketing campaigns. I can see it now: "Rivalry Week presented by _____"

A seventh playoff team in each conference

This change will take place this upcoming season. By adding a seventh team, it will give the bye to only the first overall seed in each conference. We're either going to see a lot more crappy teams make it and get blown out, or a low seed hit its stride and upset a two seed who would've gotten a bye previously. This means more playoff football, but of what quality? Are we truly going to get better games Wildcard Weekend?

Rosters expanding

With adding a game to the regular season, it was natural to expand rosters to offset wear and tear. Practice squads will grow to 14 by 2022, active gameday rosters will now be 48 instead of 46, and weekly rosters can be 55 instead of 53 by elevating two practice squad guys every week to main roster. This will hopefully be enough to offset wear and tear. But my question will be are they willing to make adjustments to this model by examining the injury data?

Revenue split

The players will eventually get a 48.5% share of league revenue once the escalators finish kicking in before the 2022 season starts. this brings them in line with what other major sportd leagues are getting now. Cinsidering they play the most violent game, it's well-deserved. NFL owners have long gotten away with non-guaranteed contracts. Hopefully this'll ease some tensions of the close vote.

Other Takeaways

The changes in disciplinary and drug policies are huge as well. Most notably, THC positive tests are bumped up to 150 nanograms from 35. There's now a neutral decision maker for all commissioner related disciplinary decisions. Players have always thought Roger Goodell had too much authority as judge, jury, and executioner. These two things alone were big wins for the players. Not to mention the lessening of padded practices in training camp and regular season. Adding that to the fact that there's one less preseason game and a limit on how many hours players can spend at the facility per day, it seems as if they took some player safety measures.

While the fallout isn't fully clear, I imagine there will be some. So many players took hard stances for or against this that it's inevitable we'll see some fallout of the same variety. We get more meaningful football, but will it hold quality? We also have to make some adjustments to what we deem successful seasons as far as numbers are concerned. Per game averages will hold more weight. On the bright side, we won't have to get nervous about a work stoppage for another 10 years. Cheers to more football!

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Houston loses to end the road trip

Dodgers get best of Odorizzi to split series with Astros

Jake Odorizzi allowed four home runs over three innings against the Dodgers on Wednesday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

After spoiling the night of many Dodgers fans in the opener of this two-game series in Los Angeles the night prior, the Astros returned to the stadium to a fresh set of hostile fans, looking to get the mini-sweep. This one went much more in favor of the home team, though, as the Dodgers would ride three big innings to start the game to the win for the series split.

Final Score: Dodgers 7, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 65-43, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Max Scherzer (9-4)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-6)

Odorizzi gets shelled

After a Michael Brantley solo home in the top of the first run against Max Scherzer, making his Dodger debut, it looked like the Astros may continue their momentum from the night before to grab hold of this game as well. However, that all changed in the bottom of the inning, as the Dodgers would tee off against Jake Odorizzi.

In that inning, he allowed four runs, a leadoff solo shot by Mookie Betts, then later a three-run blast by Will Smith. Betts made it 2-for-2 with solo homers in the bottom of the second, extending the lead to 5-1. Things went from bad to worse in the third, with Los Angeles getting their fourth home run, this one for two runs to make it a 7-1 game. Odorizzi would finish the third but go no further.

Scherzer K's 10 over seven innings in his Dodger debut

Houston tried to start clawing back into it in the top of the fourth, getting a second run against Scherzer with a two-out RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, trimming the lead to five runs at 5-2. First out of Houston's bullpen was Yimi Garcia in the bottom of the fourth, and he tossed the first 1-2-3 inning for Houston. Rafael Montero was next in the bottom of the fifth, working around a leadoff double followed by a walk for a scoreless inning.

Montero remained in the game in the bottom of the sixth, still 7-2, and would get another scoreless inning, this time sitting down the Dodgers in order. Scherzer finished his quality debut for his new team in the top of the seventh, erasing a leadoff walk to complete seven innings while allowing two runs.

Astros lose to split the series with Dodgers

Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he, too, would get through a scoreless inning by erasing a two-out single. In the game-within-the-game, the Dodgers brought in Joe Kelly for the top of the eighth, who notched two strikeouts to bring none other than Carlos Correa to the plate, setting up a rematch of the well-known incident that led to the "pouty face" clip from 2020. Carlos Correa won this round, launching a 405-foot homer off of Kelly to make it a four-run game at 7-3.

Phil Maton kept the score there, stranding two runners in the bottom of the eighth to send the 7-3 game to the top of the ninth, where the Dodgers would bring in Kenley Jansen. After a leadoff single, Kyle Tucker would get the Astros within two runs on a two-run homer, making it 7-5. That's as close as they would get, as Jansen would regroup to get the next three batters out to wrap up the loss for Houston.

Up Next: With this road trip completed, the Astros will have a quick turnaround as they catch a late flight back to Houston then turn around with a game Thursday at 7:10 PM Central to open a four-game series with the Twins. Framber Valdez (7-2, 3.01 ERA) will take the mound for Houston in the opener, while Minnesota will counter with Griffin Jax (1-1, 6.41 ERA).

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