In Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel writes of NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver suggesting the league may do away with divisions, “I like the idea. For one thing, it provides clarity.” Maybe divisions have “helped travel budgets, but only a little.” Geographic alignment is a “little skewed” and “schedules are unbalanced.” But schedule imbalance “would not be fixed by scrapping divisions.” Tramel: “It at least would clear up the playoff seedings. One through eight, everything’s clear” (OKLAHOMAN, 12/11). CBSSN's Doug Gottlieb said, "The divisions dictate how many times you play each team. Maybe you change those rules and it creates more crossover and you just have East versus West and you play each other two times a year” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 12/10). Fox Sports’ Bill Reiter: “Most of us ... don’t know what the divisions are on a given day and we don’t care” ("Rome," CBSSN, 12/10).
FIELD OF DREAMS: In Salt Lake City, Kurt Kragthorpe wrote the playing conditions at Sporting Park in K.C. for the MLS Cup “definitely were not ideal with the field partially frozen and fans having to endure 20-degree temperatures.” But if the game had been played at Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah, "snow would have been a factor.” Still, there is a “lot of merit" in MLS awarding the championship game to the finalist with the better regular-season record. The season is “so long that every bit of incentive is worthwhile.” Sporting KC's "home-field atmosphere heightened the intensity" and would have made Real Salt Lake’s potential victory "even more meaningful” (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 12/10).
DESERVING CREDIT: USA Today's Nate Ryan said NASCAR mandating concussion testing for drivers is a "big move" and officials "deserve credit for trying to be proactive in that instance." Ryan: "NASACAR doesn't want to get itself in the situation that the NFL currently faces with the conundrum how players are facing ... a lesser quality of life because of hits they took during their career. NASCAR is trying to be proactive and prevent drivers from facing that" ("NASCAR Race Hub," FS1, 12/10).
LANGUAGE ARTS: MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez noted an educational program “designed to improve reading, writing, critical thinking and English skills for teenage prospects in the Dominican Republic was among the many topics discussed” yesterday at the Winter Meetings. MLB Dominican Operations Dir Rafael Perez said that seven clubs “have signed up to participate in the 20-week pilot program that starts next month” (MLB.com, 12/10).