Tuesday, December 31
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Already, coaches have paid the price for disappointing seasons -- and, now, Mike Munchak waits. On a day when four more NFL head coaches were fired -- bringing the total to six since the Texans axed Gary Kubiak on Dec. 6 -- the Titans coach was hardly relieved to still be employed at the end of the day. He's in limbo, awaiting a meeting with president/CEO Tommy Smith, and he could be waiting several more days. "It's hard," Munchak said during his season-ending press conference at Saint Thomas Sports Park. "It is different. I am confident in what we are doing, obviously. I feel good. This is just a process I have to go through. I'm a head coach and this is a part of it. ... I am just ready to go with the process." The Titans finished 7-9 this season, and Munchak's overall record in three years is 22-26. (The Tennessean)Comment
These are strange days for Anthony Bennett. He has always been the star of the team. Getting stern criticism from the national media, as well as many outlets in Cleveland, was all new. ... When he didn't live up to expectations of being the No. 1 pick, he got down on himself. "I put a lot of pressure on myself," he said. "I have to relieve that." He's taking baby steps in a league that isn't very forgiving. He closed out the game on Saturday in Boston, which gave his confidence a boost. He had five points and five rebounds against the Celtics. [Mike Brown] said when Bennett catches a pass, he's too anxious. "He has to be composed when he has the basketball," he said. "If he does that, he'll make some huge strides." That's a contrast to what his college coaches told him. "In college, I was taught to just go."(The News-Herald)Comment
Just how low can they go? If the Yankees sign Masahiro Tanaka -- as they badly want to do -- then they would all but eliminate any chance of getting under the $189 million luxury threshold. At least to begin the season. But keep in mind, it is where you finish, not where you start. So, in theory, the Yanks can use the opening months of the 2014 season to see if they are contenders and, if not, attempt a massive summer sell-off to attempt to revive their farm system and go under the threshold by season's end. Two huge items complicate even trying this: 1. It still cannot happen without Alex Rodriguez's suspension being for at least 150 games, if not all of 2014. 2. Is it in the Yankees' DNA to ever surrender on a season?(New York Post)Comment
Exiting head coach Mack Brown salutes Texas fans one last time after his Longhorns fell 30-7 to Oregon in the Alamo Bowl on Monday. (Eric Gay/AP)
Tyreke Evans drilled a pull-up jumper with 1.2 seconds left to help the Pelicans stun the Blazers 110-108 on Monday night.
Game To Watch
Chick-fil-A Bowl: No. 20 Texas A&M vs. No. 22 Duke, 8 p.m. ET
- Texas A&M
SI Vault: Roberto Clemente
This Day in Sports
- 1972 -- Baseball legend Roberto Clemente tragically died in a plane crash while traveling to Nicaragua on a charity mission to provide food and medical supplies to flood victims.
- 1974 -- Jim "Catfish" Hunter, the MLB's first free agent, signed with the Yankees.
- 1988 -- The Bears and Eagles clashed in the NFL's infamous "Fog Bowl" at Soldier Field.