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Thinking out loud: Lots of college basketball news this week

06.09.17 at 2:08 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud…while wondering if I’ll recognize anyone from my 40-year high school reunion?

— You don’t ever need the full six degrees of separation with any move in college basketball to find a connection with Rhode Island.

— Invariably, whenever a high-profile college basketball coach steps aside, the trickle-down effect is felt instantly. Such is the case for Thad Matta, who resigned at Ohio State this week.

— Ostensibly due to health issues (or not, depending on what you believe), Matta’s departure is still surprising – especially considering the timing of it all. That it happened now, just before recruiting kicks up a notch again next month, tells me this may not have been a mutual decision, if you know what I mean.

— And that trickle-down predictably found its way to Rhode Island, especially after Dick Vitale tweeted this week he was hearing Ed Cooley’s name was on the search committee’s list. Former Wichita State, Vanderbilt and South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler’s consulting biz handled much of that. I’ll wager dollars-to-doughnuts Cooley is on just about every high-profile list as openings occur.

— Why? Because Providence is still viewed as a “stepping-stone” program. Because Providence doesn’t have football, therefore they couldn’t possibly offer the kind of money a “Football Five” program could offer to its basketball coach. These are truths in the collegiate sports world, and a major reason for Butler’s Chris Holtmann’s involvement.

— But what matters most to the people involved? For Gene Smith, the AD at Ohio State, it’s finding someone who can put his team back into the mix of relevancy in the Big 10 without excuses, and doesn’t mind being a 2nd fiddle to the almighty pigskin. Ed Cooley isn’t really a second-fiddle kinda guy. And I’m not certain Holtmann is, either.

— In his six seasons with the Friars, Cooley has worked hard at putting PC in position to compete – consistently – within the Big East. But “hot coach” = Holtmann. He was Big East Coach of the Year this past season, led his team to three straight NCAA 1st round wins (in three games) and has ties to Ohio having previously been an assistant at Ohio University. Few have come further in their careers as Holtmann has in such a short time.

— What is everyone looking for here? Ed Cooley has told me – whether you believe it or not – he already has what he’s looking for.

— But in the business of sports, never say “never.” I can see Coach Cooley trying something else in his career, but I don’t believe this is the time for a move. IMO, he’ll think about setting out on a different path, once he accomplishes something on his current road.

— Perhaps his friend, Creighton’s Greg McDermott, also feels he has what he’s looking for? McDermott was a Buckeye front-runner early in the week, then pronounced Thursday he was staying in Omaha. That’s a good call, coach. If money isn’t your primary objective, why would you leave a kingdom in Omaha for a relative peasantville in Columbus, as pigskin holds priority there?

— Xavier’s Chris Mack, no. Mick Cronin at Cincinnati – nope. McDermott – thanks for asking, but no. They apparently have, for now, what they’re looking for. Is Chris Holtmann a fit for OSU? The Buckeyes do seem to prefer former Butler coaches, as Matta was one and he did a solid job. But Holtmann was their fourth choice, give or take, and he’ll get about three times the salary he had in Indianapolis for his efforts. Good luck to him. He’ll need it.

— Even though the Big East is a power league, coaches will largely remain poachable. Why? Because dollar signs dance a mesmerizing Macarena that only football schools can create in the present day and age we live in.

— Maybe Holtmann can get Ohio State where they want to go, or where they feel they need to be. But I can’t help but feel he’s missing out on leaving a huge legacy behind, and making a difference at Butler – which is a better basketball program right now than the one he’s traveling to at State U – for the big(ger) bucks.

— Fans, students, alumni – remember the wins and the big moments. We have the media and the internet to remind us how much a coach earns on his paycheck.

— Two names to consider for Butler – Celtics’ assistant Micah Shrewsberry and current Bulldogs’ assistant Terry Johnson. Both would likely have Brad Stevens’ stamp-of-approval, and both follow Butler’s historical pattern of hiring from within the family.

— Good stuff for the Friars’ Drew Edwards and Maliek White, as the two will travel to Spain this summer to play for the USA East Coast team coached by Hall-of-Famer Larry Brown. The team was founded in 2006 as a way for college players to gain international experience – 52 of its’ former members have gone on to play professionally.

— It might not matter much to you, but all this fundraising going on by the local schools to help pay for charter airplane transportation during the season might be in vain. Airline companies are cutting back on the number of available aircraft for charter purposes, citing their cost (what else?) due to increased public demand and creating a shortage of aircraft for college teams’ use.

— Some teams with fewer miles to travel are already beginning to move back toward bus travel. That doesn’t help teams in the American Athletic Conference, however, which is one of the more far-flung leagues now in existence. East Carolina, for instance, is having trouble getting its football team anywhere in 2018. Literally. Their current provider has already shut the door on the season after next.

— While the graduate transfer rule in college athletics is getting further scrutiny – and rightfully so – there’s another thought process taking place out there that’s gaining some momentum. Giving student athletes five years of eligibility, rather than the four they currently have, could nip the grad transfer loopholes right in the bud.

— It could also, conceivably, enable more student athletes to obtain degrees – which is why (wink, wink) they came to college in the first place. And, it stands to reason it would improve the quality of the sport(s) in which they take part with more experienced athletes competing. Win-win-win?

— Strange, but true. South Florida grad transfer Geno Thorpe, who has immediate eligibility, is considering Syracuse. And they’re actually considering him. In another time and universe, that would never happen.

— Two wins and a loss for Chris Mullin and St. John’s this week, as they landed S. Carolina transfer big man Sedee Keita, and Shamorie Ponds received an invite to the US U-19 National Team camp. But they also lost junior-to-be guard Federico Mussini, who is returning home to Italy and seeking a professional contract to play in Europe.

— Former Friar guard and Brown assistant coach John Linehan is departing the Bears’ coaching staff, and he will be moving to Connecticut to join the staff at the University of Hartford for next season. Since leaving his playing days behind, Linehan also coached at Temple and Drexel before returning to Rhode Island at Brown.

— Not for nuthin’, but Bryant won’t be shying away from big-time competition again next fall. The Bulldogs will face Louisville and Memphis in December as part of the Gotham Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York.

— In the wake of the three Penn State officials getting jail time for not reporting Jerry Sandusky’s predatory nature, HBO has announced they’re getting an “A” list star to play former coach Joe Paterno in the movie detailing the sordid tale. How about Al Pacino as Joe Pa?

— It can’t continue. It won’t. But for now, Big 12 schools are splitting a record payday for revenue earned in 2016-17. Each of the 10 schools will receive $34.8 million, an increase of $4.4 million over last year, which is why UConn still turns its wistful eyes westward toward financial salvation.

— Who knew? The Red Sox and Yankees this week played meaningful baseball again, as the two battled for first in the AL East. But somehow, something was amiss. Animosity? None that I could tell, or see, existed between the one-time arch-enemies. Unless you count the media.

— Can someone please explain to me what Jerry Remy said was so wrong about not allowing translators to go to the mound? The (UK) Daily Mail headline Wednesday screamed “Red Sox analyst branded a racist.” Come on now.

— In a game that desperately needs to pick up its pace, repeated mound visits – and Sox catcher Christian Vazquez is a terrible offender – should be outlawed. That’s the issue. Did the PC (politically correct) police get in the way here and intervene by reading Remy’s mind for him and interpreting what he said?

— Naturally, it would help if there were no language barriers involved here, either. But baseball is an international sport, so from time to time communication issues will come up. And there IS a universal language in baseball, whether you believe it or not. The fault for anything lies with MLB changing the rule on mound visits in 2013 by allowing interpreters out there, slowing down the pace of a game. Period.

— I doubt an interpreter really slows the pace down much, anyway. But I know this – if it were me out there on the mound, let’s say, pitching in Japan? I think after a year or two (or four) living and working in another country I’d have some idea of how to communicate with my catcher. Just sayin’.

— Craig Kimbrel, as impressive as he has been over this season from April to now, still scares me when he goes out there. And Rick Porcello has forgotten how to pitch effectively. He’s been right down town with his fastball.

— David Price’s return started out well enough, then his apparent nutty with the media in NY this week (well-documented by the Herald’s Steve Buckley) only reinforces what I’ve always thought – he can’t handle Boston, and won’t handle Boston any longer than he must handle Boston. Enjoy your $217 million, Dave. That pressure is crushing you into a smaller man.

— Here’s the thing. At $1 million per start, pitch better. It’s called accountability. Stop yelling at reporters. You’ll never win that battle, nor will you ever receive sympathy from fans or the media, unless you can pitch like Pedro Martinez. Just ask John Lackey.

— This is what I love about New England and Boston fans. It’s simple accountability, that’s all. “Just do what we pay you well to do, big guy, and if you can’t – man up about it.”

— Joe Kelly threw the fastest pitch in baseball this season Tuesday night, launching a 104-mph fastball against the Yankees’ Aaron Judge. Who also fouled it off. Which was more impressive, really?

— It would fix a rather large hole in the lineup, but despite Pedro Martinez’s tweets to the contrary this week, Big Papi says he’s staying retired. I say, if you’re in baseball shape and you’re bored already, what exactly are you scared of, David Ortiz?

— I remember owning Jimmy Piersall’s trading card as a kid, so when I got the chance to see the movie “Fear Strikes Out,” I was confused. And naturally disappointed in what the flick was all about. The ex-Red Sox outfielder died last week at age 87, and to anyone who has been affected by mental illness in his/her life and family, his story is truly appreciated. But we’ve got such a long way to go.

— Major League Baseball is going to stream games in Virtual Reality. So, does this mean the results will be real or just made up?

— Does anyone else remember the Orem Owlz promoting “Caucasian Heritage Night” a couple of years ago? Now, the Ogden Raptors may have come up with a minor league promotion to top that one – “Hourglass Appreciation Night,” with shapely women each appearing in their broadcast booth for half an inning, and available to pose with fans afterward.

— Will some do anything to get noticed? And what does this say about minor league baseball in Utah? Orem never went through on their politically-incorrect promotion, and I sincerely doubt Ogden will become a trailblazer in that “wow” department. But they got noticed, for all the wrong reasons.

— Forbes’ list of the 100 highest paid athletes in the world features the aforementioned David “The Price Ain’t Right” at #36 (combined $30.6 million earnings), the Celtics’ Al Horford 44th ($28.1 million) and Sox DH Hanley Ramirez at 82nd ($22.3 million). No sign, or even whiff, of a Patriot in there. Although, ex-Pat Chandler Jones is ranked 76th, thanks to his current deal with Arizona.

— Football in June? Yes, please. But the weather at Patriots’ mini-camp on Tuesday this past week made it seem like Halloween – rainy and mid-40’s on the Gillette practice fields. Where exactly was global warming when we needed it?

— Brandin Cooks will be a star in New England. Bank on it. Not only does he already have a rapport with TB12 – on the successful receiving end of several long-distance darts this week – but his TD celebrations will be shown over, and over, and over again.

— Maybe that hasn’t been the “Patriot Way” in the past, but hey, we always need more bang for the buck in Foxboro.

— Mini-camp is for teaching. Training camp is for implementing. Pre-season games are for sleeping.

— Do the Patriots need ex-Jet linebacker David Harris? No. But he would fill a perceived need, and add better depth to one area of the team that doesn’t seem to have much depth. Plus, it would be another chance to rub J-E-T-S fans’ noses in their own mess, which is always an enjoyable task.

— Any fallout from TB12 and the Best Buddies’ charity fiasco a week ago is all owned by the charity. They messed it up from the start, and pulled attention away from a great cause. Now, some believe bad PR is better than no PR. But I’m not one of those.

— While we sleep-walk through the NBA Finals and the expected crowning of Golden State’s Warriors, some real news did slide under the radar. Commissioner Adam Silver said the league will take the next year to re-examine the age-eligibility rule, and potentially change the eligibility rules for the NBA Draft.

— The league does want to push the age to 20 (currently it’s 19) before a player becomes eligible, while the NBAPA wants to lower it a year to 18. Of course they do. What’s obvious is that players aren’t as prepared coming into the professional ranks from US colleges, as compared to those with international experience taking roster spots away.

— The foreign players are all more experienced. Someone needs to point out that experienced players make for a better game.

— It certainly will be a longer game. Starting next year, the regular season will be stretched out a week – starting earlier – so teams may potentially rest star players more often during the season, rather than at the end just before the post-season. That is precisely how, incredibly, the Celtics ended up as the 1-seed in the East.

— YAWN. Golden State isn’t invincible. Remember when LeBron James first jilted Cleveland for Miami and the run we thought possible there because of that “super team” put together? Not one. Just two. He’s now three-for-eight, which is good by baseball standards.

— Speaking of LBJ, MJ was better. In basketball, not baseball.

— ICYMI, the New England Revolution will play a US Open Cup game at PC’s Chapey Field at Anderson Stadium next Wednesday, against the USL’s Rochester Rhinos.

— It has been 40 years since I graduated from high school, R.L. Paschal in Fort Worth, Texas. My buddy “Big E” sez he vividly remembers the first high school dance he ever attended as a freshman, whereas I have a hard time remembering what I had for lunch yesterday.

— “Big E” recalled that dance and the squirrely fellow-freshman standing nervously next to him against the dance hall wall as the final songs were being played, and that the kid finally got up the nerve to ask a good-looking junior if she’d like to dance. After looking him over, the girl said, “I won’t dance with a child.” Kid had the best comeback line ever spoken, probably without knowing it – “Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize you were pregnant.”

— No truth to the rumor that squirrely fellow-freshman was me. I was stuck to that wall, as I now recall.

— Mike in South Kingstown, Rhode Island posted on Facebook this week concerning Ohio State’s poaching of Butler: “Any chance this could affect (Ed) Cooley or (Dan) Hurley and lead them to getting another job?” Mike: Never say never. Trickledown is a strange beast, especially in coaching. Best guess now, however, is that Butler looks to hire from within, as they’ve done previously, and this late-season revolving door won’t hit us in the face around here. This time.

— Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, …

Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Southern New England Sports Saturday! Call in at 401-737-1287 or text at 37937.

Friday’s Morning Mashup: John McCain blames Diamondbacks game for bizarre James Comey hearing questions

06.09.17 at 8:18 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Friday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

 Colorado at Chicago Cubs, 2 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Detroit at Boston, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, WEEI)
MLB: Baltimore at NY Yankees, 7:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Golden State at Cleveland, 9 p.m. (ABC)


— In a statement addressing his strange questioning of James Comey during the hearing on Thursday, John McCain blamed his behavior on fatigue from staying up late the night before watching the Diamondbacks game.

During his questioning, McCain often rambled and seemed confused, appearing to believe the separate investigations into Hillary Clinton and Russia to be one probe.

“Both President Trump and former candidate Clinton are both involved in the investigation, yet one of them you said there was going to be no charges and the other one the investigation continues,” McCain said. “Well, I think there’s a double standard there, to tell you the truth.”

In his statement, McCain said, “I get the sense from Twitter that my line of questioning went over people’s heads. Maybe going forward I shouldn’t stay up late watching the Diamondbacks night games.”

The Diamondbacks game started at 9:40 p.m. on the East Coast Wednesday night. The team responded to McCain’s statement on Twitter with a shrugging emoji.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Tom Brady’s appearance at Tony Robbins’ cheesy ‘Wealth Summit’ was beneath him

06.08.17 at 10:26 pm ET
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Tom Brady spoke at Tony Robbins' "Wealth Summit" Thursday. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Tom Brady spoke at Tony Robbins’ “Wealth Summit” Thursday. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

CORPORATE HELL –– The white people dressed in khaki pants and golf polos waited all day to see Tom Brady. Many of them showed up early in the morning, suffering through hours of self-aggrandizing drivel from financial televangelists, all of whom think making money is both the most important and easiest thing to accomplish in life –– as long as you buy their program. One of them, a particularly supercilious-looking man named Gerry Robert, spent his entire presentation imploring each member of the audience to write a book. He said books are preferable to business cards, because they don’t get thrown away.

Tony Robbins’ “Wealth Summit” dragged on from 8:00 a.m. until nearly 8:00 p.m. Thursday, with thousands of soulless corporate pawns flooding the Boston Convention Exhibition Center on their companies’ dime. There were some true believers in the crowd –– a man named Chet Herman, who was sporting a faded Superman t-shirt and mangy long hair, told me he credits Robbins’ self-help program with making him a millionaire –– but most attendees just seemed happy to get out of their cubicles for a day. In between speakers, they wandered around the BCEC concourse and munched on $6 slices of greasy Sicilian pizza. The adventurous ones walked outside and went to Jimmy John’s, but the line stretched around the block.

There’s nothing wrong per se with Brady appearing with Robbins at an event. But the scene just seemed beneath him. It was a setting that befits Suze Orman, not the greatest quarterback of all-time.

The crowd had seemingly fallen into a malaise before Robbins took the stage. The most vivacious speaker of the undercard was a charismatic RV executive named Marcus Lemonis, who calls himself “The Profit.” He wanted everybody to know that “vulnerability is the key to success.” His message of transparency propelled a young woman to get up on stage and start telling thousands of strangers the anger she feels towards her parents, who were addicted to drugs and alcohol while she was growing up. “They’re great grandparents towards my son, [but] they were horrible parents,” she said. “I feel guilty that I feel resentment towards them.”

It was a powerful moment during an afternoon that was largely bereft of human emotion. The woman received a standing ovation for her honesty. Then Lemonis, after thinking it all over for a minute or two, gave his advice. “The fact that you have resentment is real, but I think it’s probably time to move on,” he said.

Problem solved.

Robbins and his snake-oil salesmen cronies boil life down into banalities and corporate speak. If you’re not successful, it’s because you’re not pushing yourself hard enough. If you’re unhappy, it’s because you don’t have enough positive energy. Speaking of which, Robbins was not happy with our energy level when he walked onto the stage. He said it “sucks,” and told us we won’t succeed if we keep it up.

Robbins’ entire set, which spanned almost three hours, fell into an easily detectable pattern. He would relay pearls of wisdom to the crowd, telling us things like, “fantasies can become reality.” Then he would share an anecdote about somebody who embodies these corny slogans, such as the 70-year-old nun who takes part in Ironman competitions across the country. After each one of these tall tales, electronic dance music started blaring from the speakers, turning the BCEC into the world’s saddest bar mitzvah.

It’s apparent Robbins was stalling, since Brady was a couple hours later than advertised. He and Julian Edelman helicoptered to the event from Gillette Stadium, finally arriving around 6:30 p.m.

Brady and Edelman spoke at length about being underdogs, and relied stories Patriots fans have heard many times before. Brady, in case you forgot, was a sixth-round draft pick who started as the fourth-stringer. He says it still drives him today.

“Everyone else thought, ‘You went to Michigan and got picked by the Patriots. Next thing you know, you won,’” Brady said. But they don’t know what the journey was. So they don’t know what’s inside of you. And what’s inside of me, is that [I’m] not very internally motivated. It doesn’t take much externally to motivate me. I’m not motivated by a lot of things that you guys think might motivate you. Everyone finds different forms of motivation. I’m very happy with the ways that I’ve found. I left practice today, this is my 18th offseason, and we’re on the field for two and a half hours. I walked off the field and I thought, ‘I am the worst quarterback in the NFL. How could I have possibly made those throws? It was so dumb to do that.’ When I walk off the field, and I think, ‘Man, if it’s not perfect for me, I lose sleep.’ I threw an interception today. I feel like I let my team down. I let all of my teammates down.”

They also recounted the Patriots’ miraculous Super Bowl comeback over the Falcons. They came back and won the game after trailing 28-3. According to Edelman, it’s because they started “bringing in the positive.” Brady said they just had to buy in.

“I think it was just ultimately having the belief in what our process was,” he explained. “We had to believe in what our plan was. But just for the first two and a half quarters of the game, we didn’t execute it.”

Brady and Edelman, of course, can attribute their success to a lot more than grit and passion. But that wouldn’t fit into the Robbins theme. In Robbins’ world, everybody is capable of professional success, regardless of their background or circumstance. And if you don’t succeed, it’s because your energy is imbalanced –– or something.

This formula of gross oversimplification keeps the sheep coming back for more. For one day, and probably a hefty appearance fee, Brady was part of the scam.

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Cleveland police department tweets jab at Warriors before Game 3

06.08.17 at 9:27 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Thursday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

LA Angels at Detroit, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: San Diego at Arizona, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Boston at NY Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN, NESN, WEEI)
NHL: Nashville at Pittsburgh, 8 p.m. (NBC)


— The Cavaliers are down 3-0 to the Warriors in the NBA finals, but the Cleveland police department still feels confident enough to take swipes at Golden State.

Before Game 3 on Wednesday night, with the Cavs down 2-0 in the series, the police department’s Twitter account posted this tweet:

“No backpacks permitted in Q Arena or at FanFest for tonight’s @cavs vs. what’s their face’s game,” the tweet read.

The Cavs then lost the game and the department reacted with this tweet:

Read the rest of this entry »

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LeBron James seems to be getting sick of the media

06.07.17 at 3:18 pm ET
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The NBA finals seems to be putting a strain on the relationship between LeBron James and the media.

Following Game 2, James gave these testy responses to reporters when questioned about his postgame interview being in the locker room instead of at the podium and if the Cavs need to defend home court.

Then, in shootaround on Wednesday morning James seemed annoyed by a question about what the Cleveland’s priorities are heading into Game 3.

Read the rest of this entry »

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‘David Ortiz: King of the Diamond’ exhibit to open at MFA

06.07.17 at 12:49 pm ET
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The Museum of Fine Arts is set to open an exhibit honoring David Ortiz and his Red Sox career.

“David Ortiz: King of the Diamond” opens on June 17 and will run until Sept. 4. It will include an installation of Ortiz’s World Series rings. His 2013 ring will be installed later to coincide with his number retirement at Fenway Park on June 23.

“My relationship with the City of Boston is close to my heart, and I’m happy to share my rings with the MFA to give Red Sox fans a chance to view them up close,” said Ortiz. “I always want to remind the city to swing for the fences and never give up.”

The MFA will also set up a donation box at the exhibit for visitors to donate to the David Ortiz Children’s Fund.

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Jerry Remy says MLB pitchers shouldn’t get translators during mound visits

06.07.17 at 9:45 am ET
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Good morning! Here is your Wednesday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

Toronto at Oakland, 3:35 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Pittsburgh at Baltimore, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Boston at NY Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (NESN, WEEI)
WNBA: Atlanta at New York, 11 a.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Golden State at Cleveland, 9 p.m. (ABC)


— Jerry Remy caused a stir Tuesday night when he said it should be illegal in baseball for translators to accompany trainers and coaches on mound visits for foreign pitchers. He believes foreign pitchers should “learn baseball language.”

Remy made this comment during the NESN broadcast of the Red Sox-Yankees game when Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild visited starter Masahiro Tanaka on the mound and and was accompanied by Tanaka’s translator.

“I don’t think that should be legal,” Remy said.

Dave O’Brien replied, “Seriously?”

Remy: “I really don’t.”

O’Brien: “What is it you don’t like about that?”

Remy: “Um…Learn baseball language. It’s pretty simple. You break it down pretty easy between pitching coach and pitcher after a long period of time.”

O’Brien: “I would say that probably they’re concerned about nuance being lost in some of these conversations.”

They dropped the topic after that and moved on but Remy’s comments earned swift reaction on Twitter. Read the rest of this entry »

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What causes Tom Brady to break his insanely strict diet?

06.06.17 at 3:59 pm ET
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Tom Brady apparently gorges himself at one local restaurant.  (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

Tom Brady apparently gorges himself at one local restaurant. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

The tagliatelle al ragù bolognese at La Morra in Brookline sounds like a foodie’s delight. The dish, served over a bed of tagliatelle pasta, features thick bolognese mixed with lamb, pork, veal, beef, and foie gras butter. It’s the kind of meal that makes you want to roll out of the restaurant, and then collapse onto your couch.

Or, in other words, the opposite of what one would expect Tom Brady to enjoy. After all, he rarely eats fruit, because it contains too much sugar.

But according to La Morra’s owner, Jen Ziskin, Brady loves her restaurant’s bolognese –– empty calories and all. Urbanspoon first reported this in 2014, and “Only in Boston” followed up with a tweet on Tuesday.

Upon seeing the tweet, I contacted Ziskin to ask if this was still the case. Because frankly, I didn’t believe it. In an interview last year with, Brady’s personal chef explained the Patriots quarterback’s stringent diet, which doesn’t include white sugar, white flour, MSG, olive oil, iodized salt, coffee, dairy, peppers, mushroom or eggplants. Tomatoes are included once in a while, and lean meats are eaten sporadically.

Those omissions would make it difficult to eat any kind of bolognese, never mind La Morra’s decadent rendition.

But in a phone conversation, Ziskin assured me Brady still comes in and eats the dish. Even more surprisingly, she says he doesn’t ask for any substitutes.

This doesn’t appear to be a regular habit for Brady. Ziskin says he’s been to the restaurant once within the last eight months, and rarely comes in during football season. Eight months takes us back to late September or early October, so perhaps Brady stopped by for his last meal towards the tail-end of his Deflategate suspension. And then, it was right back to the quinoa with wilted greens.

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Justin Bieber defends himself against bandwagon fan charges by admitting he doesn’t know much about sports

06.06.17 at 1:30 pm ET
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Justin Bieber is a bandwagon sports fan. SB Nation says he’s been photographed wearing at least 21 different jerseys, repping teams from the NHL to English Premier League.

The 23-year-old pop star, who hails from the Toronto area, was publicly rooting on his hometown Maple Leafs at the onset of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But for the Stanley Cup Finals, he’s thrown on a Penguins jersey.

A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on

Bieber caught a lot of flak for his latest reversal, but didn’t want to say “sorry.” Instead, he defended himself against his critics.

Bieber receives a lot of points for his honesty. Not many guys would admit to being unknowledgeable, or even casual, sports fans. If anything, the Biebs is always self-aware –– except when he’s speeding around his neighborhood in his Ferrari, and annoying Keyshawn Johnson in the process.

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Yankees take savage jab at David Ortiz on Instagram

06.06.17 at 12:30 pm ET
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It’s always so nice when Aaron takes time out of his busy schedule to talk to his fans 😂.

A post shared by New York Yankees (@yankees) on

This is so disrespectful. The Yankees social media person should be fired for this trash.

No, but actually this is not bad. It’s better than a caption like, “Here is Aaron Judge talking to David Ortiz.” That’s boring and I’m glad the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry is alive and well, on social media at least.

Plus, it’s true: I’m sure Ortiz is a fan of Judge.

And it’s pretty much a copycat of this recent disgraceful tweet from the NBA: