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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Rookie Chris Heston joins Giants’ record-tying streak of no-hitters

06.10.15 at 7:54 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Nationals at Yankees, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL: Stanley Cup Final, Lightning at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Exhibition, Germany vs. United States, 2:45 p.m. (FS1)


— In what has become an annual occurrence, a Giants pitcher threw a no-hitter, with rookie Chris Heston doing the honors Tuesday night against the Mets.

Heston, a 27-year-old right-hander making just the 13th start of his major league career, hit a batter but then struck out the side (all called third strikes) in the ninth inning to close out the 5-0 win. It was the first no-hitter by a rookie since Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox in 2007, and the first no-hitter Heston could recall pitching at any level.

“I definitely threw more in the backyard than I have in real life, that’s for sure,” he said afterward.

Heston, who hit three batters but allowed no other baserunners, struck out Ruben Tejada to end it, then hopped off the mound, slapped his glove and hugged catcher Buster Posey.

“I wasn’t too sure where to go after that last out,” he said.

The Giants are just the second team to have a no-hitter in four straight seasons, joining the 1962-65 Dodgers (all from Sandy Koufax). Tim Lincecum threw no-hitters in 2012 and ’13, and Matt Cain had one last year.

— Bob Costas joined in on the criticism of ESPN for the network’s decision to give the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Caitlyn Jenner, calling the decision a “crass exploitation play.”

Costas, speaking on Dan Patrick’s radio show Tuesday, said he supported Jenner’s decision to find happiness by switching genders, but he said the network is buying in to the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians culture that has overtaken a good part of the cultural landscape.”

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Read More: Bob Costas, Caitlyn Jenner, Chris Heston, Muhammad Wilkerson

Indians select last year’s No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken at No. 17 in MLB draft

06.09.15 at 8:59 am ET
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With the 17th pick in the 2015 MLB draft, the Indians selected left-handed pitcher Brady Aiken.

Aiken was selected No. 1 overall by the Astros in last year’s draft, however, he refused to sign. The Astros found an irregularity in Aiken’s UCL during pre-draft workouts and withdrew their $6.5 million signing bonus in favor of less money, causing him not to sign.

In an article he wrote for the Players’ Tribune last March, Aiken wrote that he does not regret not signing with the Astros.

“I can honestly say I don’€™t regret not signing,” Aiken wrote. “It was a very difficult decision, but it also was an informed decision. … This wasn’€™t a decision we made lightly. The money wasn’€™t the only factor to consider.”

The 18-year-old enrolled at IMG Academy, a postgraduate institution, in order to remain eligible for the 2015 draft. Just 13 pitches into his first start with the school, he tore his UCL and received Tommy John surgery less than a week later.

In his article, Aiken wrote that he valued an organization that would take care of him and provide an environment for success.

“I wanted to play somewhere I felt comfortable, with a support system I felt would lay the groundwork for a successful and long career,” Aiken wrote. “Making sure I had that in place was worth the frustration of not being able to get on with my career sooner.”

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Read More: Brady Aiken, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Shaquille O’Neal admits to deflating basketballs with Lakers

06.09.15 at 8:08 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Nationals at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Finals, Warriors at Cavaliers, 9 p.m. (ABC)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, France vs. England, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Spain vs. Costa Rica, 4 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Colombia vs. Mexico, 4 p.m. (Fox)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Brazil vs. South Korea, 7 p.m. (FS1)


Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal

— As the Deflategate controversy continues, Shaquille O’Neal is the latest athlete to admit to deflating balls before games. O’Neal said on a recent podcast that he would let some air out of basketballs during the Lakers’ championship run in the early 2000s — “Get the ball, ‘Tsssss’ let a little bit of air out, squeeze it — OK, good,” he said.

“Sometimes, in the games during all my championship runs, if a ball was too hard, I let air out,” O’Neal said (via “I’d have a needle. A friend of mine would have a needle and I would get the game ball. … I needed that extra grip, but I wasn’t doing that for cheating purposes. I just needed the extra grip for my hands so I could palm it, a la Michael Jordan, the way he used to palm it.”

O’Neal insists he was not breaking the rules, because he was not attempting to go below the league-mandated minimum of 7.5 psi.

“First of all, I’m not aware of any letter of the law that says, you can’t let air out of the ball,” O’Neal said. “I’m not aware of that. Second of all, it’s all about my [comfort level]. A lot of times, if the balls have too much air in them, they’re too bouncy. I didn’t want them to be bouncy. I needed that grip.”

Phil Jackson, who coached O’Neal with the Lakers, previously admitted that his Knicks teams used to deflate balls in the 1970s. Like O’Neal, Jackson said it should not be considered illegal because the balls did not fall below the league minimum psi.

Jackson told reporter Sam Smith for a book that other teams used to deflate balls below the NBA standard in an attempt to slow his Michael Jordan-led Bulls teams, but he would carry a pressure gauge and check the game balls so that they could be fixed.

— A defamation suit filed by former 49ers linebacker Ray McDonald against a woman who accused him of rape was dismissed by a California judge, who said McDonald failed to prove the woman talked to anyone but police.

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Read More: Oscar Pistorius, Phil Jackson, Ray McDonald, Shaquille O'Neal

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Email links Sepp Blatter to alleged World Cup bribe

06.08.15 at 7:57 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Stanley Cup Final, Lightning at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, United States vs. Australia, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Sweden vs. Nigeria, 4 p.m. (Fox)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Japan vs. Switzerland, 10 p.m. (FS1)


Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter

— When Sepp Blatter announced last week he would resign as FIFA president, it came as a surprise, as he had been defiant until that point. A report Sunday might have shed some light on why Blatter changed his approach.

According to South Africa’s Sunday Times, a 2007 email from FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke to the South African government makes reference to the alleged $10 million bribe paid to soccer executives after South Africa was awarded the 2010 World Cup, and it mentions that the payment was discussed by Blatter and South African President Thabo Mbeki.

The U.S. Department of Justice has said the $10 million was transferred to then FIFA executive committee member Jack Warner in 2008 for him and two other committee members to share after they voted for South Africa in 2004. American Chuck Blazer, one of the other alleged FIFA recipients, already has admitted receiving bribes in connection with the 2004 vote.

FIFA said in a statement Sunday that the email constitutes “information, not involvement” on behalf of Blatter and Valcke. The organization also claims the money was a legitimate donation to help soccer development in the Caribbean. The DOJ says Warner, from Trinidad, kept most of the money for himself.

Morocco, which lost out to South Africa via a 14-10 vote by FIFA’s ruling panel of executives, also offered a bribe to Warner, the DOJ alleges.

— An ESPN report indicates U.S. Women’s National Team goalie Hope Solo was the “primary aggressor” during her fight with her half-sister and teenage nephew last year, and that she was combative and insulting with officers after her arrest.

The report indicates Solo had been drinking when she arrived at her relatives’ home and initiated the fight. She had faced two counts of domestic violence, but the charges were dismissed on procedural grounds earlier this year.

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Read More: Hope Solo, LeBron James, Mike Aviles, Sepp Blatter

American Pharoah becomes first horse to win Triple Crown since 1978

06.06.15 at 6:59 pm ET
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The drought is over. American Pharoah won Saturday’s Belmont Stakes to become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. American Pharoah, with jockey Victor Espinoza on his back, led the race from the start and pulled away from the field down the stretch.

American Pharoah becomes the 12th horse ever to win the Triple Crown. The last to do it before him was Affirmed in 1978. That capped off a stretch that saw three horses win the Triple Crown in a six-year span, with Secretariat accomplishing the feat in 1973 and Seattle Slew doing the same in 1977.

Between Affirmed and American Pharoah, 13 horses had won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but failed to win the Belmont, including California Chrome last year.

Thinking Out Loud: ESPN errs by passing over Lauren Hill in favor of honoring Caitlyn Jenner

06.05.15 at 5:06 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering if Quahog’s own Adam West is also preparing a run for president?

— A 65-year-old woman named Caitlyn? Sorry, that’s too weird. Ethel, maybe. Or Ruth.

— And while we’re thinking about actual courage, how about ESPN give the ESPYs Arthur Ashe Courage Award, ticketed to Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner, to someone like Lauren Hill, the college basketball player in Ohio who stole our hearts last season while terminally ill with a brain tumor? The twitterverse seemed to agree this week. Just sayin’.

— In case you forgot the story, before she passed away in April, Hill helped raise more than $1.5 million to help fight cancer, all during the final months of her life, knowing she was terminally ill. This isn’t a put-down of Jenner’s trials and tribulations in life at all — it’s simply an acknowledgement of a special moment in time from a rare individual not choosing the national spotlight to tell her story. The spotlight chose Lauren, not the other way around.

— Oh, a good thing did actually come from ESPN’s announcement of Jenner receiving the Ashe Award — it got people to give two bleeps about the ESPYs next month.

— Former Friar Gerard Coleman got a look-see workout from the Celtics a week ago, apparently at the behest of former director of basketball operations Leo Papile — who also coached Coleman in his pre-PC days with the Boston Amateur Basketball Club. It’s not a surprise, as NBA teams always try to keep connections to the local community through tryouts with local players.

— What would be a bit of a surprise, however, is if Coleman gets a shot at sticking on a summer league team or an invite to training camp. You never know. He was a good kid who is living with the decisions he’s made in his young life. Just like some other recent young athletes at PC who will undoubtedly also learn from mistakes, if they haven’t already.

— Some major hoop news this past week at URI, as Memphis transfer wing Kuran Iverson received a waiver to become eligible to play at the start of the season for the Rams, rather than have to wait until the end of the first semester. It means, of course, that Iverson will be eligible to face Providence at the Ryan Center on Dec. 5. Getcha’ popcorn ready.

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Read More: Caitlyn Jenner, Gerard Coleman, Kuran Iverson, Lauren Hill

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Judge sets date for second Aaron Hernandez murder trial

06.05.15 at 8:08 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Athletics at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Angels at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: Exhibition, United States vs. Netherlands, 2:20 p.m. (ESPN)
Tennis: French Open, 11 a.m. (NBC)


Aaron Hernandez is accused of orchestrating the murder of Odin Lloyd. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Aaron Hernandez is accused of killing two men in Boston in 2012. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Aaron Hernandez‘s second murder trial was scheduled to start with jury selection Dec. 1, a judge ruled Thursday. The actual trial is expected to begin the following month.

Hernandez, who was not in court for Thursday’s proceedings, is charged with shooting two men to death after an incident at a Boston nightclub in 2012. He also is charged with witness intimidation for allegedly shooting a friend, Alexander Bradley, in Florida after Bradley brought up the murder. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to both shootings.

Hernandez already is serving a life sentence for the shooting death of Odin Lloyd in 2013, after being convicted of first-degree murder in April. His lawyers have appealed that conviction and implied that a juror was tainted by outside information.

— Ireland’s soccer association received a $5 million payment from FIFA so that it would not sue after an uncalled handball from French star Thierry Henry in a 2009 World Cup qualifier led to the winning goal in a loss that cost Ireland a spot in the 2010 World Cup.

Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney claimed the deal was a good one for his organization.

“We felt we had a legal case against FIFA because of how the World Cup playoff hadn’t worked out for us with the Henry handball,” Delaney said Thursday in an interview on an Irish radio station (via The Guardian). “We came to an agreement. That was a Thursday, and on Monday the agreement was all signed and done. It’s a very good agreement for the FAI and a very legitimate agreement for the FAI.”

FIFA responded to Delaney’s claim by saying the payment actually was intended to be a loan meant to help in the construction of a stadium, although it confirmed there was a confidential agreement for the FAI not to sue over the controversy.

— The Broncos‘ offseason, already beset with injuries and legal issues, just keeps getting worse. John Bowlen Jr., son of owner Pat Bowlen and a team marketing assistant, was placed on indefinite leave Thursday, hours after being arrested on charges of domestic violence.

Accused of pushing his girlfriend against a bathroom wall during a confrontation Wednesday night, John Bowlen was arrested and held overnight at the Arapahoe County Jail, next to the Broncos‘ suburban headquarters, before being released Thursday on $1,000 bond. He is due back in court July 6.

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Read More: Aaron Hernandez, FIFA, John Bowlen, Pat Bowlen

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Disgraced former soccer executive Jack Warner promises to expose ‘avalanche’ of dirt on FIFA

06.04.15 at 8:04 am ET
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Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Twins at Red Sox, 4:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Athletics at Tigers, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Orioles at Astros, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Nationals, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cardinals at Dodgers, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Finals, Cavaliers at Warriors, 9 p.m. (ABC)
Tennis: French Open, 9 a.m. (ESPN2), 11 a.m. (NBC)


Jack Warner

Jack Warner

— Disgraced former soccer executive Jack Warner isn’t going down without a fight. The Trinidad and Tobago politician, one of 14 individuals indicted by U.S. prosecutors last week in soccer’s corruption scandal, went on television Wednesday and said he has documents that show a connection between FIFA and his country’s 2010 presidential elections.

“I will no longer keep secrets for them who actively seek to destroy the company,” Warner said during his paid political advertisement.

Warner, who is charged with wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering, claims that he is putting himself in harm’s way, saying: “I reasonably actually fear for my life.”

However, he added: “Not even death will stop the avalanche that is coming. The die is cast. There can be no turning back. Let the chips fall where they fall.”

After the televised speech, Warner spoke at his Independent Liberal Party’s rally to a cheering crowd of supporters and apologized for “not disclosing my knowledge of these events before.”

He implied that he has information about FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who has not been charged with a crime but who announced earlier this week that he will step down after a successor is selected.

“Blatter knows why he fell,” Warner said. “And if anyone else knows, I do.”

— Running back LeSean McCoy implied Eagles coach Chip Kelly was racially biased after McCoy was traded to the Bills this offseason, noting that Kelly had traded away some of Philadelphia top black players, but on Wednesday he said he doesn’t feel the need to support his claim.

“I don’t have to explain myself to no one,” McCoy said after being questioned by reporters following Buffalo’s voluntary practice Wednesday. “I said what I said. It’s how I felt at the time. I’m done with that.”

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Read More: Chip Kelly, Jack Warner, Josh Hamilton, LeSean McCoy

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Soccer world celebrates Sepp Blatter’s decision to resign

06.03.15 at 8:08 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Twins at Red Sox, Game 1, 1:35 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Twins at Red Sox, Game 2, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Mariners, 3:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Dodgers at Rockies, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: Stanley Cup finals, Blackhawks at Lightning, 8 p.m. (NBC)
College softball: World Series, Michigan vs. Florida, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Exhibition, Mexico at Peru, 9 p.m. (ESPNews)
Tennis: French Open, 8 a.m. (ESPN2)


Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter

— Sepp Blatter’s decision to step down as FIFA president just four days after his re-election came as a surprise, but the news was welcomed by many in the game.

“Wholesale changes need to be made,” former U.S. World Cup goalie Tony Meola, who now hosts a soccer show on SiriusXM, told the New York Daily News. “What’s been going on for years and years is nothing short of disgusting. I don’t want to sound naive and say no one knew about it. We knew about it. But now it took Loretta Lynch and the FBI to uncover things.

“It’s terrible what’s been happening for years where fans of the game — and I’m including myself — have just been slapped in the face with these guys, and I’ll call them criminals, laughing at us the entire time. In one sentence we call this the beautiful game, and in another sentence it’s been about as ugly as it could be.”

U.S. women’s national team midfielder Megan Rapinoe was even more direct, tweeting: Ding dong the witch is dead. Daddy got his hand caught in the cookie jar.

Added former U.S. star Julie Foudy: Hallelujay! Sepp Blatter is out. #adiosSepp

Blatter said he plans to stay on until a successor is named.

Meanwhile, Interpol added six men with ties to FIFA to its most-wanted list for racketeering and corruption. The list includes former FIFA vice president Jack Warner, who already was arrested and released in his home country of Trinidad. Also on the list are former FIFA vice president Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay, Brazilian broadcast executive Jose Margulies, and Argentinians Alejandro Burzaco, Hugo Jinkis and Mariano Jinkis, who stand accused of paying more than $100 million bribes for media and commercial rights to soccer tournaments.

— Joey Gallo, the top prospect in the Rangers organization, lived up to his hype Tuesday in his major league debut, recording a single, a double, a home run and a walk in Texas’ 15-2 rout of the White Sox.

Gallo set a franchise record for RBIs in an MLB debut with four.

“I definitely did not think this was going to happen the first game,” Gallo said. “I was just going to be happy to get on base the first game, so I definitely overachieved my goals there.”

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Read More: Bryce Harper, Joey Gallo, Sepp Blatter,

President of FIFA Sepp Blatter to resign

06.02.15 at 1:01 pm ET
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Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter

Four days after being re-elected as President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter announced Tuesday he will resign.

At a surprise press conference he called for “extraordinary congress” of FIFA to convene to elect his successor. He plans to continue serving in his role until his successor is named.

Blatter had 133 votes to 73 for Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan in the vote last Friday. Since no candidate won two-thirds of the vote, there was to have been a second vote in which the winner would only need a majority. However, Prince Ali, a FIFA vice president for the past four years, conceded defeat and withdrew.

Two FIFA vice presidents and a recently elected executive committee member remained in custody during Friday’€™s election. They are fighting extradition to the United States, where they would face corruption charges related to tournaments held in North America.

Blatter denied having any role in the alleged bribery, blaming others for embarrassing the sport and saying it was impossible to be responsible for everyone’€™s behavior.

Read More: Sepp Blatter,