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Pedro Martinez says he was forced to pitch while injured with Mets

05.06.15 at 12:13 pm ET
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With his new book, “Pedro,” which was released on Monday, former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez offers untold stories of his career in baseball. One of those stories came from his time with the Mets.

Martinez wrote in his book that Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon forced him to pitch through an injury in the 2005 season, specifically a toe injury that plagued him in late September when the team had no hopes of making the playoffs.

The New York Times published the excerpt, which said that Mets manager Willie Randolph told Martinez that he was done for the season but Wilpon wanted to sell tickets for a matchup against star Marlins left-hander Dontrelle Willis. Martinez said he protested the order and offered to give back the rest of his contract.

The newly minted 2015 Hall of Famer wrote that Wilpon said, “While I’m the boss here, you’re going to have to do what I say.”

The game, which Martinez pitched and lost, prolonged the toe problem, Martinez claims, and other parts of his body broke down the next season, and Martinez was inactive for the Mets’ run to Game 7 of the 2006 National League Championship Series.

“I couldn’t help but think about how when I was healthy in 2005, our team wasn’t that good,” Martinez wrote. “But as my health declined, I was urged to pitch a meaningless game at the end of 2005 that wound up shortening my recovery time for 2006 and led me to a hospital where doctors performed a three-hour arthroscopic procedure to repair my shoulder.”

Wilpon responded to the excerpt via a statement published by the Times, refuting Martinez’s story.

“Pedro was always a great competitor and deserving of being in the Hall of Fame,” the statement read. “This particular excerpt in the book is false as those kinds of decisions have always been put in the hands of our baseball people.”

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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: NY media has field day as James Dolan brings Isiah Thomas back to MSG

05.06.15 at 8:03 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: Rays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Orioles at Mets, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Bulls at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Clippers at Rockets, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Canadiens at Lightning, 7 p.m. (USA)
NHL playoffs: Rangers at Capitals, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Bayern Munich at Barcelona, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


Isiah Thomas is back at Madison Square Garden, much to New York's dismay.

Isiah Thomas, who flopped as general manager of the Knicks but still is in the good graces of team owner James Dolan, is returning to Madison Square Garden, named by Dolan as president of the WNBA’s New York Liberty.

Thomas will oversee basketball and business operations for the Liberty, and he will receive an ownership stake in the team if approved by the WNBA Board of Governors.

“Over the last couple of months Jim and I talked,” Thomas told The Associated Press. “We talked about the ideas and the way that there was a growth opportunity for the New York Liberty. Women’s basketball is an exciting opportunity. It’s something I wanted to be a part of.”

Thomas was president of the Knicks from December 2003 until April 2008, and his high-salaried teams failed to win a single playoff game. He also coached the team for two seasons, going 56-108 before being fired. Additionally, he was sued by a former employee for sexual harassment, a case that cost MSG $11.6 million.

“I’m familiar with everybody’s bad taste in their mouth about him,” said Liberty star Tina Charles, who grew up in New York as a Knicks fan. “I don’t hold anybody to their past.”

The New York media was not as understanding. In a piece headlined, “Only James Dolan would entrust a WNBA team to sexual harasser,” New York Post columnist Mike Vaccaro wrote that he assumed when he saw the release that it was from Funny or Die or The Onion, because it was too absurd to be true.

In a statement announcing the hire, Dolan said the Knicks still deny the sexual harassment allegations against Thomas, despite a jury finding him responsible.

That’s no surprise to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, who writes that Thomas’ ultimate goal clearly is to return to his position as Knicks president, and calls Dolan “[Thomas’] meal ticket who believes in Thomas with more conviction than most 8-year-olds believe in Santa Claus.”

— Two Las Vegas residents filed a $5 million class-action lawsuit Tuesday accusing Manny Pacquiao and his camp of hiding his shoulder injury before his loss to Floyd Mayweather on Saturday night.

According to the suit, Pacquiao and his backers admitted knowing of the fighter’s injury but did not disclose it to the Nevada Athletic Commission as required by law, keeping the information from fans who bought tickets, ordered a pay-per-view broadcast or bet on the bout.

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Read More: Ernie Johnson, Isiah Thomas, James Dolan, Manny Pacquiao

Boston 2024 chief executive Richard Davey on D&C: ‘We’re not going to use tax payer dollars’

05.05.15 at 8:19 am ET
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Richard Davey, the chief executive of Boston 2014 joined Dennis & Callahan in studio Tuesday morning to discuss the status of the bid and what is to come. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Davey said the biggest thing right now is to convince people that there will be no tax payer dollars going towards the event, as it will be privately funded.

“We have to convince people we’re not going to use tax payer dollar for venues and operations,” said Davey. “Those are right questions, other governments do that. We haven’t produced a detailed plan yet. In the next couple months [we will] so you guys can give us feedback and we’re confident we can do that. I know you have traffic and other concerns and we can talk about that, but the number one piece is we need to assure people is we’re not going to use tax payer dollars.”

He added: “All in it’s $9 billion. The billion for security and the rest is privately funded, so it’s game operations, you get it from TV revenue, ticket sales, corporate sponsorships.”

Federal tax payers will have to cover $1 billion for security, but Davey noted they will likely apply for a national security event.

“There’s a process in place that we apply for with what is called a national security event,” Davey said. “The Olympics in 2002 got, political party conventions get that, in fact, a couple Super Bowls have as well. Guys, even if we lose the Olympics, I have news for you, we’re going to be paying for security whether it is in Paris or Rome of Hamburg. We deploy special security forces, the military to some extent, we did it in Sochi 18 months ago to protect their athletes.”

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: LSU OT La’el Collins meets with police, then Bills coach Rex Ryan

05.05.15 at 8:16 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: Rays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
NBA playoffs: Wizards at Hawks, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Grizzlies at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Blackhawks at Wild, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Ducks at Flames, 9:30 p.m. (USA)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Juventus vs. Real Madrid, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


La'el Collins (Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

La’el Collins met with police and now is meeting with NFL teams about his future. (Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

— La’el Collins, the LSU offensive tackle who was projected to be a first-round pick but went undrafted following the death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, met with police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Monday and then dined with Bills coach Rex Ryan.

Collins, who unsuccessfully tried to pull out of the draft hours before it started, had been sought for questioning by police about the April 24 death of Brittney Mills. The 29-year-old Mills, who was eight months pregnant, was shot dead after opening the front door of her apartment. Her unborn child initially survived but later died at a hospital.

Collins has not been named as a suspect, only someone the police wanted to interview in an effort to get information about the case.

“It went fine; we answered all their questions,” Collins’ attorney, Jim Boren, told The Times-Picayune of the meeting with police. “La’el is not going to make any comments. I’m not going to have any comments. The investigation is going to continue. La’el is now going to start making an effort to start getting his football career back on track.”

Added Boren: “I think [Collins] is not a suspect. He answered all the questions they had. Every question, we didn’t claim the fifth [amendment]. We answered every single question. We gave them all the information they asked for. He’s ready to get his life back.”

After having dinner with Ryan at a restaurant in Baton Rouge, Collins reportedly was scheduled to visit the Dolphins on Tuesday. The Cowboys and Saints are rumored to have an interest as well.

Because he was not drafted, Collins could sign with any team an undrafted free agent. Although he would receive far less money than if he had been drafted in the first round, he would have the option to renegotiate his three-year UDFA deal after two seasons. There also are reports that Collins could attempt to enter the 2016 draft.

Josh Hamilton, acquired by the Rangers from the Angels last week, made his first appearance in a game of any kind since October when he took the field Monday in an extended spring training game in Surprise, Arizona.

Hamilton, who was 0-for-13 in the Angels’ loss to the Royals in the American League Division Series before having offseason shoulder surgery and then admitting to a relapse with alcohol and drugs, struck out and hit three grounders to first base Monday.

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Read More: Josh Hamilton, La'el Collins, Manny Pacquiao, Rex Ryan

Alex Rodriguez on Yankees trying to deny $6M bonus: ‘I’m just happy to be playing baseball’

05.04.15 at 12:21 pm ET
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After Alex Rodriguez hit the 660th home run of his career on Friday at Fenway Park, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the media that the team would not pay the 40-year-old a $6 million bonus for moving up on the all-time home run list. Rodriguez is now tied with Willie Mays at No. 4.

A-Rod responded on Saturday, telling reporters that he is not worried the money and is instead focusing on playing.

“I’m just happy to be playing baseball,” Rodriguez said. “Honestly, I am in a good place. A year ago I wouldn’t be dreaming to be talking to you guys about playing baseball and enjoying the game so much. … I’ve been in a good place for a while now and it’s just fun to be playing baseball.”

The 10-year contract that Rodriguez signed in 2007 promised a $6 million bonus for each time he moved up on the home run list as the Yankees would market the accomplishments. After the veteran’s year-long suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, however, New York no longer believes it is in its interest to market the milestones.

Cashman said that the Yankees “have the right, but not the obligation” to pay the bonuses.

Rodriguez seems to be ignoring the decision instead of disputing it.

“I’ve learned my lesson,” Rodriguez said, discussing his history of publicly going head-to-head with both Major League Baseball and the Yankees organization. “The old [A-Rod] is gone.”

Read More: alex rodriguez, brian cashman, Yankees,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Floyd Mayweather brushes off criticism, revels in record payday after win over Manny Pacquiao

05.04.15 at 8:16 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.

MLB: Rays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cubs at Cardinals, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Bulls at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Clippers at Rockets, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Rangers at Capitals, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Hockey: IIHF World Championship, United States vs. Russia, 10 a.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Premier League, Arsenal at Hull City, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)


Floyd Mayweather won the much-hyped welterweight title fight against Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night, and while the fans made it clear he’s not the people’s champion, the controversial fighter continues to revel in his financial glory.

“The check’s got nine figures on it, baby,” Mayweather bragged Sunday, waving a $100 million check he received after improving to 48-0 with his unanimous decision. He is expected to earn as much as $80 million more after the pay-per-view revenue is tallied. The pay-per-view push was so strong Saturday night that the fight was delayed about 30 minutes so cable operators could process all the late orders.

Mayweather, who was booed heavily before, during and after the fight, has come under fire for his history of domestic abuse — he served two months in jail for a 2010 attack on the mother of his child — and his generally obnoxious behavior.

Mayweather showed gratitude toward the judges who awarded him a unanimous decision, acknowledging the crowd was against him despite the fight taking place in his adopted hometown of Las Vegas.

“I know the judges weren’t going by the crowd screaming,” he said. “The judges were going by shots landed.”

Mayweather was criticized for lacking aggression in Saturday’s bout and failing to entertain those who shelled out $100 to watch the fight on TV. Pacquiao’s camp accused Mayweather of running away and avoiding confrontation. The fans seemed to agree.

“It doesn’t matter who I fight,” Mayweather responded. “It’s just like when I fought Ricky Hatton and knocked out Ricky Hatton, they still booed me. So it’s what I’m used to.”

Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn announced Sunday that they are no longer dating due in part to the demands of their schedules.

Woods has been visible supporting Vonn at her ski races, and Vonn likewise attended Woods’ golf matches, including an appearance at the Masters last month.

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Floyd Mayweather beats Manny Pacquiao on points, remains unbeaten

05.03.15 at 7:19 am ET
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In the richest fight in the history of boxing, Floyd Mayweather improved to 48-0 after beating Manny Pacquiao on points Saturday night.

Two ringside judges scored the fight 116-112, while the other ruled it 118-110.

Mayweather was able to use his superior reach for much of the fight to fend off the smaller Pacquiao, who ended up chasing his opponent for much of the fight.

“I take my hat off to Manny Pacquiao. I see now why he is at the pinnacle of boxing,” Mayweather told reporters. “I knew he was going to push me, win some rounds. I wasn’t being hit with a lot of shots until I sit in a pocket and he landed a lot of shots.”

It was disclosed after the decision that Pacquiao was participating in the fight with an injured right shoulder, which he damaged around March 11 (according to promoter Bob Arum). The Nevada boxing commissioners didn’t allow Pacquiao to take an anti-inflammatory shot prior to the fight.

“The ruling tonight affected the outcome of the fight,” Arum told the media.

For a complete recap of the event, click here.

Thinking Out Loud: History says Patriots’ pick of DT Malcom Brown a very good sign

05.01.15 at 4:53 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Kenneth Sims.

— Funny how the first round of the NFL draft works out sometimes. Guys start moving down the draft board, rumors begin to swirl around trades, and self-doubt creeps in — for players and teams. It’s human nature, really. “Are we making the right move” is the collective mantra for every NFL front office. And naturally, no one will ever admit to screwing it up. It’s also very, very subjective. Therefore, the first round of the NFL draft is the only day on the calendar when everyone wins. Who is going to admit to losing, or being a bust-to-be?

— The Patriots’ pick of Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown seems to be a winner. Not just because he’s got a Longhorn pedigree or anything. Although that helps. He has a unique blend of power and speed that can help offset the loss of Vince Wilfork to free agency. He’s particularly good at stopping the run, and equally effective collapsing the pocket. Paired with last year’s No. 1 in cat-quick (when healthy) Dominique Easley at tackle, you might say they could be the Patriots’ “Thunder and Lightning” combo in the middle.

— Make your reservations for the Super Bowl. Funny thing about Brown’s selection — prior to each of the Patriots’ four title seasons (2001, 2003, 2004, 2014) they selected a defensive tackle in that year’s draft with their first pick. Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, Easley and now Malcom Brown? That’s it — Patriots are Super Bowl champs, again.

— Trivia time: Two other Texas Longhorns were selected by the Patriots in the first round of the draft. Who are they? C’mon, no googling, brainiacs. Just scroll down a little.

— A quick thought on UConn’s Byron Jones, who also was a first-round pick in the draft (at No. 27 overall) by the Dallas Cowboys: For all of his apparent athleticism, he’s got “bust” written all over him. Nothing against him at all, but for a defensive back who played on some poor UConn teams, don’t you think his athleticism and talent might have stood out among his teammates? Did we ever hear or see that happening? Jones failed to make any All-AAC team (he played only seven games in ’14 due to a shoulder injury), but killed it at the combine, seemingly coming from out of nowhere. So did a defensive end named Mike Mamula (remember him, BC fans?) back in 1995, and the Philadelphia Eagles made him the No. 7 overall pick that year. He played five years in the league before sliding into oblivion.

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SI’s Chris Mannix on MFB: ‘I give the edge to [Floyd] Mayweather’ vs. Manny Pacquiao

05.01.15 at 3:10 pm ET
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Floyd Mayweather (left) and Manny Pacquiao will have their long-awaited match Saturday night. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Floyd Mayweather (left) and Manny Pacquiao will have their long-awaited showdown Saturday night. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix joined Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss Saturday’s welterweight title fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Mayweather and Pacquiao are two of the biggest names in boxing, but they have yet to face each other. They will finally enter the ring on Saturday for one of the most highly anticipated fights in recent history.

“This is a fight that’s been six years in the making,” Mannix said. “These are two of the most popular guys, or the two most popular guys, in the sport of boxing. It should be a very good fight.”

Added Mannix: “I give the edge to Mayweather. … Pacquiao might be able to give Mayweather problems, and he certainly is the most talented fighter Mayweather has ever faced probably in his career, but ultimately, [Mayweather] is still supremely talented, and he’s the king of adjustments in the ring.”

One of the big story lines heading into the fight has been the issues in Mayweather’s personal life and character. The 38-year-old has been charged with domestic violence and battery multiple times in the past, and he served time in jail in 2012 for a domestic incident in which he beat his wife and threatened his children.

“It is part of the narrative, and you can’t just let [Mayweather] gloss over some of these things as he is wont to do,” Mannix said. “One his comments he made the other day was, somebody asked him about not being able to see his three kids that are living with his ex-fiancee, the one who he was convicted, or took a plea deal of slapping around. And he said something along the lines of, ‘Oh, you know how women are.’ … Some of the things he says, you have to at least check and make sure the public knows what’s really the truth.”

Read More: Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao,

Knowing impact on brain, Jets legend Joe Namath says he never would have played football

05.01.15 at 9:16 am ET
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Joe Namath

Joe Namath

If Joe Namath had a chance to do it over again, he wouldn’t. If he had known the effects football has on the brain, he never would have played.

“This instrument that we have, that we have been blessed with … it’s not designed for the kind of contact or physical abuse your body gets playing this sport,” the former Jets star told Palm Beach, Florida, TV station WPBF-TV on Thursday.

“I suffered several ‘get your bell rung’ hits … whether you hit the ground and get your bell rung or get hit by a forearm several times,” Namath added. “Of course, going back to high school, even.”

About three years ago Namath noticed that he was having normal, age-related forgetfulness, and after some former players were diagnosed with degenerative brain disease, he began to worry. His friend and old teammate Dave Herman was one of them.

“They shed some light for a whole lot of us … that, ‘Hey, I better check into this,’ ” Namath said.

The ex-quarterback went to the Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Florida, to get brain scans where Dr. Lee Fox, chief of radiology, oversaw them.

“He knew he wasn’t 100 percent, but he didn’t realize that he really had significant problems,” Fox told WPBF-TV.

The scans showed that parts of Namath’s brain — the parts that deal with word recognition, short-term memory and sleep — were not receiving enough oxygen. He then “became Patient Zero for what would become a ground-breaking clinical trial at Jupiter Medical Center” in September when the center opened the Joe Namath Neurological Research Center to help combat the debilitating effects of traumatic brain injuries.

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