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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Brad Bates, BC athletic director, won’t return next year; DeMarcus Cousins says goodbye to Sacramento

02.21.17 at 9:42 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Tuesday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Chicago at Minnesota, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Purdue at Penn State, 6 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: URI at La Salle, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Clemson at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oklahoma at Baylor, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: South Carolina at Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Davidson at Richmond, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Northwestern at Illinois, 8 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: St. John’s at Marquette, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: East Carolina at Tulane, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Indiana at Iowa, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Mississippi at Mississippi State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Colorado State at New Mexico, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Boston College athletic director Brad Bates announced on Monday he won’t return to the school after  his contract is up at the end of the school year. He plans to join Collegiate Sports Associates, an executive search and consulting firm in North Carolina as the vice president.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Boston College and am especially grateful for the opportunity to serve the University,” Bates said in a statement. “I will forever be an Eagle and a fan of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff, and will cherish the great relationships that I have made here.”

Both the Boston College basketball and football teams saw some of their worst seasons in history during his tenure. In the 2015-2016 season, neither team won an ACC game for the first time in over 70 years.

However, other BC teams found success under his leadership. The men’s soccer team reached the Elite Eight in 2015, the women’s hockey team made it to the national championship game in 2016, baseball got to the Super Regional in 2016 and men’s hockey reached the Frozen Four in 2014 and 2016.

“The Jesuit, Catholic education offered at BC is distinctive in higher education and epitomizes the very best of college athletics,” the statement also read. “I feel privileged to be a part of this community.”

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John Farrell on Kirk & Callahan: Last season left a ‘crappy taste in all of our mouths’

02.21.17 at 8:43 am ET
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The Red Sox are entering Spring Training with high expectations. Manager John Farrell says he’s OK with that.

In an interview with Kirk & Callahan Tuesday, Farrell said the team is anxious to get back to work after a bitter ending to last season. Though the Red Sox won 93 games and retook the division, they were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Indians. You can listen to the full interview here.

“[Last season] left a pretty crappy taste in all of our mouths, as abruptly as it finished,” Farrell said. “Winning the division is certainly something that we’re all proud of. And with this particular team, I think a building block. Because of the taste it left in our mouths, we come back here and we’re hungry. The pace and the energy has been shown here in Spring Training. We are looking forward to the work ahead.”

For the first time in 15 years, the Red Sox will start a season without David Ortiz. While his production in the lineup will be missed, Farrell said the void his absence leaves in the locker room will be have to be replaced as well.

“Let’s say we go through a stretch where things aren’t clicking and there’s a little bit of a rallying point in our clubhouse –– David was always a guy who stood up and spoke,” he said. “I think a number of players would look to him because of his experience and the number of ups and downs he’s gone through or we’ve gone through in this city. And he was a voice of reason and a sounding board for a lot of guys. And more than anything, I think he exuded a lot of confidence for others to feed off of.”

One of the keys to the Red Sox’s success in a post-Ortiz world will be the performance of Pablo Sandoval. After only playing in three games last season, he showed up to camp in better shape this year. While that’s encouraging, Farrell said Sandoval will have to earn back his everyday spot in the lineup.

“It’s his job to reclaim,” he said. “The one thing about our team is, we like the versatility and depth that’s in this roster. If that’s Brock Holt at third base platooning with Josh Rutledge, then that’s an alternative. But the most important thing is, Panda is well understanding of what’s ahead of him. He’s done a great job of getting himself back in the conditioning he needs. That’s the first step. So the next step is going between the lines and reclaiming [it].”

David Price’s first season in Boston wasn’t a failure –– he led the league in innings pitched and struck out 228 batters –– but he fell short of delivering on his Cy Young expectations. His disastrous start against the Indians in the playoffs, in which he allowed five runs in 3.1 innings, rekindled questions about his ability to pitch in October as well (his career postseason record as a starter is 0-8). Farrell said Price understands his shortcomings, and is in a position to improve.

“Last year, I thought he had a good year for us,” he said. “I wouldn’t say a great year, obviously. But when you look at 230 innings pitched, 17 wins, a career high in strikeouts, there’s a lot of things that have gone well for him. And yet, since the expectations are very lofty at times, it might have fallen short on some people’s part. But I would expect with David, knowing him now after a year, knowing the environment we’re all working in and pitching in, he’s going to be a little more comfortable than a year ago.”

Chris Sale will join Price and Cy Young winner Rick Porcello at the top of the rotation this season, giving the Red Sox perhaps the best 1-2-3 punch in the league. Though Sale just arrived in camp, Farrell said he can already see why the lefty is such a dominating force on the mound.

“You look at the stuff, the age that he is, the stuff that he has, the consistent performer he is,” he said. “Watching him here for the first time –– standing behind the cage and watching –– it’s a very uncomfortable at-bat, and you’ve got a fierce competitor inside the person. So you combine it with the physical abilities, he’s going to be an extremely successful pitcher here.”

With Sale, Price and Porcello at the top of the rotation, Farrell may not have to go to his bullpen too often. But when he does,  his moves will be heavily scrutinized. At several points last season, the Red Sox skipper came under fire for his befuddling in-game moves. In response to that criticism, Farrell said he’s always looking to improve.

“I think if there’s anybody that’s committed to their craft, regardless of their walk of life, if they don’t self-reflect, self-review, maybe they’re just looking to pass time and move on through. So yeah, I look at that,” he said. “I’ll say this: in response to your criticism, I don’t know that you have all of the information available for those decisions that are made during the game. I understand there’s going to be two sides, and the great thing about our game is that it’s debatable.”

Read More: Boston Red Sox, john farrell,

Why Tom Werner can help save baseball

02.20.17 at 1:12 pm ET
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John Henry and Tom Werner met with the Red Sox media last week. (WEEI.com photo)

John Henry and Tom Werner met with the Red Sox media last week. (WEEI.com photo)

Earlier this month, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred revealed how the league is trying to shorten games. The proposals, which include limiting mound visits, are unimaginative. If Manfred truly wants to quicken up the pace, he should pay a visit to Red Sox camp in Fort Myers, Fla. this spring. Team chairman Tom Werner is the perfect person for him to speak with.

It’s fair to have apprehension about Werner presumably taking on a larger role in the day-to-day operations of the Red Sox. In Terry Francona’s 2012 tell-all book, Francona: The Red Sox Years, he says he nearly walked out of a meeting in 2010 when the former television executive told him to “win in more exciting fashion.” His tenure as majority owner of the Padres ended in disaster, with fans filing a class action lawsuit against him amidst one of the most infamous fire sales in professional sports history.

While Werner’s baseball acumen is questionable, there’s little doubt about his credentials in the entertainment industry. He served as executive producer of “The Cosby Show,” “Roseanne” and “That 70s Show,” all of which were ratings successes. In a meeting with reporters last week, Werner said his primary goal is to push the average game time to under three hours. One of the ways to get there would be shortening commercial breaks.

“And one of the things that I saw that the NFL did this year, they had an experiment at the end of the year where they moved their commercial breaks,” Werner said, via the Boston Herald. “One network tried it one way, another tried it another way. I’d be for less commercial breaks, because I think that increases the ratings. So in the end, I think is a good idea.”

Cutting back on commercials would possibly force television partners to take short-term monetary hits. But if more people wind up watching the games, then those networks can charge more money for spots. Thanks to an influx of multi billion-dollar TV deals, MLB has been able to avoid addressing the long-term issues that plague the league. Radical change, such as starting extra innings with a runner on second base, are needed to make the game more attractive to young people.

Werner seems to recognize this.

“There are experiments going on. I’m for experiments,” he said last week. “There’s a lot of debate about how to deal with extra innings. … The group that is talking about it is going to be expanded to players and general managers. Hopefully we’ll make some improvements to make the game as crisp as can be.”

The monstrous ratings for last year’s Cubs-Indians World Series shouldn’t deter Manfred from trying to dramatically alter how MLB presents its product. A seven-game Fall Classic that featured the Cubs trying to end their 108-year championship drought is what’s known as an anomaly. According to Nielsen ratings, the average age of a baseball viewer is 53, and half of the audience is older than 55. The average age of an NFL viewer is 47, and the average person who tunes into the NBA is 37.

Those numbers are troubling, but baseball’s lack of popularity among young people is what should make Manfred shudder. In a 2015 ESPN poll, adults aged 18-34 were 14 percent less likely to say they were interested in baseball than the overall population. Making subtle changes –– forcing players to stay in the batter’s box and putting a time limit on mound visits –– aren’t enough to bring the masses back. MLB needs to think big.

Despite years of minor tinkering, the average MLB game rose to above three hours in 2016 for the second time in three years. This is because pace-of-play rule changes can only go so far. Due to the prevalence of analytics, the majority number of teams now favor a deliberative approach to the game: work the count on offense, create favorable match-ups on defense. As a result, strikeout rates have risen for 11 straight years, setting a new record each time. In 2016, there were more pitching changes than ever before, too.

MLB can’t dictate how teams play. But it can change the rules they play around. Maybe it’s time to mandate that relief pitchers face at least two batters, or put a cap on the number of timeouts each club is allotted. Sports Illustrated scribe Tom Verducci argues for doing something crazy, like introducing a bonus batter (under this rule, each manager would be able to select any player and have him take a random at-bat once per game).

One of the knocks on Werner as a Red Sox executive is that he thinks like a TV guy. But that’s exactly the kind of perspective MLB needs right now. Werner may not know how to build a winning baseball team, but he knows how to make good television.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, MLB, Rob Manfred, Tom Werner

Video of Darrelle Revis fight is released

02.20.17 at 10:08 am ET
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Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets corner back Darrelle Revis (24) runs off the field after a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Darrelle Revis has three years remaining on his contract with the Jets.(Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The Darrelle Revis saga continues to get more bizarre.

Revis is accused of knocking out two men during a street fight in Pittsburgh last weekend. TMZ Sports posted a video Sunday of the altercation that shows the two victims laying unconscious on the sidewalk while an unidentified man boasts about punching them out.

“Hey, I knocked both of these mother f—— out, both of them,” he says in the eight-second clip. “They both asleep. Shut up before I knock your ass out next.”

The Pittsburgh Police Department confirms the video is from the incident in question. Revis, 31, is the only person who’s been charged. He’s facing two counts of aggravated assault, and one count each of robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, as well as a misdemeanor count of terroristic threats.

In a statement obtained by the New York Post, Revis’ lawyer says his voice isn’t featured in the video.

“Darrelle Revis absolutely, categorically and positively did not knock out anyone, did not conspire with anyone to commit an assault, did not say ‘shut up before I knock your ass out next’ and surely did not ‘rob’ another of a cell phone,” Robert Del Greco Jr. said. “The voice and admissions made on the video are NOT that of Darrelle Revis. We have no doubt but that further investigation relative to the clothing and voice verification will corroborate the above assertions.”

According to law enforcement, Revis had an altercation with two men who recognized him and approached him at 2:43 a.m. last Sunday. One of them took out a cell phone and started recording the star cornerback, who allegedly took the device and threw it onto the street. An unidentified male then supposedly came to Revis’ aid. The 22-year-old and 21-year-old victims say they were knocked unconscious shortly thereafter. Their story is corroborated by witnesses.

Revis has maintained his innocence from the start. His Pittsburgh-based attorney, Blaine Jones, told the NFL Network last week Revis wasn’t the aggressor. The seven-time Pro Bowler turned himself into Pittsburgh police Friday night and was released three hours later. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

Given Revis’ struggles on the field last season, the Jets may look to cut him if he was involved in the incident. He inked a five-year, $70 million deal with $39 million guaranteed to return to New York in 2015. If the Jets release him this offseason, they’ll be on the hook for at least $6 million.

Read More: Darrelle Revis, New York Jets,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Anthony Davis breaks NBA All-Star Game scoring record with 52 points, comments on DeMarcus Cousins trade

02.20.17 at 8:44 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Florida at St. Louis, 8 p.m. (NHL Network)
College basketball: Boston College at Florida State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Miami at Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Iowa State at Texas Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Texas at West Virginia, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Women’s college basketball: Maryland at Ohio State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Women’s college basketball: Baylor at Texas, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Pelicans forward Anthony Davis broke Wilt Chamberlain’s NBA All-Star Game scoring record Sunday night with a whopping 52 points. Most of these points came from dunks.

Davis was named the All-Star Game MVP.

The West prevailed 192-182 in the game against the East.

Davis also commented on the Pelicans’ acquisition of DeMarcus Cousins from the Kings Sunday night.

“This is an unbelievable weekend,” Davis said. “All-Star MVP and now getting Boogie. It doesn’t get better than this.”

Here is the video of the moment DeMarcus Cousins found out he was traded to Pelicans on Sunday:

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Read More: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Detroit Lions,

Bill Belichick is a member of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club

02.18.17 at 10:54 am ET
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The New York Times says Bill Belichick is a paying member of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Times says Bill Belichick is a paying member of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Last weekend, Patriots owner Robert Kraft was photographed dining with President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. Don’t be surprised if his coach, Bill Belichick, is spotted at the property at some point this offseason.

For the third time in as many weeks, Trump is spending the weekend at his members-only club, which he’s turned into a winter White House. Last week, controversy arose when Trump was briefed about North Korea’s ballistic missile test on the resort’s patio, creating the possibility that onlooking patrons were privy to classified information.

In a story Saturday, the New York Times runs down some of the club’s dynamics, including concerns about members using their status to wield influence with the president. Shortly after Trump was elected to the Oval Office, the entry fee doubled to $200,000. Most of the nearly 500 paying members are real estate developers, Wall Street executives and other titans of industry who will be likely be affected by the administration’s policies.

The article primarily focuses on the largely anonymous corporate executives who bandy about the property, but it also mentions a couple of members who are well-known to Bostonians: columnist Howie Carr, and Belichick.

It’s not surprising that Belichick is a member. Last year, he and his girlfriend, Linda Holliday, took an after-dinner picture with Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

Perhaps another meal is on the schedule. Trump still has to congratulate Belichick on the Super Bowl win, and thank him for the endorsement letter he wrote before the election.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Donald Trump,

Kyrie Irving channels his inner Carl Everett, declares the world is flat

02.17.17 at 7:27 pm ET
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Kyrie Irving thinks the earth is flat. (Derick E. Hingle/USA Today Sports)

Kyrie Irving thinks the earth is flat. (Derick E. Hingle/USA Today Sports)

Remember when Carl Everett claiming dinosaurs never existed was the craziest conspiracy theory you heard from an athlete? Well, we have a new contender for that title.

That’s right: Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving is a flat earth truther. He thinks our planet is not round, despite a couple thousand years worth of science telling us otherwise.

Irving revealed his beliefs, rather confidently, during the latest episode of the “Road Trippin'” podcast, hosted by teammates Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson (the conversation starts around the 15:20 mark here).

Irving brought the topic up after a conversation about aliens. After his teammates, being logical people, told him that they did in fact believe the earth is round, Irving declared, “This is not even a conspiracy. The earth is flat.”

He went on to explain: “It’s right in front of our faces. I’m telling you, it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.

“What I’ve been taught is that the earth is round. But I mean, if you really think about it from a landscape of the way we travel, the way we move and the fact that, can you really think of us rotating around the sun and all planets aligned, rotating in specific dates, being perpendicular with what’s going on with these planets and stuff like this. … The truth is right there. You just gotta go searching for it. I’ve been searching for it for a while.”

Well there you go, folks. I’m sold. Can’t argue with that.

Potential Aaron Hernandez juror thinks trial is for Deflategate, gets dismissed

02.17.17 at 5:48 pm ET
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Boston Globe— Three jurors were seated Friday morning in the upcoming double murder trial of Aaron Hernandez, while one woman who mistakenly linked the former New England Patriots star to the Deflategate scandal was excused from serving.

That woman, identified as Juror 13, told Suffolk Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke that she knew little about the Hernandez case, except for a brief conversation she overheard among co-workers about a year ago.

She said she thought they had mentioned Hernandez’s name in connection with Deflategate, prompting laughter from Hernandez and his lawyers, who were seated near her at a conference table.

“Deflategate has nothing to do with this case at all,” Locke said.

The woman said she understood but said of her co-workers, “That’s what they were talking about.”

Two other women and a man were selected for the jury during the morning session of voir dire in Suffolk Superior Court.

First, there was the guy earlier this week who pulled a Liz Lemon and wore a Patriots hat to jury selection. I believe he did this because to get out of serving because he had to have known wearing that would disqualify him.

If he thought the opposite and wanted to be involved in the trial of a former Patriot, he doesn’t have a clue how this process works.

And now, there is this lady who thinks Hernandez is on trial for Deflategate. That saga was handled with the severity of a murder trial so I don’t blame her.

Thinking Out Loud: Will Friars get into NCAA Tournament?

02.17.17 at 2:42 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud…while wondering where John Cahill, Tim Higgins and Jim Burr have gone?

— Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. A friend asked me this week about the NCAA Tournament – “the Friars’ aren’t good enough to get in, are they?” Are they as good as they’ve been in recent years? Maybe not. But are they good enough to get in this year? They might be.

— You’ve heard about the “soft bubble” surrounding mid-majors and mid-level high major conference teams this year – a .500 record or even a game below might just get consideration for the Field of 68. Why?

— It’s cyclical. Not enough Cinderella-types out there at present. Star players leave early, experienced players transfer to get more time elsewhere, younger players get forced into the mix for playing time before they’re ready.

— And if you schedule well for the non-conference slate – PC did this, and they’ve done a very good job of it in the past few seasons – it’s a combination of these things in college basketball this year that has formed the perfect storm – and the perfect opportunity for teams who appear less-than-worthy.

— Not for nuthin’, but I’ve seen some pretty good Friar teams get left behind over the past 30 years without a dance invite. So, if PC eventually gets a freebie here, who’s going to complain?

— Is Providence worthy? Does that question matter? After dispatching Xavier Wednesday night, two straight Top 50 (Top 17!) RPI wins will get noticed. All that really matters is what the selection committee thinks, and they’ve got 68 slots to fill, with 36 coming from at-large picks. Top 50 RPI wins matter most. They are “found gold” at this time of year.

— And if you can’t get them, you win your conference tournament. That’s precisely where Rhode Island’s chances now lie, with Rhody’s flat tire performance against Fordham this week. Rams’ players and fans were undoubtedly down after dropping a home game last week to Atlantic-10 favorite Dayton, but to not show up against Fordham?

— It starts at the top, and at the top is the head coach. He sets the tone, the tempo and the attitude. The Rams need to win what few games they have left with cache (VCU is one), and at least reach the final of the A-10 tournament in Pittsburgh. It’s do-able, but there is no more margin for error as the regular season winds down.

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George Steele had weirdest pre-first pitch ritual of all-time

02.17.17 at 1:57 pm ET
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George “The Animal” Steele with his unique first pitch preparations.

A post shared by Red Sox (@redsox) on

WWE legend George “The Animal” Steele died on Friday at 79. He threw out a few ceremonial first pitches in his time and had a very unique habit of chewing the baseball and biting off the hide before his pitch.

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