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Billy Butler, Danny Valencia fined by Athletics after clubhouse altercation leaves Butler on concussion list

08.23.16 at 11:16 am ET
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The Athletics fined third baseman Danny Valencia and designated hitter Billy Butler after a reported clubhouse fight between the two that forced Butler to the seven-day concussion list.

According to John Shea and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, two witnesses said the altercation was over an endorsement contract that Valencia lost due to Butler. The incident happened before batting practice on Friday, when an equipment rep questioned Valencia regarding off-brand spikes in his locker. Valencia said he only used those cleats during batting practice and pregame workouts, and Butler jumped in and said Valencia was lying, often wearing the off-brand cleats in games.

After the rep left, witnesses said Valencia confronted Butler and said, “Don’t you ever loud-talk me in front of a rep. That was wrong.” Butler said, “I can say whatever I want, and your [expletive] isn’t going to do anything about it.”

The sources said that the men bumped heads and began pushing one another, with Valencia drilling Butler in the temple. Butler has not played since the incident, and Valencia sat out Saturday’s game.

“There was an altercation in the clubhouse, we’re aware of it, both players have been disciplined and fined and we’re moving past it,” A’s general manager David Forst said. “That’s it. From the organization’s standpoint, it’s resolved and we’re moving past it.”

Said Valencia: “You’d like to handle things differently, but we’re handling it in here. As with anyone in the game, you have to overcome obstacles. We all have to persevere in here.”

A’s outfielder Coco Crisp and Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, a former teammate of both Valencia and Butler, tweeted out their support for Valencia on Sunday.

 

Read More: Billy Butler, danny valencia, Oakland A's,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Dwight Gooden lashes out at former Mets teammate Darryl Strawberry, denies being deathly ill due to drug abuse

08.23.16 at 8:07 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Nationals at Orioles, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Japan vs Texas, 11 a.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Canada vs. Mexico, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Iowa vs. Rhode Island, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Australia vs. Curacao, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Tennessee vs. California, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Champions League, Hapoel Be’er-Sheva vs. Celtic, 2:30 p.m. (FSN)
Soccer: Champions League, Moncao vs. Villarreal, 2:30 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: Champions League, Roma vs. Porto, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

NY Daily News 8-23-16— Dwight Gooden insists he has not used cocaine in years and lashed out at Darryl Strawberry following his former Mets teammate’s comments that he is “a complete junkie-addict” whose life is danger. However, Strawberry responded by insisting, “Everyone knows that I’m telling the truth.”

Strawberry and Gooden — back in the spotlight following the release of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary “Doc & Darryl” that detailed their accomplishments as well as their fall from grace due to substance abuse — were scheduled to make a public appearance together last week, but Gooden failed to show.

Strawberry then told the New York Daily News that Gooden’s son called to ask for help before the former Cy Young winner dies.

Said Strawberry: “He’s a complete junkie-addict. I’ve been trying behind the scenes to talk to him and get him to go for help, but he won’t listen.”

Gooden responded Monday in multiple interviews — including one with the Daily News outside his Jersey City apartment in which appeared gaunt — and later in a statement, criticizing Strawberry for making “our differences personal, going back to our days with the Mets.”

Said Gooden: “I forgave him for a lot of stuff. I never threw him under the bus, never said anything about him publicly. For him to say that stuff, you have to draw a line somewhere and I guess do a better choice of picking friends.”

Strawberry stood firm later Monday, saying in an ESPN Radio interview: “I just felt like I needed to do this. And regardless what anybody else thinks or they can call me whatever they want to call me. As long I’ve known in my heart that I stepped up to do the right thing to help this man try to save his life, maybe just one day if he gets there and gets a recovery and realizes how good he is, he can come back and say, ‘Thank you, you helped save my life.’ ”

Added Strawberry: “He’s very good at BS-ing, he’s very good at blowing smoke up people’s behinds and telling them what he wants them to hear. If he wants to get well he’s going to have to get real. Because this is crunch time for him. This is public for him. Everyone knows that I’m telling the truth.”

— Disgraced Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte was dropped by four sponsors on Monday following his false accusation of a robbery at the Rio Olympics.

Speedo, Ralph Lauren, skin-care company Syneron-Candela and mattress maker airweave announced their sponsorships were ending.

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Read More: Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Ryan Lochte, Todd Marinovich

Thinking Out Loud: Success widespread for RI youth baseball teams

08.19.16 at 9:06 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Jack Hamilton.

— It must be the water, right? Or, maybe the coaching has caught on. Whatever it is, Rhode Island Little League Baseball has had an unprecedented run of success, spread over multiple cities and organizations. Warwick North’s appearance in the LLWS marks the third straight year for the Rhode Island champion to win the New England Regional in Bristol, Connecticut, and advance to Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

— Since 1980, Cranston (Western), Cumberland (American), Lincoln and Pawtucket (Darlington American) have represented Rhode Island and the New England Region at the World Series.

— Having once coached in the Rhode Island Little League ranks (20 years in the East Bay District 2, in Rumford), I have long thought that for every coach/dad who favors his star/son on one team, or pushes kids past their normal limitations, there are dozens of other supportive parents and coach/dads who try to do things a different way and have success.

— Success is relative, anyway. You don’t need to have coached a team that reaches a World Series to know you’ve made a difference in the life of a young athlete.

— Everyone makes mistakes. The truly successful coaches are the people who learn from those mistakes. There have been, and still are, some really good coaches in Lil’ Rhody.

— And let us not forget the Washington Park Cal Ripken team from Providence, which advanced to the Ripken Major/60 World Series in Ocala, Florida. The Rhode Islanders ended the tournament tied for third overall.

— Not to be left out, the American Legion team from Lincoln, Rhode Island (Upper Deck Post 86/14) reached the American Legion World Series held in North Carolina. The UD team was the first from Rhode Island to win the Northeast Regional and earn a Series berth since 1980, and finished its season with a 34-6 record.

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Bills DT Marcell Dareus claims 4-game suspension is for missed drug test

08.18.16 at 10:38 am ET
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Marcell Dareus

Marcell Dareus

At Bills training camp on Wednesday, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus talked with reporters about his four-game suspension. According to Dareus, the suspension stems from a missed drug test — which contradicts reports Tuesday that it was for a positive marijuana test.

“I really don’t have much to say. Words really don’t mean anything now,” Dareus said after practice Wednesday. “It’s all action. And that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to come back and do the best I can.”

Dareus missed the first game of last season because of a suspension for a violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. The violation stemmed from May of 2014 when the Alabama State Police arrested Dareus for possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia. Dareus also made headlines when he crashed his Jaguar into a tree near a busy suburban intersection in the spring of 2014. In April of 2015, the misdemeanor charges were dropped because he reached a plea agreement.

On the field, Dareus had only two sacks last season, but in September the Bills signed Dareus, who was the third overall pick in 2011, to a six-year contract extension worth a reported $104 million.

“We’re going to hold him accountable from here on out. And he’s going to hold himself accountable,” Bills general manager Doug Whaley said. “He’s got to take a step himself. And it’s got to be on him.”

Added coach Rex Ryan: “There’s going to be some people that are cynical of him. There’s going to be people that will never give him the benefit of the doubt anymore. But for the majority of people, it’s more of a show-me thing. And I believe that moving forward this young man will learn from this experience and become a better person for it.

“We all care a great deal for Marcell. We want to see this be a thing that’s behind him once and for all, that this never happens again to him.”

Dareus will miss games against the Ravens, Jets, Cardinals and Patriots. The Bills defense could desperately use Dareus because rookies Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland have suffered major injuries and veteran Manny Lawson reportedly faces a one-game suspension.

Corbin Bryant is expected to start in place of Dareus. Last season, Bryant started nine of the final 10 games because of a season-ending knee injury to Kyle Williams.

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Brazilian authorities take tough stance with U.S. swimmers; British organizers warn athletes after another alleged robbery at gunpoint

08.18.16 at 8:02 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Tigers, 1:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Brewers at Cubs, 2:15 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: White Sox at Indians, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Mets at Giants, 11 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League Baseball World Series: Mid-Atlantic vs. New England, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Mexico vs. Latin America, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Australia vs. Europe-Africa, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball World Series: Northwest vs. Southeast, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NFL preseason: Eagles at Steelers, 7 p.m. (NFL Network)
NFL preseason: Vikings at Seahawks, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)
Olympics: Women’s volleyball semifinals, United States vs. Serbia, noon (NBC)
Olympics: Women’s basketball semifinals, United States vs. France, 6 p.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Track and field, 8 p.m. (NBC)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Authorities in Rio de Janeiro continued their aggressive stance with the four U.S. swimmers who claimed to have been robbed at gunpoint Sunday while riding back to the Olympic village in a taxi, pulling two of them off a plane Wednesday evening and ordering them to provide testimony before they can leave the country.

According to ESPN, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz declined to speak with investigators upon advice from counsel, although the U.S. Olympic Committee released a statement saying the pair would “continue their discussions about the incident on Thursday.”

Ryan Lochte, who has been the only one of the four to go public with his accusations, told NBC that he has already returned to the United States as originally scheduled. Although Lochte previously interviewed with authorities, a Brazilian judge on Wednesday ordered his passport be held as well — a ruling that appeared to come too late.

The fourth swimmer, Jimmy Feigen, remained in Rio, telling USA Today Sports he was “just trying to give local authorities what they need or what they want and get out of here.”

“It’s a hassle,” Feigen said. “But I’m safe. Everything’s fine. Until this goes in a direction where I can see it, I can’t comment.”

Lochte’s attorney criticized Brazilian authorities for their handling of the incident.

“My opinion is they are trying to use Ryan’s situation to use as a scapegoat to show that things down there are not as bad as it looks,” Jeff Ostrow told ESPN. “These types of things have happened with other people … but they don’t take half the interest they do with Ryan.”

— Meanwhile, the British track and field team discouraged its athletes from leaving the Olympic village after a British Olympic Association member reportedly was robbed at gunpoint during a night out in Rio.

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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Frustrated Bills ‘disappointed’ with DT Marcell Dareus after another NFL suspension

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

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Orioles, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Pirates at Giants, 3:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: U.S. Open Cup semifinal, FC Dallas at Galaxy, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Olympics: Women’s volleyball, United States vs. Poland, 1 p.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s basketball, United States vs. Argentina, 5:45 p.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Track and field, 8 p.m. (NBC)

AROUND THE WEB:

Marcell Dareus

Marcell Dareus

— The bad news continued for Rex Ryan’s Bills on Tuesday, as veteran defensive tackle Marcell Dareus was suspended four games by the NFL, reportedly for a positive marijuana test. It’s the second year in a row Dareus was suspended, frustrating team ownership.

“We are very disappointed Marcell chose to put himself first, before his teammates, coaches, the rest of the organization, and fans through his recent actions,” the Bills said in a statement. “From ownership down we have made it clear his behavior is unacceptable. We will continue to take the necessary steps to work with him in order that he adheres to the policies set forth by our league.”

Dareus, a two-time Pro Bowler who signed a six-year, $100 million contract extension last September, previously was suspended for the first game of last season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, related to his 2014 arrest in Alabama for criminal possession of a controlled substance. According to Pro Football Talk, the 26-year-old will forfeit more than $3 million as part of his latest punishment.

Dareus apologized in an Instagram post, writing: With deepest regrets I want to apologize to the @BuffaloBills organization, my fans, my family and the entire NFL football community for the incident that led to me missing 4 games for the upcoming 2016-2017 season. I will not #makeexcuses for the events in question and will allow the process to proceed as is required by the @NFL; however, please know and understand I am committed to the game and am more committed to my #Billsorganization and fans. This temporary setback will only fuel my desire and commitment to bring #Buffalochampionships and the #SuperBowl. I ask at this time that you continue to #believe in me and I will continue to invest all that I have to bring honor and respect to the organization and my fans and ultimately bring #Buffalomafia what it deserves – a #SuperBowl! Thank you for continuing to support me – I will rise above this setback, as with every challenge brings an opportunity for growth and supreme #success!

The Bills defense also will be without starting outside linebacker Shaq Lawson (offseason shoulder surgery) for at least the first six weeks of the season, starting inside linebacker Reggie Ragland is done for the year after tearing his ACL in training camp, and veteran linebacker Manny Lawson reportedly is facing a one-game suspension under the league’s personal conduct policy. On the other side of the ball, running back Karlos Williams also was suspended four games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

If Lawson’s suspension goes through, the Bills would have to pay a $250,000 fine for having three players suspended in the same year as per the NFL’s remittance policy.

— Police in Rio have been looking into claims by U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte that he and three teammates were robbed at gunpoint early Sunday morning while heading back to the athletes village in a taxi, but a police official told The Associated Press little evidence has been found and the swimmers — who Lochte acknowledged were intoxicated at the time — were unable to provide key details.

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Read More: Bruce Arians, Marcell Dareus, Ryan Lochte,

Broncos DE Vance Walker likely to miss season after tearing ACL

08.16.16 at 10:19 am ET
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Vance Walker

Vance Walker

One of the key cogs of the Broncos’ vaunted defense likely will be watching from the sidelines this year.

Defensive end Vance Walker is expected to miss the season after tearing his right ACL in practice Monday. He was carted off the field during 9-on-7 drills, unable to put weight on his right leg.

Walker, who tallied 33 total tackles and two sacks for the defending Super Bowl champions last season, was expected to become a starter after Malik Jackson left for Jacksonville in free agency.

“We think the world of Vance and he was having a great camp,” Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said (via a story on the team’s website). “We’ll support him through his recovery, and he’ll come back stronger than ever.”

The Broncos will look to replace Walker, 29, with new acquisitions Jared Crick or Billy Winn, or perhaps Kubiak will give rookie Adam Gostis some first-team reps as the season draws closer.

Walker was not the only defensive lineman to pick up an injury Monday, as Saints first-round draft pick Sheldon Rankins was diagnosed with a broken fibula after being carted off from practice. He was injured during a goal-line drill.

Rankins will undergo more tests but likely will need surgery. Fractured fibulas typically sideline athletes for about six weeks.

“Obviously you never want to see a player go down,” Saints coach Sean Payton said (via NFL.com). “Hopefully the news is good.”

The 6-foot-2, 305-pound Louisville product was drafted 12th overall after recording 58 total tackles and six sacks his senior year. He was one of many defensive acquisitions the Saints made this offseason to try to improve a defense that has been one of the worst in the NFL the past two seasons.

“You’re going to face adversity throughout the season and nobody knows when and in what form it’s going to happen,” defensive coordinator Dennis Allen said. “But if that’s the case, it’s next man up — next guy’s got to step up, rise up and play to that same level. So that’s our mindset.”

Read More: Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, sheldon rankins, vance walker

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Curt Schilling says he’s considering run for Elizabeth Warren’s U.S. Senate seat

08.16.16 at 8:44 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
Soccer: Champions League, BSC Young Boys vs. Borussia Monchengladbach, 2:30 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: Champions League, Dinamo Zagreb vs. Salzburg, 2:30 p.m. (FSN)
Soccer: Champions League, Steaua Bucuresti vs. Manchester City, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Olympics: Track and field, 7:30 p.m. (NBC)

AROUND THE WEB:

Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

— A week after indicating he was considering entering politics, former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said in an interview on WRKO radio that he might target Elizabeth Warren’s U.S. Senate seat.

“I’ve thought about it, and I think one of the things I would like to do is be one of the people responsible for getting Elizabeth Warren out of politics. I think she’s a nightmare,” the conservative Schilling told host Jeff Kuhner. “The left is holding her up as the second coming of Hillary Clinton, which Lord knows we don’t even need the first one.

“She’s a woman who has clearly and comfortably milked the system to her advantage and then, much like Hillary, is going to stand up on the highest surface and talk about people being oppressed and poverty and how she wants them to be helped. We all know that the liberal agenda is to keep poverty-stricken people in poverty because they need to rely on a government full of liberals.”

Like Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, whom he supports, the outspoken Schilling took a shot at the media for what he says is clear bias.

“It’s turned surreal, that’s the only way I can describe it, in that the liberal media is actively and not quietly advocating for Hillary Clinton,” said Schilling, who was fired from ESPN earlier this year after his conservative rants on social media despite a warning to all ESPN employees to avoid political commentary. “That once-sacred group of people who would do what they could do to the very best of their ability to be objective have thrown in the towel and basically they’re saying, ‘Listen, we’ll do anything we can do.’ And I think they’re doing it because I think finally we’re realizing that the left and the right are both bad.”

Schilling, who discussed his political ambitions last Wednesday during his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan with Minihane, said that his political future ultimately will be determined after he consults with his wife.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to a conversation with the boss. And the boss of my house, like most men, is my wife, Shonda,” he said. “If my family wasn’t comfortable and OK with it, then it would never happen. But it’s certainly something, if I was going to run, my first path, that would be the target.”

— Following a report Sunday that the Marlins were considering reaching out to Alex Rodriguez as a replacement for the injured Giancarlo Stanton, Rodriguez’s publicist released a statement saying the 41-year-old will not play again this season.

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Curt Schilling,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Marlins consider signing Alex Rodriguez after Giancarlo Stanton injury

08.15.16 at 7:28 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Indians, 1:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Royals at Tigers, 7:10 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Premier League, Chelsea vs. West Ham United, 3 p.m. (USA)
Olympics: Men’s volleyball, United States vs. Mexico, 10 a.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Track and field, 7:30 p.m. (NBC)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Marlins acknowledged having internal discussions about whether to put into a call to Alex Rodriguez after losing Giancarlo Stanton on Sunday with a strained groin that could sideline him the rest of the season.

Stanton, who leads the Marlins with 25 home runs and 70 RBIs, was injured trying to stretch a single into a double — in the process making the game’s final out — in an 8-7 loss to the White Sox. He was placed on the disabled list.

Even before the Stanton injury there was speculation that the Marlins would consider reaching out to Rodriguez, who grew up in South Florida and still lives there. Rodriguez, batting .200 with nine home runs and 31 RBIs in 225 at-bats, played his final game for the Yankees on Friday.

“We’re going to look at everything,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. “There has been information out there about his situation. I have no idea what his interest level is to continue playing. He has something set up to move into the Yankees front office; I don’t know where his head is on that.”

The Marlins, who have not been the postseason since winning the World Series in 2003, are a half-game behind the Cardinals, who hold the second wild card spot.

— U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte confirmed that he and three teammates were robbed at gunpoint early Sunday morning in Rio De Janeiro, another embarrassment for Olympic organizers.

Lochte said thieves posed as police officers and stopped his taxi, which was taking the swimmers back to the athletes’ village after a night out at the French Olympic team’s hospitality house in an upscale area south of the city.

“We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over,” Lochte told NBC’s “Today” show . “They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground — they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like, we didn’t do anything wrong, so — I’m not getting down on the ground.

“And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up, I was like, ‘Whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cellphone, he left my credentials.”

While there have been other issues surrounding the Games, Brazil’s sports minister, Leonardo Picciani, said there have been no problems at the venues or in the athletes’ village. Picciani said the swimmers were “outside their places of competition and outside the appropriate time.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 15, 1971, the Patriots played their first game in Foxboro, a 20-14 preseason victory over the Giants. What was the name of the team’s original Foxboro home?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It’s pretty amazing, she’s an amazing woman, an amazing mother, and she represents the best of Brazil, as far as I’m concerned. It was a pretty amazing spectacle and she’s an amazing person.” — Tom Brady, on wife Gisele Bundchen’s appearance at the Rio Olympics opening ceremony

STAT OF THE DAY: 3 — Home runs for Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts in Sunday’s 16-2 rout of the Diamondbacks, the second time this season he’s had a three-home run game

‘NET RESULTS: With the Marlins leading by a run and two outs in the ninth inning, left fielder Christian Yelich throws out White Sox baserunner Carlos Sanchez at home to close out the victory.

Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin reaches over the railing and makes an acrobatic catch against the Astros.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Schaefer Stadium

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Bobby Caldwell was born on this day in 1951.

Read More: alex rodriguez, Ryan Lochte,

Thinking Out Loud: Yankees made right move forcing out Alex Rodriguez

08.12.16 at 5:40 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … and wishing every day was like Victory Day in Rhode Island.

— Curt Schilling wants to run for office, maybe even president? Just a guess, but I don’t think he’ll carry the three electoral votes from Rhode Island. You?

— A-Fraud’s forced retirement by the Yankees, even though they still have to pay him another $27 million, was the right thing to do. And I’m not a Yankees fan by any means. It’s also why baseball players have it all over their NFL brethren — guaranteed contracts.

— Still, Alex Rodriguez leaves the game with 29 career home runs at Fenway — only four players had more as a visitor. Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Harmon Killebrew and Al Kaline are serious company.

— Tweet of the Week, from @mooretosay: Someone explain to me why the playing/benching of a washed up guy who hasn’t played all year is all of a sudden interesting. He can’t play.

— Red Sox bats sleeping at inopportune moments is a real problem as the stretch run nears. The bullpen’s sudden urge to allow baserunners to score is another. But rookie Andrew Benintendi has so far proven to be a silver lining in the dark storm clouds gathering over Fenway. His fielding blunder(s) aside, let’s not retire his number to right field just yet, though, shall we?

— David Price makes me tired. And anxious, at the same time. That is all.

— The PC police were at work again this week, over the sudden ditching of David Ortiz bobblehead dolls. Were they racially insensitive? Perhaps, but just about everyone missed the bigger picture here — how did the Red Sox organization let this get as far as it did?

— Having worked for pro sports teams in my past, I can tell you there has always been a chain of command to follow, and someone in charge of quality control for things like this. That Sam Kennedy saw the dolls for the first time just hours before they were to be given away is a joke, really. Someone dropped the ball, or someone has poor judgment. Maybe both. Ortiz had an unprintable response to the dolls’ “look,” which is all anyone needs to know.

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Andrew Benintendi,