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Barkley on LeBron: ‘It gets more stupid’

10.01.10 at 3:23 pm ET
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Charles Barkley joined WIP in Philadelphia on Friday and was asked about the latest comments from LeBron James. The Heat forward told CNN Thursday that race played a role in the negative feedback he received following “The Decision.”

“It’s like watching a movie,” said Barkley of how James has handled himself. “Just when you think it couldn’t get any stupider, it gets more stupid.”

Barkley later added, “”The only criticism I’ve heard about LeBron and it was my biggest criticism, that Decision thing was just stupid. It was stupid. The second thing when they all came out there dancing around on stage, that was silly. That’s the only thing I’ve heard LeBron get criticized about. That has nothing to do with race. That’s what makes this last thing so stupid. That’s stupid. The only criticism of LeBron has been The Decision and the one hour of our life that we can’t have back. And ESPN, oh my God. Oh my God. To go down to training camp and report everyday is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen. I’m watching yesterday and one of the guys actually said LeBron looked fierce in practice. I’m like fierce in practice? What the hell does that mean? He was fierce in the second day of training camp. You’re like come on man, he really didn’t say that did he? This summer with LeBron and all the stuff that went on is like a bad movie. You just can’t make this stuff up.”

Read More: Charles Barkley, CNN, LeBron James, The Decision

Report: Mets GM Minaya and manager Manuel will not return

10.01.10 at 3:21 pm ET
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The play of the New York Mets, who face a second straight losing season, apparently has not satisfied the club-owning Wilpon family. The Mets have now missed the playoffs for four straight seasons. According to a Sports Illustrated report, both general manager Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel will not continue their involvement with the team following the end of the season. Sources close to the team indicated to SI that the announcement will be made before the start of the playoffs.

The Mets hold an option on Manuel’s contract, but it is presumed that it will not be renewed. The Mets will most likely choose to hire a new GM from outside of the organization. Single-A Brooklyn manager Wally Backman has been identified as a possible candidate to replace Manuel, but such a leap would be a rare occurrence. Although there is no timeline, it can be assumed that the Mets will attract a number of candidates in the offseason.

Read More: Jerry Manuel, Omar Minaya, Rumor Mill,

LEEInks list: Most memorable Boston-New York games of 2010

10.01.10 at 1:11 pm ET
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The rivalry between New York and Boston has always been heated, and 2010 has been no different. With the Red Sox hosting the Yankees this weekend for three meaningless games, here’s a look at 10 that mattered this year.

10. April 6: Knicks 104, Celtics 101

Earl Barron, just out of the D-League, out-hustled the Celtics en route to 17 points and 18 rebounds and a disappointing loss for a Celtics squad still in the hunt for the third seed. Boston failed to get off a final shot as the Celtics lost their fourth game in five contests. After the game Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers questioned the team’s mindset. It turns out you can just turn it on in the playoffs.

9. May 8: Yankees 14, Red Sox 3

The expected pitcher’s duel between CC Sabathia and Clay Buchholz lasted less than five innings as the Red Sox were pummeled for a second day in a row. Mark Teixeira became just the second Yankee to hit three home runs in one game against the Red Sox, joining Lou Gehrig.  The Yankees used 11 unanswered runs to beat the Sox for the fourth time in five meeting on the season.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett, Mariano Rivera, Tom Brady

Rockies targeting Victor Martinez?

10.01.10 at 12:42 pm ET
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Rockies manager Jim Tracy told the Denver Post that the Rockies are looking to add an “impact bat” this offseason. According to the report, the Rockies will target Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez if he is available, though the report also suggested that the switch-hitter could be out of Colorado’s price range.

Martinez, who will be a free agent following this season for the first time in his career, turned down a two-year offer from the Red Sox. Sox GM Theo Epstein, while declining to address details of the team’s talks with Martinez or fellow Red Sox free-agents-to-be Adrian Beltre, Jason Varitek and David Ortiz (who the Sox have a contract option on for the 2011 season), acknowledged interest in retaining players from that group.

“We do have a number of very important players who are eligible for free agency this year, and I have a strong interest in retaining those players,” he said on the Dale & Holley Show. (For a complete transcript, click here.)

Read More: Rumor Mill, victor martinez,

Running back training room: Injury news around the NFL

10.01.10 at 12:09 pm ET
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The sleepless nights for fantasy owners may be eased, but won’t exactly be cured, with the latest injury reports surrounding their stud running backs.

Ravens workhorse Ray Rice says the knee contusion he suffered against the Browns shouldn’t hold him out of a big conference matchup vs. the Steelers. “We have a great corps of backs, but I’m sure I’ll be ready to play,” said the Rutgers product, adding, “Right now, I feel great.” Even if he goes, running room will be scarce against a Steelers rush defense that has surrendered only 81.3 total yards to opposing rushers, who have averaged a paltry 2.6 yards per carry. Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain will carry the load if Rice can’t go.

On Thursday, Rams star running back Steven Jackson revealed to 101 ESPN St. Louis that his playing status for the contest against Seattle hinges on how his groin strain feels after he tests it during Sunday morning warmups. “Sunday we’ll definitely go out before the game, warm up, see how I feel,” Jackson said. Though he hopes to test it in the days leading up to the game, Jackson notes that, “say Friday or Saturday it doesn’t happen, I will be there early Sunday seeing if I can run and cut and seeing if I can go out there and give my team a lift.” If he is unable to go, Kenneth Darby will likely get the start in his place after entering last Sunday’s contest against the Redskins and compiling 57 total yards and a touchdown on 15 touches.

Meanwhile, explosive Lions rookie Jahvid Best, who suffered a toe injury last week, is “going to give it a go” Friday in practice, saying he hopes to play on Sunday while noting the toe has “gotten a lot better.” Though his availability looks increasingly likely, a toe injury can often drain a back of speed and shiftiness, two of Best’s greatest strengths. Even if he suits up, he faces a tough Green Bay run defense, and a workload reduction appears inevitable, with Maurice Morris picking up the slack.

The news on another rookie runner is much more optimistic. Chargers running back Ryan Mathews practiced fully for the second straight day and should get the start on Sunday barring something unforeseeable. The Downy soft, 31st-ranked run defense of the  Cardinals should provide a nice transition back into game action for the Fresno State product, though the bulky Mike Tolbert will likely steal any goal line work.

Read More: Jahvid Best, Ray Rice, Rumor Mill, Steven Jackson

Josh Hamilton set to return to Rangers lineup

10.01.10 at 12:06 pm ET
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Barring a setback, MVP candidate Josh Hamilton will return to the Texas Rangers lineup for six innings in the outfield Friday night. Hamilton will also DH on Saturday, followed by a full game on Sunday. He has been out since Sept. 4 due to small fractures in his rib, an injury he suffered crashing into the outfield wall while making a catch.

Hamilton’s .361 batting average leads the majors, and he’s also knocked 31 home runs and driven in 97 runs on the season. The Rangers hope he’ll be able to contribute as they attempt to win their first AL pennant in franchise history. Their playoff run will begin on Wednesday against either the Yankees or Rays.

Read More: Josh Hamilton, Rumor Mill,

Darrelle Revis to miss second straight game

10.01.10 at 10:57 am ET
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Luckily for Lee Evans and the rest of the Bills passing attack, vacations to Revis Island have been put on hold for another week. As The Associated Press reported, a hamstring injury that cost Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis a half vs. the Patriots and the entire game against Miami will cause him to miss another contest this Sunday against the Bills.

The Jets could certainly use him after Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall torched the New York secondary for 10 catches, including eight against Antonio Cromartie, for a total of 166 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Kyle Wilson has been equally horrendous, and will apparently lose his starting spot to veteran Drew Coleman.

Looks like that holdout really helped Revis get into game shape.

Read More: Brandon Marshall, Darrelle Revis, Jets, Lee Evans

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Jay Mariotti pleads no contest

10.01.10 at 6:40 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’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.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, WEEI)

SATURDAY:
NHL Preseason: Bruins vs. Giants Select, at Belfast, Ireland, 2 p.m.
MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 4:10 p.m. (FOX, WEEI)
MLS: Real Salt Lake at Revolution, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)

SUNDAY:
MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN, WEEI)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ As part of a plea deal with the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, sports columnist Jay Mariotti pleaded no contest to one count of misdemeanor domestic violence Thursday and was sentenced to three years probation and 40 hours of community labor. Mariotti was arrested in August after allegedly pushing and grabbing his girlfriend.

‘™¦ In response to LeBron James‘ accusation that race played a factor in criticism of him this offseason, Greg Stoda in the The Palm Beach Post writes that the new Heat forward brought this upon himself.

‘™¦ Days after criticizing Giants coach Tom Coughlin, former running back Tiki Barber will be inducted into the Giants’ Ring of Honor at halftime of Sunday’s game vs. the Bears. In the New York Daily News, Filip Bondy writes that fans will show that they side with Barber or Coughlin based on their reaction to Barber’s introduction.

‘™¦ Dan Wetzel at Yahoo! Sports writes about the situation with the University of North Carolina football team, where evidence continues to mount against former assistant coach John Blake, tying him to an NFL agent. Pete Thamel in The New York Times looks at the NCAA’s recent aggressiveness in going after cheaters.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Oct. 1, 1991, which Red Sox outfielder struck out five times, tying a major league record for a nine-inning game?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I like when people doubt me.” ‘€” Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, before Thursday’s night’s loss to the White Sox

STAT OF THE DAY: 21 ‘€” Minutes Thursday night’s Red Sox-White Sox game was delayed due to a power outage in Chicago

‘NET RESULTS: A young woman shows off some impressive soccer skills.

Pee Wee football coaches in Texas brawl on the field.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Phil Plantier

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Jerry Martini, saxophonist for Sly and the Family Stone, is 67 today.

Read More: Jay Mariotti, LeBron James, Tiki Barber, Tom Coughlin

Warren Sapp sued by North Carolina bank

09.30.10 at 1:55 pm ET
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Former Tampa Bay and Oakland defensive lineman Warren Sapp is being sued by a North Carolina bank for almost $1 million, an amount in which Sapp borrowed to invest in exclusive property at a residential development near Asheville. HomeTrust Bank of Asheville says that Sapp owed a principal of $989,000 and $70,000 in interest and late fees since June.

Christopher Lyons, Sapp’s attorney, would not discuss the issue on Thursday. The lawsuit was reported by the Asheville Citizen-Times. Sapp borrowed the money in 2007 to buy property in Horseshoe Forest Preserve.

Sapp is a seven-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman.

Read More: Rumor Mill, Warren Sapp,

Chad Ochocinco’s cereal linked with explicit number

09.30.10 at 11:51 am ET
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Printed on the side of Chad Ochocinco‘s limited edition cereal boxes was a number supposed to be associated with the charity Feed the Children. The number endorsed something completely different, however. Instead, the number directed callers to an explicit phone sex line, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The boxes have been pulled from the shelves at an area grocery store.

Read More: Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati Bengals,