|10.12.09 at 6:17 am ET|
OK, where does yesterday rank among the worst days in Boston sports history? It was pretty bad, considering the fashion in which the Red Sox and Patriots lost, and the importance of the Sox game.
However, it’s probably not even the worst day in Boston sports this year. Consider that on May 14, the Bruins were eliminated by the Hurricanes in overtime of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Celtics dropped Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinals to the Magic, and the Red Sox, despite amassing 15 hits, lost a 5-4 decision in 12 innings to the Angels in Anaheim. In that game, David Ortiz went 0-for-7 and left 12 runners on base, tying a team record.
In an article from earlier this year, Bleacher Report presented its list of top 10 worst days in Boston sports history, although all of these are based on single events.
Anyhow, here’s the rundown of today’s stories.
BASEBALL: Angels 7, Red Sox 6. Rob Bradford looks at what happened and what’s ahead for the Red Sox. Alex Speier writes about the Sox’ big arms failing to deliver. Jonathan Papelbon talks about letting down his team, and Jon Lester questions those fans who booed the closer as he walked off the field. General manager Theo Epstein says the Sox simply got outplayed. Dustin Pedroia considers the season a failure. Jason Bay looks ahead to an uncertain offseason. Bobby Abreu again won the battle against ex-teammate Billy Wagner. Read more about the Sox at our Full Count blog.
FOOTBALL: Broncos 20, Patriots 17, OT. In his Ten Things We Learned, Chris Price writes about how much this win meant to Broncos coach Josh McDaniels. Price also has the Patriots kicking themselves for letting this one slip away. Read more about this frustrating loss at our It Is What It Is blog. And listen to Tom Brady on the Dennis & Callahan show at 9 a.m., multiple Pats players on Dale & Holley mid-day, and Bill Belichick on The Big Show at 5 p.m.
Get the rest of the NFL results here, including the Colts, Vikings and Giants remaining undefeated, and the Bengals knocking off the Ravens. D.J. Bean writes about what we learned in fantasy football in Week 5.
HOCKEY: Lost in this disastrous weekend, the Bruins posted a dramatic win Saturday night vs. the Islanders, rallying from a 3-0 deficit with just over eight minutes remaining in the third period and picking up the win in the shootout. Mike Petraglia discusses the B’s resilience.
Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin will miss 4-6 weeks with a broken foot.
BASKETBALL: The Celtics beat the Nets, 100-93, on Sunday in their third exhibition game. Paul Flannery discusses the progress the Celtics are making. Jessica Camerato has a couple of former Magic players talking about how much better the Celtics look. Camerato also has a piece on how football is a popular topic in the C’s locker room.
The Warriors suspended disgruntled swingman Stephen Jackson for a couple of exhibition games after his behavior in the team’s last game.
Last week, we linked to a story about former NBA player Rumeal Robinson, who scammed his mother out of her house in Cambridge. The Miami New Times did a more detailed story that explains how Robinson squandered millions of dollars and is now broke. Here’s a preview: Strip clubs played a big role in his demise.
HISTORIVIA: On Oct. 12, 1986, the Red Sox pulled off a miraculous win over the Angels in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series. Boston trailed by three runs entering the ninth inning. After a two-run home run from Sox DH Don Baylor, the deficit was one. With the Angels one strike away from winning the series, Dave Henderson launched a two-run home run to center field. However, what’s not as well-remembered is that the Angels tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, forcing extra innings. Who hit the game-winning sacrifice fly in the 11th inning for the Sox?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It was 0-2, two outs, just waiting and planning on playing tomorrow. Then all of a sudden, one thing led to another and you look back and it was like, ‘Whoa, what just happened?’ ” — Jason Bay, after yesterday’s collapse against the Angels that ended the Red Sox’ season
STAT OF THE DAY: 0.00 — Jonathan Papelbon’s career postseason ERA entering yesterday’s game against the Angels, before he coughed up the lead with three ninth-inning runs that cost the Red Sox the game and ended their season.
‘NET RESULTS: Here’s a funny commercial with a Red Sox-Yankees theme to try to cheer you up.
HISTORIVIA ANSWER: Dave Henderson came through again in the 11th, driving home Don Baylor with the winning run. Henderson threw out the first pitch before yesterday’s ALDS Game 3 but could not provide the Sox any luck.
SOOTHING SOUNDS: On Oct. 12, 1997, John Denver died at the age of 53 when the plane he was piloting crashed off the coast of California. Here he is singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” This is the song that will be stuck in your head the rest of the day. No need to thank me.
|10.11.09 at 5:00 pm ET|
If anyone wondered why C.B. Bucknor was twice voted the worst umpire in MLB in Sports Illustrated polls, they got their answer Thursday night when the Red Sox lost Game 1 of the ALDS 5-0 to the Angels. Bucknor made the wrong call not once but twice. In the fourth inning, he ruled Angels baserunner Howie Kendrick safe at first, saying that Kevin Youkilis failed to tag him after Alex Gonzalez‘ throw pulled Youkilis off the bag. In the sixth inning, he incorrectly concluded that Youkilis did not touch the base following a high toss from Mike Lowell — this call was even more embarrassingly wrong than the first.
Not surprisingly, both Youkilis and manager Terry Francona shared their discontent with Bucknor about the blown calls.
This year, players have regularly expressed their dissatisfaction with umpires. Whether it be arguing balls and strikes, claiming that a slide into home beat a tag, or disputing that a hit was fair or foul, players and coaches have been quick to make public their displeasure with MLB umpires. Thursday night was not the first time an umpire missed a call, nor will it be the last.
You would think that umpires would be more vigilant after drawing a whirlwind of criticism following the Red Sox-Angels game. On Friday night, the umpiring crew officiating Game 2 of the Twins-Yankees ALDS blundered in another key call. Left field umpire Phil Cuzzi declared that Joe Mauer‘s hit was a foul ball when it should have been ruled a ground-rule double.
With no outs in the top of the 11th inning, Mauer launched a ball down the left field line that skimmed the glove of Melky Cabrera and then bounced fair before one-hopping into the stands. Cuzzi messed up on both counts and ruled it a foul ball, sending Mauer back to the plate. Though he ended up singling, Mauer certainly would have scored from second base on the next two Twins hits. The Twins ultimately concluded the inning leaving the bases loaded and failing to score before Mark Teixeira hit a walk-off home run in the bottom half of the frame to give the Yankees a 4-3 win.
Yes, it may be just a tad bit embarrassing to become the first team in MLB history to blow a three-game divisional lead with only four games remaining in the regular season. Yet, after dropping a 6-5 defeat in 12 innings in Tuesday’s one-game playoff loss to the Twins, the Tigers were not quite ready to walk out of the Metrodome for the last time without having a couple of things to say about the umpiring.
Detroit manager Jim Leyland not only shamed his own team, but also showed his frustration with the umpiring crew, noting that a missed hit-by-pitch call with Brandon Inge up and the bases loaded in the top half of the 12th would have given the Tigers a 6-5 advantage.
One of the first incidents this season that resulted in a suspension from arguing a call came unsurprisingly from none other than the contentious Milton Bradley. On April 16, Bradley was ejected in his Wrigley Field debut with the Cubs after vehemently disagreeing with a called third strike in his pinch-hit at-bat in the sixth inning. Two days later, Bradley received his punishment in the form of a two-game suspension and an undisclosed fine. He appealed the punishment and got the suspension reduced to one game. Chicago fanatics may have applauded his passion and furor then, but now they have a different outlook after his ill-advised comments about the team earned him an indefinite suspension despite Bradley offering an apology.
The captain of the Yankees, normally known for keeping his composure, expressed his dissatisfaction this season as well. On July 6, Derek Jeter had some not-too-kind words to share with umpire Marty Foster after Foster ruled Jeter out on his attempt to steal third in a 7-6 loss to the Blue Jays. The shortstop correctly insisted that he slid around the tag, but Foster replied, “He didn’t have to tag you. The ball beat you.” This comment sparked even more controversy than the blown call, since Foster essentially disregarded the rules of the game. After the game, even Foster’s crew chief, John Hirschbeck, questioned his fellow ump’s judgment.
When the final out or the winning run of a game comes down to an umpiring decision, a blown call becomes even more controversial, especially in the eyes of the losing team. On Sept. 16, the Angels were outraged when Red Sox batter Nick Green was granted a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to tie a game that the Sox would eventually win 9-8.
With the game on the line, Angels closer Brian Fuentes thought he got Green out on a swinging strike three, but it was ruled that Green held his bat to a check swing. Later in the at-bat, Fuentes delivered a full-count fastball to Green that was knee-high and down the middle. When home plate umpire Rick Reed failed to ring up Green, manager Mike Scioscia and the Angels protested vehemently.
The next day, however, the Angels were not the only ones complaining. The umpires took issue with the verbal abuse they received from the Angels as they walked off the field. Stating that the Angels acted “unprofessional and unbecoming,” the umpires struck back by filing a grievance.
Even when umpires do seem to get calls right, still there are critics. On May 17, Rays manager Joe Maddon mistakenly listed both Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist as playing third base on the lineup card. Maddon intended to give Longoria a day off from the field, but accidentally wrote third base next to his name instead of DH. The Rays were forced to forfeit the DH and have the pitcher bat as a result. However, the mix-up worked to their advantage as starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine hit in place of Longoria and contributed quite nicely with an RBI double in the 7-5 win over the Indians.
Even though the correct ruling was made, the umpires came under some criticism for taking 13 minutes to make their decision. Even Mike Port, MLB’s executive in charge of overseeing the umps, questioned the delay. To make matters worse, later in the game the umps messed up a call that gave the Rays a big break. In the eighth inning, Cleveland’s Ryan Garko hit a deep drive to left with one out. It was ruled that Rays outfielder Carl Crawford caught the ball for an out, but replays indicated the ball went off the padding first and should have been called a hit.
There are a magnitude of close calls that can go either way in every game that is played. A team loves an umpire when a ruling falls in its favor, and despises one when the decision goes against it. With so many plays occurring in a blink of an eye, it’s difficult for an umpire to make the correct call 100 percent of the time.
After all, they do pay attention … right?
|10.09.09 at 7:21 am ET|
Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up with what’s going on after a nightmarish day in Boston sports.
BASEBALL: The Red Sox offense got an early start to the holiday weekend in a 5-0 loss to the Angels in Game 1 of the ALDS. Alex Speier has Five Things We Learned from this debacle. Rob Bradford says Victor Martinez will catch Josh Beckett in Game 2 as the Sox need offense, not sentimentality.
After a frustrating night, Jon Lester tipped his cap to his counterpart, John Lackey. Daniel Bard got a chance to get a taste of postseason play. Terry Franonca had a tough night, starting with an upset stomach after eating Mexican fast food. Here’s what the Angels had to say.
Yesterday on WEEI, Curt Schilling ripped the umpiring crew assigned to this series.
“It is embarrassing,” Schilling said. “Listen, Joe West, I think he is an ass and I have had problems with him forever, but here is the thing: Joe West is a pretty decent umpire. Greg Gibson and C.B. Buckner? They suck. They’re horrible, horrible.”
And what happened last night? Bucknor made a negative impact on the game, blowing a couple of calls.
Elsewhere in postseason play, former Red Sox second baseman Mark Loretta singled in the winning run shortly after Matt Holliday dropped the third out in left field, and the Dodgers stunned the Cardinals, 3-2. The Rockies evened their series with the Phillies, taking a 5-4 decision. And Pedro Martinez wants to start Game 3 for the Phils.
Dan Guttenplan compares cheering for the Phillies this year to the uneasiness Red Sox fans felt following Boston titles.
TBS announcer Chip Caray is taking a lot of heat for his poor calls, especially his gaffe on a key play in Tuesday’s Tigers-Twins playoff game.
FOOTBALL: Patriots running back Fred Taylor had surgery on his right ankle, and Chris Price examines what’s ahead for the New England running game. Price also takes a look at what to watch for Sunday against the Broncos.
Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey talks about his team’s dramatic improvement on defense this season. Here’s the audio from the Broncos.
In case you missed this yesterday, while hyping Sunday’s game against the Ravens, Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco said that he would hit a) Ray Lewis in the mouth, b) challenge Terrell Suggs to a fight, and c) perform a touchdown celebration dance he calls the Ricky Bobby, in honor of Will Ferrell’s character in the movie “Talladega Nights.”
Said Ochocinco: “When I score, which you know I will do, I have a special thing. It’s called the Ricky Bobby. It should be really nice. It’s a rule-breaker. I did send the NFL the fine money ahead of time.”
At the other end of the spectrum, here’s some must-reading for this weekend: Alexander Wolff’s Sports Illustrated story on Jackie Robinson’s two UCLA football teammates who broke the NFL’s color barrier in 1946 but whose names are mostly unrecognized today.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez called Jonathan Vilma to apologize for the quarterback’s low hit during an interception return Sunday against the Saints.
Iraq War veteran and hopeful NFL rookie Tony Fein died of as-yet-unexplained causes. The 27-year-old linebacker from Ole Miss was cut by the Ravens in the preseason.
Dan Rowinski has a preview of Boston College’s game Saturday at sixth-ranked Virginia Tech.
BASKETBALL: The Phoenix Mercury and Indiana Fever play a fifth and deciding game in the WNBA finals tonight. Just thought you should know.
HISTORIVIA: On Oct. 9, 1967, In Game 5 of the World Series, Sox ace Jim Lonborg outdueled a young Cardinals pitcher who went on to a Hall of Fame career — but spent most of it as a member of a different National League team. Who is he? Bonus question: In the Sox’ 3-1 win, St. Louis’ only run came courtesy of a home run from a famous slugger who, like the pitcher previously mentioned, is more well-known as a member of a different team. Who is he?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It wasn’t like a game of missed opportunities. We really didn’t have any.” — Jason Bay, after last night’s 5-0 Game 1 loss to the Angels
‘NET RESULTS: Here’s a Canadian football-themed commercial worth a chuckle.
HISTORIVIA ANSWER: Lonborg and the Sox beat Steve Carlton, who was traded after his first 20-win season in 1971 to the Phillies. Carlton went on to play 15 seasons in Philadelphia and 24 years in the majors, winning 329 games. The player who homered off Lonborg was Roger Maris, who broke Babe Ruth’s single-season home run mark in 1961 during his second straight MVP season as a member of the Yankees.
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Jackson Browne is 61 today. Here’s his biggest hit, made famous in the 1982 movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”
|10.08.09 at 5:57 am ET|
Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
BASEBALL: The Red Sox open their ALDS against the Angels tonight at 9:37. Paul Byrd will be in the Sox bullpen and Manny Delcarmen will not. Jason Varitek is focused on the team and not worried about his playing status. Billy Wagner knows he hasn’t pitched well in previous postseason action. Keep up to date on all the Sox news throughout the day at our Full Count blog.
WEEI’s Lou Merloni explains the Red Sox’ formula for ALDS success.
Terry Francona had some interesting things to say about David Ortiz, Victor Martinez and umpire/country singer Joe West in his interview with Dale & Holley yesterday.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland is disappointed that umpires won’t admit they blew a call that would have given Detroit the lead in the 12th inning of their loss to the Twins on Tuesday (and he’s right).
And a 12-year-old Florida girl sued the Phillies to get back a Ryan Howard home run ball she caught at a game in July. UPDATE: Below is a video interview with the girl and her lawyer, and here’s more on the story.
Tom Brady won’t apologize for supporting the new rules designed to protect quarterbacks. Meanwhile, the parody site Sports Pickle had a little fun with the issue, posting a story under the headline: “Tom Brady Draws Emotionally Roughing the Passer Penalty.”
Patriots defensive lineman Mike Wright is have a strong season, and he talks about which defensive formation suits him best. Chris Price introduces us to the newest Patriot, linebacker Bruce Davis, who was signed yesterday to the practice squad.
In case you missed it yesterday, the Jets moved to improve their offense by acquiring receiver Braylon Edwards from the Browns. First-round draft pick Michael Crabtree ended his holdout with the 49ers.
HOCKEY: Milan Lucic appeared on Dale & Holley to talk about his new three-year contract with the Bruins. Mark Stuart appears to be set as the team’s NHLPA rep, taking over for Andrew Ference. Zdeno Chara posed in the buff for ESPN the Magazine’s body issue.
The Maple Leafs were fined for tampering for expressing early interest in Vancouver’s Sedin twins. Patrick Roy’s son pleaded guilty to assault for last year’s on-ice attack of an opposing goalie in a junior hockey game and wrote a check for $5,000 to clear his conscience.
BASKETBALL: The Celtics opened the preseason with a 96-90 loss to Houston. Kevin Garnett had six points and five rebounds in his return from a knee injury. Jessica Camerato breaks down how each player did, and Paul Flannery offers his thoughts about the game — and the replacement refs (who handed Rasheed Wallace a technical).
NBA general managers picked the Celtics as the league’s best defensive team and predicted they will win the East. Delonte West needs a little more time away from Cavaliers training camp. Allen Iverson has a partial tear of his left hamstring. He hurt it in practice. Not a game, not a game, not a game — we talkin’ ’bout practice:
MISC.: WEEI is partnering with ESPN Radio and will pick up broadcasts of Major League Baseball playoff games, NBA regular season and playoff action, and college football’s Bowl Championship Series. WEEI also will syndicate ESPN’s AllNight with Jason Smith from 1-5 a.m. Monday through Friday, and have call-in appearances weekly from ESPN insiders Peter Gammons and Adam Schefter, among others.
HISTORIVIA: On Oct. 8, 1967, the Red Sox lost Game 4 of the World Series to Bob Gibson and the Cardinals. Which 19-year-old Red Sox reliever pitched a scoreless eighth inning and, in the process, became the youngest player ever to pitch in a World Series game?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I think there’s a lot of people that actually owe David an apology.” — Red Sox manager Terry Francona on yesterday’s Dale & Holley show, talking about criticism of David Ortiz earlier this season
‘NET RESULTS: As the Metrodome prepares for its farewell performance, here’s a time-lapse video of the facility as it hosts three Twins games, changes over for a University of Minnesota football game, and then goes back to baseball.
HISTORIVIA ANSWER: Teenager Ken Brett, older brother of Royals Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett, was a late replacement on the Red Sox’ 1967 World Series roster for the injured Sparky Lyle.
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Happy 69th birthday to Fred Cash, who had the tall task of stepping in for Jerry Butler as a member of the Impressions in 1960. That’s him on the right, with Curtis Mayfield (left) and Sam Gooden.
|10.07.09 at 7:06 am ET|
Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
The Twins and Tigers gave us a memorable lead-in to the playoffs with their 12-inning AL Central playoff thriller. Minnesota kept the Metrodome in business for at least another week with a 6-5 victory.
The hype has begun for the ALDS, and the Red Sox and Angels will get an extra day of it, as their series doesn’t start until Thursday night (9:37 EST). Curt Schilling analyzes the series. WEEI’s baseball writers make their playoff predictions. Rob Bradford says to watch out for Bobby Abreu. But Dan Gutteplan says Abreu isn’t clutch, as part of his reasons you should hate the Halos. Guttenplan also has an MLB postseason joke book.
Josh Beckett says his back is fine. Angels center fielder Torii Hunter isn’t concerned with his team’s past failures vs. the Sox. Boston Game 1 starter Jon Lester looks back on last year’s ALCS Game 7 vs. the Rays. Shortstop Jed Lowrie will be on Boston’s ALDS roster.
For regular Red Sox updates, check our Full Count blog throughout the day.
Baseball’s other three playoff series start today, with Rockies-Phillies at 2:37, Twins-Yankees at 6:07 and Cardinals-Dodgers at 9:37. All is not well in New York, as Yankees catcher Jorge Posada isn’t happy that his manager chose to sit him for Game 1 2.
On to football: Chris Price says that even though the Patriots have not piled up a lot of sacks, stats show that they are putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Price also has his weekly mailbag. Kerry Byrne has a statistical analysis as the Patriots hit the season’s quarter pole. The Junior Seau watch is on full alert, following a report that the linebacker worked out for the Patriots yesterday.
D.J. Bean writes about living with the bye week in his fantasy football report.
Rush Limbaugh wants to buy the St. Louis Rams, and he’s teaming up with Dave Checketts, owner of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, to make a bid.
Joe Haggerty says Milan Lucic and the Bruins are a perfect fit after the big winger signed a new three-year deal. Lucic returned to Bruins practice yesterday after a day off to tend to a minor health issue.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers made an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show and discussed a number of topics, including how the talkative Rasheed Wallace will fit in on this team of talkers.
HISTORIVIA: On Oct. 7, 1995, this Bruins forward scored three goals in a season-opening 4-4 tie vs. the visiting Islanders. In the process, he became the first player in NHL history to record a hat trick on opening night twice in his career. Who is he?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’m a prime-time, lean machine.” — Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell, when asked how he felt yesterday as the Sox prepared for the ALDS against the Angels in Anaheim
‘NET RESULTS: Injured Revolution star Taylor Twellman was named the hottest bachelor in Massachusetts by Cosmopolitan magazine. Twellman tells Cosmo: “I’m looking for a girl who’s about being with me, not about being with the soccer player.” OK, then. Here he is with a bicycle kick for a goal against Chicago in the 2007 playoffs.
HISTORIVIA ANSWER: Cam Neely
SOOTHING SOUNDS: On Oct. 7, 1952, “American Bandstand” debuted in Philadelphia. The singer with the most appearances on the show? Revere native Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon with 110 (at least according to various websites).
|10.06.09 at 5:53 am ET|
Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
Chris Price writes about Bill Belichick preparing to meet former assistant Josh McDaniels, who has the Broncos at 4-0. Steve DeOssie has his Patriots report card, with the linemen at the head of the class.
Yesterday’s big story was the Rodney Harrison-Tom Brady feud that wasn’t. The former teammates knew Harrison was teasing in his comments Sunday night, but not everyone else did. Both Harrison and Brady appeared on WEEI yesterday and calmed the masses.
Belichick also made an appearance on WEEI. Among other things, the coach confirmed that yes, Junior Seau could soon again be a Patriot.
Brett Favre got the best of his old team last night, leading the Vikings past the Packers and becoming the first quarterback to beat all 32 teams.
Joe Zarbano has his Week 5 NFL power rankings, with the Patriots moving up one spot to No. 5.
LeBron James expressed his disappointment with Browns receiver Braylon Edwards, who allegedly took a punch at one of James’ friends at a nightclub early Monday morning. And Raiders coach Tom Cable, who allegedly punched one of his assistant coaches, may face charges.
The Red Sox departed for Anaheim yesterday. With the regular season complete, Alex Speier, Rob Bradford, Lou Merloni and Curt Schilling compile their season-ending awards. Speier has a feature on Daniel Bard, whose career prospects are strong after he bottomed out three years ago. Bradford writes about Daisuke Matsuzaka preparing for any role in the postseason and Manny Delcarmen trying to be ready to pitch after a car accident Saturday.
The Tigers and Twins meet today at 5 p.m. to decide the AL Central winner. Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera took some heat after it was revealed that he was arrested while drunk and involved in a domestic situation early Saturday morning despite the fact that his team was battling for the division title all weekend.
Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter and Blue Jays infielder Aaron Hill were named Comeback Players of the Year.
Joe Haggerty checks in from Bruins practice and notes that Milan Lucic was absent.
HISTORIVIA: On Oct. 6, 1985, in the final game of the regular season, this player went 2-for-5 to finish the season with 201 hits. In the process, he became just the fifth player to record 200 hits in both the AL and NL. Who is he?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “This guy’s directly responsible for me having two Super Bowl rings on my fingers, and you think I’m going to call him out?” — Rodney Harrison on WEEI, defending his joking comments about former teammate Tom Brady
‘NET RESULTS: As today could be the final game at the Metrodome, here’s a look at one of the Twins’ commercials promoting the move to their outdoor stadium next season.
HISTORIVIA ANSWER: Bill Buckner
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Happy 63rd birthday, Millie Small. As a teenager in 1964, the Jamaican singer had a big hit with “My Boy Lollipop.”
|10.05.09 at 8:40 pm ET|
Whoever said baseball was a dull sport? Major League Baseball may lack the physicality of the NFL, with its tackling and hitting, the NHL, with its checking and slashing, and the NBA, with its blocking and elbowing. Yet, despite the limited amount of contact, baseball has a few hot-headed players who manage to turn America’s pastime into a boxing ring when tempers flare.
Isn’t that right, Rick Vaughn?
In recent years, some of the most notorious brawls have stemmed from a batter’s irritation with a pitcher. After getting drilled with a 98 mph fastball, hitters sometimes seek retribution instead of simply taking their base.
Who can forget the July 24, 2004 confrontation between the Red Sox and Yankees that featured Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez consuming a mouthful of Red Sox catcher Jason’s Varitek’s glove after being nailed by a Bronson Arroyo delivery.
Nor will Chicago fans soon erase from their memories the image of Cubs catcher Michael Barrett heaving his fist into the face of White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski. The fight started after Pierzynski barreled Barrett to the ground when attempting to touch home plate on May 20, 2006, in an interleague matchup between the crosstown rivals. Barrett received a 10-game suspension.
Though players are fully aware of the punishments that will be handed to them in the form of fines and suspensions (and sometimes apologies, too, i.e. Kenny Rogers), they still have had no hesitations this season in starting an on-the-field altercation.
Perhaps the most memorable brawl of the season occurred on Aug. 11, when Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis angrily charged the mound to tackle Tigers rookie pitcher Rick Porcello. After Junichi Tawaza hit Miguel Cabrera in the first inning, Porcello retaliated the following inning by pounding Youkilis with a fastball. Both players were ejected, but not until after Youkilis and the young pitcher took their dispute to the ground.
That was not the only squabble the Red Sox partook in this season, nor was it the first. On April 12, Josh Beckett instigated a bench-clearing incident when he threw a high fastball that nearly plunked Angels outfielder (and former Yankee) Bobby Abreu in the head.
HD QUALITY – Josh Beckett Throws High And Inside – More free videos are here
Abreu requested a timeout during his at-bat, and the umpire granted the request while Beckett was starting his windup. Beckett followed through and sent the pitch up high and tight as Abreu backed away. Angels manager Mike Scioscia was ejected along with Torii Hunter, Justin Speier and hitting coach Mickey Hatcher in the ensuing debate. In the days that followed, Beckett was stunned to receive a six-game suspension. The right-hander appealed and got the sentence reduced to five games.
The Yankees had their share of confrontational moments as well this year. On Sept. 15, Yankees catcher Jorge Posada and Blue Jays pitcher Jesse Carlson each hit the showers with a three-game suspension awaiting for them after their in-game quarrel. After two Blue Jays batters were nailed by Yankees pitchers, Carlson launched a fastball behind Posada. After scoring a run later in the inning, Posada threw his arm in Carlson’s direction, which led to both teams storming the field.
And most recently, on Oct. 1, Twins outfielder Delmon Young did not take his frustration out on Tigers pitcher Jeremy Bonderman when drilled in the leg, but on his own teammate, Jose Mijares, because the rookie threw behind Adam Everett in the previous frame. After rising from the turf, Young pointed his finger and screamed at Mirajes instead of challenging the player who actually hurled the pitch in his direction.
Not enough action for you? Don’t worry, there’s still a month of baseball left to be played, and tensions are running as high as ever as the eight remaining teams fight to be crowned World Series champion.
Don Zimmer knows that much.
|10.05.09 at 5:36 am ET|
Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
Today on WEEI’s Patriots Monday, check in with Dennis & Callahan at 9 a.m. to hear Tom Brady discuss yesterday’s 27-21 victory over the Ravens, and listen to the Big Show at 5 p.m. for an interview with coach Bill Belichick. Dale & Holley will have their usual quartet of players midday.
Chris Price has his 10 Things We Learned from yesterday, led by a strong effort from the New England defense. Mike Petraglia reports on Wes Welker’s successful return and tries to sort out what happened on the fake field goal.
Rodney Harrison wants Brady to toughen up, telling him to “Take off the skirt” after drawing a few calls against the Ravens, who lodged plenty of complaints about the refs.
In other NFL action yesterday, the Saints turned away the Jets despite another impressive defensive effort from New York. The Dolphins picked up their first win at the expense of the Bills. The Bengals kicked a field goal on the final play of overtime to keep the Browns winless. The undefeated Broncos rallied late to thwart the Cowboys. And the Steelers turned away the Chargers.
DJ Bean draws realizations from the week in fantasy football.
Dan Rowinski has Five Things We Learned from Boston College’s 28-21 victory Saturday over once-mighty Florida State. Meanwhile, at least one Florida writer is calling for legendary Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden to step down. In the AP Top 25, Auburn moved into the ranking at 17 after its 5-0 start, while the top 10 did not have much movement.
In baseball, the Red Sox swept the Indians in their final series of the regular season, capped with a 12-7 victory on Sunday. Alex Speier has Five Things We Learned, beginning with the Sox announcing a rotation of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz. Tim Wakefield will not be on the roster for the opening round.
Speier writes about Dusty Brown’s long road to Fenway, Jed Lowrie’s pain hitting left-handed (despite his grand slam), Jason Varitek’s reduced role, and how Alex Gonzalez is indispensible. Jessica Camerato has a touching piece on Gonzalez’ concern for his 3-year-old son, who has been in a coma for the last two years.
The Tigers will visit the Twins tomorrow in a one-game playoff to determine the AL Central champion. The Twins are trying to become the first team in baseball history to win the division after being down three games with four to go.
Joe Haggerty has Three Things We Learned from the Bruins’ revenge-fueled pummeling of the Hurricanes on Saturday night. Haggerty also writes about defenseman Matt Hunwick learning to stay within his game.
The informative site Mental Floss has an entry explaining how all 30 NHL teams got their nicknames.
One week into Celtics training camp, Kevin Garnett says his knee is fine.
From the Cambridge Chronicle, here’s a shocking story about former basketball star Rumeal Robinson scamming his mother out of her own home in Cambridge.
HISTORIVIA: On Oct. 5, 1950,the Celtics participated in a lottery with two other teams to determine where the top three players from the disbanding Chicago Stags would land. Which future standout did the Celtics acquire?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Head-to-head with Ray Lewis, I certainly wasn’t thinking of that one going to bed last night.” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, referring to his 1-yard touchdown run right at the Ravens’ standout linebacker
‘NET RESULTS: With the one-game playoff tomorrow between the Tigers and Twins, let’s take a look at the crazy ending to the last MLB playoff game. In 2007, the Rockies came back from two runs down in the 13th inning for an incredible win over the Padres. Matt Holliday scored the game-winner on a sacrifice fly, despite the fact that he never touched home plate. And then he was knocked out. Said Padres announce Ted Leitner: “If that had been a Yankees-Red Sox game, it would be considered one of the greatest of all time.” He’s undoubtedly correct. This fan’s video of the final play will give you a feel for the excitement.
And that led to this commercial for the Rockies.
HISTORIVIA ANSWER: Bob Cousy
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Happy 68th birthday to Arlene Smith, former lead singer of the pioneering female R&B group the Chantels. Here’s Smith performing the group’s 1958 hit “Maybe” at a “Doo Wop Gold” reunion show.
|10.04.09 at 2:49 pm ET|
Ever wanted to crawl inside Milton Bradley’s head and have a look around? Be careful, it probably is a dark and scary place.
The great experiment that was Milton Bradley’s career with the Chicago Cubs could be over. The Cubs suspended Bradley last month for “conduct detrimental to the team” for the remainder of the season. For the Cubs, it will be a costly move. They signed Bradley last winter for three years and $30 million because they needed a left-handed bat to balance their lineup. The thought was that Bradley could put up similar numbers to what he did in Texas the year before (.321 average, .436 on-base percentage, .563 slugging) and protect the rest of the Cubs’ right-handed power hitters who were exploited by the Dodgers in the National League Division Series last October. Bradley did not do nearly so well on the North Side of Chicago, hitting .257 with a .378 OBP and .397 SP in 124 games for the Cubs.
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry explained his reasoning for suspending Bradley.
“Recently, it’s become intolerable to hear Milton talk about our great fans the way he has,” Hendry said. “We pride ourselves on having the greatest fans in baseball, so at this time we felt it was best to send him home for the rest of the season,” Hendry told reporters.
The thought was more like a dream from the very beginning. Now it’s a nightmare. The rationale behind signing Bradley was flawed in the first place. Bring in a blowhard whose only real talent is with the bat and put him in right field in one of the hardest places to play in the league with a manager known as a hothead on a team full of hotheads. Not to mention he had not played 100 full games in the outfield since 2004 and had done it only six times in the nine previous years.
It was a pipe dream. With a short fuse.
And now it has exploded.
Spring 2004: The Indians trade Bradley after a series of disagreements with manager Eric Wedge.
June 2004: Bradley is ejected by an umpire, has to be restrained by Dodgers manager Jim Tracy and then throws a bunch of baseballs on the field on his way to the clubhouse.
September 2004: Bradley picks up an empty bottle that was thrown by a fan, approaches the stands and has to be calmed by teammates; he rips off his jersey on his way back to the dugout and is pulled off the field by coach Jim Riggleman. The Dodgers suspend him for the final five games of the season.
June 2007: After a series of internal incidents, the Athletics finally get fed up with Bradley and designate him for assignment.
September 2007: Bradley performs well for the Padres, but in a game on Sept. 23, umpire Mike Winters speaks words that are later deemed inappropriate by Major League Baseball — words for which Winters is suspended — and Bradley reacts angrily. As that confrontation plays out, Bradley suffers a season-ending knee injury as he is restrained by manager Bud Black.
Pretty impressive list, huh? I thought this was pretty good, too:
Have you ever tried to break a baseball bat over your knee? Not so easy.
To be fair to Bradley, apparently there has been some extenuating circumstances regarding his unhappiness in Chicago. The problem about this particular piece of information, though, is that neither the media nor the Cubs knew anything about it. It took Bradley’s mother, Charlena Rector, to explain the actions of her son. Bradley is a 31-year-old man, does he really need his mother to explain his actions? Given his history as an iconoclast, would it really matter what the excuse was? If the reports about his kid are true then it is sad. However, most people learn early in their professional careers that if you cannot keep your personal life and your job separate then it will be difficult to ever function as proper employee should.
Bradley operates with a chip on his shoulder. Check out this video from “Best Damn Sports Show” after the run-in with umpire Mike Winters in 2007.
Seems like a surly guy, huh?
The sports writers of the nation are alive with the Bradley issue. Rob Neyer of ESPN’s Sweet Spot has two blog posts on it here and here. Al Yellon from Bleed Cubby Blue dishes on it here. Nick Friedell is not surprised. Ed Nickow from ChicagoNow has a haiku.
For my own part, I created a slideshow of some of Bradley’s greatest moment in bombast history.
|10.02.09 at 9:50 pm ET|
At first it appeared that Nike stayed true to its “Just do it” motto when contemplating whether to rekindle its contractual relationship with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. After all, who wouldn’t want to “Just sign” a player who has yet to play in a game since the 2006 season and is fresh off a prison sentence stemming from his role in a dog-fighting ring?
Yet, one day after Vick’s agency, BEST, announced that a new deal was struck between the disgraced player and the company, Nike was quick to refute the report, claiming that it had only agreed to supply its products to Vick and not have him serve as a sponsor or spokesman.
Guess there will be no “The Michael Vick Experience, Part 2″ in the near future.
Even though Nike reiterated that it has not offered an endorsement to Vick, the company has a long history, dating back to the 1970s, of teaming up with controversial players and running contentious campaigns.
In 1978, Nike teamed up with tennis legend John McEnroe to launch the “Rebel With a Cause” campaign designed to sell its tennis paraphernalia. McEnroe, notorious for his outbursts, was featured in commercials and billboard advertisements, many of which portrayed him as the quick-tempered, hot-headed player he was.
Despite McEnroe’s tantrums and disorderly conduct, Nike still retains him as one of its primary endorsers in the tennis department, for which it released the Nike Air Zoom Tennis Trainer last fall.
On Sept. 11, Nike had to be thrilled to watch its star spokesman Michael Jordan achieve basketball immortality with his NBA Hall of Fame induction. Still, despite being arguably the greatest player in NBA history, Jordan faced some controversy during his career due to his endorsement deal with Nike.
Nearly signing a deal with Nike’s archrival Adidas after being drafted by the Chicago Bulls out of the University of North Carolina in 1984, Jordan ultimately chose to endorse Nike even though he had never worn the brand’s shoes before. A few months later, in 1985, Nike released the Air Jordan signature brand that still is highly popular today.
However, the red and black sneakers did not sit well with NBA commissioner David Stern, who banned the shoes from the game because they did not comform with the league’s uniform guidelines. With encouragement from Nike, Jordan ignored the ruling and continued to wear them, accruing a fine of $5,000 per game — which Nike was happy to pay in exchange for the publicity.
While “Just do it” may have a catchy ring to it, some of Nike’s other slogans have sparked debate and opposition. During the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Nike introduced an advertising campaign with the slogan: “You don’t win silver — you lose gold.”
Many Olympic athletes and coaches were offended by this, claiming that it showed bad sportsmanship and demeaned a competitor’s accomplishments. In response to the overwhelming criticism from individuals who said it damaged the spirit and integrity of the Olympic Games, Nike pulled the campaign.
Nike, however, never appeared to be fazed by its “bad boy” image. In 2003, just days before he was accused of raping a woman in a Colorado hotel, NBA phenom Kobe Bryant signed an endorsement deal with the Oregon company.
Event through the entire sexual assault trial, Nike opted not to part ways with the Los Angeles Lakers superstar, though the brand did not use Bryant’s image in any of its commercial or billboard advertisements. It would take more than 2-1/2 years before Bryant’s first Nike television commercial aired. It featured the release of the Zoom Kobe I sneaker.
Nike has a knack for promoting the rebels and the renegades, as well as the respected, on campaign advertisements. There are those such as McEnroe, Bryant and Vick who are just as notorious as they are famous, and then there those such as Jordan, Tigers Woods and Mia Hamm who are idols in so many young athletes’ eyes.
So will there be a Michael Vick Nike commercial? At least Jimmy Kimmel thinks so.
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