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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Rabid Ohio State fans force ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit to move from Buckeye State

03.14.11 at 7:38 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.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY MONDAY:
NBA: Celtics at Nets, 7 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)
MLB Preseason: Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (NESN, ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit moved his family from Ohio to Tennessee last week, blaming the departure on some rabid Ohio State fans who apparently think the former Buckeye should never criticize the school. “Eighty to 90 percent of the Ohio State fans are great,” Herbstreit told The Columbus Dispatch. “It’s the vocal minority that make it rough. They probably represent only 5 to 10 percent of the fan base, but they are relentless.”

‘™¦ The excitement over the NCAA tournament has never existed for fans of one school. Northwestern did not make the field for the 73rd consecutive season. In The New York Times, Brett McMurphy looks at what Selection Sunday means for fans of Northwestern and other schools with long droughts.

‘™¦ The furor over violence in the NHL has not died down much since Zdeno Chara‘s hit on Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty. In Toronto’s Globe and Mail, Roy MacGregor writes that it’s a moment of crisis and the league’s general managers must act.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 14, 1997, which Boston College product became the first American-born NHL player to record his 500th goal?

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Read More: Kirk Herbstreit, Max Pacioretty, Zdeno Chara,

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel signs two-year extension

03.11.11 at 1:25 pm ET
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Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was rewarded with a two-year contract extension through 2013 on Thursday. In his six seasons at the helm, Manuel has led the Phillies to four National League East titles and two World Series appearances, including the franchise’s first championship in 28 years in 2008.

“Between our players and everything in the organization, the things that developed here, I think we have a good thing going,” Manuel said. “This is definitely the place I wanted to stay. I look forward to getting on down the road and seeing if we can’t even get better.”

Read More: Charlie Manuel, Rumor Mill,

Vikings’ Kevin Williams ends legal battle with NFL

03.11.11 at 1:25 pm ET
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Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams has ended his legal battle with the NFL regarding a failed drug test. His attorney, Peter Ginsberg, said Friday that Williams is “just tired of litigation” and doesn’t want to deal with the case any more.

Williams, along with fellow lineman Pat Williams, tested positive in 2008 for a banned diuretic that can mask the presence of steroids. The two were not accused of taking steroids and they said they didn’t know the banned substance was in the weight-loss supplement they were using.

The suspensions have been on hold while the legal proceedings have played out.

Ginsberg said Pat Williams, now a free agent, will continue his legal fight.

Read More: Kevin Williams, Pat Williams, Rumor Mill,

Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda worried about brother following Japan quake

03.11.11 at 1:24 pm ET
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Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda told ESPNLosAngeles.com that he has some concern for his brother, who makes frequent business trips to the northern part of Japan that was struck by Friday’s earthquake.

Kuroda said the rest of his family in Japan lives a safe distance from the affected area, but that he is unsure of whether or not his brother was on one of those trips.

“I haven’t really contacted my brother yet, but the rest of my family is OK,” Kuroda told the site through a translator. “I think he is OK, but I don’t know his whereabouts.”

Read More: Hiroki Kuroda, Rumor Mill,

Report: Ohio State considered more severe punishment for Jim Tressel

03.11.11 at 10:09 am ET
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In their initial letter to the NCAA, Ohio State officials considered suspending football coach Jim Tressel from participating in spring practice and summer camps as part of his punishment for breaking NCAA rules, according to ESPN.com. The school ultimately chose to allow him to participate in the offseason programs, though.

On Tuesday, Tressel was suspended for the first two games of the 2011 season and fined $250,000 for not telling the school about e-mails he received from an attorney in April 2010 concerning some of his players receiving improper benefits.

Tressel still didn’t mention the emails even after five players were suspended in December for the first five games of the 2011 season.

Tressel, Ohio State and the NCAA have all come under criticism this week — Tressel for not telling the school about the e-mails, and the school and the NCAA for not punishing Tressel more severely.

Read More: Jim Tressel, Rumor Mill,

Report: Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg to resign

03.11.11 at 10:08 am ET
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Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg is expected to resign, possibly as soon as Friday, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Greenberg, a Pittsburgh sports attorney, gained control of the team’s ownership in August.

The newspaper said its source didn’t give any one reason for the surprising development, but the article speculates that Greenberg’s ownership style could have created disagreements within the organization, including with team president Nolan Ryan.

Read More: Chuck Greenberg, Nolan Ryan, Rumor Mill,

Man involved in Paul Pierce stabbing gets 30 years in prison

03.11.11 at 8:26 am ET
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Trevor Watson, one of the men involved in the stabbing of Paul Pierce 11 years ago, was sentenced to 30 years in prison Friday for the attempted murder of a federal informant.

Prosecutors say Watson, 44, stabbed a Drug Enforcement Agency informant 10 times in February 2010 after the man had provided information against Watson in a drug investigation.

Watson was one of three men charged in the Pierce stabbing. He was convicted of assault and battery and spent a year in prison.

Read More: Paul Pierce, Rumor Mill, Trevor Watson,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: David Stern fires back at Magic coach Stan Van Gundy for ‘aberrant behavior’

03.11.11 at 7:55 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 LOCALLY FRIDAY:
NBA: Celtics at 76ers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)
NHL: Bruins at Islanders, 7 p.m. (NESN)
MLB Preseason: Red Sox SS at Astros, 1:05 p.m.
Red Sox SS at Twins, 1:05 p.m.

SATURDAY:
MLB Preseason: Marlins at Red Sox, 1:05 p.m. (NESN)

SUNDAY:
NBA: Bucks at Celtics, 6 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)
MLB Preseason: Red Sox at Pirates, 1:05 p.m. (NESN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, in defending suspended center Dwight Howard, on Monday criticized the NBA and David Stern, saying the commissioner doesn’t “tolerate other people’s opinion or free speech or anything.” Stern fired back Thursday, saying he would talk to the team’s owners about the coach’s comments and that he does not expect Van Gundy to criticize him again. “I have a feeling that some modicum of self-restraint will cause Stan and the team for which he works to rein in his aberrant behavior,” Stern said.

Added Stern: “It didn’t bother me personally. I see somebody whose team isn’t performing, whose star player was suspended, who seems to be fraying. … Whatever the pressures are that Stan is feeling, that he fell to whatever position he’s in to say something like this, it made me sad.”

‘™¦ According to reports in the New York papers, the referees whose errors marred the end of the St. John’s-Rutgers game Wednesday night did not remove themselves voluntarily from the rest of the Big East tournament. They were given an ultimatum by the league and agreed to go quietly. In the New York Daily News, Dick Weiss writes about the situation and wonders if less established referees would have been as protected.

‘™¦ The Heat ended a five-game losing streak by beating the Lakers on Thursday night, ending LA’s eight-game winning streak and sweeping the season series. That spurred Kobe Bryant to return to the floor an hour after the game for a 90-minute shooting session. Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo!Sports.com writes about what drives Bryant.

‘™¦ In the wake of Zdeno Chara‘s hit on Max Pacioretty, there’s a lot of talk about violence in the NHL. In the Toronto Globe and Mail, Jeff Blair writes that this is hockey’s steroid moment, when the league needs to make a change to the game.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 11, 1999, the Red Sox signed which free agent pitcher who had a family connection to the team?

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Read More: David Stern, Dwight Howard, kobe bryant, Max Pacioretty

Yogi Berra taken to hospital after fall in Yankees clubhouse

03.10.11 at 1:02 pm ET
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Yankees legend Yogi Berra was taken to a Florida hospital for precautionary reasons after falling backward in the Yankees clubhouse Thursday morning. The 85-year-old Berra caught one of his sneakers on the carpet and fell on his backside, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told The Associated Press.

Read More: Rumor Mill, Yogi Berra,

Criticized officials pull out of Big East tourney

03.10.11 at 12:54 pm ET
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The three referees who mistakenly allowed the time to run out in Wednesday’s Rutgers-St. John’s game voluntarily withdrew from the rest of the Big East tournament, according to the conference.

Jim Burr, Tim Higgins and Earl Walton failed to call St. John’s player Justin Brownlee for stepping out of bounds and then traveling with a second remaining. Had they made either call, Rutgers would have had a final chance to tie or win the game, which it lost 65-63.

Said Rutgers coach Mike Rice in a Thursday interview: “There’s accountability there. They didn’t have to do this. I’m sure besides my 13 players and my staff, they probably feel just as bad about what happened.”

Read More: Big East tournament, Earl Walton, Jim Burr, Mike Rice