|06.03.09 at 4:11 pm ET|
Which would make for a funnier lede: comparing David Ortiz to Ed Sprague or comparing him to Mark Lemke? Considering Lemke’s .187 average with the Sox is better than what Ortiz is doing now, I’m going with Lemke.
That’s right, just six days after writing a LEEInks entry that suggested they bronze Jacoby Ellsbury’s cleats and send them to Cooperstown (his hitting streak was broken hours later), I am officially writing the “they’ve got to do something about Ortiz” entry.
This isn’t exactly a ground-breaking entry, I know. There have been conspiracy theories and potential solutions to Boston’s DH problem since the early stages of Papi’s slump. Here are a few that I find most interesting.
Bleacher Report has a pretty interesting piece that questions whether or not booing Ortiz would be beneficial to the Sox and their struggling slugger. At first thought the idea seems ridiculous, but just remember that Yankee Stadium booed Derek Jeter out of his ’04 slump.
Bill Simmons writes in ESPN: The Magazine that Ortiz may be lying about his age. I know, I know: Feeding the Monster said that Theo and Bill James looked into that before they signed him. Simmons has it covered. Damn sports guy.
Meanwhile, the rumors continue to swirl regarding who the Sox might acquire to solve the DH problem for at least the rest of the season. In all honesty, has anyone heard of a potential deal they would like the Sox to do? Victor Martinez would command too much, Jeff Francoeur might be the hitting equivalent of Daisuke Matsuzaka as far as being frustrating to watch goes, and here’s the latest one: Corey Hart. People like him for his speed, but if you ask me (I know, you didn’t), the guy’s little more than a Wily Mo Pena impersonator at the plate. All power, no average.
Then there’s the questing of what should happen to Ortiz himself. The airwaves and blogosphere seem to be taking a liking to the idea of sending him down to the minors, but the idea of Ortiz failing to produce at Triple-A is probably scarier than him not hitting major-league stuff.
Bottom line, if there’s a solution out there, it hasn’t surfaced yet. Until it does, it would be shocking to see Theo take the wrong deal for the wrong guy. Your thoughts, Red Sox Nation?
|06.03.09 at 2:14 pm ET|
With the excitement still buzzing at the Patriots organized team activities at Gillette Tuesday over the return of a certain quarterback, another homecoming was being celebrated on the Revolution practice fields about 100 yards away.
Taylor Twellman participated in his first practice since playing in the Revs 2-1 win over D.C. United the previous weekend, a game in which Twellman gained the penalty that set up the game-winning goal in the 90th minute. Twellman had not played with the Revs since the previous Oct. 25 after suffering severe whiplash symptoms from a blow to head in a game on Aug. 30 by former LA Galaxy goalkeeper Steve Cronin. The Revs certainly felt the sting of Twellman’s absence breaking a six-game winless streak the night he came back. After his first practice Tuesday, he said he felt pretty good.
“Obviously, [I'm] a little off fitness-wise and fatigue, but it;s nice being back,” the forward said. “It’s going to be on a day to day basis. Sixty-five minutes was a lot extremely fast. You have the stimuli of the crowd and the first game going so we will see how it goes but it’s not going to be a full 90 for a while.”
While Twellman’s return was the most notable, the Revs injury report seems to be dwindling as of late. Defender Chris Albright was upgraded from “Out” to “Doubtful” recovering from surgery on his left knee to repair the lateral meniscus in mid-April. Head coach Steve Nicol said Albright will most likely join the team full time in practice today or Thursday and is hoping to be in the game on Sunday at Gillette against the New York Red Bulls. Gabriel Badilla (bulging disc) and Mauricio Castro (hamstring strain) are still listed as “Out,” but participated in running and stretching drills during practice.
“I think we are focusing on consistency,” said midfield Shalrie Joseph. “It’s all about getting our healthy bodies back. With Taylor back this past week and Matt (Reis) missing a few games it has all about trying to stay healthy and get in that rhythm with the 11 guys that started the game and starting to build the cohesiveness and that unit that we had a few years back.”
The Revs are prepared for its first back-to-back home series of the season and are hoping to continue the momentum against the Red Bulls on Sunday, the last place team in the Eastern Conference. The Revs are 8-1-3 against New York at Gillette.
“We do have a couple of games in hand on some teams and were getting players back all the time,” Nicol said. “If we keep picking up points at the same time we’re in a good position to make a challenge.”
|06.03.09 at 2:11 pm ET|
LeBron knows the way to the back of the sports page better than most of you know the route to your kitchen. His post-game drama provided more excitement Saturday than the Orlando Magic breaking its 14-year NBA Finals drought. LeBron’s lack of sportsmanship was what won headlines as he stormed off the court following a Game six Cleveland Cavaliers defeat at Amway Arena refusing to shake hands with the Magic or speak to the media.
That one simple gesture, or lack thereof, has been the topic of heated contorversy over the past week approaching the NBA Finals tomorrow night. Alright, LeBron carried the Cavs throughout the postseason and had every right to be miffed at the loss but I’m sure Delonte West and Mo Williams were no happy campers and they still found a way to stay on the court.
LeBron spoke to the media yesterday calling himself a winner and said he found it hard to congratulate his opponent after just having lost. Come on LeBron, every middle and high schooler knows the importance of sportsmanship. It seems LeBron could use a little coaching in post-game etiquette.
For example, at least Eric Mangini and Bill Belichick made an effort, however little it may have been, after the Patriots beat the Jets in the first game following their 2006 break up.
Or maybe Chris Paul could have reminded LeBron about their secret hand shake to remind him how it’s done.
He could have just watched the hand shake refusals of past players to see how bad it looks.
Yet there is one consolation for LeBron — at least he will not be in anymore of those puppet commercials with Kobe.
|06.03.09 at 10:40 am ET|
Today marks the end of an era in the National Football League, as Rodney Harrison closed the curtain on an illustrious 15-year career.
Harrison was taken by the San Diego Chargers in the 5th round of the 1994 NFL draft out of Western Illinois. The career that the hard-hitting safety had wasn’t exactly expected on that April afternoon over a decade ago.
Harrison leaves the gridiron for the bright lights of broadcasting with NBC Sports, most likely as a member of the peacock’s Football Night in America. NBC auditioned Harrison for a future job during this year’s Super Bowl pre-game coverage.
Check out the stats on Harrison. Despite contact with certain pharmaceutical products, this strong safety should be in line for a bust in Canton, Ohio. Harrison twice played in the Pro Bowl, in 1998 and 2003.
Just ask former Ravens head coach Brian Billick about his feelings on Rodney Harrison. Actually, Billick’s affection for the former Patriot was caught on tape by ESPN, so no need to ask the question.
The HGH suspension, aside, Harrison certainly found himself some controversy during his 15 years in professional football. After then-Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt said that the Patriots were “ripe for the picking”during the 2005 playoffs, Harrison gave Vanderjagt a new nickname.
Harrison was also named the NFL’s dirtiest player in a 2004 player’s poll. In this interview with SI, the title doesn’t seem to affect him much.
After being given such a dubious distinction, Harrison tried his hand at officiating. The results of this experiment were captured in this story for ESPN.
Rodney Harrison’s career will be judged not by his refereeing skills or his Chris Berman-esque nicknames, but it will be judged on how he performed on the game’s biggest stage, the Super Bowl.
Harrison ends his career with a pair of Super Bowl rings with the Patriots, including an interception in Super Bowl XXXIX against the Eagles. However, when the words Super Bowl and Rodney Harrison will be paired together, this infamous moment will almost certainly come to mind.
Considering the outcry by sportswriters about pro athlete’s and their use of steroids, will Rodney Harrison ultimately end up in Canton? He certainly has the numbers to warrant a bronze bust and yellow jacket.
To quote mathmaticians the world over, the numbers don’t lie. And for No. 37, the chapter on playing football closes, and the chapter on retirement and broadcasting begins.
|06.03.09 at 10:40 am ET|
Good Morning and welcome to the Wednesday edition of the LEEInks!
Leading off is our belovedRed Sox leaving Comerica Park with a fairly impressive 5-1 win in the Motor City. Dice-K earned his first victory on the season and helped manager Terry Francona get the 500th of his Red Sox tenure.
Our very own Rob Bradford recaps last night’s game with a focus on Francona’s meteoric rise to the managerial elite. Francona will be a guest on today’s Dale and Holley show as a part of Red Sox Wednesday.
Also on the diamond, San Francisco Giants living legend lefty Randy Johnson goes for win No. 300 against the Nationals tonight. The Washington Post’s Thomas Boswell takes a look at the Big Unit’s illustrious 21-year run, but this blogger will always remember this moment of Johnson’s career.
Moving off the diamond, and onto the ice, the Penguins got their first win of the Stanley Cup Finals. Thanks to Maxime Talbot’s two goals, the Pens won 4-3 in front of their home crowd at Mellon Arena.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gene Collier attributes the Pens win to a healthy serving of luck. Any win against a formidable team like the Detroit Red Wings, certainly gets filed under the lucky category.
WEEI.com’s very own Chris Price even weighed in on the Stanley Cup Finals. In case you missed it, here’s his column linking the Wings to another dynastic team that New Englanders know and love.
Seemingly, the only news being made on the hardwood is the “handshake-gate” scandal surround LeBron James. However, there is a great bit of news involving Magic shooting guard Mickael Pietrus.
This season, Pietrus has been wearing shoes endorsed by his Laker counterpart Kobe Bryant. With the Finals around the corner, Pietrus is kicking his kicks to the curb.
Keeping with the topic of sports fashion, have you ever been at a game and seen a random jersey of a player long since gone from the team’s roster? If you love such sights, check out Straight Cash Homey, a wonderfully snarky look at athletic apparel from a “bygone” era.
And yes, if you’re wondering, the site’s name does come from this infamous Randy Moss quote.
Well, hope you enjoyed that special Wednesday morning brunch buffet of LEEInks. Enjoy this beautiful Wednesday and stay classy, New England!
|06.02.09 at 10:53 am ET|
Detroit Hitters against Daisuke Matsuzaka
Curtis Granderson- .444 AVG/.500 OBP/.889 SLG in 9 AB (1 HR, 2RBI)
Placido Polanco- .200/.333/.200 in 5 AB
Miguel Cabrera- .250/.500 /.250 in 4 AB (2 BB)
Magglio Ordonez- .111/.200/.222 in 9 AB (1 2B, 5 K)
Brandon Inge- .143/.250/.143 in 7 AB
Gerald Laird- .250/.250/.250 in 4 AB
Adam Everett- .000/.000/.000 in 3 AB (2 K)
Active hitters who have never faced Matsuzaka: Clete Thomas, Ryan Raburn, Ramon Santiago, Jeff Larish, Dane K. Sardinha, and Josh Anderson
|06.02.09 at 10:06 am ET|
You know what’s worse than Mondays? Mondays on which no sports are played. Last night, for example, my viewing choices boiled down to the Yankees, College Softball, or AA baseball. Not much of a choice, really.
Thankfully things are somewhat back to normal tonight, with the Red Sox starting a three-game series against the AL Central-leading Tigers tonight in the Motor City (Insert bailout joke here). Tonight, Daisuke Matsuzaka gets the ball against Rick Porcello, who is the subject of an interesting little feature in today’s Detroit Free Press, highlighting the fact that the rookie has won five straight games without throwing more than 95 pitches each outing. Of course, he’s only lasted more than six innings in one of them, but hey, that’s modern baseball for you.
Most of the Free Press’ sports section is given over to coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals, which resume tonight in Pittsburgh with the Red Wings holding a 2-0 series lead and hoping to pull off back-to-back Cups. Today, Michael Rosenberg wonders if time might be catching up to Kris Draper, Helene St. James thinks that Henrik Zetterburg is in line to become the next Red Wings captain, and Ben Schmitt presents a guide to Pittsburgh lingo, which to me doesn’t sound much different than the Chicago Swerskian dialect. But maybe I’m reading it wrong. You can also play “Smack the Penguin,” which is not nearly as dirty as you probably wish it was.
If you’ve watched ESPN for any amount the last couple days, you know that the NBA Finals start Thursday, which is a long wait for us hoop junkies looking for an NBA Finals fix. The reason for this is that David Stern likes to watch us suffer. And TV. Always, always TV. While you wait, George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel has an update on Jameer Nelson, Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times breaks down the Laker game plan, Michael Wilbon and Peter Vecsey share their take on l’affair du Lebron, Chris Bosh has a record deal, Jeff Van Gundy will stay on ABC’s broadcast team despite objectivity questions, and Charles Barkley can get away with anything.
And for reading all that, here’s a bonus parody video at the expense of the TNT “Inside the NBA” crew. Try getting that song out of your head now.
|06.02.09 at 5:46 am ET|
We always knew that Boston was a darn good baseball town. A certain group of ballplayers situated on Chestnut Hill have good reason to supplement that assertion.
Boston College’s baseball team has had quite the interesting postseason journeyto say the least. After losing to top seed Florida State, 7-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, the Eagles set out on a wild postseason ride filled with thrilling comebacks, improbable victories, and quite a few extra innings.
In their second game of the ACC tournament, the Eagles turned to sophomore infielder Mickey Wiswall for a little power. The Stoneham, Mass., native provided the Eagles with a pair of homers and 5 RBI on the day in a 7-3 victory against perennial powerhouse and 13th-ranked Georgia Tech.
BC kept the bats going, defeating yet another ACC opponent with an illustrious history, in Miami. The Eagles were able to more than weather the storm against the Hurricanes finishing the ACC tournament’s pool play with a 10-1 victory.
Sophomore pitcher Pat Dean fired 5 strikeouts and sprinkled eight hits over a brilliant seven innings to help the Eagles surrender just four runs against two top-20 programs on consectutive days.
The Eagles then flew to the Lone Star state for NCAA Regional play in Austin. The Eagles landed the region’s third seed and faced the Texas State Bobcats in their first game.
Boston College was down three in the ninth, and then delivered one of the biggest comebacks that college baseball has seen in quite some time. The Eagles strung together five hits including John Spatola’s go-ahead three run dinger for an 8-7 win.
Don’t believe me? Check out these highlights posted onto Youtube by Austin NBC affilliate KXAN and see for yourself.
The Eagles the faced annother most illustrious baseball program in the Texas Longhorns. Let’s just say both squads were in it for the long haul.
The Eagles and Longhorns played 25-innings, a new NCAA record for longest baseball game. Manger Augie Garrido’s squad was lifted by the left arm of reliever Austin Wood who provided the Longhorns with 13 innings of shutout relief.
Wood surrendered just one hit to BC’s TonySanchez. Sanchez’s base knock came in the 19th inning.
Much to the chagrin of the BC faithful, Texas won the game on an RBI single by Travis Tucker with one out in the 25th inning, after over seven hours of baseball.
Despite the loss, BC was alive for another game, today against Army. The Eagles were involved in yet another close game, losing to Army 4-3.
This wild postseason journey was the first for BC 1967′s Summer of Love. The Eagles finished 34-26 on the season.
|05.31.09 at 11:13 am ET|
As New England’s Steve Ralston leaned over his boots in the locker room, just minutes after scoring the game-winning goal on a penalty kick in a 2-1 win Saturday night against D.C. United, he turned to teammate Shalrie Joseph.
“‘What’d I tell ya Shalrie?” Ralston said. “These are my lucky boots. Cowboy Up!”
The Revolution certainly seemed to be taking a page from the book of the 2003 Red Sox, a team that coined the phrase “Cowboy Up!” during its tumultuous playoff run. Ralston’s penalty kick in the 90th minute of play against rival D.C. United broke a 1-1 tie and a six-game losing streak for the Revs.
The biggest move of the game came in the 25th minute when forward Taylor Twellman entered the game to a roaring standing ovation, making the 15,142 filling Gillette sound like they were watching a playoff Patriots game instead of a midseason Revs match. Twellman had not played for the Revs since last October 25, missing the MLS Cup Playoffs and the first nine games of the season after suffering from severe whiplash symptoms dating back to August 30 when he was hit in the head by former LA Galaxy goalkeeper Steve Cronin.
“This team needed a pick-me-up, and that’s been the hardest part — watching them,” Twellman said. “Whether it’s just being a nuisance in the box running into people or helping the team when I came on. I think it helped Shalrie play his natural position and he scored a great goal. I think it just helps everybody do their own job and they haven’t been able to do that with me out so its fun.”
Twellman demonstrated his importance to the team on the first goal for the Revs by occupying two United defenders opening the middle for Shalrie Joseph to score.
“He puts the ball in the net for starters and takes pressure off other players as well,” head coach Steve Nicol said of Twellman. “If you’re playing against Taylor you have to make sure you know where you’re at, even if he doesn’t touch, he’s a benefit because he opens holes for other people.”
Twellman said he felt awkward on the field for the first time in seven months yet his awkwardness played to the Revs advantage on the last play of the game. With his back to the D.C. net, Twellman was pulled down by United defender Bryan Namoff resulting in the penalty kick for Ralston.
“We’re a different team obviously,” Ralston said. “A little bit of that is we changed the way we were playing at half time, we can’t just keep hitting long balls; we want to try to pass the ball more. Obviously when Shalrie goes back he changes the midfield for us.”
The win for the Revs and the three points pushes their season record to 3-3-4, 13 points just three points behind D.C. United (3-2-7, 16 points) in the Eastern Conference.
“It’s kind of emotional because it’s been a long haul,” Twellman said. “It’s been eight months of trying to guess what’s going on and I thank God I figured it out. I didn’t expect to play seventy minutes tonight and then get punched in the face right away so it’s obviously a good test. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow and Monday.”
Twellman’s wake up call came on a shot to the face by a D.C. defender minutes after he entered the game momentarily scaring the crowd as the shocked forward fell to the ground.
With ten games in the record books, the Revs are one third of the way through the 30-game season. Before Saturday’s match they had scored a league-low eight goals and had not won since its home opener against FC Dallas on April 4.
Yet Twellman’s return Saturday night seemed to spark something in the Revs that they had not seen in a while. New England snapped D.C.’s seven-game win streak and won the season series 1-0-1. The 1-1 tie matchup up at RFK Stadium in D.C. on April 17 was the only other meeting for the two rivals in the 2009 season.
“We came out like the old Revolution, pressing them,” Twellman said. “Hopefully we can continue this run.”
With Twellman back, the Revs cannot be anything but hopeful.
|05.29.09 at 8:46 am ET|
Alright, everyone, behave yourselves. Only a few hours left till the weekend, so bear with me while I, Samuel Chamberlain, serve up the mystery meat that is the collection of the best sports blogs around the Internet. Though I warn you, the content might be a little light, as our office is abuzz over the pending David Ortiz-Manny Ramirez road trip.
Let’s begin with the NBA, where Cleveland staved off elimination, winning Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals 112-102 behind a triple-double from LeBron James. Brian Windhorst has the Cleveland perspective in his Cavs Beat blog, while Brian Schmitz and the Orlando Sentinel crew add their own talking points.
Frightening news for fans of giant mascot heads. ESPN analyst Lee Corso apparently suffered a mild stroke sometime in the recent past, but expects to be back for the 2009 season. And since you’re behaving so well today, I’ll even throw in a bonus Onion story.
Speaking of commentators, if you’re looking for a blog (other than this one) for your morning reading, I can’t recommend Awful Announcing enough. Today’s main page is a particularly scrumptious assortment of errors, including a TNT graphics snafu at last night’s Cavs-Magic game, and a misspelled ESPN graphic at the (wait for it) Spelling Bee. And if you look really hard, you’ll find the video of Al Michaels’ “Hawaii Five-O” appearance.
Who’s up for some American football, Austrian-style? For the last few weeks, Deadspin has been running the diary of Robert Lunn, a former UConn defensive tackle currently toiling in the pro football hotbed of Portchach, Austria (you know, schnitzel, Alps, the Von Trapp family, the whole schmear). The latest installment of his “American in Austria” diary ran yesterday. Click on any of the tags at the bottom of the post to get the whole, absorbing story.
Enjoy the weekend, folks, and don’t forget to check the “It Is What It Is” Patriots blog later today for highlights of Dennis and Callahan’s interview with Tom Brady.
- jeff on Jets RB Mike Goodson arrested on weapons, drug charges
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- Uncle Buck on Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: ‘Bickering’ Knicks look to regroup for Game 4 against Pacers
- David Stern on Monday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James gets defensive after criticism from Bulls
- Matt on Monday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James gets defensive after criticism from Bulls
- bruinman86 on Friday’s Morning Mashup: Tim Tebow unsure about future
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- Mike on Friday’s Morning Mashup: Tim Tebow unsure about future
- Russ on Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Umpires in Cleveland blow game-tying home run call
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