|03.12.10 at 7:54 am ET|
Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
A memorable moment from last year in baseball was the young daughter of a Phillies fan taking the foul ball her father caught and throwing it from the upper deck. Here’s the video:
Comedy Central comedian Daniel Tosh recently visited with the father and daughter and gave them a chance for redemption, with Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz playing a role.
|Web Redemption – Phillies Fan|
BASEBALL: Mets outfielder Jason Bay heard some boos from Red Sox fans in Thursday’s game, after reuniting with his former teammates. John Lackey pitched well in his three innings. Bay gave his seal of approval on the Sox’ signing of Lackey. Mets shortstop Jose Reyes was told to rest 2-8 weeks. Todd Helton agreed to a two-year extension with the Rockies. Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb might have to start the season on the DL.
FOOTBALL: Chris Price analyzes the Patriots’ moves to re-sign Kevin Faulk and Stephen Neal. LaDanian Tomlinson will meet with the Jets. An alleged gang member was convicted of the murder of Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams. Hall of Fame defensive lineman (and actor) Merlin Olsen died at the age of 69.
BASKETBALL: Kendrick Perkins spoke on Dale & Holley about the Celtics’ need for a “sense of urgency.” Suspended Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas will change his number from 0 to 6. Ground was broken for the Nets’ arena in Brooklyn.
Boston College’s season ended with a loss to Virginia in the ACC tournament. Boston University plays Saturday with a trip to the NCAAs at stake. Georgetown bounced top-seeded Syracuse in the Big East quarterfinals. Marquette knocked off Villanova. West Virginia survived Cincinnati with a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Georgia Tech ended North Carolina’s season.
HOCKEY: The Bruins pounded the Flyers. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said Marc Savard likely is done for the season, and Savard’s mother isn’t happy with Matt Cooke or the league. Meanwhile, Penguins forward Bill Guerin spoke out against hits to the head such as the one his teammate delivered. The Hurricanes beat the Penguins in overtime. The Blue Jackets edged the Thrashers. The Canadiens beat the Oilers in a shootout. The Sharks scored six goals in the third period of a win over the Predators.
GOLF: Here’s the latest speculation about Tiger Woods’ return. Major League Soccer players voted to authorize a strike.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 12, 1985, Larry Bird scored a Celtics-record 60 points in a win over the Atlanta Hawks. Where was the game played?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I am a little disappointed in this year’s club. … We just weren’t able to bring about any consistency in our club. I’ve always been able to have some stability within my team and there wasn’t enough of that this year for a number of different reasons.” — Boston College basketball coach Al Skinner, after his Eagles ended their season with a loss to Virginia in the ACC tournament
STAT OF THE DAY: 3 — NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball teams with 2,000 wins all time, after Kansas reached the milestone (joining Kentucky and North Carolina) with Thursday night’s victory over Texas Tech
‘NET RESULTS: Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg shows his team how to hit a halfcourt shot during practice for the ACC tournament.
TRIVIA ANSWER: New Orleans
SOOTHING SOUNDS: James Taylor is 62 today.
|03.11.10 at 7:55 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.
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter backpedaled on his comments that Latino players were African-American “impostors,” but insisted one poor word choice shouldn’t change his message.
In a story in USA Today Wednesday, Hunter said: “People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they’re African-American. They’re not us. They’re impostors. Even people I know come up and say: ‘Hey, what color is Vladimir Guerrero? Is he a black player?’ I say, ‘Come on, he’s Dominican. He’s not black.’ …
“As African-American players, we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us. It’s like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper. It’s like, ‘Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?’ … I’m telling you, it’s sad.”
After hearing some criticism, Hunter offered an explanation and clarification on his Angels-sponsored blog Wednesday afternoon.
“What troubles me most was the word ‘impostors’ appearing in reference to Latin American players not being black players. It was the wrong word choice, and it definitely doesn’t accurately reflect how I feel and who I am,” Hunter wrote.
“What I meant was they’re not black players; they’re Latin American players. There is a difference culturally. But on the field, we’re all brothers, no matter where we come from, and that’s something I’ve always taken pride in: treating everybody the same, whether he’s a superstar or a young kid breaking into the game. Where he was born and raised makes no difference.”
BASEBALL: Nomar Garciaparra retired as a Red Sox.
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry responded to Milton Bradley’s criticism of the team by saying Bradley should look in the mirror.
Here’s your Ben Roethlisberger update. LaDainian Tomlinson is to visit the Vikings Thursday. Former Browns quarterback Derek Anderson backtracked on negative comments he made about Cleveland fans. Derrick Mason agreed to a two-year deal with the Ravens. The Bengals are close to a deal with receiver Antonio Bryant, according to the receiver’s agent. Former Colts defensive back Marlin Jackson signed with the Eagles.
It’s Championship Week in college basketball, and Boston College plays Virginia at noon Thursday. Robert Morris turned away Quinnipiac in the NEC final. A healthy Luke Harangody lifted Notre Dame past Seton Hall. Cincinnati knocked off Louisville. Nebraska upset Missouri. Montana rallied from 22 down to beat Weber State and win the Big Sky tournament.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 11, 1999, the Red Sox signed which free agent pitcher, who was related to another player on the team?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I felt like I was there [when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series]. In Boston there’s something greater than an individual player winning a World Series. When I was there I realized there’s something bigger than us winning a World Series. It’s winning a World Series for these people.” — Nomar Garciaparra, at his retirement press conference
STAT OF THE DAY: 7-6 — After Wednesday’s loss to the Grizzlies, the Celtics’ record in the second half of back-to-back games
‘NET RESULTS: This happens quickly, so here’s the explanation of what happens in this basketball clip: A player saves the ball from going out of bounds and throws back toward the court. It deflects off the bottom of the backboard, bounces off an opposing player’s head and goes into the basket. Not something you see very often.
Washington Capitals forward Alexander Semin has trouble with a shootout move. Watch Marty Turco’s reaction while he’s in the goal.
That led to this compilation of the 10 worst shootout attempts. You may recognize the guy at No. 1.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Ramon Martinez, older brother of Pedro
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Cheryl Lynn, who was discovered on “The Gong Show,” is 53 today.
|03.10.10 at 11:33 am ET|
He was the Boston Red Sox.
Pedro Martinez had his run in the late ’90s. Jason Varitek had his time at the top in the early 2000s. Heck, even big Mo Vaughn enjoyed his time at the pinnacle of Red Sox Nation a while back. But nobody since the great “Gold Dust Twins” meant what Nomar Garciaparra did to the city of Boston when he was here.
Because from 1996 straight up until 2004, No. 5 was all that was Boston, all that was Red Sox and everything in between.
People remember he was big time in this city. But what some people might not remember is that “Nomah” inspired a culture. He was deified in a Red Sox uniform. He was anointed the next great thing by Ted Williams. He even inspired an entire string of “Saturday Night Live” skits.
His place was one of singular greatness in the early years of his career: the Rookie of the Year Award, the MVP runner-up season in 1998, the two batting titles, the times when it seemed impossible to get him out. In 2001, however, the lingering effects of a pitch that split a tendon when it hit him in the right wrist at the end of 1999 forced him to undergo surgery. Though he had tremendous runs over the remainder of his Red Sox career, the sustained brilliance that characterized his first four years as a Red Sox was never quite the same. Finally, in 2004, Garciaparra’s magical time in Boston had met its end. He was traded away as part of a series of maneuverings that landed Orlando Cabrera, the shortstop who helped deliver the Red Sox’ ultimate goal — a World Series title.
But it didn’t matter; Nomar Garciaparra had forever etched his name — as (wicked) long as it is — in Boston history books.
And as he finally hangs up the cleats for good, we take some time to remember the top 12 Nomar moments since he graced Major League Baseball with his presence back in 1996.
1. June 2, 1994. Nomar drafted by Boston: Nobody had this kind of hype since Roger Clemens. But you could argue that this 20-year-old from Georgia Tech started building his legacy before he even set foot in a Fenway Park dugout.
That’s because Boston knew all about him and what he was supposed to be. Ever since he got drafted on that fateful June afternoon, you couldn’t walk the streets of Boston without hearing someone yell, “Johnny, wait until you see this kid play. He’s gonna be wicked awesome.”
And he was.
But what you might not remember is that Nomar was originally selected in the 1991 draft, by the Milwaukee Brewers. Fortunately for Boston, he refused to sign, went on to play for Georgia Tech, and eventually became a Red Sox.
2. Sept. 1, 1996. Nomar homers in debut: You know that feeling when you order a really expensive meal? And after a way-too-long wait, the server finally brings it over to you, and you take that first bite — and it’s everything you ever dreamed of?
Well, that was the unanimous feeling in the city of Boston when Nomar Garciaparra stepped into the batters box on Aug. 31 and crushed his first major league home run — in his first-ever major league game.
It took him two at-bats to capture the hearts of Bostonians everywhere. And it would take him thousands more before he would ever give it back.
Because on that night, Sept. 1, 1996, Nomar Garciaparra proved that he would be exactly the filet mignon this city had ordered.
3. Nov. 3, 1997. Nomar Wins Rookie of Year: And he did it unanimously, too.
Following a rookie campaign in which he led the league with 209 hits, smacked 30 home runs and drove in 98 runs, Nomar Garciaparra was selected as Major League Baseball’s Rookie of the Year. On top of that, his 30-game hit streak set an AL rookie record, he competed in the All-Star Home Run Derby and he finished eighth in MVP voting.
Needless to say, Nomar had arrived.
4. May 10, 1999. Nomar takes live batting practice. At least, that’s what it seemed like.
In a game against the Seattle Mariners, Mr. Garciaparra would put on a free batting clinic for anyone who happened to be watching at the time, finishing the day 3-for-4 with three home runs, including two grand slams, and 10 RBI.
It was one of the greatest single game performances of any Red Sox player in franchise history, as Boston went on to defeat Seattle 12-4.
And it was only the beginning of what would be a memorable year for the kid who was named after his father, only backward.
5. Oct. 6, 1999. Nomar homers in ALDS Game 5: The Red Sox had made the playoffs twice since 1990. And both times, they had been eliminated in the first round rather handily (3-0, 3-1.)
But in 1999, things were different. And that’s because Nomar Garciaparra wanted them to be.
In 1999, the Red Sox were the same team they were in 1998, 1997 and most years before that. They were composed of nothing but smoke and mirrors. Smoke, mirrors, Nomar and Pedro.
And that’s why 1999 was such a special year — because Boston finally made a splash in the playoffs. And let’s face it, the Red Sox hadn’t exactly been having their way in baseball postseason for quite a while.
Down two games to none against the Cleveland Indians, Boston made a furious comeback and tied the series at two, and then, in the decisive Game 5, Garciaparra slammed a first-inning home run off All-Star pitcher Charles Nagy, putting Boston up 2-0. The Red Sox went on to win that game 12-8, advancing to the ALCS.
They would end up losing the ALCS, 4-1, to the Yankees. But Red Sox fans finally got a taste of something they hadn’t had in years — postseason victory.
6. July 20, 2000. Nomar’s average hits .403: It was late July. In the city of Boston. And someone was batting over .400.
Needless to say, it was a kid of a big deal.
Ever since Teddy Ballgame finished with the big .406 in 1941, nobody had been able to break .400. But in the year 2000, fittingly, Boston’s own Nomar Garciaparra made a serious run.
It was the closest he’d get all season, and though his average would hang around the high .390s for the first few weeks of August, he wouldn’t end the .400 drought.
Still, he would finish 2000 with an average of .372, which currently ranks seventh highest since 1941.
7. Oct. 14, 2000. Nomar appears on “Saturday Night Live”: His arrival in Boston was not only a hit in the Boston area, but nationally as well. In fact, he became such a household name, he inspired the “SNL” skit “Boston Teens,” starring Jimmy Fallon as a crazed Boston native who had an unmatched love for “Nomah Gaciaparra.”
And on Oct. 14, Nomar made it his own.
After a full year of airing Boston Teen skits, “SNL” finally recruited the man — the legend — to appear on set. Finally, Nomar appeared on the October episode as the boyfriend of Fallon’s sister, played by Kate Hudson, sparking a memorable reaction from Fallon’s character. Thus began the phrase, “Nomah! We wicked love you!”
It cemented Nomar’s national popularity. Only his appearance on the cover of the February 2001 Sports Illustrated rivaled his “SNL” cameo. He had become not only a baseball star, but a superstar. A true celebrity.
8. July 21, 2001. Nomar returns with a bang: He had been out with a wrist injury all season long. In fact, he reported to spring training with the problem and hadn’t played a single game all year because of it.
But on July 21 Nomar returned in a way that only Nomar could, going 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI, including a seventh-inning two-run single that put the Sox ahead for good.
Boston didn’t make the postseason that year. In fact, the Sox finished only one game above .500. But on July 21, Boston’s hero had returned. And for that, Boston was grateful.
9. July 23, 2002. Nomar smacks three on his birthday. Some people throw parties for their birthday. Some people go out to dinner. Nomar, however, preferred to hit three home runs.
On his 29th birthday, Nomar took it upon himself to do the gift giving, crushing three home runs in just the first two innings of play, as Boston went on to drub Tampa Bay at Fenway, 22-4.
Garciaparra became the first player ever to hit as many home runs over two consecutive innings.
One day earlier, Nomar homered twice against the Yankees. With five home runs in two days, Garciaparra tied a major league record.
10. July 1, 2004. Nomar sulks in dugout, Jeter dives in stands. It was a day that will forever live in infamy.
At the tail end of a three-game Yankees-Red Sox series at Yankee Stadium, New York was aiming for a sweep. With the game knotted at 3 thanks to two Manny Ramirez home runs, the teams headed into extra innings.
In the top of the 12th, Derek Jeter hurled himself into the stands tracking down a Trot Nixon pop-up, a leap that sent him to the hospital, bloodied and bruised.
All the while, the Red Sox’ superstar shortstop sat still in the dugout.
Nomar was on the bench due to the need to rest, and did not start the game. He didn’t enter in the late innings as a pinch-hitter either, even while the Yankees’ star was flinging himself into the stands.
It was the beginning of the end for Nomar in Boston.
11. July 31, 2004. Nomar traded to Cubs at deadline. One month after the Yankee Stadium debacle, it was the end of the end for Nomar.
As part of multi-team deals completed just before the 2004 trade deadline, the once irreplaceable Boston superstar had been shipped to the Cubs, with the Sox receiving defensive upgrades in the form of Orlando Cabrera and backup first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz.
While it can certainly be argued that Boston did not receive equal name value in exchange for the six-time All-Star, the Red Sox certainly addressed two pressing issues: a sub-par defense and a disgruntled superstar whose contract issues and questionable clubhouse attitude had created an irreparable rift within Red Sox organization.
Equipped with their two new puzzle pieces, the Red Sox went on to win their first World Series since 1918.
Nomar would receive his World Series ring behind closed doors in the 2005 season.
12. July 6, 2009. Nomar returns home. It had been five years since Nomar had made an appearance at Fenway Park. In those five years the Red Sox had won two championships and cemented themselves as one of baseball’s elite.
But on July 6, he returned to Fenway Park — and it was as if he didn’t miss a day.
In front of a unanimously standing crowd, Nomar Garciaparra stepped into the batter’s box in the top of the second inning and was showered with applause for over a minute. The once (and still) beloved Boston superstar tipped his helmet and held his hand to his chest.
Nomar felt it.
Fenway felt it.
And no one who saw the moment will ever forget it.
Though his departure was untimely and his fantastic seasons didn’t bear any rings, for 8-1/2 years, Nomar Garciaparra was the Boston Red Sox.
For 8-1/2 years, he owned the city of Boston.
And for that, he will always be remembered as more than an athlete.
|03.10.10 at 8:51 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.
Michael Vick was in Baltimore Tuesday night to accept the Ed Block Courage Award as the Eagles player who best exemplified commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage last season. Dozens of people protested outside the event, at which Tom Brady was honored as the Patriots recipient.
“I think I do exemplify what this award stands for,” Vick insisted. “I think everybody has the right to their own opinion. But I feel like I’ve done everything that I said I would do, coming out and moving forward. My peers felt like I was doing the right thing, and that I display courage and sportsmanship and leadership. I value their opinion.”
BASEBALL: Daisuke Matsuzaka wants to play at least 10 more years in the United States. Jerry Thornton laments the takeover of the Sox by stat geeks.
Twins closer Joe Nathan has a torn elbow ligament. Stephen Strasburg pitched two scoreless innings in his Nationals spring training debut. Mets ace Johan Santana struggled in his first game since August, allowing four runs on six hits in 1-2/3 innings.
Former Dodgers center fielder Willie Davis died at the age of 69.
FOOTBALL: Vince Wilfork talked about his new deal with the Patriots. Former Patriots lineman Jarvis Green signed with the Broncos. Pats owner Robert Kraft spoke on The Big Show and said the team signed former Jets linebacker Marques Murrell.
Former Jets running back Thomas Jones signed with the Chiefs. The Browns released quarterback Derek Anderson. The Steelers re-signed safety Ryan Clark and brought back wide receiver Antwaan Randle El.
Yankee Stadium will host the Pinstripe Bowl Dec. 30, pitting also-rans from the Big East and Big 12.
Mike Dunleavy was fired as Clippers general manager. Suns forward Channing Frye and Pacers forward Danny Granger were suspended one game by the league for their part in an altercation Saturday. Allen Iverson tweeted that he will get through his latest “tough times,” which include his wife filing for divorce the same day he parted ways with the 76ers.
HOCKEY: The Bruins lost to the Maple Leafs in overtime. Dan Rowinski has the Hat Trick of Things We Learned. Mike Milbury gave an entertaining interview on Dale & Holley about the Marc Savard situation.
MISC.: Carl Edwards was placed on probation by NASCAR for three races following the crash he caused Sunday.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 10, 1986, which former Red Sox player was elected to the Hall of Fame by the veterans committee?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Are we that demented? Is that the way we have to approach this sport? I don’t think so. … To say that because your best player went down you have to immediately turn around and go after vigilante justice is Neanderthal. We’ve got to get past that.” — Mike Milbury, commenting on the Marc Savard situation on Dale & Holley Tuesday
STAT OF THE DAY: 2 — After Tuesday night’s 86-84 loss to the Bucks, losses for the Celtics this season when holding opponents to less than 90 points
‘NET RESULTS: Awesome finish to a Division 3 playoff game between William Paterson and Albertus Magnus.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Bobby Doerr
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Tom Scholz from Boston is 63 today.
|03.09.10 at 8:12 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.
Five years after their acrimonious breakup as teammates on the Philadelphia Eagles, quarterback Donovan McNabb and wide receiver Terrell Owens are reuniting — at least for a day. The two players will be teammates on the basketball court in an upcoming episode of Spike TV’s “Pros vs. Joes.” In the episode, NFL players McNabb, Owens and Antonio Gates, all of whom played college basketball, will play 3-on-3 against retired NBA players Hakeem Olajuwon, Kenny Smith and Rick Fox.
BASEBALL: Young Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias continued to impress, this time with his bat, as he hit a three-run home run Monday. Josh Beckett talked about working with Victor Martinez.
The controversial Canadian doctor under investigation by federal authorities said he treated Alex Rodriguez but did not give him HGH.
FOOTBALL: Leigh Bodden reportedly is close to re-signing with the Patriots. Chad Pennington signed a one-year deal to return to the Dolphins. The Seahawks traded backup quarterback Seneca Wallace to the Browns for a 2011 undisclosed draft pick. The Raiders released wide receiver Javon Walker and defensive end Greg Ellis, two days after cutting running back Justin Fargas.
Ben Roethlisberger’s agent said the Steelers quarterback is innocent of sexual assault, while police said they plan to interview him this week.
BASKETBALL: Kevin Garnett raved about the recent play of Celtics teammate Ray Allen. Suspended guard Rafer Alston may have played his last game for the Heat. The Cavaliers, minus LeBron James, beat the Spurs, who will be without Tony Parker for about six weeks. The Mavericks won their 12th straight.
HOCKEY: Bruins center Marc Savard has a Grade 2 concussion. Hits to the head were the main topic of discussion at the annual meeting of NHL general managers in Florida.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 9, 1969, the Celtics retired No. 24 in honor of which player?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “He just needs experience, and the sky’s the limit for him.” — Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan on young shortstop Jose Iglesias
STAT OF THE DAY: 5 — Original Division 1 teams that have never played in the NCAA tournament, a number that remained at five as William & Mary was unable to clinch an NCAA berth in Monday’s CAA championship game, losing to Old Dominion
‘NET RESULTS: With the controversy over the hit on Marc Savard in Sunday’s Bruins-Penguins game, here’s a play from Thursday’s Canadiens-Sharks game that drew similar interest. Despite no penalty being called on Maxim Lapierre, he was suspended four games for pushing a defenseless Scott Nichol into the boards. Lapierre returns March 13 when the Canadiens play the Bruins.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Sam Jones
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Mark Lindsay, lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders, turns 68 today. Really.
|03.08.10 at 8:02 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.
At the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston on Saturday, Tobias Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim presented a study titled: “Whistle Swallowing: Officiating & the Omission Bias.” Brian Robb of CelticsHub.com summarizes the NBA portion of the report, which backs up long-held assertions by many observers that officials favor star players and limit their calls down the stretch of close games.
BASEBALL: Clay Buchholz struggled in his spring training start and talked about battling for a role in the rotation. Casey Kelly got the win for the Sox in front of his hometown fans.
Twins closer Joe Nathan was to fly to Minnesota to have his sore elbow checked. Dodgers catcher Russell Martin is expected to miss the start of the season with a pulled groin. Royals third baseman Alex Gordon is expected to miss 3-4 weeks with a broken right thumb.
FOOTBALL: Patriots defensive back Leigh Bodden is shopping his services as New England considers its next move. The Jaguars signed former Packers defensive end Aaron Kampman. The Browns signed linebacker Scott Fujita and offensive lineman Tony Pashos, both unrestricted free agents. Free agent nose tackle Jason Ferguson was suspended for the first eight games of next season for violating NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. The trial involving two Vikings players’ lawsuit against the NFL over its anti-doping procedures is scheduled to begin Monday.
BASKETBALL: The Celtics rallied past the Wizards. Paul Flannery has the Three-Pointer of Things We Learned. Glen Davis talked about trying out for the lead role in the “The Blind Side.”
The Magic won a bitter battle with the Lakers, handing LA its third straight loss. The Pistons beat the Rockets in overtime to end a six-game losing streak. Spurs guard Tony Parker broke his hand Saturday night and is expected to miss six weeks.
Boston University advanced to play in Saturday’s America East final against Vermont. Northeastern lost in the CAA semifinals. Boston College lost to NC State in its regular-season finale and will open with Virginia in the ACC tournament Thursday. The UConn women’s team tied its own record with its 70th consecutive win, a rout of Syracuse.
The Sabres beat the Rangers in overtime for their first road win in nine tries. The Red Wings scored five times in the second period and beat the Blackhawks. Jarome Iginla’s hat trick lifted the Flames over the Wild.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 8, 1983, which player became the second defenseman in Bruins history to record a hat trick, with three goals in an 11-5 victory over the Quebec Nordiques?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “At some point there’s got to be a clear indication from the league because we’ve seen this so many times now. You don’t like to see anyone, their own teammate or an opposing player, lay on the ice like that. That was scary.” — Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, on teammate Matt Cooke’s hit that left Bruins center Marc Savard with a concussion
STAT OF THE DAY: 32 — The average margin of victory by the UConn women’s team during its record-tying 70-game winning streak
‘NET RESULTS: Check out Utah State’s student section with its “I believe” pregame cheer.
Marquette coach Buzz Williams shows off his dance moves on the sideline.
Kobe Bryant with an off-the-backboard pass to himself.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Ray Bourque
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees is 65 today.
|03.06.10 at 5:49 pm ET|
From 2001-03, the University of Connecticut Huskies women’s basketball team was unbeatable. In that span, the Huskies won a record 70 straight games before falling on March 11, 2003, to Villanova, 52-48.
Now, seven years later, UConn is on the verge of tying its own record. The Huskies will have to wait until Sunday, their first game in the Big East tournament, to see if they can indeed win their 70th straight. Led by Tina Charles and Maya Moore, the Huskies have demolished opponents left and right; in their 69 victories, UConn has beaten 21 ranked teams, mostly recently No. 6 Notre Dame, by an average of more than 32 points a game. No team has come within single digits of UConn in the streak, and the last time the Huskies lost was in the 2008 Final Four to Stanford, 82-73.
But sports is littered with impressive streaks. Sure there have been plenty of great runs throughout history — UCLA basketball won 88 straight games and seven straight national titles in the late 1960s/early 1970s, the Celtics won eight straight championships from 1959-66, and the University of North Carolina women’s soccer team went 103 games without a loss from 1986-90. But there have been a few more recent streaks that can rival those. Here are some of the more impressive of the bunch that occurred within the last decade.
Yes, the Indianapolis Colts broke the Patriots’ mark for consecutive regular-season victories this year. But no team has had a more impressive run when it counts than the Pats. From the fifth week of the 2003 regular season to Halloween of 2004, no team could touch New England. In just one of the impressive streaks that the Pats have had with Bill Belichick at the helm, the Patriots won 21 straight games — including a victory in Super Bowl XXXVIII over the Carolina Panthers, making it that much better than anything the Colts could muster. Of course, all good things must come to an end, and the streak did thanks to Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, who pulled out a 30-24 win.
Beasts of the East
For 14 years, nothing was more automatic than an Atlanta Braves division title. How impressive was the Braves’ streak, which began in 1991? It began the same year the Braves became the first team to go from the worst record in baseball to a World Series appearance, when Terry Pendleton was the team’s top hitter. It included eight straight NLCS appearances and wins in two different divisions, the NL West and East, which Atlanta joined in 1994. And it even included a season, in 2003, when the rotation was led by Jaret Wright and Russ Ortiz. The last title in 2005 might have been the most impressive, as Bobby Cox was forced to use 18 rookies over the course of the year and traverse through numerous injuries. But Andruw Jones was sensational with 51 homers and the Braves were top dogs once again. Don’t think Braves fans won’t miss Cox when he retires after this season. His team’s just get the job done.
Remember the days when Tiger Woods was just a golfer? Well, let’s not forget just how good he was, even with the recent media spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Over a seven-year period, Woods did not miss a single cut in a tournament he entered — 142, to be exact. But at the Byron Nelson Classic in 2005, Woods’ par putt did not go down, and he found himself not playing through the weekend for the first time since 1998. Perhaps it was revenge for Woods taking Nelson’s name out of the record books, as Nelson had held the cut mark previously. For perspective, the last time Woods had not played an entire tournament was at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am that year. The reason? The event was delayed seven months after it was wiped out due to rain, and Woods withdrew instead of playing the rest of the tournament.
Armstrong owns Tour de France
It takes a special cyclist to capture the attention of the masses. But Armstrong had the talent, and the story, to do just that. Returning from cancer after a two-year hiatus, Armstrong became the first American to win the race since Greg LeMond to win the world’s most famous cycling race. Armstrong proved to be unbeatable in the legendary race, painting Paris yellow for seven straight years from 1999-2005 before deciding to retire (although he made a comeback in 2009).
Cael Sanderson’s perfection
Opponents stepped onto the mat with wrestler Cael Sanderson 159 times in his college career. And each time, the Iowa State standout emerged victorious. Sanderson was simply unstoppable throughout his career, winning four NCAA titles and never losing a single match. He had three NCAA titles at 184 pounds and the final as a senior at 197, besting Jon Trenge of Lehigh at the 2002 NCAA finals to finish his career undefeated.
|03.05.10 at 8:37 am ET|
Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
Let’s start your day with a couple of basketball buzzer-beaters. Sorry, Friars fans, but here’s No. 17 Pitt beating Providence with a 3-pointer.
And here’s a high school game with a similar outcome — in fact, the whole play looks remarkably similar to the Pitt finish, as the player drives the same side of the court and shoots from almost the same spot (albeit this one is a running bank shot).
BASEBALL: New Red Sox center fielder Mike Cameron looks back at his time in the minors with NBA legend Michael Jordan. The Sox beat the Twins Thursday night. Alex Speier wraps up the day in Fort Myers.
Giants pitcher Barry Zito plunked Brewers slugger Prince Fielder in apparent retaliation for Fielder’s exuberant home run celebration last season. Jason Bay went 0-for-2 with a walk in his Mets spring training debut.
FOOTBALL: NFL free agency begins today. Chris Price looks at the best free agent signings of the Bill Belichick era in New England. The Patriots tendered three players and released tight end Chris Baker.
The Bengals released receiver Laveranues Coles. The Chargers switched gears and decided to tender running back Darren Sproles. Redskins left tackle Chris Samuels retired and talked about his spinal condition that left him at risk of paralysis.
BASKETBALL: Paul Flannery looks at the impact Michael Finley could have on the Celtics. Hardwood Paroxysm has a clever comparison of the Celtics to the characters in the movie “Major League.” Michael Holley returns with his NBA Power Rankings.
The Heat beat the Lakers in overtime. The Jazz beat the Suns. Zydrunas Ilgauskas wants to return to the Cavaliers. Allen Iverson’s wife field for divorce. Mavericks guard Jason Terry will have facial surgery after his collision with Minnesota’s Corey Brewer.
Baylor women’s standout Brittney Griner was suspended two games for breaking an opposing player’s nose with a punch Wednesday night.
HOCKEY: The Bruins beat the Maple Leafs in a shootout.
The Penguins beat the Rangers in overtime. New Capital Scott Walker shined in his debut, a win over the Lightning. The Hurricanes have won seven in a row. The Blues routed the Stars. The Coyotes turned away the Avalanche.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 5, 2002, the new Red Sox ownership fired manager Joe Kerrigan. Who was named interim manager until the team selected Grady Little six days later?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I don’t want to give up too much secrets. Something that I have added to the old move, you know?” — Bruins forward Miroslav Satan, on his game-winning shootout goal Thursday night
STAT OF THE DAY: 31 — Lead changes (to go along with 19 ties) in Thursday night’s Heat-Lakers game won by Miami in OT
‘NET RESULTS: Improv Everywhere is back with a prank called “Ted’s Birthday.”
TRIVIA ANSWER: Third base coach Mike Cubbage
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Eddy Grant turns 62 today.
Here he is in 1968 with the Equals.
|03.04.10 at 9:39 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.
Baylor women’s basketball standout Brittney Griner has made news for her dunking this season. Wednesday night, she did another thing not often seen in the women’s game when she nailed an opponent with a roundhouse punch. The 6-foot-8 freshman was upset about being grabbed and spun around while trying to post up, and her response was a blow to the nose of Texas Tech’s Jordan Barncastle.
“There’s no place for that in sports,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said int he postgame press conference. “It was ugly for women’s basketball. It was ugly that coaches were on the court, that benches cleared, and I will take care of that with my team.”
The Diamondbacks signed Justin Upton to a six-year deal worth $51.25 million.
FOOTBALL: D.J. Bean has a mock draft, and he predicts the Patriots will take Florida linebacker Carlos Dunlap. Redskins left tackle Chris Samuels is retiring. Peyton Manning had surgery on a pinched nerve in his neck.
BASKETBALL: The Celtics beat the Bobcats. Jessica Camerato has the Three-Pointer of Things We Learned. Charlotte’s Stephen Jackson did not appreciate Paul Pierce’s trash-talking.
Bulls forward Joakim Noah will miss about three weeks with plantar fasciitis. Yao Ming returned to the United States with his pregnant wife, fueling suspicion that the child will be born here and be an Amerian citizen.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 4, 1977, the name of the street in front of Fenway Park was changed to Yawkey Way in honor of former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey. What was the previous name of the street?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “This has been a frustrating year. It is frustrating for a variety of reasons. I can’t lose sight of the fact I have to improve the team in the short run and have to improve the team in the long run. I know there are some fans that are going to be disappointed that we did not get a scoring winger, but I still believe in this team and I believe we can improve the offense and I think we are going to have a good run here.” — Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli
STAT OF THE DAY: 40 — Paul Pierce’s ranking on the NBA’s all-time scoring list after he passed Terry Cumming last night
‘NET RESULTS: Here’s a three-quarters-court shot to win a high school playoff game in New York Tuesday night.
This soccer game must have been played on top of Mount Washington or something. It was so windy that a goal kick ends up blowing back into the goal of the team that kicked it.
A Special Olympian hits a halfcourt shot (at the 1:20 mark), sending the crowd into a frenzy.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Jersey Street
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Chris Rea turns 59 today.
|03.04.10 at 7:22 am ET|
It is no secret that Boston is not a college town, at least when it comes to basketball. Sure, UMass had its heyday with John Calipari and Marcus Camby, though it wasn’t exactly on the up-and-up. And Al Skinner has had some great success at Boston College and led the Eagles to the Sweet 16 as recently as 2006. But even BC has trouble luring fans to Conte Forum to watch teams from the powerhouse ACC, and the college game has a tough time competing with the popularity of pro sports here.
This makes it all the more remarkable that Skinner’s former assistant at both Rhode Island and BC, Bill Coen, has been able to turn the Northeastern Huskies into a force to be reckoned with in the Colonial Athletic Association in his four years at the helm. The Huskies head into the CAA tournament, which begins Friday in Richmond, Va., as the second seed in a conference that perennially produces a candidate with upset potential in March, evidenced by Virginia Commonwealth’s upset of Duke in 2007 or George Mason’s unbelievable run to the Final Four in 2006. This year, whichever team the CAA puts into the bracket again should be a threat, as the conference already has delivered some upsets this season.
“I think when you look at the type of out-of-conference wins that the conference as a whole has posted this year, you begin to understand the quality of basketball,” Coen said. “When you look at William & Mary beating Maryland and Wake Forest, and Old Dominion beating Georgetown, and so on and so on, there are some great quality wins in the conference. So whoever comes out of our conference tournament is fully capable of representing very well in the NCAA tournament.”
Many have Old Dominion, the CAA regular-season champion, pegged as the most likely team to fill that giant-killer role. But Northeastern, which finished the regular season at 19-11 and 14-4 in CAA play, has a chance to take on that title in the next few days. The Huskies earned a first-round bye in the tournament and will face the winner of Friday’s matchup between Hofstra and Georgia State. If they can make it to the championship game on Monday night, they will have a shot to do what no Northeastern team has done since 1991: make the NCAA tournament. Read the rest of this entry »
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