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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter vs. Dodgers comes with controversy

08.31.15 at 7:17 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Giants at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m. (ESPN), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)


— Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter Sunday night against the Dodgers is the league’s sixth this season, one fewer than the league record of seven set in 1990 and repeated in 1991 and 2012, and it came with a little controversy.

Even Arrieta suggested an error on Cubs second baseman Starlin Castro in the third inning should have been ruled a hit. Castro tried to field a scorched ball that short-hopped him and the ball deflected away, allowing Kike Hernandez to reach safely.

“[Hernandez] hit it pretty well. I think [the call] could have gone either way,” Arrieta said. “I wasn’t aware that it was an error until I think an inning or two later. It was kind of out of sight, out of mind. But even if it was a hit, I would have kept the same mindset.”

Said Hernandez, whose team was no-hit for the second time in 10 days: “It should have been a hit. I knew if we didn’t get another hit they weren’t going to change it. He overmatched us tonight and they gave him the benefit of the doubt.”

Arrieta, a 29-year-old right-hander, became the first 17 game-winner in the majors, improving to 17-6 with a 2.11 ERA with the 2-0 victory.

“He has that kind of stuff nightly,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s really crazy. The ball looks like a whiffle ball from the side. You can see the break on the slider and the curveball. Right now he’s pitching at a different level.”

The Braves said Sunday that they are “deeply saddened” by the death of long-time season ticket-holder Gregory K. Murrey, who fell from the upper deck into the lower-level stands during Saturday’s game against the Yankees.

The team flew the American flag at half-staff and observed a moment of silence for Murrey before Sunday’s game.

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Read More: Jake Arrieta, Mark Shapiro,

Thinking Out Loud: Red Sox owe Don Orsillo opportunity to seek other employment immediately

08.28.15 at 6:41 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering what has made this world go mad?

— My thoughts and prayers are extended to the families of the two TV journalists (Alison Parker and Adam Ward) who lost their lives simply doing their jobs this week, and to their fellow employees at WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia. As someone who has made his living doing exactly what they were doing at the time they were attacked, words simply cannot express all of my thoughts. Like many, I’m asking only one question: Why?

— What a scary, scary world this has become. Mental health issues need to be discussed, certainly as much as gun control is talked about. Isn’t it about time we tackle this?

— After this disaster of a baseball season at Fenway, to have NESN and Red Sox brass make the move to remove Don Orsillo from the broadcast booth simply shows the side of this business that too many people don’t see. It’s ugly, largely unfair, and the price many ultimately pay for following a dream. Don is truly one of the good guys in a field full of mines, trap doors and insincerity, as well as insecurity. But he’s a big boy, too, and undoubtedly understands the business side of the equation.

— All too often, moves are made just for the sake of making them. Just to change things up. Poor ratings? Come on now, the team’s performance had more to do with that. There really isn’t any other way to rationalize the irrational. Blame it on a contract, new management, ratings, whatever you want. Everyone in the broadcast business is hired to be fired, eventually.

— Dave O’Brien, who will move over from the WEEI radio broadcast into the TV booth, will do a fantastic job. Another good guy, and superb pro — no matter the venue. I can assure you no one in this line of work likes to reap the benefit from someone else’s misfortune.

David Ortiz‘€™s reaction probably put this rather sordid tale in its proper context. He told the Boston Herald, “No one is safe unless you are your own boss.” These days, I question that too, Papi.

— Orsillo is apparently under contract through December, and reportedly can’t look for another gig until then. Does that seem fair? Welcome to the realities of the broadcast world. NESN needs to do the right thing, today, and allow him the ability to seek other employment. Tom Werner and John Henry should step up and own this.

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Read More: Curt Schilling, Don Orsillo,

Friday’s Morning’s Mashup: Former VP candidate Sarah Palin defends Curt Schilling, rips ESPN

08.28.15 at 8:07 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Mets, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rockies at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cardinals at Giants, 10:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NFL preseason: Patriots at Panthers, 7:30 p.m. (WBZ-TV)
WNBA: Sparks at Shock, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
WNBA: Stars at Storm, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)


Curt Schilling has been quiet since being yanked from the air by ESPN for retweeting a comment comparing Muslims to Germans when Nazis took over the country before World War II, but his defenders are out in full force.

The latest is former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who posted a message on Facebook titled “ESPN is a journalistic embarrassment.”

Wrote Palin: ESPN – what happened to you? Your intolerant PC police are running amok and making a joke out of you!

By picking and choosing who they’ll tolerate and who they’ll try to destroy, ESPN has zero credibility as a round and reasonable media outlet.

There’s been crude, rude bile spewing from the once-great sports network for years now. Trust me. I know. My name and reputation’s been in it. One ESPN affiliate’s on-air rant featuring their misogynist, animalistic “analysts” grunting and giggling through an entire x-rated celebration of violence against women didn’t even draw a chirp from ESPN’s wussified leaders. Look it up; I don’t want to have to recount it. ESPN radio affiliate in Las Vegas got its kicks out of convicted rapist Mike Tyson describing the next rape he’d want to see. (Warning, graphic language throughout that Sept. 20, 2011 broadcast.)

Palin went on to write that the stats in Schilling’s tweet — claiming “only 5-10 percent of Muslims are extremists” — likely is “too generous in estimating Muslims’ attitudes.”

Added Palin: By denying the accuracy of Schilling’s tweet, ESPN shows its weakness as it buys into the propaganda of ISIS and other terror organizations, helping mislead the public about the very real threat of terrorism. It shows once again that ESPN would rather concentrate on liberal global politics instead of report well on our beloved sports.

From those of us who used to LOVE the network (to the point of addiction, some would confess!), I say to ESPN – you are awful in this. Stick to sports.

— The NBA community expressed shock and sadness after learning of the death of Darryl Dawkins, the former 76ers star who was known for his thunderous dunks and larger-than-life persona.

Dawkins died Thursday at a hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, of a heart attack, according to his family. He was 58 years old.

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Read More: Curt Schilling, Darryl Dawkins, Johnny Manziel, Sarah Palin

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: 49ers LB Ahmad Brooks sent home after being charged with sexual battery

08.27.15 at 8:20 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Orioles at Royals, 2:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Twins at Rays, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League World Series: Mexico vs. Venezuela, 4 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League World Series: California vs. Texas, 8 p.m. (ESPN)


Ahmad Brooks

Ahmad Brooks

— The 49ers‘ miserable offseason continued to get worse Wednesday, as linebacker Ahmad Brooks was charged with misdemeanor sexual battery for an alleged assault related to an incident in December involving former Niners defensive lineman Ray McDonald.

McDonald, who was charged with one count of rape of an intoxicated person, faces up to eight years in prison. He also was indicted by a grand jury for violation of a restraining order in May, when he allegedly broke down a bedroom door to get to his former fiancee and their infant. He was released by the 49ers in December, then signed with the Bears in March but was released after his May arrest.

Brooks faces a maximum of six months in jail for his alleged assault of the victim in the December incident. A woman filed a civil lawsuit in May against both men.

Brooks was sent home from Colorado, where the team is having joint practices with the Broncos leading up to Saturday’s preseason game.

“The organization is aware that a misdemeanor charge has been filed against Ahmad Brooks stemming from a December 2014 matter. We take any charge against a member of this organization seriously and are in communication with the NFL,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement.

Brooks, 31, has some discipline issues last season that led to his benching after 60 straight starts, but he promised that he had turned things around this offseason, including changing to a healthier diet and cutting out alcohol.

The 49ers have been reeling this offseason, parting ways with coach Jim Harbaugh, losing a handful of players to free agency (Mike Iupati, Frank Gore, Chris Culliver, Michael Crabtree and Perrish Cox), seeing four key players retire (Chris Borland, Anthony Davis, Patrick Willis and Justin Smith) and releasing pass rusher Aldon Smith earlier this month following his latest arrest.

— Recently retired offensive lineman Jonathan Martin opened up about his problems, saying that the challenges of being a football player — along with longstanding issues of trying to fit in — led him to attempt suicide multiple times.

Martin, who was the focus of the Dolphins’ bullying scandal as a second-year pro in 2013, played for the 49ers last season. He signed with the Panthers in the offseason but quit after injuring his back in the offseason.

Wrote Martin on Facebook: It nearly destroys you, many times, not fitting in. Your talent & accomplishments on the field never seem to be able to overcome the demons that you carry with you.

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Read More: Ahmad Brooks, Jonathan Martin, Ray McDonald,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Curt Schilling accepts ESPN punishment after inflammatory tweet about Muslims

08.26.15 at 7:50 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Astros at Yankees, 1:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Twins at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Giants, 10L15 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Sparks at Fever, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Manchester United at Club Brugge, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


Curt Schilling was removed from ESPN’s coverage of the Little League World Series on Tuesday after he retweeted an inflammatory comment about Muslims, and the former Red Sox pitcher — scheduled to join the Dennis & Callahan show at 9:05 a.m. — said he understands it. [UPDATE: Schilling postponed his D&C appearance, indicating he hopes to talk later in the week.]

The tweet featured a graphic with a photo of Adolf Hitler saluting. The text read: IT’S SAID ONLY 5-10% OF MUSLIMS ARE EXTREMISTS. IN 1940, ONLY 7% OF GERMANS WERE NAZIS. HOW’D THAT GO?

Above the graphic was a line that read: The math is staggering when you get to true #’s.

ESPN yanked Schilling and released a statement that read: “Curt’s tweet was completely unacceptable and in now way represents our company’s perspective. We made that point very strongly to Curt and have removed him from his current Little League assignment pending further consideration.”

Schilling removed the graphic and followed with a tweet acknowledging a lapse in judgment, writing: I understand and accept my suspension. 100% my fault. Bad choices have bad consequences and this was a bad decision in every way on my part.

Michael Vick has gone from one Patriots rival to another, landing with the Steelers after playing for the Jets last season.

The 35-year-old signed a one-year deal Tuesday night to back up Ben Roethlisberger — or serve as a third-stringer behind third-year pro Landry Jones.

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Read More: Curt Schilling, michael vick, Steve Sarkisian,

IndyCar driver Justin Wilson dies of injuries sustained during race

08.25.15 at 9:17 am ET
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IndyCar driver Justin Wilson, 37, who was struck in the head with debris during the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway Sunday, passed away Monday, according to IndyStar.

Wilson was hit by a piece of debris from Sage Karam’s car. Karam, who led the race at the time of the accident, spun out on his own, spreading debris across the track. The open cockpit style of IndyCar racing left Wilson vulnerable to the nose cone of Karam’s car, which came back and struck him in the helmet.

Immediately after he was hit, Wilson went unconscious. His car began to veer sharply and he crashed into the inside wall.

Wilson was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital, where he went into a coma.

IndyCar announced Wilson’s death at approximately 9 p.m. Monday. The organization said he was surrounded by his family when he passed away. He’s survived by his wife Julia and their two children.

“This is a monumentally sad day for IndyCar and the motorsports community as a whole,” IndyCar CEO Mark Miles said in a statement. “Justin’s elite ability to drive a race car was matched by his unwavering kindness, character and humility — which is what made him one of the most respected members of the paddock. As we know, the racing industry is one big family, and our efforts moving forward will be focused on rallying around Justin’s family to ensure they get the support they need during this unbelievably difficult time.”

IndyCar said it would answer more questions about Wilson’s death in the coming days.

Wilson is the first IndyCar Series driver to die since Dan Wheldon in 2011. Wheldon was killed after suffering a massive head injury in a large crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

A native of Sheffield, England, Wilson had seven major U.S. open-wheel wins, including three in the IndyCar Series.

Read More: IndyCar, Justin Wilson,

Report: Lakers have had ‘casual conversations’ about Metta World Peace

08.25.15 at 8:38 am ET
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Metta World Peace

Metta World Peace

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Lakers have talked about signing Metta World Peace to a one-year contract. No deal is in place, however, the two parties have been in contact to discuss potential terms. The Los Angeles Times adds that the two sides have had “casual conversations” about World Peace returning to his former team.

While many have remained skeptical of the 35-year-old’s presumably declining skills, Kobe Bryant has enthusiastically supported signing World Peace. He has been in the Lakers’ practice facility throughout the summer and has played with much of the current roster, including 2014 first-round pick Julius Randle.

World Peace hasn’t played in the NBA since 2013-14 when the Knicks waived him. Last year he played for Pallacanestro Cantu of the Italian League.

He played for the Lakers from 2009-13, helping them win a championship in 2010.

Read More: Metta World Peace,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Cris Carter insists, ‘My heart was in the right place’ during controversial speech to NFL rookies

08.25.15 at 8:16 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Astros at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League World Series: Missouri vs. Canada, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League World Series: Mexico vs. Chinese Taipei, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
Little League World Series: Kentucky vs. California, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Sun at Dream, 11:30 a.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Valencia at Monaco, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


Cris Carter

Cris Carter

— As reports emerged that Cris Carter gave the same “fall guy” speech to AFC rookies as he did to their NFC counterparts at the 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium, Carter again apologized for his comments.

Appearing on ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown,” Carter acknowledged there is no excuse for him telling players they should have someone in their entourage who needs to be willing to go to jail if necessary to keep the player’s name out of the headlines, as he said in a videotaped speech to NFC rookies with fellow Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.

“It’s really hard to go through my thought process,” Carter said. “The Rookie Symposium 2014, it’s something that I’m invited to by the NFL. I’ve probably been to 15 to 20 different times. I donate a lot of time to young people because I believe it’s very, very important. I can’t make an excuse to what my mindset was. My heart was in the right place. I didn’t use words that I was very, very proud of. It’s not the type of advice that I would offer young people.”

Added Carter: “I would never tell young people to break the law to avoid prosecution. It was bad advice. I really, really regret my words when I heard them come back to me. More importantly, it hurt young people and it hurt them in their approach to the National Football League.

“I take it very, very seriously. I do regret that day. I hope moving forward that the NFL still has enough trust in me and have me connected to their young people.”

“As we move forward, just like anything else, I hope I move forward, I hope I learn from it and I hope it makes me better. I hope my reaction in the next situation is better than that one there.”

Carter reportedly was told by NFL executives not to repeat his comments to the AFC rookies, but apparently he went ahead and gave a similar speech.

“I think he had the best interest for us, but it just wasn’t said in the most appropriate way,” second-year Jets tight end Jace Amaro told the New York Daily News. “I don’t think he meant it in any scapegoat way. I think he just meant, in the bigger picture, to have a backup plan. Have a guy that’s going to be there watching your back.

“It’s hard to defend him saying that. But I think he had the best intentions for us.”

— The NFL said Monday that Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs‘ low hit on Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford in Saturday night’s preseason game should not have been penalized, despite the protestations of the Eagles.

Suggs was penalized for roughing the passer, but he said it was a zone-read play, making it Philadelphia’s responsibility for putting the QB at risk. NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino supported that contention.

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Read More: cc sabathia, Cris Carter, Sam Bradford, Terrell Suggs

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Cris Carter apologizes for encouraging NFL rookies to have ‘fall guy’ in entourage

08.24.15 at 7:59 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Astros at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cardinals at Diamondbacks, 10:10 p.m. (ESPN)
NFL preseason: Benglas at Buccaneers, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Premier League, Liverpool at Arsenal, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)


— ESPN analyst Cris Carter apologized Sunday after video emerged of him encouraging rookies to “have a fall guy in your crew” for when they get in trouble.

Speaking to NFC players at the 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium, Carter led a discussion with fellow former Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, and he repeatedly encouraged players to have a friend accept responsibility if something bad happens in order to keep the player’s name out of the headlines.

“If you’re going to have a crew, one of them fools got to know, he going to jail,” Carter said (with Sapp’s support) after bringing Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater onto the stage. “We’ll get him out.”

Added Carter: “If you’re going to have a crew, make sure they understand, hey, nothing happens to you. Your name can’t be in lights, under no circumstances.”

Said Carter in a pair of tweets Sunday: “Seeing that video has made me realize how wrong I was. I was brought there to educate young people and instead I gave them very bad advice. Every person should take responsibility for his own actions. I’m sorry and I truly regret what I said that day.”

The comment came to light after an ESPN the Magazine story published late last week in which former 49er Chris Borland recounts hearing the speech. Said Borland in the article: “I was just sitting there thinking, ‘Should I walk out? What am I supposed to do?’ ”

The video, which had been archived on, made its way around the web over the weekend (it’s since been removed from the site), and the NFL issued a statement saying, “The comment was not representative of the message of the symposium or any other league program. The league’s player engagement staff immediately expressed concern about the comment to Cris. The comment was not repeated in the 2014 AFC session or this year’s symposium.”

ESPN also distanced itself from Carter’s comments, saying, “We completely disagree with Cris’ remarks and we have made that extremely clear to him.”

(Click here for the audio from the Dennis & Callahan show’s discussion of Carter’s comments.)

Terrell Suggs continues to make enemies throughout the league, even in the preseason. This time it’s the Eagles, who say Suggs targeted the knees of quarterback Sam Bradford during Saturday night’s game.

Suggs was penalized for roughing the passer on the play, as he hit Bradford low after the QB handed off the ball on a read-option.

Bradford is convinced the tackle was on purpose, and he let Suggs know.

“I think that was what he was trying to do,” the oft-injured Bradford said. “I was a little upset. I’m not sure I can repeat what I said to him.”

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Read More: Cris Carter, Jason Pierre-Paul, Sam Bradford, Terrell Suggs

Fan safety again in spotlight after 2 more women injured by foul balls at MLB games over weekend

08.24.15 at 7:35 am ET
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A fan is taken out on a stretcher after being struck by a foul ball during Sunday's Cubs-Braves game at Wrigley Field. (Jon Durr/Getty Images)

A fan is taken out on a stretcher after being struck by a foul ball during Sunday’s Cubs-Braves game at Wrigley Field. (Jon Durr/Getty Images)

Two more fans were injured after being struck by foul balls at Major League Baseball games over the weekend, renewing calls for the commissioner to make changes to improve fan safety.

On Sunday at Chicago’€™s Wrigley Field, a fan was sitting on the first-base side when she was hit by a line drive. The game was stopped briefly as fans and ushers motioned for paramedics to tend to the woman, who was taken away on a stretcher.

Two days earlier, a female fan sitting behind the home dugout in Detroit was stick by a foul ball that sent her to the hospital for a day, prompting Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander to call on MLB to extend the protective netting behind home plate.

‘€œIt seems like something happens once a game, where a ball just misses a fan and, inevitably, it’€™s always small kids or women, you know,’€ Verlander said. ‘€œIt’€™s just something that needs to be looked at, and hopefully it doesn’€™t get to the point where something really serious happens before there’€™s an adjustment made.’€

Teammate Anthony Gose hit the ball that struck the woman, and he agreed that changes should be made.

‘€œThe knot on that lady’s head was bigger than the baseball. If that hit her flush on the face she might have died,” Gose said. “She didn’t do anything wrong. She just wants to enjoy a game. Now put up a net and people will still enjoy the game. You’re not going to lose that many people or that much money putting up a net. I guarantee it.”

Earlier this season, a woman sitting behind the visitors dugout at Fenway Park was struck by a piece of a bat and was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. She recovered after a lengthy stay in the hospital.