College Blog Blog Network

Yankees make deal to acquire ball from Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit

07.03.15 at 1:47 pm ET
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After a couple of weeks of negotiations, the Yankees will hold a press conference before Friday’s game against the Rays at Yankee Stadium in which they will receive the ball Alex Rodriguez hit into the right-field bleachers for his 3,000th hit last month.

Zach Hample, the fan who caught the ball, agreed to relinquish it in exchange for a $150,000 donation to his favorite charity, Pitch In For Baseball, along with some memorabilia, tickets and other perks, according to reports out of New York.

Hample, who claims to have caught thousands of baseballs during games and batting practice over the years, was not cooperative with the team when first contacted during the June 19 game against the Tigers after Rodriguez recorded his historic hit.

Hample answered some critics of his decision to settle with the team when he tweeted Friday morning: So let me get this straight — I was “disrespecting the game” when I kept the ball & now I’m an “idiot” for giving it back? Ha, whatever.

Read More: alex rodriguez,

Top 10 Boston athlete film appearances: How will Tom Brady stack up in ‘Ted 2’?

07.03.15 at 12:23 pm ET
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Professional athletes perform on the highest stage to the general amusement of millions. So why is it that so many soak up the spotlight outside of the arena, too? A valid query, but we don’t care. We love to see our sports idols take their talents to the screen.

Who didn’t enjoy seeing the parade of NBA stars appear in Lil Bow Wow’s “Like Mike”? Or maybe you preferred The King, Wayne Gretzky, in “Swingers”? And who could forget Mike Tyson‘s priceless Phil Collins moment in “The Hangover”? These films are iconic in large part due to the sports icons who appeared in them.

Boston fans have had the privilege of watching many of their beloved pros create IMDb profiles over the years. From Celtics legends like Bob Cousy to Red Sox egos like Roger Clemens, there’s a Boston athlete cameo for everyone. And with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski appearing on screen this summer in “Ted 2″ and “Entourage,” respectively, we have to ask the question, “Who has made the most memorable movie appearance as a Boston athlete?” Without further ado, here’s our list.

10. Rick Fox — “Blue Chips”

This is where it all began for the Celtics draft pick-turned Laker-turned full-time actor. And with this qualification in mind it can be argued that Fox truly owes his illustrious career to Beantown.

9. Derek Sanderson — “Face-Off”

The Turk softened up for his appearance in this 1971 film about a Maple Leafs player and a folk singer falling in love. Sanderson soaked up fortune and fame whenever possible, and chick flicks clearly were never out of the question.

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Read More: Bob Cousy, cam neely, jason varitek, johnny damon

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Jets DL Sheldon Richardson, Chargers TE Antonio Gates, Cowboys LB Rolando McClain suspended 4 games

07.03.15 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: Astros at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Marlins at Cubs, 2:20 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB: Giants at Nationals, 6:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Rays at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Mets at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Exhibition, Guatemala at United States, 7 p.m. (FS1)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN)


Sheldon Richardson

Sheldon Richardson

Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension has been the talk of the offseason, but now he’s got plenty of company, as three other well-known players got their own four-game bans Thursday.

Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, Chargers tight end Anthony Gates and Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain each will miss a quarter of the regular season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Additionally, Packers defensive end Datone Jones was suspended one game for a similar offense.

According to the New York Daily News, Richardson’s violation was smoking marijuana. The Pro Bowler wrote on Twitter: “I vow to you, this will not happen again.”

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans,” Richardson said in a team statement. “However, words aren’t enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don’t want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won’t be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I’m able to return to the field.”

Gates, who had 69 catches for 821 yards and a team-leading 12 touchdowns last season, claimed that his offense was not intentional, but he accepted “full responsibility,” noting that “ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues.”

Said Gates: “In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails. I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and never taken any substance that was illegal or banned by the NFL. In an effort to recover from a long season and although I was unaware at the time, I regret to confirm that I tested positive for a substance that is currently on the NFL banned substance list.”

McClain, no stranger to controversy, has been a disappointment since he was drafted eighth overall by the Raiders in 2010, although he did have a solid season with the Cowboys in 2014. He is slated to return for Dallas’ Week 5 game at home against the Patriots.

“I apologize to my family, the Cowboys organization, my teammates and Cowboys fans for my mistake,” he said. “I will not break the rules of my profession in the future, and I regret my error.”

— Hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs will not face felony charges for an incident last week at UCLA when he allegedly confronted an assistant coach after the coach disciplined Combs’ son.

The case now is in the hands of the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, which could file misdemeanor charges against Combs.

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Read More: Antonio Gates, Rolando McClain, Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Sheldon Richardson

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Paul Pierce reportedly agrees to join Clippers on 3-year deal

07.02.15 at 6:41 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: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cubs at Mets, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN)


Paul Pierce is headed west to join Doc Rivers and the Clippers, agreeing on a three-year, $10.6 million deal, according to reports out of Los Angeles.

Pierce became a free agent after one season with the Wizards, who were hoping to keep him around after the team’s impressive season. But the Clippers give him the opportunity to challenge for an NBA title as well as return to his Southern California roots. And it gives him a chance to play for the coach who guided him to a championship with the Celtics in 2008.

That apparently was enough to convince Pierce to sign on at a discount rate — the most Los Angeles had to offer — for three years, despite him saying last season that he would only play one more year.

Said Pierce after the Wizards’ second-round playoff exit: “I don’t even know if I am going to play basketball anymore. These seasons get harder and harder every year, every day. Summers get even harder when you start getting back in shape. I’m 37 years old. I’m top two or three oldest in the league.”

Pierce spent his first 15 seasons in Boston before spending one season with the Nets and then one year with the Wizards. He is the 16th-most prolific scorer in league history.

— The United States will play Japan in Sunday’s Women’s World Cup championship game, as England lost Wednesday’s second semifinal in the most heartbreaking way.

During stoppage time of a 1-1 game, England defender Laura Bassett tried to clear a ball but instead deflected it into her own goal. When the game ended a minute later, Bassett fell to the field in tears as her teammates attempted to console her.

“Oh, what a tough one, what a tough one to take,” England coach Mark Sampson said. “I can’t speak about the game. I can only speak about how incredibly proud I am of my group.”

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Read More: Keith Olbermann, Laura Bassett, Paul Pierce, Women's World Cup

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Kings reportedly show interest in Rajon Rondo

07.01.15 at 7:06 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 Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Angels, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup semifinal, Japan vs. England, 7 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Exhibition, Mexico vs. Honduras, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN)


— Free agent point guard Rajon Rondo’s stock dropped precipitously after he was sent packing by the Mavericks during the first round of the playoffs after another behavioral issue like those that have dogged him throughout his college and professional career.

Now the former Celtic is an afterthought among discussions of this free agent class.

On Tuesday night, however, Rondo reportedly found some interest — appropriately enough from the franchise that might be the most dysfunctional in the league.

According to an ESPN report, the Kings “came on strong” Tuesday night and requested a meeting with Rondo after forward Rudy Gay pushed management to pursue him.

Rondo is expected to sign a one-year deal as he tries to build back his reputation and show he can avoid confrontations with his coach. The Kings recently hired George Karl, although there have been reports that they are looking to replace him before he coaches a game.

— Warriors star Steph Curry was named league MVP and beat LeBron JamesCavaliers in the NBA Finals. Now he’s surpassed LeBron in jersey sales for the first time.

Based on rankings of overall sales at from April through June, Curry ranked No. 1, with James dropping to second. Fellow Warriors Klay Thompson (fifth) and Draymond Green (15th) helped Golden State rank first in team sales during the playoffs.

The Celtics ranked a solid ninth on the team list, although the C’s had no player in the top 15.

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Read More: LeBron James, nike, Phil Knight, rajon rondo

Women’s World Cup: USA beats Germany to advance to final

06.30.15 at 9:22 pm ET
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The U.S. women's soccer team celebrates a goal in its 2-0 win over Germany. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

The U.S. women’s soccer team celebrates a goal in its 2-0 win over Germany. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Going into Tuesday night’€™s Women’€™s World Cup semifinal, nobody really knew if the United States was good enough to beat top-ranked Germany. The Germans, as expected, had looked great all tournament. They had just knocked off France, who had looked like the second-best team in the world as of late. The U.S., while highly ranked, had looked a bit lackluster throughout the tournament.

Now we know. This U.S. team is good enough to beat the No. 1 team in the world, and the Americans did just that Tuesday night in Montreal. Carli Lloyd scored on a penalty kick in the 69th minute and then set up Kelley O’€™Hara for another goal in the 84th as the Americans beat Germany 2-0 to advance to Sunday’€™s World Cup final. They’€™ll take on the winner of Wednesday’€™s semifinal between Japan and England.

After the U.S. controlled play throughout the first half, Germany came out much stronger to start the second and got a golden chance in the 59th minute as a result. Alexandra Popp got position inside Julie Johnston on a high bouncing ball in the U.S. box and Johnston hauled down Popp while trying to get back in front of her, giving Germany a penalty kick.

Fortunately for the U.S., Celia Sasic yanked the penalty kick wide left. To make it even worse for Sasic, she had actually gotten Hope Solo diving the wrong way.

Sasic’€™s miss seemed to pump some life back into the U.S., which turned up the pressure at the other end. Alex Morgan made a nice run around Annike Krahn deep into the box in the 66th minute but wound up putting the shot wide from a tough angle.

A minute later, though, Morgan made another strong run against Krahn and this time she drew a penalty as Krahn tripped her up while Morgan tried to get around the German defender. Replay showed that the foul actually occurred just outside the box, but the ref gave the U.S. the penalty kick anyway.

Unlike Germany, the U.S. did not squander the golden opportunity. Lloyd stepped up and calmly fired a shot into the right side of the net to give the Americans a 1-0 lead. After getting off to a slow start in the World Cup, Lloyd now has three goals in the last three games.

The U.S. struck again in the 84th minute to put the game away. Lloyd made a nice run deep into the box before making a beautiful pass across to O’€™Hara, who buried it for her first-ever international goal.

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Report: Tim Duncan to recruit LaMarcus Aldridge

06.30.15 at 10:14 am ET
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According to reports, Tim Duncan will join Tony Parker and Gregg Popovich as part of the Spurs’ group that will recruit Trail Blazers free agent LaMarcus Aldridge Wednesday morning in Los Angeles.

Duncan’s participation in this operation indicates his likeliness to re-sign with the Spurs for at least one more year. He and fellow member of “The Big Three,” Manu Ginobili, make up a portion of a large free agent class the Spurs have. Duncan and Ginobili have yet to formally announce their plans.

Previously, Duncan helped court Jason Kidd during free agency in 2003, but his trip to LA marks the first time he will have traveled to recruit a player to San Antonio.

The Lakers, Rockets, Mavericks, Raptors and Suns are also vying for Aldridge’s services, but many have speculated the Spurs are frontrunners to land the Dallas, Texas, native.

Aldridge averaged 23.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and a block for the Blazers last season. The former Longhorn has averaged at least 20 points and eight rebounds in each of the past five seasons.

Read More: LaMarcus Aldridge, Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan

Bills say they could have best defense ever

06.30.15 at 9:35 am ET
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Rex Ryan has brought the confidence he instilled in his early Jets teams to Buffalo, as some Bills players say they could have the best defense in the history of the NFL.

When asked about his team’s defensive goals for the season, Bills defensive tackle Marcel Dareus was pretty outspoken.

“[To be the] best ever,” Dareus said. “It’€™s so obtainable. All we have to do is continue to do what we want, and not what we can. If we do what we want, and do everything to head in that direction, why can’€™t we? Why can’€™t we?”

Linebacker Nigel Bradham echoed his teammate’s ambitions, speaking to the Toronto Sun.

“We want to be the best in history — one of the greatest,” Bradham said. “That’€™s what we’€™re striving for … the greatest of all time, not just this year or last year.”

Last year, the Bills were one of the best defenses in the NFL, finishing in the top-five for points allowed, yards per play and passing touchdowns. With the addition of defensive guru Ryan, Dareus believes the Bills can get even better and make history.

“We finally have a coach who will really lay it on the line for us,” he said. “I mean, Rex will make the tough calls and really put us in the position to win, regardless of whatever the stakes are. And he’€™s not going to be buddy-buddy. He’€™s like, ‘€˜You’€™re a grown man and I’€™m going to tell it to you like it is.’€™ And that’€™s what we all need. We’€™re all grown men. To have somebody babying us, or somebody trying to micro-manage us –€” I mean, no man really wants to ever be under somebody’€™s thumb all the time.

“Rex is just that type of guy where he’€™s going to let you play ball, he’€™s going to put you in the best situations, and he’€™s going to do his best not to let you fail.”

Read More: Buffalo Bills, Marcel Dareus, Nigel Bradham, Rex Ryan

Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan to retire after next season

06.30.15 at 8:53 am ET
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After 14 years steering the Wisconsin basketball program, Bo Ryan will retire following the 2015-16 season. The 67-year-old is fresh off leading the Badgers to their first national championship game berth in April.

In a statement, Ryan declared that it is his wish for longtime assistant coach Greg Gard to succeed him.

“I’ve decided to coach one more season with the hope that my longtime assistant Greg Gard eventually becomes the head coach at Wisconsin,” Ryan said. “I am looking forward to another year with our program, including our players, my terrific assistant coaches, our office staff and everyone who supports Wisconsin basketball here in Madison, around the state and across the country.”

Ryan has been a revolutionary figure in Wisconsin athletics. Since leaving Wisconsin-Platteville, a Division III program and joining the Badgers, Ryan has taken Wisconsin to 14 NCAA Tournaments, seven Sweet 16s, four Big Ten titles and two Final Fours. He’s gone 357-125 (.741) and changed the culture of a team which won just 54 percent of its games in the 14 years before he took over.

After the national championship game, Ryan nearly called it a career. However, some cajoling from Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez kept him around for a 15th season.

“Back in the spring, in the days after the national championship game, Barry Alvarez and I discussed the possibility of me retiring,” Ryan said in the statement. “I’ve always been told that is not a decision to make right after a season is completed. Barry thankfully encouraged me to take some time to think about it and I have done that. I considered retiring this summer or coaching one more season.”

Ryan’s decision came as a shock to some his current and former players. Recent Houston Rockets draft pick Sam Dekker voiced his surprise at Ryan’s retirement.

“It was kind of shocking to me,” Dekker said. “I knew it was coming at some point but I didn’t know it would be this soon. It’s shocking. If it’s the best decision for him and if it will make him happy, then so be it. It’s going to be different seeing a different coach on the sideline, that’s for sure.”

Read More: Bo Ryan, Sam Dekker, Wisconsin Badgers,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Critics rip incomplete Boston 2024 Olympic plan as ‘more smoke and mirrors’

06.30.15 at 6:57 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 Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cubs at Mets, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Yankees at Angels, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, semifinal, 7 p.m. (Fox)
WNBA: Liberty at Sky, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)


— Boston’s Olympic organizing committee unveiled its new plan Monday, promising to avoid saddling residents with fees for the 2024 Summer Games, but critics noted that many questions still remain.

The new plan includes cost-overrun insurance to the tune of $128 million — although no insurer was named — and a plan to have a private developer buy land for a stadium via a competitive bid process.

“The taxpayers won’t be responsible for any venue costs or any operating costs, and we believe the taxpayers are responsible for infrastructure costs that should be done in the ordinary course anyway,” Boston 2024 chairman Steve Pagliuca said. “Any time we had a chance to take a conservative route, we did.”

The group claims there will be $4.8 billion in total revenue from the event, with expenses coming in more than $200 million less than that, and it would allow the city to transform two neighborhoods: Widett Circle, which would house a temporary Olympic stadium, and Columbia Point, which would host the athletes village.

The plan relies on $1.9 billion in improvements to the MBTA system, which organizers say are needed to address “non-Olympic-related anticipated ridership growth.”

The proposal does not include a final plan for some events, including aquatics, golf and cycling — which requires building a velodrome — and leaves other key information incomplete. That opened the door for critics to pounce.

“It’s just more smoke and mirrors, as far as I can tell,” said Smith College economist Andrew Zimbalist, who questioned the ability of the group to get any “master developers” for the plan.

Added Chris Dempsey, co-founder of No Boston Olympics: “We were hoping for a lot more detail.”

— The Los Angeles Kings are attempting to cut ties with forward Mike Richards, terminating his contract Monday for a “material breach of the requirements” of the pact.

Richards’ play has declined since Los Angeles traded for him in 2011, inheriting his 12-year, $69 million contract he signed with the Flyers in 2008.

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Read More: Boston 2024 Olympics,