Archive for September, 2009

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Welcome to Wednesday’s wild card edition of the Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.

The Red Sox dropped an 8-7 thriller to the Blue Jays despite an impressive comeback, but the Rangers cooperated by again losing to the Angels, handing Boston the wild card. In his Five Things We Learned, Alex Speier says the Sox, who held a private, late-night celebration in the locker room, offer no apologies for the way they advanced to the postseason.

The Sox announced their minor league award-winners, led by Pitcher of the Year Casey Kelly and Offensive Player of the Year Ryan Kalish.

In baseball’s only close pennant race, the Tigers came back to earn a split of yesterday’s doubleheader with the Twins and keep their AL Central lead at two games.

Dan Guttenplan presents his Baseball All-Stink Team.

Nomar Garciaparra said he will consider his options ‘€” including retirement ‘€” after a disappointing year in Oakland. Former Yankee Chuck Knoblauch was charged with assaulting his wife.

Chris Price drops in with an international Patriots mailbag. Kerry Byrne says Patriots fans should have been more pleased with Sunday’s win, especially considering what expectations should be for this team.

Former (and future?) Patriot Junior Seau suffered only minor injuries after being run over by a bull (video below). More information was revealed concerning the situation involving cornerback Jonathan Wilhite, who apparently strained his groin running from two suspicious people at his house and had to miss Sunday’s game.

In college football news, USC running back Stafon Johnson is recovering from his weightlifting accident that crushed his neck and larynx and will cost him the rest of the season.

Joe Haggerty has Part 1 of his Bruins season preview. This article focuses on the forwards. Dan Rowinski puts the spotlight on Marco Sturm, who is back after sitting out most of last season with a knee injury.

There are no problems in the Bruins locker room regarding union issues, says player rep Andrew Ference, responding to a report that indicated otherwise.

In the NBA, troubled guard Delonte West missed the Cavaliers‘ first day of practice, with Cleveland general manager Danny Ferry saying the former Celtic is addressing a personal matter.

In college basketball news, Jim Calhoun reportedly is discussing a new contract with UConn.

Dan Guttenplan offers a Most Wanted List, led by Patriots running back Laurence Maroney.

HISTORIVIA: On Sept. 30, 1969, this player singled for the 55th pinch hit of his Red Sox career, a team record. Who is he?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “You play an entire season, spring training included, to get to this point. One night, you get to throw champagne around and have a little bit of fun. I think that everyone is entitled to that.” ‘€” Outfielder Jason Bay on last night’s Red Sox celebration

‘NET RESULTS: Here’s Junior Seau losing his battle with a bull.

HISTORIVIA ANSWER: Dalton Jones

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Josh Beckett blamed his bad back in part on “crappy beds” on the road. Maybe he should look into a bed like the one in this video. It had to be comfortable, considering how long John and Yoko were in it.

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.

The Red Sox lost a rain-shortened game to the Blue Jays last night, 11-5, but the Rangers lost to the Angels, so the magic number is down to 1. Rob Bradford, in his Five Things We Learned, wonders if we should be worried about recent developments at Fenway and examines the injury situation in detail.

Patriots: Steve DeOssie has his report card, and he’s impressed with the New England defense. Chris Price has a feature on Fred Taylor, who is the go-to guy in the New England backfield. Price also introduces us to safety Brandon McGowan. The Pats made a move yesterday, signing defensive tackle Terdell Sands and releasing recently acquired Prescott Burgess.

Down in Miami, quarterback Chad Pennington was diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder and may miss the rest of the Dolphins’ season. WEEI’s Joe Zarbano has his weekly NFL power rankings.

The Celtics had their media day yesterday in Waltham, before heading to training camp in Newport, R.I. Doc Rivers hinted that he would be careful not to overwork his team, especially with players such as Kevin Garnett returning from injuries. Garnett, however, said he was going “full blast.”

The Bruins also had their media day yesterday at the TD Garden. David Krejci is expected to play in Thursday’s opener vs. Washington. The team announced that there will be a ceremony to honor the late Fred Cusick between periods of Saturday’s game.

In soccer news, Revolution captain Steve Ralston is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

HISTORIVIA: On Sept. 29, 1968, the Red Sox ended the season with a 4-3 loss to the Yankees. Despite going 0-for-5, Carl Yastrzemski won the American League batting title with an average of .301. The Red Sox also had the league’s RBI leader. Who was it?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I just like to have fun. That’€™s the whole thing, you let loose because you go through so much throughout the season, so many ups and downs, the stress, and travel, to accomplish something, so when you do, it’€™s no holds barred.” ‘€” Jonathan Papelbon, talking about the Red Sox’ impending celebration for clinching a playoff spot

‘NET RESULTS: I wanted to post a video from the ESPN reality basketball show “Knight School” showing Dustin Richardson, who made his Red Sox debut last night. But when I searched for “Knight School” video, all I found was this.

HISTORIVIA ANSWER: Ken “Hawk” Harrelson had a league-leading 109 RBI in his only full season with the Red Sox.

SOOTHING SOUNDS: If you’re going to have a holiday lighting set-up this elaborate, you’d better start now.

Lovable Losers

Monday, September 28th, 2009

For the first time since Dec. 23, 2007, the Detroit Lions finally were able to celebrate a win after snapping a 19-game skid with yesterday’s 19-14 victory over the Washington Redskins. Last year, while becoming the first team in NFL history to post an 0-16 record, the Lions made watching Keanu Reeves and his gang of substitute players more enjoyable than catching a game at Ford Field.

The 2008 Lions were not the only team in the league’s history to scratch their claws trying to grasp a victory in any way, shape or form. In 1976, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made their franchise debut, hiring USC legend John McKay as coach and naming current University of South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier quarterback of the expansion squad.

In their inaugural 14-game season, the Buccaneers were consistently tormented by defeat after defeat. To the distress of fans, players and coaches, Tampa Bay’s disastrous rookie campaign would lead to an unlucky sophomore slump. Losing the first 12 games of the 1977 season, the Buccaneers finally were relieved from their misery when they won the final two contests to end the year with a 2-12 record.

Detroit fans have experience with their home team being declared one of the worst of all time. Though the Tigers reached the World Series in 2006 and are in a position to clinch the AL Central and make another postseason run this year, they toiled through a brutal 2003 season in which their 119 losses gave them the disreputable record of most ever by an American League club. Tigers lefty Mike Maroth reached the mark that no pitcher wishes to attain by compiling an MLB-record 21 defeats to post on the Wall of Shame.

While Yankees fans are partying after capturing the AL East title Sunday, their crosstown counterparts are reeling after the Mets finished up an utterly inauspicious opening season in their new Citi Field. However, as quickly as their season plummeted from the good to the bad to the ugly (think Luis Castillo), the 2009 Amazins’ are not nearly as depressing as Casey Stengel’s 1962 Mets.

An expansion team like the Buccaneers, the Mets managed to win only 40 games and lose a modern-day record 120 while dwelling 60 games out of first in the division standings. (The 1899 Cleveland Spiders lost a record 134 games).

What could be even worse than failing to reach double digits in wins in an 82-game season? The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers will be the first to relate among the teams of losers after going 9-73. They began the season dropping their first 15 contests and ended 59 games behind the Eastern Division champion Celtics. The 76ers won consecutive games on only three occasions. Air Bud could have lent this team a hand (or paw).

The 1970s seemed to bring an array of worst teams. On the ice, the 1974-75 Washington Capitals joined the Buccaneers and the 76ers in the League of Extraordinary Losers by sliding to an 8-67-5 mark that still ranks among the worst ever in the NHL. An expansion club like the Mets and the Bucs, the Capitals had trouble motivating crowds to attend their frustrating games, managing to turn in only an .131 winning percentage and a revolting 1-39 record on the road.

Even though the Lions are finally able to exhale, they will forever be remembered as the first team to lose all 16 games in a regular season. Of course, they share the company of several other sports teams that are considered the worst in their sport, yet those are the few friends that no one wants to be on the same Top 10 list with.

Congratulations on the win, Detroit. Hopefully, it will not be another 19 games until the next.

Monday’s Morning Mashup

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Welcome to Monday’€™s Morning Mashup, where we’€™ll get you caught up on what’€™s going on in the sports world and beyond.

Tom Brady misfired a few key passes, and his receivers dropped a few others that were on target, but the Patriots still managed to pull away for a 26-10 victory over the Falcons yesterday at Gillette Stadium. Chris Price has his 10 Things We Learned, leading off with the Patriots using a fourth-and-1 conversion at their 24-yard line in the third quarter as a character-building moment. Kirk Minihane says this is the Randy Moss game you should remember. Mike Petraglia talks to Matt Ryan about suffering the loss in his return to the Bay State. Check out the postgame interviews and more at our It Is What It Is blog.

The players will be all over the WEEI airwaves today. Listen to Tom Brady on the Dennis & Callahan show at 9 this morning, tune in for Ty Warren, the injured Vince Wilfork (hopefully), Sammy Morris and Chris Baker during Dale & Holley, and catch Bill Belichick during the Big Show this afternoon.

For the Week 3 wrap-up in fantasy football, check out our Reality Bites blog, where Greg Levy discusses trends he’s noticed in the early part of the season.

On to baseball. So much for the Red Sox clinching a postseason berth this weekend. Instead, the Yankees swept the Sox to clinch their first AL East title since 2006. Alex Speier has Five Things We Learned from yesterday’s game, leading with the Sox focusing on themselves and trying to look past the fact that the Yankees have owned them in the second half of the season. Speier also has an item about pitching coach John Farell having a clause in his contract that prevents him from leaving for a managing job next season.

In the upstate New York town of Baldwinsville, a Red Sox fan who teaches fourth grade is taking a heat for making a student turn his Yankees shirt inside-out. The kid’s father said the 9-year-old “was distraught” and that his First Amendment rights were violated. That’s going to be a fun class tomorrow morning. My guess is the kid will show up in a “2009 AL East Champions” shirt.

The Bruins wrapped up the preseason with their third game in three nights, a 4-2 loss to Columbus at the TD Garden on Saturday night. In his Five Things We Learned, Joe Haggerty says forward Blake Wheeler is looking to return to form after tiring late last season.

In case you missed Boston College’s 27-24 overtime win over Wake Forest on Saturday at Alumni Stadium, Dan Rowinski brings you Five Things We Learned about the resilient Eagles. In national news, Heisman Trophy favorite Tim Tebow is recovering at home after being knocked out of Florida’s win at Kentucky on Saturday. And the top three teams in the AP poll held their spots in a week when a number of highly ranked teams were upset.

HISTORIVIA: On Sept. 28, 1960, Ted Williams hit a home run in his final career at-bat. When he went out to left field for the start of the next inning, he was replaced by this player, who is better known for having been the only player to pinch hit for both Williams and Carl Yastrzemski. Who is this journeyman outfielder?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I don’t really give a crap about what they’ve done.” ‘€” Jason Varitek, after the Yankees celebrated the AL East title by sweeping the Red Sox in a three-game series over the weekend.

‘NET RESULTS: Here a soccer goalie in Sweden with an interesting style of cheating. He lifts up the goal posts and moves them in a few inches. Not surprisingly, he got caught.

HISTORIVIA ANSWER: Carroll Hardy

SOOTHING SOUNDS: In honor of U2’s appearance at Gillette Stadium last week, here’s “With or Without You.”

These Guys Have Some Atoning To Do

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Monday marks the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement. On this day, members of the Jewish faith fast and pray in an attempt to atone for their sins of the previous year.

After a week filled with trash-talking, expensive fines and suspensions, there are a few professional athletes and coaches who could use a day such as this to reflect on their less-than-honorable behavior.

I’m sure Chad Ochocinco has no regrets about performing his rendition of the Lambeau Leap in front of a sold-out crowd of Packers fans last Sunday. To the aggravation of the Cheeseheads, the Bengals wide receiver backed up his pregame trash talk when he jumped into a small crowd of Bengals fanatics after scoring a touchdown in Cincinnati’s 31-24 win. However, those in Green Bay likely feel No. 85 has some atoning to do, especially after it was revealed that Johnson purchased tickets for the Bengals backers so that he would have a safe landing in the enemy’s home stadium.

While icing his bruised quadriceps, Red Sox ace Jon Lester probably wouldn’t mind hearing some contrition from Yankees outfielder Melky Cabrera. On Friday night, the Melk Man hit a line drive directly into the right knee of the hard-throwing lefty.

Earlier in the week, longtime Braves manager Bobby Cox announced that he will retire after the 2010 season. There aren’t too many umpires who have fond memories of the hot-headed Cox stored away in their heads.

Though he ranks fourth on the all-time win list for managers with 2,409 victories in 24 seasons with the Braves and four with the Blue Jays, Cox also owns the record for career ejections with 150, including seven this year. Maybe with some self-reflection, Cox will sit back and count to 10 the next time he has the urge to storm out of the dugout screaming his head off.

Milton Bradley surely will want to seek a reconciliation with the Cubs after he demonstrated several episodes of unruly conduct that led to an early vacation in the form of a season-ending suspension. Though he offered his sincere apologies, Bradley will be watching the remainder of the season from the comfort of his home after the Cubs decided to cut ties with him during his first year with the club.

In the football spectrum, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his wife, Gisele Bundchen, found a $1 million lawsuit on their doorstep after two photographers sued the couple Tuesday. Citing that security guards fired shots at them during Brady’s post-wedding party in early April, the photographers claimed that they suffered both physical and mental harm as a result. That’s quite a hefty medical bill for the three-time Super Bowl winner to cover.

Brady’s dynamic passing partner Randy Moss had an exchange of not-so-pleasant words with Jets linebacker Bart Scott. Instead of sharing the sportsmanlike attitude after the Jets’ victory over the Patriots on Sunday, Scott decided to be a sore winner by telling Moss to “man up” the next time the AFC East rivals oppose each other.

Giants defensive end Justin Tuck expressed some strong sentiments about the Cowboys after being injured when he was tripped by Dallas lineman Flozell Adams in New York’s 33-31 victory Sunday night during the opening of the new Cowboys Stadium. The former Notre Dame player’s initial reaction was to say that the hit makes him “hate the Cowboys a little bit more.” Maybe the holiday will inspire him ‘€” and other athletes ‘€” to forgive and forget. And atone. It’s not too late.

I don’t want to miss a thing

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Did you catch the game Friday night? No, not the Red Sox-Yankees, though the brewing situation with Jon Lester is certainly worth talking about. Did you see the back-against-the-wall win the Los Angeles Sparks pulled off against the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA Western Conference finals to tie their three-game series at one apiece? You missed it? Well, here’s the official Sparks vs. Mercury recap.

By all accounts, it was a good game that the Mercury could have won, but the tenaciousness of the Sparks defense kept Los Angeles in the game, forcing a deciding Game 3. Of course, it’s a West Coast game, so it started late ‘€” perhaps too late. But that’s OK, because the early game was a come-from-behind victory the Indiana Fever pulled out over the Detroit Shock to tie that series up as well. You should check out the recap.

It’s interesting to watch other forms of major televised sports. Even though I don’t follow the WNBA with any regularity, the few times I’ve seen the women play, the games have been good. OK, so they don’t dunk, and because of that many of the fast-breaks seem a bit anticlimactic. But no one can cast doubt on the intensity with which they play.

It’s a bit unfortunate that one of the only times the WNBA got some traction in the news was for a brawl that broke out during a game. You probably remember it, as it involved LA’s Candace Parker, arguably the face of the WNBA.

That incident received a lot of play on various sports news outlets. Now, the league’s conference finals are going on and there doesn’t appear to be much interest. It’s disappointing that the positive achievements of these female athletes are less noteworthy because they come at a time when most sports fans are concerned with baseball pennant races and NFL football.

Please, don’t confuse this ‘€” there is nothing wrong with reporting on the sports that people want to see and hear about. We’re all concerned and interested to see how the Patriots will defend Tony Gonzalez. It doesn’t mean there isn’t space to hear more about Lisa Leslie’s final season and her push to capture one more title, right?

Perhaps there is a local upside to all of this. With Shelden Williams being signed by the Celtics, we may see more of Candace Parker in the city, which can’t be a bad thing.

Let’s just hope the next time a female sporting event makes a headline, it’s for athletic ability and sportsmanship. Like Western Oregon and Central Washington.

Friday’s Morning Mashup

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.

The Red Sox head into New York on a high note after beating the Royals, 10-3. Rob Bradford has his Five Things We Learned, leading off with Clay Buchholz providing the team some peace of mind after a solid performance last night.

Alex Speier has David Ortiz talking about heading back to New York, where on his last visit he held a press conference to discuss steroid allegations in the midst of a nightmarish sweep at the hands of the Yankees.

Rob Bradford has an interesting piece about Jason Bay’s base-stealing prowess. Lou Merloni breaks down the Red Sox-Yankees head-to-head matchups and makes a prediction about the ALCS.

The Boston Herald’s Sean McAdam reports that the Sox plan to start Jon Lester in Game 1 of the ALDS, followed by Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz.

Following up on a bizarre story, an incarcerated Red Sox fan in Iowa returned to prison after being given a pass so he could see the Sox play the Royals Wednesday night in Kansas City.

On to football: Chris Price has Joey Galloway comparing Tom Brady to other quarterbacks he’s played with during his long NFL career. Price also reports on Wes Welker returning to practice.

Dan Guttenplan comes up with the answers in his Week 3 NFL picks.

Over at Sports Illustrated, Michael Rosenberg wonders what happens if Tom Brady never returns to form.

On the ice, Patrice Bergeron lifted the Bruins to a 2-1 shootout win over the Canadiens. From totalprosports.com, here’s some interesting video from Sunday night’s game in Quebec. Bruins youngster Jeffrey Lovecchio pushes a Canadiens player into the boards and the glass becomes dislodged, landing right in the nose of a woman in the front row.

Wayne Gretzky resigned as coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, replaced by Dave Tippett. And Canadiens defenseman Patrice Brisebois tearfully announced his retirement after 18 NHL seasons, and then said he plans to become a driver in NASCAR’s Canadian Tire Series.

Jessica Camerato has a nice piece on new Celtic Shelden Williams and his wife, WNBA star Candace Parker.

Kirk Minihane presents his list of the best coaches in the history of Boston pro sports. Ally Mielnicki discusses recent stadium debuts that have not gone so well.

HISTORIVIA: On Sept. 25, 1965, Satchel Paige, reportedly 59 years old, came back for one last game after a 12-year hiatus from the majors. Pitching for owner Charles O. Finley’s Kansas City Athletics, Paige pitched the first three innings against the Red Sox and gave up just one hit. Which player got that hit?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I think you guys are spoiled up here, because Tom is different than probably 99 percent of the guys I’€™ve played with.” ‘€” Patriots receiver Joey Galloway, talking about quarterback Tom Brady

‘NET RESULTS: Our “historivia” question focuses on the great Satchel Paige. Here’s Paige in 1971 making an appearance on the game show “What’s My Line?” and discussing his age.

And while we’re on “What’s My Line?” here’s Ted Williams‘ appearance in 1954.

HISTORIVIA ANSWER: Carl Yastrzemski hit a first-inning double in the Sox’ 5-2 victory.

SOOTHING SOUNDS: In honor of Jacoby Ellsbury getting stolen base No. 66 last night, here’s Nat King Cole performing the classic “Route 66.” Come on, just click play. We’re trying to learn you something about music history here.

OK, fine. Here’s the Rolling Stones’ version.

Enjoy your weekend. See you Monday, after the Patriots get everyone back on the bandwagon.

Thursday’s Morning Mashup

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup

Buzz Kill: New Stadium Inaugurations Are Not What Many Paid to See

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

So, Kanye West, what do you think? Your opinion is greatly needed. What new sports venue merits being crowned the Best New Home Stadium from 2008 until this past Sunday?

On Sunday, Jerry Jones unveiled his box-office masterpiece of the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium, replacing the old Texas Stadium that was home for so many years to greats such as Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Tony Dorsett and more. Yet, he did not receive what he had bargained for.

Despite the flashy lights, high-definition television screens, retractable roof and luxury suites, the Cowboys’ NFC East rivals spoiled the inauguration and left Jones and coach Wade Phillips speechless when Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes launched the game-winning, 37-yard field goal straight through the posts to give the Giants a 33-31 victory.

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo threw three interceptions ‘€” all resulting in Giants touchdowns ‘€” in the stadium debut. The Cowboys quarterback completed 13-of-29 passes for 127 yards. One pick, in particular, was quite amusing, as Romo attempted to complete a pass to tight end Jason Witten that ended up in the hands of Kenny Phillips after bouncing off Witten’s shoe. One can only wonder whether somewhere, Jessica Simpson was in a skybox engaged in a victory dance.

Yes, Jones’ much-anticipated grand opening ended in a dud, but he should carries no long-term worries ‘€” yet, that is.

The Yankees and Mets celebrated the opening of their new home turfs this past April, bidding farewell to the old Yankee Stadium and the middle-of-nowhere Shea Stadium, respectively.

As with every New York event, the induction of both ballparks, the “new” Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, received an array of lights-camera-action coverage, including the momentous ‘€” and at times controversial ‘€” buildup. (There was that small incident where one of the construction workers, who was an avid Boston Red Sox fan, buried a David Ortiz jersey in the cement sealing in the restaurant section of the stadium. The jersey was dug up and removed days later, though the hole remains as something of a new Yankee Stadium monument.)

Yet, to New York fans’ dismay, the Yankees’ and the Mets’ home openers were overshadowed by losses. In fact, most fans found themselves questioning several aspects and features of the stadiums instead of focusing on their home team.

What is going on with that short porch in right field in Yankee Stadium that has turned Johnny Damon into a home run basher? Why are there more shrines and engravings dedicated to the Brooklyn Dodgers and Ebbets Field than the Mets? How much do these box seats actually cost, Mr. Steinbrenner? Wait, why is Dwight Gooden getting reprimanded for carving his autograph in Citi’s bathroom?

Dimensions and artistic differences aside, on April 16 the Yankees suffered a humiliating 10-2 opening defeat to the Indians in their $1.5 billion home investment. CC Sabathia (and his freshly inked $161 million contract) was tagged and proved unable to escape the sixth frame.

Earlier that week, on April 13, the Mets had flopped in their $800 million home, inaugurating the facility with a 6-5 loss to the San Diego Padres. From the moment Jody Gerut lead off the game with a home run off Mets starter Mike Pelfrey, fans have been convinced that the new park is doomed to failure, especially with the Mets owning a better record than only the miserable Washington Nationals in the NL East.

Back to football: Indianapolis Colts fans could not have been more ecstatic last year when the team kicked off the season in the new Lucas Oil Stadium on Sept. 7 against the Chicago Bears. Determined to avenge their Super Bowl defeat, however, the Bears rained on Peyton Manning and the stadium’s parade, winning 29-13. Though Manning manage to pass for 257 yards with one touchdown, the Bears limited the Indy rushing game to 53 yards.

While the Colts finished the season with a reputable 12-4 record, they were ousted in the first round of the playoffs by the Chargers. The Yankees currently are preparing for another postseason run, owning the best record in baseball while their subway counterparts dwell in fourth in the NL East.

What is now in store for the Cowboys? Only the future can tell.

And the award for Best New Home Stadium Opener goes to ‘€¦ Taylor Swift?

Thursday’s Morning Mashup

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.

The Red Sox knocked off the Royals, 9-2, last night in Kansas City. Josh Beckett gave up 12 hits, but the large majority of them weren’t hit hard, which bodes well for Beckett’s prospects heading into the postseason, explains Alex Speier in his Five Things We Learned column. If you saw the game, that Sox lineup may become a familiar one, says Rob Bradford.

The other big news in Red Sox Nation yesterday? NESN hired another beauty queen to deliver us details about the hometown team. Newton native Jade McCarthy joins the station in January.

Nationally, Braves manager Bobby Cox announced that he will retire after the 2010 season. That sound you heard was the party in the umpires’ locker room. And suspended Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley apologized for being Milton Bradley.

On to football. Chris Price says Tom Brady isn’t stupid, and he’ll figure out a way to adjust to the problems in Foxboro. Price also talks to Sam Aiken about the Patriots’ special teams troubles. In case you missed it yesterday, Kerry Byrne of Cold, Hard Football Facts breaks down the Patriots’ mistake in relying too much on Tom Brady while ignoring the run game. Mike Petraglia checks in with a piece on Sunday’s opponent, the Falcons, led by former Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan.

Speaking of BC, Dan Rowinski previews the Eagles’ game Saturday against Riley Skinner and Wake Forest.

In basketball news, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is buying the New Jersey Nets, making him the first individual from outside North America to own an NBA team.

Yesterday in Washington, a documentary about Len Bias debuted, six weeks before a scheduled Nov. 3 showing on ESPN. “Without Bias” details the life and death of the University of Maryland star who died of a cocaine overdose two days after being drafted second overall by the Celtics in 1986. Bias’ mother, Lonise, attended the screening.

HISTORIVIA: On Sept. 24, 1998, this Red Sox reliever set a major league record by converting his 42nd consecutive save without a blown opportunity, on a night when the Sox clinched a wild card berth. Who is he?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We’re still feeling each other out. Obviously, you can’€™t expect him to go out there and he and I to be like me and Jason for three years now.” ‘€” Josh Beckett, on pitching to Victor Martinez instead of Jason Varitek

‘NET RESULTS:

A day late on this, but here’s Jennifer Garner coming through (with one gaffe) by reciting the Red Sox’ starting lineup on “The Jay Leno Show.”

The host was far more forgiving with Garner than “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek was with Cliff Clavin in this classic “Cheers” clip. “Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?”

HISTORIVIA ANSWER: Tom Gordon, who finished the season with a Red Sox-record 46 saves and continued his streak into the next season, finishing at 54 consecutive saves without a blown opportunity.

SOOTHING SOUNDS: With the Yankees winning in Anaheim yesterday, the Red Sox can forget those hopes of a stirring comeback to win the AL East, and instead start planning on playing the Angels. So, here’s “Send Me An Angel,” with a freaky video from the Australian new wave band Real Life.

Also see: Wednesday’s Morning Mashup

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Welcome to Wednesday’s “Morning Mashup,” where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.

The Red Sox went down with a whimper against Zack Greinke in a 5-1 loss to the Royals. In his “Five Things We Learned,” WEEI’s Alex Speier says the bright spot last night might have been the ability of Michael Bowden to pitch well in back-to-back games, an accomplishment that may lead to a postseason roster spot. Meanwhile, the Yankees beat the Angels to clinch a playoff spot and move six games ahead of the Sox.

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, a WEEI blogger, finally made his decision about his candidacy for the open U.S. Senate seat: He’s out.

And another former Red Sox pitcher just can’t let it go: Roger Clemens filed an appeal of his dismissed defamation suit against Brian McNamee in Houston.

Fans are still recovering from the Patriots’ 16-9 loss to the Jets on Sunday, and Chris Price gives them a chance to vent in his inaugural Football Mailbag. The Patriots made a move yesterday, acquiring linebacker Prescott Burgess from the Ravens, a team they play a week from Sunday.

If you missed it yesterday, Steve DeOssie handed out low grades to the Pats for their Week 2 debacle, and Joe Zarbano broke down the league’s contenders and pretenders in his NFL Power Rankings.

Tom Brady was in the news for another apparent communication problem. This time, two photographers are suing him and his supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen, for $1 million. The photographers claim they were shot at by bodyguards during Brady and Bundchen’s post-wedding party in Costa Rica in April, and they accuse the bride and groom of hiring improperly trained security guards.

In other NFL news, former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress started his two-year prison sentence for violating New York’s gun laws.

The Bruins are taking a look at some promising youngsters as they continued their preseason last night with a  6-5 shootout loss to the Blue Jacket in Columbus, Ohio. One such youngster is 22-year-old Czech center Vladimir Sobotka. Joe Haggerty tells Sobotka’s story in the Big Bad Blog.

Right here on LEEINKS, you can learn more about the best father-son combinations in Major League Baseball history. Wondering who the top three are? Here’s a hint: Of the three, two of the sons are still playing, and one wishes he was.

HISTORIVIA: On Sept. 23, 1970, groundbreaking ceremonies were held in Foxboro for Schaefer Stadium, which would serve as the new home of the Patriots starting in 1971. Where did the Patriots play their homes games in 1970? (Answer below.)

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I have a very difficult time believing there is anybody better in the major leagues, that’s as good a pitcher as Zack Greinke is in the year 2009.” ‘€” Royals manager Trey Hillman last night, after Greinke shut down the Red Sox in a 5-1 Kansas City win

‘NET RESULTS: If you haven’€™t yet seen this video of amazing basketball shots, take a look. It’€™s the third in a series by a bunch of college kids in Texas going by the name Dude Perfect.

And here’s their latest entry: “The World’s Longest Basketball Shot”:

HISTORIVIA ANSWER: Harvard Stadium, which served as the team’s third home stadium in three years, following Fenway Park (1963-68) and Boston College’s Alumni Stadium (1969).

SOOTHING SOUNDS: After Sunday’s forgettable performance, the best advice for the Patriots this week might be: Don’t Look Back.