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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Kevin Garnett not happy about Nets’ plan to manage his minutes 10.01.13 at 7:52 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 playoffs: Reds at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-FM)
NHL: Capitals at Blackhawks, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Glasgow Celtic vs. Barcelona, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


‘€¢ The Nets held their media day Monday in Brooklyn, and Kevin Garnett was his usual frank self.

“I’m here to win a ring,” the former Celtic said. “That’s the reason we came to Brooklyn.”

The 37-year-old forward created a little bit of a stir when he made it clear that he did not agree with new coach Jason Kidd‘s suggestion that he sit some nights when the team plays back-to-back games.

“It didn’t go too well,” Garnett said of that discussion. “Just being honest.

“I understand what he said. He wants to make sure I’€™m durable and that I get through an 82-game season. I’€™m totally understanding of what it is. He’€™s not coming at me personally or as a man or anything like that. He’€™s looking to better me. I’€™m going to try to be receptive of that.”

Added Garnett: “I just don’€™t want to be ‘€¦ told anything. I think I’€™ve earned the right to have an opinion in something that I’€™m doing. But more importantly, and more seriously, from a chemistry standpoint I think it’€™s important for me to be out there with everybody, and speed the chemistry process up a little quicker.”

‘€¢ Across town, Knicks guard J.R. Smith was contrite in talking about the five-game suspension he received from the league for testing positive for marijuana on three occasions.

Smith, who signed a three-year deal this offseason, had surgery on his patella tendon that could push back his start to the season even further. The Knicks wanted him to have the surgery right after last season, but Smith waited until July, saying he first wanted to sign his new deal. He’ll serve his suspension after a doctor clears him to return to action.

“The worst thing is I feel I let my teammates and coach down,” the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year said at the team’s media day. “I let Mr. [James] Dolan down. I’m looking to move forward from it. As soon as I’m able to play, I’m hoping to have a good season.”

Said coach Mike Woodson: “J.R. knows he made a major mistake. I haven’t heard his comments, but I’m sure he’s apologized to the guys, because we made a commitment to win. Hopefully it’ll be a learning experience.”

‘€¢ Athlon Sports has a list of the 50 worst managers in baseball since 1961. Bobby Valentine is second for his 69-93 record with the Red Sox last season. He trails only the “College of Coaches” the Cubs used in 1961 and ’62 when they won 123 games and lost 193 — including a franchise-worst 103 losses the second season.

Ozzie Guillen holds the No. 3 spot for his 69-93 season with the Marlins last year, followed by Bob Geren (A’s, 2007-11) and Larry Bowa (Padres, 1987-88).

Other notable names on the list: Joe Torre (Mets, 1977-81), John McNamara (Angels, 1983-84), Terry Francona (Phillies, 1997-2000), Brad Mills (Astros, 2010-12), Bucky Dent (Yankees, 1989-90), Butch Hobson (Red Sox, 1992-94), Ralph Houk (Tigers, 1974-78), Russ Nixon (Braves, 1988-90), Davey Lopes (Brewers, 2000-02) and Billy Herman (Red Sox, 1964-66).

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Oct. 1, 1991, in an 8-5 loss to the Tigers at Fenway Park, which Red Sox outfielder tied a major league record by striking out five times in a nine-inning game?

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Read More: bobby valentine, J.R. Smith, Jason Kidd, kevin garnett
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Mariano Rivera bids emotional goodbye to Yankee Stadium 09.27.13 at 7:56 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 Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
College football: Utah State at San Jose State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Middle Tennessee at BYU, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL preseason: Flyers at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL preseason: Rangers at Kings, 10:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
MLS: Philadelphia at Kansas City, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)


‘€¢ Throughout his farewell tour in the major leagues this year, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has been reserved and unemotional. Thursday night, however, the tears were flowing as he left the Yankee Stadium mound for the final time.

Rivera entered the game in the eighth — with the voice of late PA man Bob Sheppard introducing him and “Enter Sandman” blaring over the speakers — to a standing ovation from the 48,675 fans, his teammates and the Rays players.

Then, with two outs in the ninth inning of New York’s 4-0 loss, longtime teammates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte walked to the mound to take out Rivera. He laughed at first, then shared a long embrace with Pettitte, burying his head into Pettitte’s shoulder as he sobbed.

“I was bombarded with emotions and feeling that I couldn’t describe,” Rivera said afterward. “Everything hit at that time. I knew that was the last time. Period. I never felt like that before.”

Said Pettitte: He didn’t say anything at first, and I didn’t expect for him to be quite so emotional. He broke down, gave me a bear hug, and I bear-hugged him back. He was really crying. He was weeping. ‘€¦ I felt like he didn’t want to let go.”

The 43-year-old Panamanian, who has an MLB-best 652 saves, a 2.21 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in his 19-year career, shared hugs with his coaches and teammates in the dugout before being guided back out to the field for another ovation.

“He made my job fun,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He made my job easy. And he made all of our lives better.”

‘€¢ Former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was in the running for an analyst job with TBS for the Major League Baseball playoffs. However, when the network announced its lineup earlier this week, Valentine’s name was absent.

According to New York Newsday, Valentine lost the opportunity due to his bizarre, self-serving comments on Sept. 11 when he criticized the Yankees for not being as visible as the Mets in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New York City in 2001.

The studio crew consists of Keith Olbermann, Tom Verducci and Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez.

Said a TBS spokesman: “Bobby was one of a number of candidates being considered for the role, but we elected to go with the team of Keith, Pedro and Tom, and we’re very excited about that combination in studio for us.”

‘€¢ Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced that he will retire in January 2015 after 22 years at the helm.

Selig, 79, has made previous statements about retiring only to change his mind. This time, he offered a specific date and said he will offer a transition plan soon.

Selig has his critics, but revenue has grown from $1.7 billion when he took over to $8 billion now.

“I look forward to continuing its extraordinary growth and addressing several significant issues during the remainder of my term,” he said.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 27, 1977, which player recorded his 30th save to break the Red Sox single-season record set in 1964 by Dick Radatz?

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Read More: Andy Pettitte, bobby valentine, bud selig, Derek Jeter
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Fenway-bound Yankees lose another player to injury in win over Orioles 09.13.13 at 8:02 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: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, MLB Network; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Indians at White Sox, 2 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Orioles at Blue Jays, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
College football: Air Force at Boise State, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
MLS: Real Salt Lake at Seattle, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)


‘€¢ The Yankees beat the Orioles, 6-5, on Thursday night when they scored the winning run on a ninth-inning wild pitch (sound familiar, Red Sox fans?), but the injuries continue to mount for the Bronx Bombers.

Two days after the team put Derek Jeter on the disabled list, signaling the end of his season, there is concern in New York that outfielder Brett Gardner might be lost for the remainder of the campaign as well. Gardner was lifted from Thursday’s game after straining his left oblique while checking his swing on a strikeout in the first inning.

Gardner is scheduled for an MRI in New York on Friday, before the Yankees open a three-game series at Fenway Park. The Yankees, 9½ games behind the Sox, could be mathematically eliminated from contention for the division title by the end of the weekend, but they are just one game behind the Rays for the second wild card spot.

Gardner, who leads the team with 33 doubles, 10 triples and 24 stolen bases while playing more games than any Yankee except Robinson Cano, is hoping he’ll be able to contribute to the stretch run but acknowledges there is a possibility he might have to be shut down.

“I know we don’t have much time left,” he said, via the New York Post. “We’re trying to fight and get in the playoffs. I haven’t looked too far ahead into that, but I guess it could be a possibility. Hopefully we get good news [Friday].”

‘€¢ Bobby Valentine apparently was not satisfied with embarrassing himself once on the 12th anniversary of 9/11 when he claimed that the Yankees were AWOL as New York attempted to heal from the terrorist attacks. Valentine, who was manager of the Mets at the time, said his team was jealous that the Yankees were getting more credit for less community involvement.

Despite rebuttals from the Yankees and media accounts proving him to be incorrect, Valentine continued to hold firm Thursday, telling Erik Kuselias of the NBC Radio Network: “All I remember is people asking for the Yankees and me making excuses for them not being there.”

Yankees president Randy Levine had dismissed Valentine’s initial accusation and listed some of the sites the players visited, but Valentine said he wants more proof.

“There weren’t any Yankees out there,” Valentine insisted. “If there were, Mr. Levine can come up with a photograph.”

‘€¢ Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong returned his Olympic bronze medal Thursday, after having his third-place finish vacated by the International Olympic Committee because of his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Armstrong tweeted a photo of the medal along with a message that it was in the possession of the U.S. Olympic Committee. A USOC spokesman confirmed its return.

Armstrong won the medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney for road time trial. It came two months after he won his second of seven Tour de France titles.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 13, 1982, which pitcher began his memorable stint with the Red Sox when made his major league debut and took the loss in a 3-1 setback vs. the Indians?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We have to evaluate and try to get it right. It just doesn’€™t magically come together. You have to work hard at it and you have to concentrate. All of us have to do a better job at that.” — Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, after the offense struggled badly in a 13-10 victory over the Jets

STAT OF THE DAY: 46 — David Ortiz‘s rank all-time on Major League Baseball’s career home run list, as he hit his 428th in Thursday’s 4-3 loss to the Rays to move past Mike Piazza

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): New Senators forward Bobby Ryan interviews fans in Ottawa without being recognized.

Louisiana Tech kicker Kyle Fischer banks in a field goal off both uprights during Thursday’s loss to Tulane.

From a high school football game in Kansas, Eli Renoux of Andover High has an impressive 65-yard punt return for a touchdown against Campus.


SOOTHING SOUNDS: David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears was born on this day in 1941.

Read More: bobby valentine, Brett Gardner, Lance Armstrong, Randy Levine
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees defend post-9/11 actions after criticism from Bobby Valentine 09.12.13 at 8:29 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 Rays, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Orioles, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Pirates, 7 p.m. (WGN)
NFL: Jets at Patriots, 8:25 p.m. (Ch. 5, NFL Network)
College football: Troy at Arkansas State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: TCU at Texas Tech, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Tulane at Louisiana Tech, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
WNBA: Minnesota at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)


‘€¢ Bobby Valentine is at it again. During an interview with New York radio station WFAN on Wednesday, the former Red Sox manager was talking about his recollections of the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, when he was serving as manager of the Mets. The only problem is, his recollections continue to be different than reality.

Valentine criticized the Yankees for what he claims was a lack of effort helping the city heal after the terrorist attacks. The Yankees captured the attention of the nation after advancing to the World Series that fall, but Valentine claims his Mets were more deserving of praise.

“Let it be said that during the time from 9/11 to 9/21, the Yankees were [AWOL],” he said. “You couldn’t find a Yankee on the streets of New York City. You couldn’t find a Yankee down at Ground Zero, talking to guys who were working 24/7. Many of them didn’t live here, and so it wasn’t their fault. Many of them did not partake in all that, so there was some of that jealousy going around [from Mets players]. Like, ‘Why are we so tired? Why are we wasted? Why have we been to the funerals and the firehouses, and the Yankees are getting all the credit for bringing baseball back? And I said, ‘This isn’t about credit, guys. This is about doing the right thing.’ ”

Mariano Rivera, one of the Yankees players who did in fact spend time with families of victims in the weeks after the attacks, struggled to understand Valentine’s comments.

“It’s ridiculous,” Rivera said, via the New York Daily News. “For him to say that, I don’t know what basis he has to say that. I was there. I’m part of the Yankees. And it wasn’t just myself; a bunch of players and front office [personnel] were there.”

Added Rivera: “I don’t want to get into a ‘he said, I said.’ We know what we did. I’ll leave it at that. We know exactly what we did.”

Yankees president Randy Levine said it was “sad” that Valentine chose to “seek credit” on the 12th anniversary of 9/11. General manager Brian Cashman also questioned Valentine’s motive.

“I don’€™t know what to say to that, to be honest,” Cashman said. “I would point anybody who was covering us to go back and look what we were doing because that’€™s not what I remember. I don’€™t know what the purpose of him raising those issues is. I don’€™t agree with him. I personally was proud of our team. We did everything we thought we should be doing.

“I don’€™t understand the conversation, why we’€™re even having it here. It’€™s hard to speak to it, given everything else that’€™s going on. ‘€¦ I like Bobby. But in this case, I don’€™t understand it.”

‘€¢ A Massachusetts man attending Tuesday night’s Red Sox-Rays game was arrested Tuesday after grabbing Tampa Bay’s fuzzy blue mascot, Raymond, and was charged with disorderly intoxication, according to police in St. Petersburg, Fla. (via the Tampa Bay Times).

Trevor James Martin, 27, twice reached over a railing and grabbed Raymond by the neck, police said. The mascot pushed back and broke free.

Martin admitted that he had been drinking beer, and he was staggering and slurring his words, according to the arrest affidavit. He was released from jail early Wednesday on $100 bail.

Raymond declined to press battery charges.

‘€¢ Grambling State coach Doug Williams became the first casualty of the college football season when he was fired Wednesday after the Tigers opened the season with two losses.

Williams, a former Super Bowl-winning quarterback (Washington, 1988), led Grambling to a Southwestern Athletic Conference title in 2011, his first season in his second stint as coach at his alma mater, but he went 1-10 last year.

Williams, whose son, D.J., is a quarterback on the team, said he learned of his fate during a meeting Wednesday morning in the office of school president Frank Pogue.

“There wasn’t a lot of conversation. I told him, ‘OK,’ and I was gone,” Williams told The News Star of Monroe, La.

Running backs coach George Ragsdale, another former NFL player, is the interim head coach.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 12, 2005, David Ortiz hit his 40th home run of the season, a solo shot in the 11th inning to give the Red Sox a 6-5 victory over the Blue Jays in Toronto. With that clout, he became just the second Red Sox player to have back-to-back 40-home run seasons. Who was the first?

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Read More: bobby valentine, brian cashman, Doug Williams, Mariano Rivera
Top Stories of 2012, No. 2: Bobby Valentine leads woeful Sox to 93 losses, gets fired 12.31.12 at 11:30 am ET
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Over the final week of 2012, will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. This entry in the countdown is No. 2: Bobby Valentine’s nightmare season as Red Sox manager.

Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NHL lockout
No. 9: Wes Welker’s up-and-down year
No. 8: Bruins’ early playoff elimination
No. 7: Ray Allen’s departure from Celtics
No. 6: Tim Thomas’ political controversy and sabbatical
No. 5: Celtics’ Eastern Conference finals loss to Heat
No. 4: Red Sox’ megatrade with Dodgers
No. 3: Tom Brady’s MVP-caliber season

In a forgettable season, the 2012 Sox finished 69-93, their worst record since 1965, and in last place in the American League East for the first time since John Henry and Tom Werner bought the team.

According to multiple reports, Bobby Valentine was not the preferred choice of first-year general manager Ben Cherington, but team president and CEO Larry Lucchino made the hire to replace Terry Francona.

As Valentine was formally introduced to Boston, nobody could have foreseen the outcome of the season.

‘€œI am honored, I’€™m humbled and I’€™m pretty damn excited,’€ Valentine said at his introductory press conference. ‘€œThis day is a special day, and it’€™s more than a special day. It’€™s the beginning of a life that I think is going to extend beyond anything else that I thought of doing. The talent level and the players that we have in this organization, I think, is a gift to anyone. And I’€™m the receiver of that gift.’€

Valentine, 62, would become the first Red Sox manager since 1934 (Bucky Harris) to be fired after just one season with the team.

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Read More: 2012 Stories of the Year, Ben Cherington, bobby valentine, Curt Schilling
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Bill O’Brien says he’s staying at Penn State 11.28.12 at 8:07 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.

NBA: Nets at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Rockets at Thunder, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Timberwolves at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Boston College at Penn State, 9:15 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Virginia at Wisconsin, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Purdue at Clemson, 7:15 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Michigan State at Miami, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: George Mason at Rhode Island, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Georgia Tech at Illinois, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Ohio State at Duke, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)


‘™¦ Former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien guided Penn State to an 8-4 record in his first season at the helm of the Nittany Lions, no small feat given the school’s troubles related to the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Now there are rumors that O’Brien has other opportunities — college and pro — should he want to jump ship while the program serves three more years of NCAA punishment that includes reduced scholarships and a bowl ban. O’Brien, who has eight more years left on his contract, said Tuesday he’s not going anywhere.

“I plan on being the head football coach at Penn State [in 2013],” he told Atlanta’s 790-AM “The Zone.” “That’s my plan and that’s what I intend to do.”

His agent, Joe Linta, was even more adamant. “[O’Brien] is staying, and we’ve had no conversations with anyone else,” Linta said. “In fact he’s leaving at 6 in the morning [Wednesday] to go out on the recruiting trail.”

O’Brien also was in the news this week for apparently uttering an obscenity during a live TV interview after Saturday’s victory over Wisconsin. O’Brien seems to say a swear word that begins with the letter ‘f’ when referring to the effort of his players, although he denies it.

“You know I’m not a choir boy, but I said ‘fighters,’ ” he said.

‘™¦ “Fireman Ed” Anzalone, who announced on Sunday that he is stepping down as the team’s unofficial cheerleader because he’s tired of the behavior of fellow fans, is getting no sympathy from his counterpart with the Dolphins, Thomas Phillips, aka Big Papa Pump.

In a Tuesday appearance on South Florida radio station Sports Talk: The Ticket, the longtime Dolphins superfan called out Fireman Ed.

“If you’re stepping down because of what you see, getting your butt whupped week-in and week-out and you haven’t been to the Super Bowl since Super Bowl III, that is a wuss. That is a wuss,” he said. “You don’t back out of your team like that. That’s something you don’t do. You don’t step down from being a superfan. You don’t do that. Fireman Ed, you’re a disgrace, man.”

Added Big Papa Pump: “This team is looking up to him and this is what he’s telling them? You quit? You just give up? If you’re winning and you quit, it’s another thing. But you’re losing and you quit, that’s even worse.”

‘™¦ At GQ, writer Drew Magary has a list of the 25 least influential people of 2012. The list is not limited to sports, but there are a number of sports figures on it, including ex-Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine at No. 15. Mitt Romney is No. 1. Lakers center Dwight Howard is the top athlete, at No. 4 overall.

At Sports Illustrated, Tom Verducci has a column on nine baseball rules that need to change. Among them are a call for more replay and fewer timeouts (such as the catcher walking out to the mound).

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 28, 1938, the Bruins traded legendary but aging goaltender Cecil “Tiny” Thompson to the Red Wings and called up which rookie to replace him?

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Read More: Big Papa Pump, Bill O'Brien, bobby valentine, Fireman Ed Anzalone
LEEInks List: Worst coaches in Boston sports history 10.19.12 at 9:17 am ET
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With the recent firing of Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine, one has to wonder where he ranks among the worst managers/coaches of all-time in Boston sports. Valentine had it all — disastrously bad record, poor relationship with players (although he’ll tell you otherwise) and incident after incident in which he embarrassed himself and the team.

We’ve gone through the history books to determine which men had the least impressive performances leading one of the major professional teams in Boston. Our ranking is based on a combination of factors including team record, coaching decisions, relationship to players, and perception by fans/media.

When you’re done reading this list, check out our poll so you can cast your vote on who deserves recognition as worst of the worst.

10. M.L. Carr, Celtics

In defense of Carr, it’s widely believed that the Celtics’ intention was to lose in order to get a better draft position. And lose they did. In two seasons, Carr’s teams went 48-116.  In 1996-97, the C’s went 15-67, their worst record ever. They had the second-worst record in the league and hoped for a fortuitous lottery so that they could select consensus top pick Tim Duncan. However, they ended up dropping to the No. 3 spot and settled for Chauncey Billups, who was traded (for Kenny Anderson) midway through his rookie season by Carr’s successor, Rick Pitino. At least Carr can look back fondly at his playing days for the C’s.

9. Phil Watson, Bruins

The B’s coach during the 1961-62 season and part of 1962-63, Watson had just 16 wins in 84 games. A former Rangers center who coached the Blueshirts from 1955-56 until 1959-60, Watson was known as a hard-worker, but he never made things click for the B’s. Boston finished last in the NHL both seasons he coached. Talent obviously was a big part of the issue, as Milt Schmidt was not much more successful after taking over during the 1962-63 campaign. Watson, who went on to coach in the AHL for three seasons, died in 1991.

8. Pinky Higgins, Red Sox

Higgins was a three-time All-Star who had two stints playing for the Sox before he had two stints as manager, starting in 1955. Higgins’ overall record over eight seasons was unimpressive but not disastrous (560-556). Higgins earns a spot on this list for being widely recognized as a bigot who conspired to keep African-American players from playing for the Red Sox. Boston was the last team to integrate and that is credited in large part to Higgins (allegedly in concert with team owner Tom Yawkey). Higgins, who went on to become the team’s general manager until being fired in September 1965, was charged in 1968 with killing a man and injuring several others when he was driving drunk and his car plowed into a Louisiana highway department crew. He died in 1969, the day after being released from prison.

7. Billy Herman, Red Sox

A standout National League second baseman in the 1930s and ’40s, Herman took over managing the Red Sox from Johnny Pesky for the final two games of the 1964 season, reportedly because Pinky Higgins (see above entry) didn’t get along with Pesky. Herman led the team to consecutive ninth-place finishes in 1965 and 1966, with a 128-192 record. Herman’€™s 1965 season featured a stunning 100 losses. The lack of improvement the following season led to Herman being replaced with 16 games remaining in the season. Herman, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975, died in 1992.

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Read More: bobby valentine, Butch Hobson, Clive Rush, Dave Lewis
Kevin Youkilis’ brother rips Boston, Bobby Valentine on Twitter 06.25.12 at 12:37 pm ET
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While Kevin Youkilis‘€™ turbulent season with the Red Sox came to an end Sunday with a standing ovation from the Fenway faithful, Youk’€™s brother celebrated his trade to the White Sox with a string of tweets lashing out at Boston and Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine over the weekend.

Scott Youkilis, a chef in San Francisco, wrote on Saturday that he was “glad that #teamyouk may be changing sox real soon. #Chicago is better town anyways!”

Scott Youkilis would later tweet that “Bobby V is a joke” before listing several reasons why he felt Chicago is a better city than Boston.

Read More: bobby valentine, Boston Red Sox, kevin youkilis, Rumor Mill
The year in Boston sports: Biggest media controversies of 2011 12.30.11 at 9:42 am ET
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The Boston media did its best to live up to its reputation in 2011, creating and reporting on controversy throughout the year. Some of the issues were initiated by the players themselves, via tweets and press conferences. Others were started by former players who have moved over to the dark side.

With that in mind, we present our list of the top 10 Boston sports media controversies of 2011.

10. MLB institutes a dress code for media members

Although the dress code itself was not out of the ordinary, it was significant that MLB was the first professional sports league to police the fashion of its media members when it announced the policy in December. Items on the list of banned clothes include tank tops, short shorts/skirts, ripped jeans, visible undergarments, one-shoulder or strapless tops, clothes with team logos and flip-flops. The dress code came one year after the NFL had a situation on its hands when Mexican TV reporter Ines Sainz was the subject of catcalls from members of the Jets after wearing a tight pair of jeans to a practice.

Baseball Writers’ Association of America vice president Susan Slusser served on the guidelines panel and acknowledged: “I believe the baseball media in general could dress slightly more professionally,” adding partly in jest: “Don’t dress like a hobo and don’t dress like a ho, those are the extremes they’re looking at.” This would be disappointing news to fans of Heidi Watney, but she left NESN anyhow.

9. Rodney Harrison rips Patriots defense on NBC

After Ben Roethlisberger carved up the Patriots secondary for 365 yards on Oct. 30, Harrison, the former Patriots safety who now serves as an NBC analyst, questioned the defensive strategy of coach Bill Belichick and ripped the passive style of the secondary.

‘€œI look at that secondary, and they’€™re playing really soft coverage, that bend-but-don’€™t-break defense,’€ Harrison said. ‘€œI hate that. I think you have to challenge your players more. You have to start blitzing, force the quarterback into making mistakes. I know you can’€™t stop everything. I know they were afraid of their speed. But sometimes you’ve just got to go challenge them. And I just don’€™t see them doing it.’€

Earlier this month, Harrison took his criticism a step further, saying, “They should be concerned, because that secondary is probably the worst secondary I’€™ve seen in the last decade.” Added Harrison of Tom Brady: “He feels like he has to shoulder a lot of the pressure because that defense is so bad.”

Responded defensive lineman Vince Wilfork during a Dec. 12 appearance on The Big Show: “I want to [call the Patriots critics] all the time and tell them to shut the ‘f’ up.”

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Read More: bobby valentine, Chad Ochocinco, John Lackey, Mike Milbury
Top Stories of 2011, No. 3: Red Sox’ manager/GM turnover 12.29.11 at 12:00 pm ET
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For the final 10 days of 2011, will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. Our next entry in the countdown is No. 3: The Red Sox‘ manager/GM turnover.

Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NBA lockout
No. 9: NFL lockout
No. 8: Celtics’ playoff loss to Heat
No. 7: Patriots’ acquisitions of Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco
No. 6: Jacoby Ellsbury’s MVP-caliber season
No. 5: Patriots’ playoff loss to Jets
No. 4: Celtics’ trade of Kendrick Perkins

On Sept. 29, a visibly frustrated Terry Francona sat beside a similarly frustrated-looking Theo Epstein in the Fenway Park media room. Epstein wore a navy blue Red Sox zip-up. He sat hunched forward while Francona leaned back in his chair, his arms crossed across his chest and a glower on his face. The two men attempted to explain why the Red Sox — a team that had been in first place going into September and was the best team in baseball at times during the summer months — failed to make the playoffs due to a 7-20 September.

But neither man had a satisfying explanation for the club’€™s September swoon, and neither man was willing to address his status with the team going forward. Francona appeared to be in a more precarious position than Epstein. The manager had just completed the last year of a three-year, $12 million contract that had an option for the 2012 and 2013 seasons that ownership would have to decide to pick up.

Epstein had one year left on a four-year deal that would keep him in Boston until the end of the 2012 season.

It was Francona who addressed his contract status first, as he met with Red Sox brass behind closed doors the morning after his tense press conference with Epstein. There, Francona said he informed ownership that he felt it was time for a new managerial voice to help guide the team.

‘€œI passed along my frustrations at my inability to effectively reach the players,’€ Francona said in a statement after the club announced he would not be returning. ‘€œAfter many conversations and much consideration, I ultimately felt that, out of respect to this team, it was time for me to move on. I’€™ve always maintained that it is not only the right, but the obligation, of ownership to have the right person doing this job. I told them that out of my enormous respect for this organization and the people in it, they may need to find a different voice to lead the team.’€

After Francona’€™s departure, more details emerged about the troubled times over the course of the season that led to his desire to leave the organization. Francona said he felt like the team was not coming together over the course of the season the way teams typically do, and after leaving the Red Sox Francona said he did not always feel that ownership supported him.

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