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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Mets defend Daniel Murphy for paternity leave 04.04.14 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Brewers at Red Sox, 2 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Phillies at Cubs, 2:15 p.m. (MLB Network, WGN)
MLB: Yankees at Blue Jays, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: 76ers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Nuggets at Grizzlies, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Thunder at Rockets, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Capitals at Devils, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy

– Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy and his manager dismissed comments by New York sports radio talk show hosts who criticized the player for taking off an extra game following the birth of his first child.

Murphy flew from New York to Florida to be at his wife’s side as she gave birth via C-section early Monday afternoon. He missed Monday’s opener and then decided to stay with his family and skip Wednesday’s game as well. He returned to the team for Thursday afternoon’s game.

Longtime WFAN host Mike Francesa questioned Murphy’s choice and said he should have hired a nurse to replace him, while Boomer Esiason suggested Murphy’s wife should have had a C-section before the start of the season. That didn’t sit well with manager Terry Collins.

“He missed two games,” Collins said. “It’s not like he has missed 10. When you start attacking Daniel Murphy’s credibility, you need to look in the mirror a little bit.”

Added Collins: “The man had his first child. He is allowed to be there. The rules state that he can be there, so he went. There is nothing against it. There’s nothing wrong with it.”

Murphy attempted to be more diplomatic.

“I got a couple of text messages about it, so I’m not going to sit here and lie and say I didn’t hear about it,” Murphy said. “But that’s the awesome part about being blessed about being a parent, is you get that choice. My wife and I discussed it, and we felt the best thing for our family was for me to try to stay for an extra day, that being Wednesday, due to the fact that she can’t travel for two weeks … just to have that support system with her.”

– Hall of Famer Deion Sanders weighed in on the Johnny Manziel situation and said he thinks the Texas A&M quarterback should be drafted by the Texans No. 1 overall. What was more interesting was his comment about why he thinks there are concerns about Manziel.

“I love Johnny Football,” Sanders said on the Roland Martin Podcast. “See, the reason people won’t accept Johnny Football is because Johnny Football has ghetto tendencies. I love Johnny Football.”

Asked to clarify what he meant by “ghetto tendencies,” Sanders said: “Because he was successful, he made it, and he let you all know he made it, and he was cocky, he was flamboyant, and he let you know.”

Will Ferrell will portray Bobby Riggs in a movie about Riggs’ famous “Battle of the Sexes” 1973 tennis match vs. Billie Jean King, according to a report in Variety.

Ferrell, a well-known sports fan, is no stranger to sports-themed movies, having starred as a professional basketball player/owner (“Semi-Pro”) and youth soccer coach (“Kicking & Screaming”).

The movie is based on an ESPN.com article, “The Match Maker: Bobby Riggs, the Mafia and the Battle of the Sexes” and follows the lead-up to the match between the 55-year-old Riggs and the 29-year-old King.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On April 4, 2001, which pitcher made his Red Sox debut and threw a no-hitter in a 3-0 victory over the Orioles in Baltimore?

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Read More: Bobby Riggs, Daniel Murphy, deion sanders, Johnny Manziel
Johnny Manziel reportedly files paperwork to enter NFL draft 01.08.14 at 2:03 pm ET
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Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has filed paperwork to enter the NFL draft and will forgo his final two years of eligibility, according to NFL.com. The move was widely speculated, although Manziel said as recently as Monday that he had not finalized his decision.

Manziel, who became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012, is projected to be taken in the first round after throwing for 7,820 yards and 63 touchdowns while rushing for 2,169 yards and 30 TDs in two seasons for the Aggies.

Manziel set the school’s single-season record for passing yards this season with 4,114. He led the Aggies to a 52-48 comeback victory over Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31.

ESPN reported Tuesday that Manziel selected Select Sports Group to handle his contracts, and marketing agent Maverick Carter (LeBron James‘ pal) to work on off-field affairs.

Read More: Johnny Manziel,
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Lions DT Ndamukong Suh receives record fine, apologizes to team 09.11.13 at 8:06 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cubs at Reds, 12:30 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 10 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Phoenix at Chicago, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Ndamukong Suh's act might be wearing thin in Detroit. (AP)

Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh received a record fine for his latest transgression. (AP)

• Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh apologized to his team Tuesday, the same day he was fined $100,000 by the league for his illegal low block on Vikings center John Sullivan during the runback of an interception in Sunday’s game. Suh received a penalty on the play, negating a Detroit touchdown, and was fined a record amount for an on-field violation.

“He just basically said that he can’t make those types of mistakes — he can’t put us in a position where we’ve got to battle back from mistakes like that,” wide receiver Nate Burleson said. “He also said, with him having a target, and people looking for him, they’re looking at us in the same light. So as a team we’ve got to understand that the microscope is on us.”

Burleson expressed surprise at the amount of the fine when informed by the media

“Oh, baby! For real? Are you serious? A hundred stacks?” Burleson said. “That’s one of the biggest I’ve heard of, but when you have a guy who people look at as ‘dirty,’ a play that might not be as dirty could be deemed as such, and you’re going to have to deal with the consequences. So it’s tough. I hope he appeals it, because I don’t think that was worthy of being fined $100,000.”

Saints tight end Benjamin Watson had little sympathy for Suh.

“I hesitate to call a player dirty simply because I don’t know their intent, but I do know what he did was illegal and I do know he has done it multiple times so it comes a time when enough is enough,” the former Patriot told NFL Network, via ProFootballTalk.com. “We need to get what he is doing rectified and we need to sit down as players and talk to him. We are talking about player safety and obviously this is a play that lies outside of that. As players, we need to hold ourselves accountable.”

• According to a report from Denver television station CBS4, suspended Broncos linebacker Von Miller was cited last week for speeding and driving without a license.

It continues a series of problems for Miller, who was arrested last month for an outstanding warrant when he tried to buy a firearm and then failed to appear for a court hearing on charges from last October when he was cited for careless driving and not having a license or proof of insurance.

Miller, who set a team record with 18½ sacks last season, his third in the NFL, was suspended six games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

• Texas A&M is preparing for Saturday’s showdown with top-ranked Alabama, but quarterback Johnny Manziel isn’t talking about it.

Manziel, who engineered an upset of the Crimson Tide last season that set him on the path to the Heisman Trophy, continues to lay low following his myriad offseason controversies. He spoke after Saturday’s victory over Sam Houston State, but that was his first press conference since SEC media day.

“He and his family and his advisors and lawyers have advised him not to talk, and I’ll respect his wishes on that,” A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said.

According to Aggies running back Ben Malena, Manziel is eager to prove last season was no fluke.

“Last year the Alabama game was a stage for the whole world to see what kind of player he is,” Malena said. “He deserved it along with this team, to be put on a stage to show what we can do and what he can do. I think this Saturday is another similar stage and the world is going to see how much better and how much more he has progressed along with the whole team.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 11, 2005, which Red Sox pitcher was the hard-luck loser in a 1-0 loss to the Yankees, pitching a complete-game three-hitter with 12 strikeouts and one walk but allowing a home run to Jason Giambi?

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Read More: Johnny Manziel, Nate Burleson, Ndamukong Suh, Von Miller
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Mariano Rivera adamant about retiring after picking up 40th save 09.04.13 at 8:03 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Tigers at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rays at Angels, 10 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Los Angeles Sparks at Minnesota Lynx, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
Tennis: U.S. Open, noon, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth inning Tuesday night against the White Sox for his 40th save of the season. (AP)

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth inning Tuesday night for his 40th save of the season. (AP)

• During a discussion about Mariano Rivera‘s career Tuesday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he would like the legendary closer to reconsider his retirement plans.

“I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t do it next year, I don’t,” Girardi told ESPN. “He’s made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want to [return], but I always say, you know, January rolls around and sometimes you have a different feel about what you want to do.”

Added Girardi: “I’m sure I’ll talk to him at some point in the offseason, and … I’ll tell him when the season’s over, ‘Take a month. Take a month and a half, two months, and make sure this is really what you want to do. Because once you do go, it’s hard to come back.’ ”

Rivera, for his part, had no interest in talking about another season, even after he pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out his team’s 6-4 comeback victory over the White Sox and pick up his 40th save.

“I told you guys already. I don’t know why we’re talking about this. I’ve already made my decision [to retire at the end of the season],” Rivera said.

• It’s been a rough preseason for Jets coach Rex Ryan, and it got more difficult this week as he was forced to defend himself against criticism of his decision to attend his son’s first game as a walk-on wide receiver at Clemson on Saturday, the same day the NFL required rosters to be trimmed to 53.

During an appearance on ESPN Radio in New York on Tuesday, Ryan said he accepts that he’s going to be harshly judged following the team’s 6-10 record last season.

“We had a terrible year, so that’s to be expected,” Ryan said. “When you win in this town, in New York and New Jersey area, shoot, everybody’s happy. If you don’t, hey, I understand the criticism. But the beauty of it is we have a brand new season right in front of us.”

The biggest story around the team has been the quarterback battle. With Mark Sanchez ailing, it appears that Geno Smith is in line to start Sunday’s opener against the Buccaneers. But Ryan said he won’t be pushed into making the decision earlier than he chooses.

“When we want to announce it, we’ll announce it,” he said. “Not you guys, not somebody else. When we’re comfortable making the decision, we will.”

• Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel remains off-limits to the media, following his memorable debut in Saturday’s victory over Rice. Manziel was suspended for the first half of the game following his “inadvertent” violation of NCAA rules for allegedly signing autographs for a fee, and then he was yanked late in the game after picking up a penalty for taunting his opponents.

Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said Manziel will talk eventually, but now is not the time.

“I think it’s important now based on where he is that his focus is to try to be our quarterback and a student-athlete,” Sumlin told reporters Tuesday. “That’s his biggest challenge right now. [It's] not his challenge to be here [in front of the media].”

Added Sumlin: “I don’t think right now that him coming here and saying the words would change some people’s opinion about who he is. At the appropriate time, he’ll be able to speak for himself.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 4, 2000, the Red Sox retired a former Sox player’s number for the first time in 11 years, with which legend taking his place among the all-time greats?

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Read More: Joe Girardi, Johnny Manziel, Mariano Rivera, Rex Ryan
CBS’ Gregg Doyel on D&C: NCAA ‘scared to hammer’ Johnny Manziel 09.03.13 at 10:05 am ET
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Johnny Manziel (AP)

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was pulled after taunting Rice in Saturday’s opener. (AP)

CBSSports.com writer Gregg Doyel joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to discuss Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel‘s conduct during his first game of the season against Rice, as well as the NCAA’s reasoning as to why the Hesiman Trophy winner was not suspended for more than half a game after allegedly receiving money for autographs.

According to Doyel, no one, be it the NCAA, Texas A&M or Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin, can tell Manziel what to do anymore.

“Imagine the gall of spending the first half of the game suspended. It’s not much, but still, for Johnny Manziel, it has got to be humiliating standing there on the sidelines while the whole country is watching you not play, and then you come off the bench and you play really well and you’re blowing the other team out, and then you’re taunting them,” Doyel said. “Making autograph gestures, literally drawing a flag for taunting them, pointing at the scoreboard against Rice of all things.

“He got benched. It was quiet. … You’ve got a Heisman Trophy winner being benched in his first game back, and not just his first game back, but his first game back after being suspended for the first half. He can’t even play the whole second half without being benched. … Something’s wrong with you, Manziel. Time to grow up.”

Under investigation for allegedly receiving compensation for autographs, Manziel was only suspended for half a game by the NCAA, a suspension, according to Doyel, that was not more severe because of Manziel’s influence at College Station.

“The NCAA has made a career for themselves, and a reputation for making all kinds of logical assumptions when it’s investigating crimes,” Doyel. “A lot of the information, they fill in the gaps with common sense, and sometimes they overreact, they overreach. … Common sense was that Manziel got paid. But [the NCAA] is scared to hammer him. They’re scared to hammer him for a couple of things.

“The biggest thing is that the NCAA is obviously weak right now. The big schools are talking about leaving, and the SEC is the biggest of the big schools, and A&M plays in the SEC and Manziel is the biggest star. This was not the guy that they were going to do their normal thing, which is fill in the gaps with common sense and hammer this kid. They basically told A&M, ‘What can you live with?’ And A&M I think said, ‘A half-game suspension,’ so that’s where we are.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On if A&M coach Kevin Sumlin would be fired if he benched Manziel for the next game: “[Laughs]. You know, Manziel has raised $40 million for that school on marketing and free advertising and off of tickets sold and shirts sold and all that stuff. So Manziel is, at this moment, the most powerful guy, I believe, at that whole school. I don’t know what would happen if someone was to do that. … They are still coddling him, I think.”

On if Manziel projects as either Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf in the NFL: ”Oh, it’s got to be Ryan Leaf. Now, he’s 20, he can in theory grow up. He’s not a fully formed man yet, at least not mentally. He can grow up. You’d think that after what he went through — his career almost had a near-death experience, his college career. The NCAA could have ruled him ineligible. … That could have happened to him, instead he got a half-game suspension, and comes out that first game and again acts out. … He still has time.”

Read More: Gregg Doyel, Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M,
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Yasiel Puig benched by Dodgers, admits ‘I wasn’t prepared’ to play 08.29.13 at 7:47 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, MLB Network; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Angels at Rays, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Indians at Braves, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NFL preseason: Giants at Patriots, 7:30 p.m. (WBZ-TV, NFL Network)
NFL preseason: 49ers at Chargers, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)
College football: North Carolina at South Carolina, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Tulsa at Bowling Green, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Utah State at Utah, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College football: Mississippi at Vanderbilt, 9:15 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Rutgers at Fresno State, 10:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: USC at Hawaii, 11 p.m. (CBSSN)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m., 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig

• Standout rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig was pulled from the Dodgers’ 4-0 victory over the Cubs on Wednesday and then had a closed-door meeting with manager Don Mattingly and general manager Ned Colletti to address his behavior.

Puig failed to slide into second base on a double play in the first inning and slammed his bat after striking out in the third.

“I wasn’t prepared well for each pitch. It was a good decision,” Puig said through a translator after the game. “[Mattingly] mentioned Skip [Schumaker] could come in and do a better job.”

Added Puig: “I wanted to finish the game, but I agreed with the explanation. The meeting went well. We talked about what every player needs to do to prepare for every pitch.”

Puig also told a Spanish reporter: “I always give my best but, honestly, today there was some fatigue and I wasn’t prepared. … We have to give 100 percent on the field, even if we’re tired.”

Mattingly was evasive about the specifics of Puig’s offense (“I felt I was going to get a better effort out of Skip,” he said) or if there would be further punishment, although he did indicate Puig would play in the team’s next game, Friday against the Padres.

Puig, who is hitting .346/.406/.557 with 13 home runs and 30 RBIs in 76 games, has been criticized for his misdeeds before, and teammates reportedly are getting tired of the 22-year-old’s fundamental mistakes and bad judgment.

“What he did today wasn’t acceptable,” Dodgers pitcher Ricky Nolasco said. “He’s young, he’s going to have to learn. It’s not going to be a distraction. He’s going to help this team way more than what he did.”

Johnny Manziel will sit out the first half of Texas A&M’s opener Saturday against Rice for what the school referred to as an “inadvertent” violation of NCAA rules related to his signing of autographs.

The school announced that the NCAA agreed to reinstate Manziel after the brief suspension, and the NCAA “confirmed there is no evidence Manziel received money in exchange for autographs based on currently available information and statements by Manziel.”

Multiple memorabilia dealers have claimed that Manziel was paid to sign autographs after he became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy last year. Manziel also has had run-ins with the law but appears to have escaped harsh punishment once again.

“I am proud of the way both Coach [Kevin] Sumlin and Johnny handled this situation, with integrity and honesty,” Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp said in a statement. “We all take the Aggie Code of Honor very seriously and there is no evidence that either the university or Johnny violated that code.”

• As part of the NFL’s promotion of next Thursday’s season-opening game between the Ravens and Broncos, the league has installed large banners in Denver promoting the contest, which is a rematch of last season’s AFC semifinal. Some of the banners — including one at Sports Authority Field — picture Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, and that’s not sitting well with the locals.

“It doesn’t seem to make much sense that the Denver Broncos have to have an opposing player on their stadium,” Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said.

The NFL defended the move as a promotion of the entire league and noted that the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens should have opened the season at home, but a scheduling conflict with the neighboring Orioles prevented that.

“We respect the fans’ passion and enthusiasm for the game,” said Brian McCarthy, NFL vice president of corporate communications. “This will be in many ways a Super Bowl-like atmosphere with a national audience to kick off the season. It’s a tremendous matchup, but built around it is some of our activities that you would see at a Super Bowl or you’d see at an international game where you promote both teams.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 29, 2000, Pedro Martinez had a perfect game for eight innings in a game in Tampa that featured multiple hit batsmen, brawls and ejections. Which Devil Rays hitter — a former Red Sox player — ended the no-hit bid with a single to open the ninth inning?

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Read More: Joe Flacco, Johnny Manziel, Peyton Manning, Yasiel Puig
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Robinson Cano injured in Yankees’ win over Jays 08.28.13 at 7:55 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
WNBA: Washington Mystics at Atlanta Dream, 7 p.m. (NB TV)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Eindhoven vs. AC Milan, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Celtics vs. Shakhter, 2:30 p.m. (FSC)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m., 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano

• The Yankees rolled to a 7-1 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday in Toronto, but they got a scare when second baseman Robinson Cano left the game shortly after being hit on the left hand by a pitch from J.A. Happ.

An X-ray of the hand did not reveal an injury that might end Cano’s season, a rare break for a team that has been decimated by injuries.

“Every hand that has been X-rayed has come back poorly,” said manager Joe Girardi, referencing hand injuries to Curtis Granderson (twice) and Mark Teixeira. “We had to go to a foreign country to get a good one.”

Said Cano, who guessed he would return to action Friday: “It was a lot of pain. I was a little concerned. … It missed the bone by an inch.”

Alfonso Soriano hit two home runs (reaching the 400 career mark), and Alex Rodriguez blasted his second homer in two nights (his 651st, leaving him nine homers behind Willie Mays for fourth place all-time).

“I’m starting to get my legs under me,” Rodriguez said. “So far, so good.”

• Texas A&M, which opens the season Saturday against Rice, has stopped talking about the Johnny Manziel NCAA investigation. During Tuesday’s media session, athletic department staff indicated they no longer will address it publicly.

Manziel reportedly told NCAA investigators Sunday that he did not accept money to sign autographs, despite multiple claims to the contrary from memorabilia dealers.

Coach Kevin Sumlin would not say whether the seventh-ranked Aggies plan to hold out Manziel of Saturday’s game, but he did say he thought football has helped the controversial Heisman Trophy winner get back in a routine.

“I know he likes to play football,” Sumlin said. “I think the structure that he has had since Aug. 4 has been nothing but helpful.”

• An ESPN story suggests that Bobby Riggs might have thrown his famous “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match against Billie Jean King in 1973, either to satisfy a gambling debt with the mafia or to set up a rematch.

King responded with a statement in which she brushed off the report.

“This story is just ridiculous,” King said. “I was on the court with Bobby and I know he was not tanking the match. I could see in his eyes and body language he wanted to win. People need to accept he had a bad day at the office — just as Margaret Court did when she played Bobby. It was 40 years ago and I won the match and I am 100 percent sure Bobby wanted to win as badly as I did. Those who bet against me lost money, but the result is the same today as it was 40 years ago.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 28, 1967, the Red Sox won a bidding war to sign which high-profile free agent?

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano, Billie Jean King, Bobby Riggs
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: N.J. Gov. Chris Christie calls Jets reporter ‘a complete idiot’ 08.27.13 at 8:18 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Reds at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (WGN)
WNBA: Connecticut Sun at Los Angeles Sparks, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Fenerbahce vs. Arsenal, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Basel 1892 vs. Ludogorets, 2:30 p.m. (FSC)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 1 p.m., 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Chris Christie believes the law will prevail despite lawsuits from several pro leagues and the NCAA. (AP)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is not happy with reporters criticizing his pal, Jets coach Rex Ryan. (AP)

• New Jersey Governor Chris Christie inserted himself in the Jets’ quarterback controversy, blasting New York Daily News reporter Manish Mehta for pestering Rex Ryan with questions after Saturday night’s preseason game vs. the Giants.

Co-hosting WFAN’s Boomer & Carlton morning radio show Monday, Christie said of Mehta: “Idiot. The guy’s a complete idiot. Self-consumed, underpaid reporter … the only way he’s empowered is because we’re spending all this time talking about Manish Mehta this morning … who, by the way, I couldn’t pick out of a lineup, and no Jets fan gives a damn about Manish Mehta.”

Christie, who is friends with Ryan, continued: “We shouldn’t be giving this dope, you know, the amount of airtime we’ve given him already.”

Meanwhile, Mark Sanchez, who injured his right shoulder after being hit in the fourth quarter, following his insertion with the second-team offense, hopes to return in time for the team’s regular-season opener.

Sanchez said he was “a little sore,” but he refused to criticize Ryan for rushing him into action Saturday with the backups.

“If they call your number, you’ve got to play,” Sanchez said. “That’s what I do, and that’s what I’ve always done. They said to be ready to play, and I was ready to play.”

According to an ESPN report, NCAA investigators met with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel for about six hours Sunday to talk about allegations that Manziel was paid by memorabilia dealers for his autograph.

Multiple dealers have said they paid the Heisman Trophy winner to sign thousands of items following last season.

Texas A&M administrators reportedly plan to let Manziel play despite concerns that this situation could affect his eligibility.

• The Astros, who have the worst record in the major leagues, are on pace to set a record as the most profitable team in league history, according to a report in Forbes.

With pitcher Erik Bedard the team’s only player making more than $1 million a year and the active payroll sitting at about $13 million (down from $26 million at the start of the season), owner Jim Crane should make $99 million this season, thanks in part to soaring television revenues.

The Astros have steadily decreased their payroll since Crane bought the team in 2011, although he recently told ESPN The Magazine, “Once our minor league system is filled in, we’ll move up into the top five or 10 in payroll.”

The report notes that 64 current major leaguers — including nine Yankees — each make more than the entire Astros roster.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 27, 1967, in another memorable game during the Impossible Dream season, the Red Sox held off the White Sox, 4-3, in the first game of a doubleheader after which Sox right fielder threw out Ken Berry at home in the ninth inning?

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Read More: Chris Christie, Johnny Manziel, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan
Johnny Manziel reportedly accepted $7,500 for autograph signing 08.07.13 at 12:14 pm ET
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Johnny Manziel might be in trouble with the NCAA. (AP)

Johnny Manziel might be in trouble with the NCAA. (AP)

Johnny Manziel was paid for signing several hundred pieces of football memorabilia, according to one report, and it could cost him his season.

According to an ESPN story Tuesday citing an anonymous Connecticut autograph broker, the Texas A&M quarterback, who became the first freshman to ever with the Heisman at the end of last year, accepted $7,500 to sign about 300 — a rate of $25 apiece — mini- and full-sized Texas A&M helmets in January. ESPN’s Joe Schad watched videos, taken without Manziel’s knowledge, that showed the 20-year-old signing the helmets.

The signing allegedly happened at a New Haven hotel while Manziel was in town for a Walter Camp Football Foundation event.

This development came just two days after ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported that the NCAA is investigating Manziel for allegedly accepting payment for signing hundreds of autographs on two occasions when he went to Miami for the BCS National Championship Game in January. As in the case with the video of the New Haven signing, two witnesses of the Miami sessions did not watch money change hands.

Should the NCAA conclude Manziel indeed accepted payment for the autographs, it would violate college sports’ amateurism rules and put his sophomore campaign — and possible more — at risk.

One NFL star who can relate to the issues that plague Manziel — being a young college kid and the reigning Heisman winner — is Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, whom the NCAA also investigated during his time at Auburn. Newton and Manziel reportedly have chatted about dealing with the extra sources of pressure.

“When I was there at college so many people wanted from me and I wanted to give so much,” Newton told The Associated Press. “Like I would sign this and give my time and this, this and that. And nobody was looking at it through my [eyes]. If you say no to this particular person you are going to be a [jerk]. You are going to be the person that people look at as, `What’s up? We came out here and supported you and cheered for you and you can’t sign an autograph?’ Never mind that you signed 300 other autographs before. But that’s the nature of the beast.”

The NCAA found no wrongdoing on Newton’s part when it wrapped up its investigation in October 2011. USA Today reported that Texas A&M has hired the same lawyers Newton used at that time.

Read More: Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Heisman winner Johnny Manziel reportedly being investigated for autograph fee 08.05.13 at 7:58 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Astros, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Dodgers at Cardinals, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
CFL: Winnipeg Blue Bombers at British Columbia Lions, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Johnny Manziel once again finds himself facing questions about his off-field actions. (AP)

Johnny Manziel once again finds himself facing questions about his off-field behavior. (AP)

Johnny Manziel‘s miserable summer just got longer. According to an ESPN report, the Heisman Trophy-winning Texas A&M quarterback is being investigated by the NCAA for allegedly signing hundreds of autographs in January in exchange for a five-figure fee.

Manziel purportedly signed the items for autograph broker Drew Tiernan when he traveled to Miami for the BCS championship game. Tiernan refused comment when contacted at his Florida home by The Associated Press on Sunday night.

Manziel could be ruled ineligible if the NCAA determines that he violated Bylaw 12.5.2.1, which bans the acceptance of money for promoting of advertising the commercial sale of a product or service.

Texas A&M declined comment, although the school responded to previous questions about a large number of Manziel-signed items appearing for sale by releasing a statement in March that read:

Johnny has indicated on numerous occasions and, once again earlier today, that he has never (and to his knowledge, his parents, other relatives and friends have ever) been compensated through cash or other benefits or promises of deferred compensation for providing his autograph.

♦ Rangers pitcher Matt Garza made a public apology Sunday after blasting A’s second baseman Eric Sogard and his wife on Twitter Saturday night.

“All I want to say is I let my competitive spirit cross outside the lines, and that shouldn’t happen,” Garza told reporters Sunday. “I let my passion, my fire, carry over, and that’s not the way this game should be played. For that, I apologize to the Sogards for anything that was said through my Twitter. Regret what happened and looking forward to a great game today.”

Garza was angry after Sogard laid down a safety squeeze bunt in the seventh inning Saturday night, giving the A’s an insurance run in a 4-2 win. The A’s frequently bunted on Garza, who yelled at Sogard after the seventh-inning bunt.

Sogard’s wife, Kaycee, tweeted: Get em on get em over get em in!

Wrote Garza: @KayceeSogard tell your husband to speak up so his wife doesn’t have to do it for him… Chumps! Hahaha!

Added Garza: @EricSogard childish is having your wife speak for you! certain people can’t shut there woman up!

Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said the team discussed the situation with Garza and planned to reach out to the Sogards and the A’s to apologize — although Garza said he did not see the need to personally contact Sogard.

Sogard said that he and his wife took the tweets “as a joke, and that’s how we’ll continue to look at it.”

♦ Jets fans booed Mark Sanchez during Saturday’s scrimmage as the quarterback struggled, completing 6-of-11 passes and being sacked twice. That didn’t go over well with cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who had an interception of Sanchez that provoked some of the loudest jeers.

“I think that’s bullcrap,” Cromartie said, via the New York Daily News. “My thing is, if you’re going to be a fan, be a fan. You don’t come out here and boo anybody.”

Sanchez, for his part, appears used to the negative reaction.

“Oh, shoot, I don’t care,” he said. “That’s the way it goes.”

Although he was outplayed by rookie Geno Smith (9-of-16 for 77 yards, one sack), Sanchez finished strong, throwing a 57-yard touchdown pass to second-year receiver Stephen Hill.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 5, 1979, which Red Sox pitcher became the first player born and raised in the Netherlands to record a major league victory?

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Read More: Antonio Cromartie, Eric Sogard, Geno Smith, Johnny Manziel