|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Carmelo Anthony calls Knicks ‘laughingstock’ of league||12.05.13 at 8:09 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NFL: Texans at Jaguars, 8:25 p.m. (NFL Network; WEEI-FM)
College football: Louisville at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Knicks at Nets, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Heat at Bulls, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: West Virginia at Missouri, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: TCU at Mississippi State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: LIU-Brooklyn at Seton Hall, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Providence at Rhode Island, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Mississippi at Kansas State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: High Point at Georgetown, 9 p.m. (FS1)
AROUND THE WEB:
• The Knicks and Nets, New York’s two underachieving NBA teams, meet up Thursday night in Brooklyn with a combined record of 8-26, and Knicks star Carmelo Anthony says it’s “a big game for us.”
The Knicks, losers of nine straight, head into the game with a 3-13 record, tied with the Bucks for fewest wins in the NBA.
“We are the laughingstock of the league,” Anthony said. “I mean, it’s nothing to hide. We are. … Do I like being laughed at? Hell, no. I don’t like that feeling.”
J.R. Smith backed his teammate, while noting that the New York-Brooklyn rivalry, hyped up before the season, has lost much of its luster due to the teams’ performance.
“Right now we do [stink]. I think everybody in this gym would agree,” Smith said. “There’s so much animosity between the two teams, but our record, for the team we have, isn’t really doing any justice. Right now we have to put the rivalry on hold and focus on each individual team as opposed to focusing on, “We don’t like them and they don’t like us.’ ”
Jason Kidd, the Nets coach who played for the Knicks last season, analyzed the matchup by saying, “We both stink.”
Responded Knicks coach Mike Woodson: “I somewhat agree, we do stink. … But [expletive], I can’t worry about Jason. I’ve got to worry about the New York Knicks. … I’m not going to throw in the towel.”
Said Anthony: “We do [stink]. He wasn’t lying about that. I mean, we do. For us, we’ve just got to figure it out and try to turn it around. Why not start [Thursday]?”
• Meanwhile, Lawrence Frank, demoted from top Nets assistant to glorified scout by Kidd, is not going away quietly. According to a report out of New York, Frank is hiring a high-powered attorney, apparently to negotiate a buyout from the team.
Kidd downplayed the fallout, saying: “It’s part of the job. He’s working. He’s giving his reports. … So, do I miss him? No. He’s doing his job and what I’ve asked him to do.”
Byron Scott, who coached Kidd with the Nets in the early 2000s with Frank as an assistant, knows both men well and said he isn’t shocked that the partnership did not last, as they are two “very strong-willed people who don’t back down.”
“It does surprise me a little that it happened so quickly,” Scott told the New York Post. “But it’s safe to say that I’m not [surprised] it happened at all because of the personalities involved.”
According to a report from Deadline.com, Heat star LeBron James will star in a movie with comedian Kevin Hart.
The movie, called “Ballers,” is about a man (Hart) who lives in the shadow of his brother (James), an NBA superstar, but gets a chance to prove himself at a weekend fantasy basketball camp in Miami.
The report indicates that James has been looking to star in a feature movie for a couple of years, and he’ll get his chance when the movie starts filming next summer.
Hart, who at 5-foot-3 is almost 1½ feet shorter than James, is a veteran of the celebrity game at All-Star Weekend.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Dec. 5, 1982, in a 6-4 victory over the Flyers, which Bruins player recorded a hat for the second consecutive day?
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Jets fan detained after punching female Patriots fan in fight at MetLife Stadium||10.21.13 at 7:59 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NFL: Vikings at Giants, 8:40 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Avalanche at Penguins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA preseason: Mavericks at Rockets, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: Premier League, Crystal Palace vs. Fulham, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
• It’s not shocking that there was a fight involving Patriots and Jets fans at MetLife Stadium after Sunday’s game, but a video making the rounds is surprising for what it shows: a large male Jets fan delivering a punch to the face of a female wearing a Patriots shirt.
The man, wearing the No. 80 jersey of former Jets receiver Wayne Chrebet, appeared to jump into a fracas in the concession area. As he was being pulled away, a blonde woman was among those who ran at him and pushed him. He responded with a hard right that connected with the woman and knocked her back, although she remained on her feet. A man in a Patriots T-shirt then responded with a punch that caught the Jets fan on the left cheek.
A spokesperson for the Jets said the man was detained, and the New Jersey State police said the incident is under investigation.
“We are aware of the situation and we do not tolerate that behavior,” the Jets spokesperson said.
• Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith is not happy with Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and he’s not shy about letting everyone know the reason why.
Smith claims Jenkins, a second-year pro from North Alabama, crossed the line when he tried to rattle the veteran receiver, making comments about Smith’s family.
“What I don’t like is a young guy who comes in, who obviously his first time every using the Internet and Google, and he Googles information about me, talks about my wife and stuff like that,” Smith said in a lengthy tirade. “That’s just some of the [expletive] I just don’t play with.”
Added Smith: “I don’t play them games. When you try to take it personal like that, I don’t have any great humbling things to say. So he can take his [expletive] back to St. Louis and watch the [expletive] film, ’cause I don’t play them games. And if I see him on the street, I’m going to bust him in the [expletive mouth."
There were five personal fouls in the game -- won by Carolina, 30-15 -- including one that resulted in the ejection of Rams defensive end Chris Long for throwing a punch.
Smith got away with taunting Jenkins after hauling in a 19-yard touchdown catch, the 800th reception of his career.
"Yes, I directly points to him," Smith said. "I don't give a damn. … When you embarrass people, you rub it in their face. When your dog [expletive] on the carpet, you rub it in his face.”
• LeBron James turned some heads when he said in a Twitter chat with fans Friday that “I wanna play one NFL game before it’s over.”
James has expressed interest in the past in playing professional football, and the owner of his favorite team, the Cowboys, sounds like he would be happy to accommodate him.
“I hope to see LeBron,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said when James attended a game in September. “I just wish I could suit him out.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Oct. 21, 1975, the Red Sox beat the Reds in Game 6 of the World Series on Carlton Fisk‘s 12th-inning home run off Pat Darcy. Which pitcher got the win for the Sox?
|Friday’s Morning Mashup: Kevin Garnett tells LeBron James to ‘worry about Miami’ after Ray Allen comments||10.18.13 at 8:22 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB playoffs: Dodgers at Cardinals, 8:37 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-AM)
NBA preseason: Lakers vs. Warriors, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA preseason: Pacers at Bulls, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA preseason: Trail Blazers at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
MLS: D.C. United at Sporting Kansas City, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College football: Central Florida at Louisville, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College hockey: North Dakota at Miami (Ohio), 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College hockey: Minnesota-Duluth at Colorado College, 9:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
• An NBA preseason game in Brooklyn took on increased significance Thursday after LeBron James took a shot at Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers for accepting trades from Boston after they iced out Ray Allen for leaving the Celtics as a free agent a year earlier.
“I think the first thing I thought was, ‘Wow, Ray got killed for leaving Boston, and now these guys are leaving Boston,’ ” James said. “I think it’s OK; I didn’t mind it. But there were a couple guys who basically [expletive] on Ray for leaving, and now they’re leaving.
“That’s the nature of our business, man. I don’t know what Boston was going through at the end of the day. I know Ray had to make the best decision for him and his family and his career. Doc [Rivers, former Celtics coach], KG and Paul did that as well. You can’t criticize someone who does something that’s best for their family.”
After the Nets dismissed the Heat, 86-62, Garnett and Pierce dismissed James’ comments.
“Tell LeBron to worry about Miami. It has nothing to do with Celtic business,” Garnett said.
Pierce maintained that the situations were different.
“I left Boston?” Pierce asked.
• Adrian Peterson rejoined the Vikings on Thursday after missing Wednesday’s practice so he could attend the funeral for the 2-year-old son he never knew.
“It was a difficult day, just taking in the circumstance and the whole situation,” Peterson said before Thursday’s practice. “A child was buried. That’s difficult for anyone.”
Peterson attended a private service for Tyrese Robert Ruffin in Sioux Falls, S.D., about two months after first learning the child was his. He first met the boy while the youngster was in critical condition last week, after allegedly being beaten by 27-year-old Joseph Patterson.
“I was planning on seeing him. I had a talk with his mom and we got some things together as far as financially helping her,” Peterson said. ‘”Unfortunately, this situation took place. It’s devastating.”
Added Peterson: “A lot of people won’t ever understand the situation that I’m in and see it the way I’m seeing the situation. It’s tough, but I’m able to deal with that and got a good supporting cast around me that’s been supporting me through this tough time.”
• Chane Behanan, who helped Louisville win the NCAA basketball championship in April, was suspended by the team, and coach Rick Pitino was candid in talking about the forward’s inability to abide by team rules.
“I got together with [athletic director Tom Jurich] a few days ago. We both agreed that Chane should put basketball aside,” Pitino said. “Chane wouldn’t hurt a fly. It’s nothing of a violent nature. It’s just very difficult for Chane to follow rules. We don’t have a lot of rules, but the ones we do have, he needs to follow.”
Behanan averaged 9.8 points and 6.5 rebounds as a sophomore last season, and he was named to the all-tournament team after recording 15 points and 12 rebounds in Louisville’s 82-76 victory over Michigan in the national title game.
Pitino said Behanan might be able to return in December, if he can turn things around.
“He just has a difficult time understanding life’s values and the significance of life’s values,” Pitino said. “We’re going to try to help him along. … We want to see him prosper as a person as much as he’s been prospering as a basketball player. We’re going to move forward without him.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Oct. 18, 1994, the Red Sox named Kevin Kennedy as manager. Whom did he succeed?
|LeBron James sees ‘no rivalries’ for Heat in Eastern Conference||10.16.13 at 12:12 pm ET|
While Boston lamented the breakup of the Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett-Doc Rivers Celtics this offseason, the Heat said goodbye to one of their chief rivals. Apparently, for the team that has won three straight Eastern Conference titles and hoisted the Larry O’Brien championship trophy two years in a row, there are no more arch-rivals remaining.
“There’s tension … but there’s no rivalries,” LeBron James told reporters Tuesday. “There’s a lot of teams that want to knock us off. There’s a couple of teams in the East that hate us. And we know who they are.”
Teammate Dwyane Wade echoed James’ sentiment, and added that the bad blood with the Celtics would “transfer well” to the Nets.
The Heat reached the 2013 NBA Finals but faced some resistance from the Eastern Conference along the way. The Pacers took Miami to seven games in the conference finals before the Heat proved too strong in the end.
The renovated Nets, the budding Pacers, the star-studded Knicks and a Derrick Rose-led Bulls team will look to dethrone Miami this season.
|LeBron James: ‘I want to be the greatest of all time’||10.01.13 at 2:29 pm ET|
After winning his second straight NBA title and claiming his fourth MVP award, Heat forward LeBron James seemingly has reached the pinnacle of his career.
However, based on James’ comments at Heat training camp on Monday, the future Hall of Famer believes that he is even better than he was last season when he lead Miami past San Antonio in a thrilling seven-game NBA Finals.
“I got better,” James said. “I’m a better basketball player than I was last year, in every aspect.”
James, entering his fourth season with Miami, has continued to defend his decision to leave Cleveland at the conclusion of the 2009-10 season and has given no indication that he is planning to leave Miami at the end of the season, as he has an opt-out clause that could make him a free agent on July 1, 2014.
“I don’t think anybody is looking to go elsewhere. … We all know inside our locker room that LeBron’s committed to this team,” teammate Dwyane Wade said.
While a three-peat is an obvious goal for this season, there is one lofty personal goal that James is set on achieving.
“I want to be the greatest of all time,” James said. “That’s my motivation. It’s that simple. It’s not simple. But it is for me. That’s my mind frame. It’s not to be the greatest in anyone else’s book or how they judge the greats. It’s for me. I feel like I have the potential to continue to get better and to maximize my time while I play this game of basketball. I want to be the greatest. … I’m far. I’m far away from it. But I see the light.”
|Friday’s Morning Mashup: Paul Pierce’s hatred for Knicks ‘grown a little’; plans to skip preseason game in Boston||08.09.13 at 7:43 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Royals, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Tigers at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Cardinals, 8:05 p.m. (WGN)
NFL preseason: Patriots at Eagles, 7:30 p.m. (WBZ-TV, NFL Network)
NFL preseason: Cowboys at Raiders, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)
WNBA: Tulsa at Phoenix, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
Golf: PGA Championship, 1 p.m. (TNT)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Paul Pierce developed a distaste for the Knicks while playing for the Celtics. Now that he’s share’s a city with them, it’s magnified.
“I think the hate has grown a little. Everybody knows how much I disliked the Knicks when I was with the Celtics, but I think it’s grown to another level,” Pierce said Thursday on ESPN NewYork 98.7 FM’s “The Michael Kay Show.” “I think it’s time for the Nets to start running this city.”
At a media event later in the day, Pierce said he’s “settling in nicely and embracing the change” since the trade, and he looks forward to going head to head against the Knicks.
“The only thing that separates the two teams is a bridge,” he said. “And both of them are in the same division and both of them are considered contenders. You can’t help but say this is probably going to be the best rivalry in sports next year.”
Although he won a championship with the Celtics, Pierce said this Nets squad has more talent than any of his previous teams, with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez and fellow former Celtic Kevin Garnett all having All-Star recognition on their resumes.
“What team in the NBA can say they can put a starting five out there with all the guys have been All-Stars?” Pierce said. “That’s tough. It’s definitely the most talented team, but come the end of the year — June, July — when I’m out there on the beach, I want to say this is the best team I’ve ever played on, and the only way we can do that is to win a championship.”
Knicks guard J.R. Smith, at a charity golf tournament Thursday, acknowledged the Nets’ improvements but said the Knicks still are the city’s premier team.
“It’s an unbelievable move for [Jason Kidd] to have a team like that to start off with in his first year. I think they’ve got a great chance to compete for a title, but I think we’re still the marquee team in New York,” Smith said. “A lot of people are counting us out just like they did last year. We’ve got a lot to prove. I think we’re going to come out with a lot of edge and hopefully put it to positive use on the court.”
Pierce, who noted that he feels completely healthy, said he was hoping to make his regular-season return to Boston earlier than Jan. 26, which is when the Nets visit Boston for the first of two times in 2013-14.
“You just want to get it out of the way,” Pierce said. “When you’ve got to go through something tough, I’ve always been a guy that just wants to get it out of the way. It’s going to be in the back of my mind.”
Pierce also said he plans to skip the Nets’ preseason game in Boston on Oct. 23.
“I’ll do it just one time next year,” he said.
♦ LeBron James reported for jury duty Thursday in Ohio, but he was sent home along with other prospective jurors when no trial took place.
According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the four-time NBA MVP showed up 10 minutes before his 8:30 reporting time and sat in the jury foreman’s office to avoid attracting attention.
James posted a picture on Instagram as he prepared to leave his home for the courthouse, writing: Jury duty time. Time to serve my civic duty.
Said courthouse head of security Kandy Fatheree: “As soon as he walked in I just scanned the room, and everyone knew immediately who he was. It was kind of funny to see the movements of everyone whispering to each other.”
♦ The NCAA, which is being sued by former and current players in federal court over the use of athletic images and likenesses, announced that it will stop selling team jerseys and other items linked to individual schools and players.
“I think seeing the NCAA sell those kinds of goods is a mistake,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said. “It’s not what the NCAA is about. So, we’re not going to be doing that any longer.”
While the NCAA investigates Hesiman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel for allegedly profiting from autographing merchandise, the organization’s site has allowed users to type in individual player names and be shown related merchandise.
“We’re exiting it as soon as we feasibly can,” Emmert said. “Again, I think it was inappropriate for us to be in that business, and we won’t be in the future.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 9, 1949, which Red Sox player’s team-record hitting streak ended at 34 games?
|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Eagles WR Riley Cooper apologizes for racial slur||08.01.13 at 8:02 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Mariners at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cardinals at Pirates, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper issued an apology Wednesday and was fined by the team after video surfaced of him using a racial slur following an argument with an African-American security guard at a Kenny Chesney concert in June. In the video, Cooper — a three-year veteran from the University of Florida (where else?) who is white — says, “I will jump that fence and fight every [N-word] here.”
Tweeted Cooper: I am so ashamed and disgusted with myself. I want to apologize. I have been offensive. I have apologized to my coach, [owner] Jeffrey Lurie, and [GM] Howie roseman and to my teammates. I owe an apology to the fans to this community. I am so ashamed, but there are no excuses. What I did Was wrong and I will accept the consequences.
Cooper also met with the media and said alcohol played a role in his action. “This is the lowest of lows,” he said. “This is not the type of person I want to be portrayed as. This isn’t the type of person I am. I’m extremely sorry.”
Added Cooper: There’s no excuse for what I said. I don’t use that term. I was raised better than that. I have a great mom and dad and they’re disgusted with my actions.”
Teammate Michael Vick said he’s already forgiven Cooper.
“I know what type of person he is,” Vick said. “That’s what makes it hard to understand but easy to forgive him.”
Vick’s brother, Marcus, however, wasn’t willing to let it go. Marcus, who has had his own share of troubles (he was dismissed from Virginia Tech in 2006), tweeted that he was putting a $1,000 bounty on Cooper’s head “to the first free safety or strong safety that light his [expletive] up! Wake him up please…..”
♦ The Jets’ quarterback battle got a little more interesting Wednesday when an unnamed player talked to ESPN about rookie Geno Smith outplaying incumbent Mark Sanchez in the first week of training camp.
“He can do more,” the player said of Smith, after Sanchez struggled with the starting unit. Sanchez has thrown an interception in two straight practices, while Smith has yet to throw a pick in drills covering the first five practices.
Asked if he felt he had taken the lead in the QB competition, Smith said: “I don’t know, ask the coaches. I feel good, though. I feel confident. I feel like I’m playing really well.”
Coach Rex Ryan acknowledged that Smith’s accuracy is impressive, but he said it “concerns me a little bit” that Smith holds on to the ball too long when facing pressure.
♦ According to multiple reports, LeBron James is considering running for president of the National Basketball Players Association.
“It’s something he has talked about with a small group of people,” a source with close ties to James told FoxSports.com on Wednesday. “He was very vocal at the meeting during the All-Star Weekend about the need for the union to dramatically change. There is a new executive director coming in and new commissioner. He recognizes that this is the time for the union to change.”
The association could elect a successor to current NBPA president Derek Fisher in August, at its annual meeting in Las Vegas. Or it might want until the appointment of a new executive director, as Billy Hunter was dismissed earlier this year and a replacement has not been hired.
James has become more vocal about union issues the past couple of years, although he reportedly is concerned that he won’t be able to devote the necessary time to be the union leader due to his myriad other commitments.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 1, 2004, which newly acquired Red Sox player (part of the Nomar Garciaparra trade) debuted with a home run off Twins ace Johan Santana in his first at-bat?
|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James takes home top honor at ESPYs||07.18.13 at 8:02 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
WNBA: Mercury at Sparks, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Major League Lacrosse: Cannons at Bayhawks, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Cycling: Tour de France, 8 a.m. (NBCSN)
Golf: British Open, 4 a.m. (ESPN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ LeBron James won the ESPY award for best male athlete at Wednesday’s show, a month after repeating as NBA MVP and leading the Heat to their second straight title. James was selected over Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera and Olympic swimming star Michael Phelps.
“To be in a category with ‘All-Day AP,’ the Triple-Crown winner, and the human fish, it’s an honor,” James said. “Just to be in a class with you guys is an unbelievable honor. This is for all four of us. I’m just going to keep [the ESPY] at my house.”
James also won awards for best championship performance and best NBA player, and his Heat were honored as best team and best game (the Game 6 comeback over the Spurs in the NBA Finals).
Tennis star Serena Williams won the award for best female athlete.
Boston Marathon legends Dick and Rick Hoyt were presented the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, which they received from actor Ben Affleck.
“I don’t think you could find two guys more proud to represent the city of Boston,” Dick Hoyt said.
The Hoyts’ story — Rick has pushed Dick in a wheelchair in more than 1,000 marathons, road races and triathlons — touched the professional athletes at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre and watching at home.
Tweeted Panthers tight end Greg Olsen: If I become half the father Mr. Hoyt is ill be thrilled. That was one of the most amazing stories of father/son love I have ever heard.
The highlight of the show’s opening monologue came when host Jon Hamm poked fun at Dwight Howard by presenting a zero-second clip of Howard’s greatest moments as a Laker.
♦ Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel came clean — at least to some degree — about his experience at the Manning Passing Academy, admitting that he was at fault for missing a meeting that led to his early departure from the camp.
“It’s been a busy summer for me,” Manziel said on Wednesday’s Part 2 of SEC media day. “I probably bit off more than I can chew in July, been traveling, been going a lot of places. I just overslept. I made a mistake and didn’t wake up in time when I should have. That’s pretty much the end of that.”
Manziel denied the reason he overslept was due to partying the night before, as had been rumored.
“There’s a lot of rumors out there, a lot of talk,” Manziel said. “I’ve been very eager to get a chance to share my side of the story. I missed a meeting. It wasn’t anything due to the night prior. … It was just simply my phone died, I overslept, I woke up the next morning whenever I did, went and talked to them and it was kind of a mutual decision to get home and get some time to relax.”
Manziel confirmed that he apologized to Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin for any embarrassment he’s caused the program due to his numerous offseason issues — including controversial comments on social media, a run-in with local police, and a confrontation with a graduate assistant coach at a spring game –but he said he still wants to live the life of a 20-year-old undergraduate.
“I’m still going to live my life to the fullest,” he said.
♦ ESPN announced Wednesday that Keith Olbermann will return to the network, hosting a late-night sports talk show on ESPN2 starting in October.
Olbermann, who made a brief stop in Boston early in his career as a sports anchor at WCVB-TV in the 1980s, saw his career take off after his first stint at ESPN in the 1990s. He then ventured into the world of politics, hosting shows on MSNBC and CurrentTV.
“Apart from the opportunity to try to create a nightly hour of sports television that no fan can afford to miss, I’m overwhelmed by the chance to begin anew with ESPN,” Olbermann said in a press release. “I’ve been gone for 16 years and not one day in that time has passed without someone connecting me to the network. Our histories are indelibly intertwined, and frankly I have long wished that I had the chance to make sure the totality of that story would be a completely positive one. I’m grateful to friends and bosses — old and new — who have permitted that opportunity to come to pass. I’m not going to waste it.”
Olbermann reportedly will not be allowed to discuss politics on his new show, which ESPN executives acknowledged was designed in part to combat a challenge from the new Fox Sports 1 network.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On July 18, 1990, one day after the Twins turned two triple plays against the Red Sox, the same two teams combined to set a major league record by hitting into how many double plays?
|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Heat players split about disloyal fans heading into Game 7||06.20.13 at 8:01 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA Finals: Spurs at Heat, 9 p.m. (ABC; WEEI-AM)
MLB: Red Sox at Tigers , 7:08 p.m. (NESN, MLB Network; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cubs at Cardinals, 8:05 p.m. (WGN)
College baseball: World Series, North Carolina vs. NC State, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Women’s soccer: Exhibition, United States vs. South Korea, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ A number of Heat fans left Tuesday night’s Game 6 in Miami when it appeared the home team was going to lose to the Spurs. When the Heat made their dramatic comeback — tying the game and forcing overtime on Ray Allen‘s 3-pointer with five seconds remaining and eventually winning — some fans tried to return but were not allowed back inside AmericanAirlines Arena.
Heat forward Chris Bosh had little sympathy for those unfaithful fans.
“For all those guys who left, make sure they don’t come to Game 7,” Bosh said before Wednesday’s practice. “We only want the guys who are going to stay in the building for the whole game. You never give up. People gave up on us and they can stay where they are and watch the game at home.”
Dwyane Wade was a little more forgiving.
“It’s hard to be a fan,” he said. “I get nervous and frustrated when I watch my son play in his games. But you’d rather be in this moment than not be in this moment. I heard about what happened with some of our fans the other night. But it’s OK. I welcome them back with open arms.”
Game 7 is Thursday night in Miami, and LeBron James is calling it “one of the biggest games, if not the biggest game of my life.”
Said James: “I understand the moment for me. I’m going to have butterflies. I’ll be nervous. That’s how it should be. The moment is going to be grand.”
♦ Tennis star Serena Williams apologized Wednesday and implied she was misquoted when she said that the 16-year-old female victim in the rape case in Steubenville, Ohio, “shouldn’t have put herself in that position.”
Two Steubenville high school football players were convicted in March of raping the drunken teen.
“I am currently reaching out to the girl’s family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article,” Williams said in a statement released through her agent. “What was written — what I supposedly said — is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame.”
♦ Tony Romo has been criticized for failing to lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl title, but one team legend who had more success has faith in him.
“I think Tony Romo is a championship quarterback,” Roger Staubach said in an interview with Dallas sports radio station 105.3 The Fan. “He can take a team to a championship. He can’t do it by himself, but I really believe he can do it. I just see what he does on the field, the plays he makes, the throws he makes, the sense that he has to move in the pocket so I’m pulling really hard for Tony because I really believe he is one heck of a quarterback, and that’s a feeling from somebody that I didn’t say that about any other quarterbacks except for Troy Aikman. I think Tony is the right quarterback, and we’re lucky to have Tony Romo.”
Staubach is convinced the Cowboys, 8-8 last season, aren’t far away from a Super Bowl berth.
“Dallas will have a shot at it,” he said.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 20, 1980, the Angels routed the Red Sox, 20-2. Which unlikely Angels infielder led the onslaught with three home runs and a double?
|Friday’s Morning Mashup: NBA commissioner David Stern wants harsher penalties for flopping||06.07.13 at 8:10 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL playoffs: Penguins at Bruins, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB: Angels at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Pirates at Cubs, 2:10 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Cardinals at Reds, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
College baseball: CWS regional, South Carolina at North Carolina, 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
College baseball: CWS regional, Rice at NC State, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
College baseball: CWS regional, Oklahoma at LSU, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College baseball: CWS regional, UCLA at Cal State Fullerton, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Major League Lacrosse: Boston Cannons at Rochester Rattlers, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
Soccer: World Cup qualifier, Italy vs. Czech Republic, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ NBA commissioner David Stern said Thursday that he wants harsher penalties on flopping, acknowledging that the current fine system is unlikely to have a major impact.
During the regular season, players were warned first, then fined $5,000 for a second offense. In the playoffs, they get no warning. In the regular season there were 19 warnings, and five players were fined. In the playoffs, six players have been fined, most famously LeBron James, who first denied he flops (despite video evidence to the contrary) and then noted that flopping was “not even a bad thing, you’re just trying to get the advantage.”
“It isn’t enough,” Stern said Thursday in Miami before the Spurs edged the Heat in Game 1 of the NBA finals. “You’re not going to cause somebody to stop it for $5,000 when the average player’s salary is $5.5 million. And anyone who thought that was going to happen was allowing hope to prevail over reason.”
Stern said the league’s competition committee will discuss the situation in the offseason.
Added Stern: “We knew that flopping was going to be far from perfect. And we gather more attention because we were giving it more attention. But the point was to do it gently, look at all the flops — and there have been plenty — penalize the most egregious very gently.
“We could end that immediately if we decided to suspend players, but that might be a little bit draconian at the moment.”
♦ Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig continued his amazing debut week Thursday, hitting an eighth-inning grand slam to lead Los Angeles to a 5-0 victory over the visiting Braves.
Puig, a 22-year-old Cuban defector, went 5-for-8 with two home runs and five RBIs in his first two games before going 0-for-4 Wednesday. On Thursday, he was 1-for-3 when he came up in the eighth with the bases loaded and took the first pitch from Cory Gearrin out to right field to make it a 5-0 game.
He also continued to play stellar defense in right field, cutting off balls to prevent extra bases and exhibiting a powerful arm.
“It’s just infectious the way he plays,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Seems like there’s a joy in his game. It’s the way you’re supposed to play. He just looks so fresh. That’s what gives our guys so much energy.”
Said Puig through a translator: “With the fans here and us winning, the pressure comes off.”
♦ Matt Birk, who retired after helping the Ravens win the Super Bowl in February, skipped the team’s visit to the White House on Wednesday, and he explained his reason why Thursday.
In an interview with Minnesota radio station KFAN, Birk, a Harvard product, said it was the President’s recent glowing comments about Planned Parenthood that spurred him to take a pass.
“I wasn’t there,” Birk told The Power Trip morning show. “I would say this, I would say that I have great respect for the office of the Presidency, but about five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech and he said, ‘God bless Planned Parenthood.’ … Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year. I am Catholic, I am active in the Pro-Life movement and I just felt like I couldn’t deal with that. I couldn’t endorse that in any way.”
Added Birk: “I’m very confused by [the President's] statement. For God to bless a place where they’re ending 330,000 lives a year? I just chose not to attend.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 7, 1968, the Red Sox drafted which two players who went on to have solid major league careers mainly as teammates with the Brewers?
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