|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James upset about hard fouls after Heat’s streak ends vs. Bulls||03.28.13 at 7:57 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Marquette vs. Miami, 7:15 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Arizona vs. Ohio State, 7:47 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Syracuse vs. Indiana, 9:45 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, La Salle vs. Wichita State, 10:17 p.m. (TBS)
NHL: Kings at Blues, 8 p.m. (NHL Network)
MLB preseason: Twins at Red Sox, 7 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB preseason: Mets at Nationals, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ The Heat’s 27-game winning streak, second-longest in NBA history, ended in Chicago on Wednesday night, and LeBron James is not happy with the physical treatment he received from the Bulls.
In the first quarter, Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich, defending one-on-one against James on a fast break, appeared to try to draw a charge, but he put both arms around James as they fell to the floor. (Hinrich actually looked to get the worst of the play, as the back of his head bounced off the court.)
In the fourth quarter, Taj Gibson stopped a layup by bringing his arm across James’ neck and shoulder. (Gibson then offered to help James off the floor.)
“Let me calculate my thoughts real fast before I say [what I want to say],” James said postgame. “I believe and I know that a lot of my fouls are not basketball plays. First of all, Kirk Hinrich in the first quarter basically grabbed me with two hands and brought me to the ground. The last one, Taj Gibson was able to collar me around my shoulder and bring me to the ground. Those are not defensive … those are not basketball plays.”
James, who finished with 32 points, seven rebounds and four blocks in his team’s 101-97 loss, took out his frustration with 3:52 left when he drove his shoulder into the chest of a screen-setting Carlos Boozer and followed through with his elbow, earning a flagrant foul.
James admitted afterward that the hard fouls have started to bother him.
“It’s been happening all year, and I’ve been able to keep my cool and try to tell [Erik Spoelstra], ‘Let’s not worry about it too much.’ But it is getting to me a little bit because every time I try to defend myself, I got to face the consequences of a flagrant for me or a technical foul, whatever the case may be,” James said. “It’s tough. It’s tough. It’s very tough, and I’m not sitting here crying about anything because I play the game at a high level. I play with a lot of aggression, and I understand that some of the plays are on the borderline of a basketball play or not, but sometimes you just got to … I don’t know. It’s frustrating.”
♦ Former Red Sox star Manny Ramirez made his debut in Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League on Wednesday, going 2-for 6 in the EDA Rhinos’ 9-8 loss to the visiting Brother Elephants in 12 innings.
Ramirez, batting fourth, flew out to left off American Mike Ballard in the first inning. In the second inning, facing rookie right-hander Wu Ming-hsu, he singled to left field (video below) as part of his team’s five-run rally. Ramirez singled to right off Wu in the fourth.
Ramirez had a chance to be the hero twice, but in the eighth he stranded two runners with the game tied at 8, and in the 11th he couldn’t get the ball out of the infield.
The game reportedly was played in front of a capacity crowd of 20,000 fans.
♦ Real Clear Sports has a list of the top 10 buzzer-beaters in NCAA tournament history. No. 1 is NC State’s Lorenzo Charles beating Houston in the 1983 championship game. No. 2 is Christian Laettner‘s jumper that gave Duke a win over Kentucky in the 1992 Elite Eight.
UConn makes two appearances on the list. No. 6 is Tate George‘s jumper that beat Clemson in 1990, and No. 8 is Richard Hamilton‘s fadeaway that beat Washington in 1998.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 28, 1986, the Red Sox made a trade with the Yankees to acquire designated hitter Don Baylor, who helped the Red Sox win the 1986 American League pennant. Which player did the Sox trade to New York?
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Dwight Howard apologizes to Magic fans||03.11.13 at 8:02 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Senators, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Thunder at Spurs, 8:30 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: CAA final, Northeastern vs. James Madison, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Sun Belt final, Florida International vs. Western Kentucky, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Southern final, Davidson vs. Charleston, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: MAAC final, Manhattan vs. Iona, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: WCC final, Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
World Baseball Classic: Cuba vs. Nethlerlands, 6 a.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Cardinals at Yankees, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB preseason: Athletics at Padres, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Dwight Howard, who finally has started to play up to his ability with the resurgent Lakers, offered an apology to Magic fans for his behavior with his former team.
“In Orlando, I handled a lot of stuff the wrong way,” Howard told USA Today. ”If any of those people in Orlando are upset with how I did it, I apologize for the way I handled it and the way it was handled in the media.
“I really just got caught up in wanting to please everybody else. I really love that city. That was the hardest thing to do was to leave that city because I basically grew up there. That was my whole life. Orlando was it. I did not want to leave all that behind — the city, just everything about it. The fans. But I wanted a change for my life. I just felt like there was something else out there for me.”
Howard, averaging 16.2 points, 12.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks this season, has helped the Lakers move into the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference following Sunday’s 90-81 victory over the Bulls in which he grabbed 21 rebounds and blocked four shots to go along with 16 points on 8-of-14 shooting
Howard said his recent experience has helped him grow up.
“I’m becoming a better man because of the stuff that has happened to me this last year and a half,” he said. “Everybody goes through stuff like this. Even though I’m going through it where everybody in the world can see it, I’m happy that it’s happening.
“If it didn’t happen, I’d be stuck in my ways. I would never change, and then it would be a lot worse. For all this stuff to happen, for me to sit back and see and evaluate myself and what I could’ve done better and realize that I needed to make a change, I’m getting better. I’m growing up. I’m maturing.”
♦ The latest Darrelle Revis rumor (via ESPN) has Revis’ camp pushing for a quick resolution to the situation, concerned that his value will be diminished after teams sign the free agent cornerbacks on the market. Revis is owed a $1 million bonus if he’s on the roster Saturday, so that might play a role in the team’s eagerness to move him.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Eagles are believed to be preparing an offer for Revis, with Philadelphia’s second-round pick (35th overall) a likely starting point.
♦ Manny Ramirez was spotted in an airport Sunday, headed to Taiwan to begin his stint with the EDA Rhinos of the China Professional League. Ramirez’ agent confirmed the slugger’s intentions to continue his careers, which has twice been derailed by suspensions for violations of MLB’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs.
Ramirez, a 12-time All-Star and the MVP of the 2004 World Series for the Red Sox, last played for an Athletics minor league team in the spring of 2012.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 11, 1976, which Bruins winger scored the 300th goal of his career with a hat trick in a 6-2 victory over the Maple Leafs?
|Kevin Youkilis on PEDs: ‘I never even thought about it’||02.28.13 at 10:39 am ET|
During his nine major league seasons (8½ with the Red Sox), Kevin Youkilis said he’s never been tempted to use performance-enhancing drugs.
“I never even thought about it,” he said from Yankees spring training (via the New York Daily News). “I was always secure with myself. I was just trying to make it to the major leagues, and if I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t do it. I take more pride in the fact that I’ve done what I’ve done without all that stuff.
“I’ve always been of the mindset that you have to be secure within yourself about about what you’ve done in your career. You have to live with what you do for the rest of your life. You have to live with it. I know I’ve been clean my whole life, and I feel fortunate that I never felt like I had to go that route.”
Youkilis signed a one-year deal with the Yankees to fill in for injured third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who has admitted past steroid use and this year was linked to a reputed PED-peddler in South Florida. Youkilis also played in Boston with Manny Ramirez, who has been suspended twice by Major League Baseball since departing the Sox.
“If guys are going to cheat, they’re going to cheat,” Youkilis said. “They’re also going to get caught now more than ever. Some guys believe in stricter rules, some believe that what’s working is working. I never really think about it other than when guys get caught. It’s crazy to think guys are still trying to get away with it, because the testing is unbelievable.”
Seven players were suspended last year, which Youkilis said shows that the league is having success monitoring the situation.
“With the testing now, if you do it, you’re getting caught,” Youkilis said. “If you think about how many guys are in the big leagues, that’s a very small percentage. Less than 1 percent? That’s not bad. I don’t think any sport will ever be 100 percent clean. It’s life. Everywhere you go, there’s a flaw. If less than 1 percent are doing it, that’s a great thing.
Youkilis expressed no anger toward offenders, although he said he doesn’t like the lack of honesty after they’ve been caught.
“It never bothered me that other guys were taking it,” Youkilis said. “The only thing that bothered me is when people deny it over and over, then finally come out and say they did it. We live in a forgiving society. If you come out and say you made a mistake, so be it.”
|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Manny Ramirez reportedly has deal to play in Taiwan||02.27.13 at 7:53 am ET|
WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Warriors at Knicks, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Nuggets at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Boston College at NC State, 8 p.m. (MyTV; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: Michigan at Penn State, 6:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Georgetown at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Oklahoma at TCU, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Saint Joseph’s at Saint Louis, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Purdue at Iowa, 8:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Oklahoma State at Texas, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Louisville at DePaul, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: San Diego State at New Mexico, 10:15 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Colorado at Stanford, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Saint Mary’s at Pepperdine, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Capitals at Flyers, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Red Wings at Kings, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB preseason: Red Sox at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (NESN)
MLB preseason: Cardinals at Mets, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Giants at Angels, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Former Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez reportedly has an agreement to play with the EDA Rhinos of Taiwan in the China Professional League if he can’t find a major league team willing to give him a look by March 7. Ramirez told ESPN Deportes that his agents have called almost every American League team in an attempt to land a spot as a designated hitter, but he’s found no takers.
The Chinese league, in existence since 1989, consists of four teams that play in front of crowds averaging 3,000. Foreign-born players reportedly earn up to $12,000 per month.
Ramirez, who turns 41 in May, last played in the majors with the Rays in 2011, going 1-for-17 before quitting and then receiving his second PED-related suspension. He signed with the Athletics last spring but was released after a brief stint in the minors.
A 12-time All-Star, Ramirez has a career batting line of .312/.411/.585 with 555 home runs. He was the World Series MVP for the Red Sox in 2004.
♦ In other news involving former Red Sox stars, new Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis was scratched from the lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla., after feeling discomfort on the left side. The Yankees announced that Youkilis had a sore left oblique muscle, although Youkilis said it was a hydration issue.
“Just one of those things where after I swung [Monday]. It was hot, I was dehydrated. I got water, and I was fine. Being a month away from games, they want to take it precautionary. I wanted to play [Tuesday], and I was perfectly fine to play. I didn’t feel like there was any risk,” Youkilis said. “The doctor said very, very mild. Just a little thing that happens. I think I learned my lesson, too. Don’t say you’re tight.”
Added Youkilis: “I’ve had an oblique before. It didn’t feel anything like that. It’s basically like you get a cramp in your side.”
Manager Joe Girardi said he will talk to Youkilis about being honest with the training staff, and he said he’ll need to be convinced Youkilis is healthy before putting him in the lineup for Wednesday’s game.
“We will make him go through hoops,” Girardi said.
♦ The soccer team Inter Milan was fined 50,000 Euros ($66,500) by the Serie A league for its fans’ racist behavior toward AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli during Sunday night’s game, in the latest embarrassing display of racism involving an Italian club.
A section of fans hurled “racially discriminatory chants” toward Balotelli — the son of Ghanian parents who was born and raised in Italy — and some Inter supporters were waving inflatable bananas, insulting another AC Milan black player, displaying offensive banners and shining lasers toward the eyes of players.
The 22-year-old Balotelli, who played for Inter from 2006-10, was fined 10,000 Euros ($13,300) for making an insulting gesture toward the Inter fans on his way off the field at the end of the 1-1 tie — although it’s not clear what he did other than hold a finger to his lips in an apparent sign of quieting the fans.
Inter was fined earlier this month after fans sang racist chants about Balotelli during a victory over Chievo. Balotelli was acquired by AC Milan from Manchester City in January.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 27, 1983, which Bruin recorded two goals and an assist in a 4-3 victory over the Whalers in Hartford and in the process became the sixth player to score 250 goals in a Bruins uniform?
|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Manny Ramirez homers on first pitch in Dominican debut||11.15.12 at 7:54 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Nets, 8 p.m. (TNT; WEEI-FM)
College basketball: Boston College vs. Baylor, 3 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Providence vs. UMass, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oklahoma State vs. Akron, 10:30 a.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: UNC-Asheville vs. Tennessee, 12:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: N.C. State vs. Penn State, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: St. John’s at Charleston, 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Alabama vs Oregon State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Villanova vs. Purdue, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
NFL: Dolphins at Bills, 8:20 p.m. (NFL Network)
College football: North Carolina at Virginia, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Manny Ramirez still is trying to get back into baseball, and the former Red Sox slugger made his case on Wednesday when he hit a home run on the first pitch he saw from Escogido Lions right-hander Daniel Cabrera in his debut for the Los Aguilas Eagles of the Dominican winter league.
A packed house estimated at 22,000 turned out to see Ramirez return to play in his home country for the first time since the winter of 1994-95, and the fans went wild when Ramirez drilled a fastball over the right-field fence to give his team a 1-0 lead.
“I’m not thinking about the big leagues now,” Ramirez, 40, said upon joining the team. “Right now, I’m thinking of helping the Eagles to win games and then, if any offer, then I’ll think of baseball.”
♦ Magic Johnson spoke out against his old team Wednesday, saying the Lakers’ decision to hire Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson was another error in judgment by executive vice president Jim Buss, son of longtime owner Jerry Buss.
“I love Dr. [Jerry] Buss. I don’t believe in Jim Buss,” Johnson said on ESPN’s “NBA Countdown.” “He’s made two critical mistakes already. To me, they made two critical mistakes. First, hiring Mike Brown — he wasn’t the right coach. He’s a great coach but not the right coach for the Lakers. And I don’t feel Mike D’Antoni is the right coach for the Lakers. Especially when you have Phil Jackson sitting out there, who wanted to be the Laker coach. Jim Buss decided he didn’t want Phil Jackson, he wanted Mike D’Antoni. And that’s OK, but why didn’t you just say that? But the fans were cheering for Phil Jackson two nights in a row.”
Earlier in the day, Johnson ended two days of Twitter silence, writing:
The reason I haven’t tweeted in 2 days is because I’ve been mourning Phil Jackson not being hired as the Lakers head coach. My mother always taught me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
A day earlier, general manager Mitch Kupchak insisted the decision to go with D’Antoni over Jackson was a unanimous one between he and the Busses, insisting that D’Antoni is a better fit for this roster.
“Without going into great detail, some of our guys I don’t think would be very successful in the triangle [offense],” Kupchak said Tuesday. “Some of our newer players might take a long time to learn the triangle.”
♦ The Texas A&M football team is coming off an upset of No. 1-ranked Alabama on Saturday, but the team’s excitement was tempered when freshman wide receiver Thomas Johnson went missing Monday night. Johnson, who has 30 receptions for 339 yards and a touchdown in 10 games this season, was found safe Thursday morning, with more details expected later in the day.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 15, 1967, Carl Yastrzemski, winner of the American League’s Triple Crown, was named MVP. However, the vote was not unanimous. Which Twins player received one vote?
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Jets hit new low in embarrassing loss to Dolphins||10.29.12 at 7:59 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NFL: 49ers at Cardinals, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ The Jets are the team that just keeps on giving, at least when it comes to making headlines for their silly behavior and tough talk that they have not been able to back up this season. Following a week of trash-talking, mainly emanating from New York, the Jets went out and dropped a 30-9 decision to the visiting Dolphins on an embarrassing afternoon for Gang Green.
“When you’re playing against another team and they’re running their mouth, you’re going to go out and play harder. That’s part of the game,” Dolphins center Mike Pouncey said. “It feels good. We said during the week, if people are going to talk, we’re going to go out there and just play harder.”
Dolphins tailback Reggie Bush, who was in the middle of last week’s back-and-forth, accusing the Jets of trying to hurt him in the teams’ first meeting, had a 19-yard run in the first quarter Sunday before colliding with outspoken cornerback Antonio Cormartie near the sideline. Cromartie then head-butted Bush, earning a flag for unnecessary roughness.
“I ain’t lose my composure,” insisted Cromartie, who dislocated his pinkie on the play. “I just called him a punk, and that’s exactly what he is. I didn’t head-butt him; I pushed him first, then I head-butted him.”
Bush, who yelled at Jets coach Rex Ryan while on the New York sideline, got in the last word. Even though Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill was knocked out the game on the first series (injured quadriceps), leaving backup Matt Moore to do most of the damage against the Jets’ once-feared defense, Miami was able to roll, and Bush implied that the Jets (now 3-5) were quitters.
“It’s very satisfying. It’s as good as it gets,” Bush said. “We knew we wanted to jump on them early, and I think we were able to accomplish that. I think once we got on them early, they kind of laid down a little bit.”
Jets fans also quit on their team — at least on starting quarterback Mark Sanchez. The crowd chanted for backup Tim Tebow, and that did not sit well with at least one Jet.
“That chant is BS. … I think the fans are out of place,” wide receiver Chaz Schilens said, acknowledging: “They’re pissed. They have a right to be pissed.”
♦ Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel‘s return to Philadelphia went well, as Atlanta remained undefeated with a 30-17 victory over his former team. After the game, Samuel complained that Eagles coach Andy Reid snubbed him.
“Andy Reid, why didn’t you speak to me?” Samuel told reporters. “What did I do to you, man? I’ve got nothing but love for you, Big Red. … He wouldn’t speak to me, man — can you believe that? As happy as I am, he wouldn’t even tell me, ‘Great game, Asante, I love ya, man.’ ”
Samuel, who said maybe it was his celebratory dancing that “got to [Reid] a little bit,” was asked about the difference between the teams.
“I think it’s the coaching,” said the onetime Patriot. “We’ve got really good coaching.”
♦ Manny Ramirez apparently hasn’t given up on his baseball career. The former Red Sox slugger, twice banned by Major League Baseball for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, reportedly will play for Las Aguilas in his native Dominican Republic in an effort to impress three Japanese teams that have shown an interest.
According to the New York Post, the 40-year-old Ramirez is scheduled to fly from his home in Florida to the Dominican Republic on Monday to join the team, which already has begun its winter league season.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Oct. 29, 1996, as part of the NBA’s 50th anniversary celebration, the league announced its list of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. The list included a number of Celtics — nine who played all or most of their career with the C’s, one who played five of his 13 NBA seasons in Boston, three who played two seasons or less with the Celtics, and one who had not yet played in Boston but made a brief stop here before retiring. Who are they?
|Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Manny Ramirez not ready to return to majors||05.29.12 at 7:44 am ET|
TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Tigers at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)
MLB: Yankees at Angels, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Thunder at Spurs, 9 p.m. (TNT)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Manny Ramirez is eligible to return from his 50-game suspension Wednesday, his 40th birthday, but the Athletics announced Monday night that the former Red Sox slugger will instead continue to play for Triple-A Sacramento.
Assistant general manager David Forst said the A’s “will continue to monitor Manny’s progress on a day-to-day basis in hopes of bringing him to Oakland just as soon as he is ready to contribute at the major league level.”
Ramirez is 8-for-32 with no extra-base hits and seven strikeouts in nine games at Triple-A. He had two singles Monday and sounded encouraged. “The more pitches I see, the better I get,” he said.
Ramirez, who hasn’t appeared in a major league game since last April with the Rays, preached patience and said he wants to make the most of this opportunity to return to the game.
“When you’re doing something for so long, almost 19 years, and you don’t have it, you’re going to miss it,” Ramirez said. “But thanks to God, God gave it to me back. And every day, doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, I enjoy myself.”
♦ Barry Bonds made an appearance Monday at AT&T Park in San Francisco, stopping in the Giants clubhouse before the game and being surprisingly polite to the media. Although he apparently has no close relationships with any current Giants players, Bonds was a welcome visitor.
“We enjoy it when he comes around,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “If Barry wants to do that, that’s great. If he wants to get back in the game. I’m sure he misses it.”
Bonds, the all-time home run leader in the majors, never officially retired from baseball.
“I’m not playing anymore, so whatever you want to call it,” Bonds said. “I don’t know. I’ll let the Giants figure that one out for me.”
As for his legal troubles, Bonds was asked if he had regrets about being involved with BALCO.
“I’m a convicted felon for obstruction of justice, and that’s who I am,” he said. “I live with it. … I went through the system. That’s what they gave me. I’m in appeal right now. I was never convicted of steroids.”
♦ Inspired by the Spurs’ perfect record in this year’s NBA playoffs, Real Clear Sports has a list of the top 10 most dominant postseasons. The 1976 Reds are No. 1, ahead of the 2001 Lakers and the 1989 49ers. No local teams made the list, but a few squads that beat Boston teams in the playoffs did, including the 1985 Bears (5), the 1999 Yankees (7), the 1968 Canadiens (9) and the 2005 White Sox (10).
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On May 29, 1984, the Red Sox held their first official number retirement ceremony, honoring two men: Ted Williams (No. 9) and who else?
|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Wild sign 51-year-old senior league goalie as backup||11.24.11 at 8:01 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NFL: Packers at Lions, 12:30 p.m. (Fox; WEEI)
NFL: Dolphins at Cowboys, 4 p.m. (CBS; WEEI)
NFL: 49ers at Ravens, 8 p.m. (NFL Network; WEEI)
College basketball: Boston College vs. St. Louis, 2 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: UMass vs. Florida State, 4:30 p.m. (Versus)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ The Wild were in a bind before Wednesday’s game against the Predators when starting goalie Nicklas Backstrom had to leave the team to address a personal issue. They summoned Matt Hackett from their minor league team in Houston, but they weren’t sure if his plane would arrive in time for him to serve as the backup to Josh Harding. So, they called Richard Deutsch, a 51-year-old who was a high school teammate of Wild assistant coach Mike Ramsey. Deutsch, a screen printer who plays in a local senior league, had some experience filling in for Wild goalies at practices on an emergency basis, even though he only starting playing the position at the age of 37 when his senior team was shorthanded at the position. Wednesday’s experience was a little different than a practice, however.
“Practice is one thing,” he said. “I have to tell you, the game faces are on, and I don’t see those very often. Usually it’s a practice, and we’re calm and we’re laughing and we’re ha, ha, ha. But game day is a lot different, so I’m trying to stay out of the way and not get in any trouble.”
After Deutsch “let the guys fire away” on him during warmups, Hackett arrived and was able to suit up in time to take the 51-year-old’s place. But Deutsch still got to say he signed an NHL contract, which he did just before the league deadline of 4 p.m. for him to be eligible that night.
“I actually was shaking while I was signing,” said Deutsch, who filled in “Minnesota Roosevelt Junior Varsity defenseman — 1978,” as his previous team on the contract.
♦ Giants running back Brandon Jacobs continued to voice his frustration with home fans who boo the team, as they did in Sunday’s loss to the Eagles. “We try to work hard and overcome adversity and they make it even harder for us to overcome our adversity when they do things like that,” Jacobs said Wednesday on WFAN radio, echoing his criticism from after the game. “As a player we don’t want to hear that.”
Added Jacobs: “I’m not saying I don’t care about our fans. When we’re down and going through adversity we need them to lift us up, not kick us down. That’s all I’m trying to say. We do have great fans and I’ve witnessed that as well throughout my seven years here. The things we’re going through this year, as far as playing at home, the negativity. We don’t want to hear things like that when we’re playing at home and we’ve still got a chance to win. It’s really hard. That’s all I’m saying.”
♦ In honor of the new Muppets movie, Baseball Prospectus matches Muppets characters to major league baseball players. For example, clean-cut Kermit the Frog best compares to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. And the egomaniacal, arrogant Miss Piggy is best represented by Alex Rodriguez. Three former Red Sox make the list: Manny Ramirez is compared to the oddball Gonzo, Jonathan Papelbon is a match with the zany Animal, and Adrian Beltre fits as Pepe the King Prawn.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 24, 2005, the Red Sox traded prospects Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado and Harvey Garcia to the Marlins for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and which third player who never pitched for the Sox but remains active in the majors?
|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Manny Ramirez wants to return to baseball this winter||09.21.11 at 7:42 am ET|
WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY WEDNESDAY:
MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Former Red Sox star Manny Ramirez, who retired in April after reportedly testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, apparently wants to return to baseball. Winston Llenas, president of the Cibao Eagles in the Dominican Republic, told The Associated Press Tuesday that Ramirez has expressed a desire to play for his former team in his home country. Llenas said the 39-year-old wants to “play before the Dominican fans and to perhaps motivate other major league stars to also play in the country.”
Ramirez, who is facing charges in Florida after allegedly hitting his wife last week, had some support from his former teammates on the Dodgers. Said Matt Kemp: “It shows he loves this sport a lot.” Added James Loney: “It’s good any way you look at it. Manny loves baseball and the Dominicans love Manny.”
♦ Someone stole the glasses off a statue of late Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell in front of Detroit’s Comerica Park. A new pair is being prepared and will be secured as tight as possible. “Fans go a little overboard,” team spokesman Ron Colangelo said. “As much as we can, we hope the public will appreciate it enough to just admire it.”
♦ The Chargers have been accused of faking an injury to slow down the Patriots during Sunday’s game. On Monday, two Giants players suddenly dropped to the ground and appeared to fake injuries to stop a Rams drive, leading to the Rams filing a complaint with the league office. In The Los Angeles Times, Ron Farmer looks at the “no-shame defense” and if there’s anything the NFL can do to prevent it.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Sept. 21, 1985, Wade Boggs set a Red Sox record when he recorded his 223rd hit of the season (he would finish with 240). Whose record did he break?
|LEEInks list: Best starts in Red Sox uniform over last half decade||06.11.11 at 12:39 pm ET|
Adrian Gonzalez is off to a scorching start in his first season in a Red Sox uniform. The powerful first baseman is leading the American League in RBI (57) and is also in the top 5 in batting average (.338) as of Saturday. If Gonzalez were to keep up that type of production for the remainder of the season, an American League MVP award could be in his future. But where would it rank among the greatest first seasons in Boston? To help answer that question, here’s a look at the top 10 first full individual seasons in a Red Sox uniform since 1961. (Apologies to Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx and Cy Young, each of whom could have earned spots on this list without the time restricition.)
10. Bill Mueller 2003, .326, 19 HR, 85 RBI
The former Red Sox third baseman is probably most remembered in Boston for his base hit that drove in Dave Roberts to send Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS into extra innings, but what a year he had in 2003. Signed as a free agent in the offseason, Mueller was expected to be a sure-handed third baseman who would do nothing more than just hold his own at the bottom of the Red Sox order. Instead, he exploded for career highs in not only average, home runs and RBI but also hits (171), runs (85) and doubles (45). His .326 average beat out Manny Ramirez (.325) and Derek Jeter (.324) by just points for his first and only batting crown.
9. Jonathan Papelbon 2006, 0.92 ERA, 35 saves, ROY runner-up
Before Papelbon made “Shipping up to Boston” a fixture of the Fenway Park experience, he was a starter-turned-reliever coming into the 2006 season that came in and took the closer spot from Keith Foulke. From there, the hard-throwing righty flourished in the role that he still holds to this day. He allowed earned runs in just six of his 59 appearances (68 1/3 innings) and also walked only 13 batters over that span. A shoulder injury kept him from pitching in September and may have kept him from securing the Rookie of the Year award (won instead by Detroit pitcher Justin Verlander), but the fact remains that Papelbon’s 2006 campaign may have been the best ever by a rookie closer. Read the rest of this entry »
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