Fitness magazine scores with Olympians Hope Solo, Lolo Jones, Kerri Walsh

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff June 29, 2012 02:11 AM

Fitness magazine scored interviews with three of the top female American Olympians in their July/August issue, talking with soccer team goalie Hope Solo, hurdler Lolo Jones and beach volleyball star and two-time gold medalist Kerri Walsh.

"One of the toughest years in my life was 2007," Solo tells the magazine. "First I lost my best friend and then my father and then I got kicked off the team in the World Cup. I hit an all-time low. I didn’t leave the house. I was in a complete depression. It took putting one foot in front of the other every single day to get through it to the point where I made it back on the team and won a gold medal in 2008. You’re always going to survive the pain of loss. I can live with that confidence inside of me.”

Jones, who famously lost in the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, talked about coming back from spinal cord surgery.

"I put so much energy into coming back from spinal cord surgery last summer—learning to walk again—so when I injured my hamstring six months later, my motivation was wiped," Jones told the magazine. "Then I started reading a bunch of books, writing down affirmations and goals, and visualizing myself running healthy and superfast. I carry 'The Power of Positive Thinking' by Norman Vincent Peale to every race."

The magazine is on sale now. See the covers below.

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Pedro Martinez becomes a ‘Bostonian forever’ at ‘The Tradition’

Posted by Leonard Neslin June 28, 2012 11:12 AM
Many famous Boston sports people attended the 11th annual award ceremony ‘The Tradition’ at New England’s Sports Museum in TD Garden Wednesday, but none bigger than Pedro Martinez.

After Mayor Thomas M. Menino introduced Martinez, he said he considered himself a Bostonian, but that the Lifetime Achievement Award he received made him a “Bostonian for life.”

Other honorees included former Celtics great Robert Parish, Patriots’ two-time Super Bowl champion Rodney Harrison, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, former Yale rower Chris Ernst, and former Revolution defender Alexi Lalas.

A poignant moment of the ceremony came when Harrison said, “The reason why I’m here is Junior Seau.” Harrison said that Seau inspired him to play the way he played all the time, including practice.

“The biggest compliment I got when I retired was when Bill Bellichick said I was the best practice player he’s ever had.”

Seau recently took his own life by shooting himself in the chest, raising awareness for concussions and health concerns in the NFL.

Harrison chose his wife, Erika, to present the Football Legacy Award to him to show people how important his wife was to his career.

“I’ve gone through multiple injuries, devastating injuries,” he said. Nobody really understands the impact it makes on the family. Who has to deal with it? The wife.”

Sportscaster and former Celtic Bill Walton introduced Parish, “The Chief,” who bowed to the crowd after accepting the Basketball Legacy Award. Walton repeatedly said, “Hail to the Chief,” and cracked jokes.

Parish, a four-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer, drew laughs from the crowd when comparing Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.

“Bird was slow, couldn’t jump,” he said, noting both had unparalleled determination.

Jacobs was introduced by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who said Jacobs, “wants to win more than anything else for Boston.”

Jacobs was honored for last year’s Stanley Cup but also for his commitment to community service and philanthropic contributions.

In light of the 40th anniversary of Title IX’s enactment, Ernst, captain of 1976 Yale women’s crew and gold medalist at the 1986 world championships, was honored.

“There’s nobody I’m more impressed with in this room than [Ernst],” said sportswriter Jackie MacMullan, who presented the Special Achievement Award to Ernst along with Mary Mazzio, who created an award-winning film about Ernst called “A Hero for Daisy.”

The Revolution’s leading career goal scorer Taylor Twellman called Lalas “a pioneer for our sport.” Lalas was a member of the 1994 US World Cup team and helped spark interest in soccer in America.

Former Bruin Adam Oates hired as Washington Capitals coach

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff June 26, 2012 01:22 PM

The Washington Capitals have named former Bruins and Capitals center, and new Hockey Hall-of-Famer, Adam Oates as their new coach.

The 49-year-old Oates, who spent six seasons as a standout player in Boston, becomes the 16th coach in Capitals franchise history.

Former Capitals coach Dale Hunter resigned on May 14 after completing the 2011-12 season that Bruce Boudreau began before he was fired in late November.

"Adam was a highly intelligent player in the NHL for 19 seasons," Capitals general manager George McPhee said in a statement. "He has been an assistant coach in our conference for the past three seasons and is prepared to lead our club as head coach."

On the same day Oates was named the Caps coach, he joins Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin and Pavel Bure in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Oates, who will be formally introduced at a news conference Wednesday, has spent the last three seasons as an NHL assistant, first with the Tampa Bay Lightning before moving to the New Jersey Devils in 2010. He was part of the staff that helped lead the Devils to this year's Stanley Cup finals, which they lost to the Los Angeles Kings.

His most formidable task will be to develop a playing style that best suits a Capitals roster brimming with talent and that can also succeed in the playoffs. Led by Alex Ovechkin, Washington won four consecutive Southeast Division titles under offensive-minded coach Bruce Boudreau but couldn't advance beyond the second round of the postseason.

Boudreau was fired in November after an early-season slump and was replaced by the defense-first Hunter. Hunter eventually rallied the players enough to get them back in the playoffs but couldn't push them to the conference finals.

Oates played in the NHL from 1985-2004, appearing in 1,337 games while scoring 341 goals with 1,079 assists for Detroit, St. Louis, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Anaheim and Edmonton. Only Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux have averaged more assists-per-game than Oates in the NHL history, and only Gretzky (662) had more assists than Oates (636) during the 1990s.

In 1997, the Bruins traded the disgruntled Oates along with goaltender Bill Ranford and forward Rick Tocchet to the Capitals in a blockbuster six-player deal. In exchange for three of their best players, the Bruins received goaltender Jim Carey, centers Jason Allison and Anson Carter, and a 1997 third-round draft choice. The deal was one of the biggest in National Hockey League history at the time.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this update.

Rivers, Valentine headline Positive Coaching Alliance breakfast

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff June 26, 2012 12:59 PM

Celtics coach Doc Rivers was messing around on the computer one day and ran into this thing called Positive Coaching Alliance.

As the story goes, he liked what he saw so much from the organization online that he signed up and has been on the advisory board ever since with luminary coaches like Phil Jackson. That was two years ago.

Rivers, along with Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, Boston College men's ice hockey coach Jerry York, and Harvard men's basketball coach Tommy Amaker headlined the first annual Sports Leadership Breakfast at Fenway Park Tuesday morning, a panel discussion put on by the alliance that served as both a fundraiser and a roundtable on positive coaching skills.

"If you look at Doc and Phil and other really great coaches, one of the characteristics is they get the best out of everyone," said Jim Thompson, the alliance's founder. "Not just their star players. Their role players come online and people who are playing with the Lakers or the Celtics do better when they're playing with those coaches. They go elsewhere and they're not so good. So even at the highest level, that kind of positive coaching, where you're making a team, the concept of Ubuntu is one we use actually in our workshops now. We're spreading it all across the country. The idea is that I can't be all I can be, unless you're all you can be. That's a huge concept and the greatest coaches do that."

The PCA also honored two local coaches, Needham football coach Dave Duffy whose Rockets were runnerup in the Division 1 EMass Super Bowl, and O'Bryant's girls basketball and volleyball coach Gertrude Fisher. Both accepted checks for $1,000 on behalf of their athletic departments.

The panelists addressed a number of topics in the discussion, including the involvement of parents -- which struck a chord with Rivers -- positive reinforcement and showing deference to referees.

"Obviously it's very difficult," said Amaker of dealing with referees. "All of our sports and teams that we're playing for, we're fighting all the time, competing with our teams, for our players. They need to see you, I think, sometimes that you're fighting for them in particular. But I think we also have to have some semblance of discipline about ourselves. I think sometimes players are going to play to their coaches in that regard, so I think it's important."

Said Valentine: "You go out and you just try and be honest and get to know the guys when you go out to either protect your players or go out and talk to the umpire. I mean, I got thrown out of a game this year when I went out and just said 'what the heck, can I get thrown out for what I'm thinking?' And he said 'no.' And then I told him what I was thinking."

Rivers was particularly pointed about parents dealing with coaches. Being a father to multiple star athletes, he professes to never interfere with their coaches and believes no parent should.

"I just think parents need to support their kids and enjoy their kids and help them at the games, and just say great job," Rivers said. "I know that's hard but I think it'll be better for the kid."

York, whose powerhouse hockey team is tops in the nation, lamented the difficulty of finding high character players.

"It's awful hard to determine character when you're recruiting a 17-year old and the mom and dad are selling that this is a perfect fit for you," York said. "And the coach is selling it and the player's on his best behavior. So it's a little bit of a gamble."

Report: Larry Bird leaving Indiana Pacers

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff June 26, 2012 07:57 AM

According to a report in the Indianapolis Star, Larry Bird has decided to leave his position as president of the Indiana Pacers.

The 55-year-old Celtics legend is “100 percent sure” he will not return as president of the team, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Star on Monday.

Bird is expected to meet with owner Herb Simon today to finalize his departure.

More from The Star report:

Bird spoke like he was planning to return for another season during his season-ending news conference last month.

“(I want to talk to Simon about) the direction of the team, what kind of job he thinks we’re doing, if there’s anything he sees that we should be doing better,” Bird said May 30. “Just a number of questions. I’ve got a lot of them written down to ask him, and hopefully we can get the answers we like and move on.”

Bird, who is dealing with some health issues (reportedly back and shoulder related), will likely take a year off before deciding if he wants to return to any sort of front-office position.

His departure comes just three days after The Star reported that Bird’s predecessor, former CEO Donnie Walsh, is expected to return to the franchise in some capacity. There’s a possibility Walsh will take Bird’s title of president.

Bird was voted the NBA’s Executive of the Year in May, becoming the first person to be named the league’s top executive, coach and MVP.

“It was a long journey, it was a painful journey," Bird told reporters in Indianapolis when he won the honor. “But now we think it’s going to pay dividends."

Bird, a three-time MVP and Hall of Famer, was hired as the Pacers team president in 2003 and learned the ropes at Donnie Walsh’s side. He helped put together one of the best teams in the league in his first season, a 61-game winner that seemed poised to rule the Eastern Conference for years to come.

Then he endured the franchise-changing brawl at the Palace in Detroit in 2004 that gutted a championship contender; a series of arrests and public embarrassments from his players in the following seasons that alienated a hoops-crazy fan base; and three coaching changes as he looked to change the culture of a free-falling franchise. A four-year playoff drought had many in his home state calling for Bird’s head, a startling fall for someone who once could do no wrong in Indiana.

A fed-up Bird started a massive overhaul in 2006. The house-cleaning took years and included the trades of Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson and Shawne Williams, the exile of Jamaal Tinsley and the move from hard-driving head coach Jim O’Brien to unproven 38-year-old assistant Frank Vogel.

“We had to change the culture," Bird said. “I thought Jimmy O’Brien really helped us in that aspect. He came in here and knew exactly what we had to do. We had to not only change the culture, but we had to take it slow and get some players we thought we could build around."

We'll have more on this story as it develops.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Obama thanks Boston for sending Kevin Youkilis to Chicago, gets booed

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff June 26, 2012 07:29 AM



It seems everyone has something to say about Kevin Youkilis leaving Boston and joining the White Sox. And now the president has chimed in.

Speaking at a fundraising event at Symphony Hall in Boston last night, President Obama thanked the city for sending third baseman Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox, his hometown baseball team.

"And finally Boston, I just want to say, thank you for Youkilis," Obama said. "I'm just saying, he's going to have to had to change the color of his Sox, ha, ha, ha, ha."

The chuckles in the crowd quickly turned to a round of boos for the president.

"I didn't think I'd get any boos out of here but..." Obama said jokingly to the room of wealthy backers. "I should not have brought up baseball, I understand. My mistake, my mistake. You've got to know your crowd."

Smith, Mutai win B.A.A. 10K titles

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff June 24, 2012 01:33 PM

New Zealand's Kim Smith and Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai won the women's and men's races respectively of the Boston Athletic Association's 10K race Sunday morning in Boston.

Smith, who now lives in Providence, set a new course record of 31:36, holding off Ethiopia’s Aheza Kiros and Sharon Cherop, the 2012 Boston Marathon champion.

“Being local, I think I knew a lot of people in the race,” Smith said. “I felt like everyone was kind of cheering for me.”

Smith's time was 22 seconds ahead of Caroline Kilel’s record of 31:58, set in the inaugural B.A.A. 10K race last year.

In the men's race, Mutai crossed the finish in 27:29, the fastest 10K run thus far in 2012. Mutai held off fellow Kenyan Philip Langat.

"I am happy again," said Mutai. "I don't know if you know all my happiness when I am in Boston. It is not like other races."

The 10K race serves as the second leg of the inaugural B.A.A. Distance Medley. There were 4,560 finishers in Sunday's race. The race began on Charles Street near the Boston Common, wound through Back Bay, Kenmore Square, and Boston University, and finished back at the starting line.

Brady, Mankins, Garnett, Crawford make Forbes highest paid athletes list

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff June 19, 2012 01:14 PM
Four New England pro athletes made the Forbes list of highest paid athletes for 2012.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady comes in at No. 28 on the top-100 list with total earnings of $27.1 million. In March, Brady restructured his contract to provide the Patriots with more than $7 million in additional salary cap room for the 2012 season. Brady signed a four-year, $72 million extension in 2010 and reportedly converted $4.8 million of his base salary and $6.25 million of other bonuses into a signing bonus that can be prorated over the final three years of the deal that ends in 2014, when Brady will be 37 years old. Brady earns $23.1 million in salary plus $4 million in additional income through endorsement deals with Under Armor, Audi, and UGGs and others.

Logan Mankins is the next New England professional athlete to be ranked on the list. The four-time Patriots Pro Bowl guard comes in at No. 51, earning $21.9 million in 2012, including about $1,000,000 in endorsements. Mankins missed half of the Patriots 2010 season when he held out after saying he was unhappy with his current deal. In 2011, Mankins signed a six-year, $52.25 million deal that extends through 2016. It was the largest contract paid to an NFL guard at the time.

Celtics star Kevin Garnett, currently an unrestricted free-agent, comes in at No. 57 on the list with total earnings of $21.1 million, which includes $4 million in endorsements. Garnett has earned $291 million in salary in his career according to Forbes, second all-time only to former Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal.

Injured Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford checks in at No. 98 on the list with $16.9 million in total earnings in 2012, which includes about $150,000 in endorsements. Former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein signed Crawford to a seven-year, $142 million deal following the 2010 season. Crawford struggled in Boston during the first year of the deal and has yet to take the field in 2012 due to wrist and elbow injuries.

Jailed boxer Floyd Mayweather sits atop the Forbes list with earnings totaling $85 million. He is followed by boxer Manny Pacquiao ($62M) , golfer Tiger Woods ($59.4M), basketball star LeBron James ($53M), and tennis great Roger Federer ($52.7, to round out the top five.

Mayweather, who made $85 million for two fights last year, is currently serving a three-month jail sentence in Las Vegas for domestic battery. Pacquiao lost his WBO welterweight title to Timothy Bradley earlier this month.

Woods had been the highest paid athlete on the list since 2001. He's lost endorsement deals from Gillette, Tag Heuer, and others since personal issues surfaced in Nov. 2009.

James's $53 million in earnings includes $40 million in endorsement money, which includes new deals to promote Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins in Asia. It was LeBron's first significant endorsement deal since the Miami Heat center signed with Fenway Sports Management to oversee his marketing career in 2011. James’s income also got a boost when he received cash as part of his partnership with Fenway Sports Group last year, through which James received a stake in the Liverpool soccer club.

Other notables on the top-100 highest paid list:

- Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is No. 10 with $42.4 million in total earnings
- Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees was tops among baseball players and No. 18 overall with $33 million in earnings
- Giants QB and Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning checks in at No. 30, with $26.6 million
- Yankees captain Derek Jeter is No. 36 with $24.5 million in earnings
- Liverpool Reds legend Steven Gerrard comes in at No. 97 on the list. Reds/Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner paid the LFC star $12.5 million in 2012, while Gerrard earned another $4.5 million in endorsements, mostly through his affiliation with Adidas.

Athletes from 11 different sports qualified for the top 100, and 30 football players made the cut, which is more than any other sport, including 13 players from the NBA.

The earnings figures published by Forbes includes salaries, bonuses, prize money, appearance fees, as well as licensing and endorsement income for the 12 months between June 2011 and June 2012.

Take a look at the complete list via a photo gallery from Forbes here.

Report: Wes Welker and friends tackled by security at Aspen party

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff June 19, 2012 09:19 AM

Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker was celebrating his upcoming wedding in Aspen, Colo. this weekend when his group tried to crash a party associated with the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, according to a New York Post report.

Sources told the Post that Welker and his friends tried to enter a party at the restaurant Above the Salt without permission. Security guards then tackled members of the group, according to the report. Sources told the Post that Welker and his friends refused to cooperate even after security intervened, demanding to be let in. Police reportedly threatened to arrest Welker and other members of his party but came short of doing so, and the group left the property.

Aspen police confirmed to the Post that there was a record of a “lecture and release” incident at the same restaurant Friday night, but they did not confirm whether that was the incident that involved Welker's party.

Cannons goalie Jordan Burke earns second defensive player of week award

Posted by Staff June 18, 2012 10:46 PM
After leading the Boston Cannons to a 16-8 win against the Charlotte Hounds with 15 saves on Saturday, goalie Jordan Burke was named the Major League Lacrosse defensive player of the week.

Burke allowed four goals in his 53 minutes, 39 seconds of playing time. Charlotte's leading scorers, Stephen Berger and Matt Danowski, did not score against Burke.

Burke leads MLL with 91 saves this season. He has a .583 save percentage, and a 9.36 goals against average.

"Jordan's a warrior," Cannons coach Steve Duffy said. "It was a warrior effort Saturday night in goal. He made crucial saves at crucial times when we needed him, as he's done all season."

It is Burke’s second Player of the Week award this season.

Roger Clemens found not guilty

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff June 18, 2012 04:15 PM

300clemens.jpgFormer Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens was found not guilty on all six counts against him at his perjury trial Monday in Washington, DC.

"I just want to say I appreciate everyone who came in and asked to speak on my behalf, or tell a story, or give their input," Clemens said when he addressed the media outside the court.

He became choked up at one point as he talked about the effect the trial has had on his family.

"It's been a hard five years," he said. "I put a lot of hard work into that career. I appreciate my teammates who came in and all the emails and phone calls from my teammates. Thank you all very much."

Clemens was charged with lying to Congress in 2008 when he denied using steroids or human growth hormone. His first trial on the charges was declared a mistrial in 2011, and Clemens's request to have the charges thrown out was rejected in September. His new trial began in April.

The former pitcher faced a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine if convicted on all six counts, although he likely would have only received 15 months to 21 months under U.S. sentencing guidelines.

Material from an Associated Press report was used in this article.

Bobby Valentine raps on the streets of Chicago?

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff June 18, 2012 03:10 PM



First he invented the wrap. Now he's perfecting the rap.

In a video that surfaced on Saturday, a man that clearly appears to be Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was captured on camera doing backup grunting rapping while walking near someone leading the vocals, presumably on the streets of Chicago this weekend.

Not sure if Jay-Z is going to come calling or if Kanye has anything to worry about at this point.

But stay tuned.

Poskay lifts Cannons on the road

Posted by Globe Staff June 17, 2012 01:19 AM

Matt Poskay scored five goals and Jordan Burke made 16 saves to lead the Boston Cannons to a 16-8 victory over the Hounds in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday night, in Major League Lacrosse.

Brady takes lighthearted look at wife's post-Super Bowl comments

Posted by Globe Staff June 15, 2012 09:51 PM

Tom Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, may have caused a stir when she voiced her frustration about some incompletions in the second half of Super Bowl XLVI in February, but Brady called it one of his most memorable moments of the game.

Appearing at a fund-raiser in his native California, Brady told this lighthearted story to Comcast SportsNet:

‘‘I was in my hotel room after the game — and this was not a good memory, by the way — I was going to bed and I was talking to my wife after the game,’’ Brady said. ‘‘You just sit up and you think nobody quite understands — your wife and your parents or your best friends — they just don’t quite understand how you’re feeling. You’re just going through play after play after play after play.

‘‘Just before she goes to bed she says, ‘Yeah, people were following me and I just said something I shouldn’t have.’ ’’

Bundchen was asked about the loss immediately after the game by a video camera-wielding fan, and she said, ‘‘You [have] to catch the ball when you’re supposed to catch the ball,’’ adding that her husband can’t throw and catch his own passes.

Late in the fourth quarter, Brady lofted a pass to a wide-open Wes Welker, but he couldn’t come up with the catch. Bundchen’s comments were construed as blaming her husband’s friend for the loss to the Giants.

Brady said he Bundchen, ‘‘ ‘I don’t care really what you said. Just go to bed.’ I woke up the next morning, I tapped her on the shoulder, [and asked], ‘Why did you say that?’ She was talking about the best player on our team, Wes Welker, yeah. That was my most recent memory.’’

Brady told the story with a lighthearted tone. The quarterback and receiver and their significant others were spotted vacationing in Costa Rica shortly after the Super Bowl.

Video: Mike Tyson's LeBron James song

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff June 14, 2012 02:16 PM

Here's what Mike Tyson has been doing lately. This video debuted on the Jimmy Kimmel Show on Tuesday night before Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Kenyan students reenact Bill Buckner's infamous play

Posted by Leonard Neslin June 12, 2012 01:59 PM

Oct. 25, 1986 ranks among the worst days in Boston sports history. Kenyan students, on the other hand, loved it so much they wanted to reenact it.

Their version of the deciding moments of Game 6 of the World Series between the Red Sox and Mets shows everything from Mookie Wilson waving Kevin Mitchell home to the ball bouncing through Bill Buckner's legs with the original Vin Scully broadcast overlaid.

According to the YouTube video's description, "The students were interested in making a movie about a famous American sporting event. After watching both real clips, the students voted on Buckner's error over the 'Music City Miracle.'"

Report: Patriots tickets are most expensive of all four major pro sports leagues

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff June 11, 2012 03:06 PM
According to a report from 24/7 Wall St., the New England Patriots have the most expensive seat in pro sports with an average ticket price of $241.86 at Gillette Stadium.

The Red Sox also have the highest average ticket price in baseball, with a cost of $88.26 per ticket.

To identify the five teams in each major sport with the highest ticket prices, 24/7 Wall St. examined a two-year average of secondary-market ticket prices for each team compiled by SeatGeek, a search engine for event tickets.

Three of Boston's four major pro teams, MLS soccer teams were not ranked in the report, ranked in the top-five among the most expensive seats to purchase on the secondary market, which according to SeatGeek, is more reflective of fan demand.

The top-five team rankings for average ticket prices are as follows:

National Football League

5. Green Bay Packers: $213.43
4. Dallas Cowboys: $214.71
3. Chicago Bears: $219.82
2. New York Giants: $238.45
1. New England Patriots: $241.86

Major League Baseball

5. New York Mets: $63.56
4. Chicago Cubs: $65.24
3. New York Yankees: $70.81
2. Toronto Blue Jays: $71.89
1. Boston Red Sox: $88.26

National Basketball Association

5. Boston Celtics: $99.43
4. Chicago Bulls: $111.12
3. Miami Heat: $123.35
2. New York Knicks: $161.93
1. Los Angeles Lakers: $169.80

National Hockey League

5. Vancouver Canucks: $158.09
4. Pittsburgh Penguins: $160.28
3. Montreal Canadiens: $186.67
2. Winnipeg Jets: $197.26
1. Toronto Maple Leafs: $199.62

SportsCenter reports Avery Bradley won boxing match vs. Manny Pacquiao

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff June 10, 2012 04:17 PM
Here's the first nominee for this week's edition of "Not Top 10" on ESPN.

If Celtics fans kept watching after the network signed off of its broadcast of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, in which the Heat beat the Celtics, they might have been cheered up a bit when, on the introduction to SportsCenter, it was reported that Celtics guard Avery Bradley won a boxing match over Manny Pacquiao.

In fact, Timothy Bradley won a controversial decision over Manny Pacquiao.

"A come-from-behind at the Belmont, and Manny Pacquiao upset by Avery Bradley," is how the content on the program was teased. Watch a replay on larrybrownsports.com.

Avery Bradley, who is recovering from season-ending shoulder surgery, found it fairly amusing, and tweeted about it at 2:09 a.m.

I'll Have Another scratched from Belmont Stakes, trainer says

Posted by Leonard Neslin June 8, 2012 11:38 AM

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I'll Have Another was expected to take a shot at history Saturday at the Belmont Stakes, potentially capturing the Triple Crown. According to the horse's trainer Doug O'Neill, however, I'll Have Another will not compete.

In an interview on the Dan Patrick Show on Friday, O'Neill said, "We ain't taking any chances," and that the scratch "is a bummer, but far from tragic."

I'll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in May to set up his bid for the Triple Crown, which no horse has won since 1978.

I’ll Have Another did not have a recorded workout since winning the Preakness May 19. Observers of his morning gallops at Belmont Park nearly unanimously spoke of the horse’s lack of zeal for the work as opposed to how he acted before the Kentucky Derby and Preaches.

A sign that something was amiss came early Friday morning when it was announced that O’Neill had left Belmont Park and wouldn’t be available for interviews. O’Neill did talk to David Grening of The Daily Racing Form and told him the horse was scratched because of developing tendonitis in his left foreleg.

The horse will do nothing for the next three months and most likely will not race again in 2012.

Report: Patriots release Chad Ochocinco

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff June 7, 2012 03:57 PM

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported via Twitter the Patriots have released wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.

According to both Schefter and Albert Breer of the NFL Network, the Patriots tried to trade Ochocinco earlier in the day. He was acquired last summer in a trade prior to training camp, but made only 15 catches for 276 yards and one touchdown during the Patriots's season.

Earlier today, Ochocinco was absent from the team's practice. He was at Gillette Stadium, but left.

We'll have more on the story as it becomes available in our Extra Points blog.

Menino calls Rondo 'Hondo' and Garnett 'KJ' in latest Boston sports name gaffes

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff June 7, 2012 08:26 AM

Good job, good effort, Mayor Menuno... err Menino, but we're starting to wonder if you bungle Boston sports stars names on purpose.

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino was captured on camera Wednesday giving his take on the dramatic Celtics run through the NBA playoffs, and he referred to Kevin Garnett as "K.J." and Rajon Rondo as "Hondo" when praising the players' efforts.

“There’s a lot of heart on this team, let me just tell you,” Menino said. “K.J. is a great ... but Hondo's really the inspiration. I mean Hondo drives that team.”

Maybe the mayor thinks Celtics great John "Hondo" Havlicek is driving the action from his floor seats under the basket at the Garden or former Phoenix Suns guard Kevin Johnson, a.k.a. K.J., is doing a great job as the current mayor of Sacramento. Maybe not.

Update: The mayor's office tweeted the following Thursday morning:

This is not the first time the mayor has mixed up and botched the names of local sports stars. Some of Menino's past slip-ups include:

-- At the Fenway 100 celebration at Fenway Park in April, Menino reminisced: "2004 coming in here when Davy Roberts stole second base, Mueller [supposed to be pronounced Miller] hit the double, got him in, then Ortiz won the game. There's so many ... Jim Lomberg had that great year he had."

That would be Red Sox righty Jim Lonborg in 1967.

-- During the dedication of the Bobby Orr statue on Causeway Street in 2010: "Boston, we have an amazing set of remarkable athletes whose actions have become ionic (sic) in sports. Havlicek stole the ball, Fisk waving the ball fair, Flutie launching the Hail Mary pass, Varitek splitting the uprights.”

It was old friend Adam Vinatieri (not former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek) who sealed the deal for the Patriots first Super Bowl victory when he nailed the game-winning 48-yard field goal in 2002 to beat the heavily-favored St. Louis Rams.

-- Speaking of football, last season the mayor referred to Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker as "Wekler" and called tight end Rob Gronkowski "Grabowski."

-- At a dedication ceremony at the Tobin Community Center in 2010, the mayor referred to NBA commissioner David Stern as "Donald Sterns."

-- Menino used the term "great ball players" to describe the Stanley Cup ice hockey champion Bruins last year.

-- The mayor also referred to the band Dropkick Murphys as the "Dropkick Murphy" and called the screen on the scoreboard at the Garden a 'Jumbletron' in lieu of the term JumboTron.

Click here to see a photo and video gallery of other famous sports flubs.

SNL's Jay Pharoah calls Paul Pierce an 'actress' on ESPN; Celtics captain responds

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff June 6, 2012 02:04 PM

Saturday Night Live funnyman Jay Pharoah has made a name for himself with impressions of Eddie Murphy, Charles Barkley, Will Smith, and most recently ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.

But Celtics fans might not find Pharoah's latest effort so funny.

On ESPN's "First Take" show yesterday, Pharoah sat alongside Smith when during his rant on the NBA, the topic came to the Celtics and their captain Paul Pierce.

"He's an actress," Pharoah said regarding Pierce. "I'm sorry, he's a good basketball player... he has a couple of rings, [Smith: He has one ring] ...he's an actress. Diva, diva. You even talk about how he's a diva now... I will get on this freakin' table and show you what he does."

Pharoah goes on to flop down on the "First Take" table and proclaims as Pierce, "he fouled me," referencing an unnamed offender.

Pierce had a simple response for the up-and-coming comedian on Twitter:

Daniel Bard sent to Triple-A Pawtucket

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff June 5, 2012 03:59 PM

The Globe's Peter Abraham reported via Twitter the Red Sox have sent struggling starting pitcher Daniel Bard to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Darnell McDonald has been activated.

Bard had his worst outing as a starter on Sunday vs. the Toronto Blue Jays. He walked six and hit two batters in 1 1/3 innings, allowing five runs in a 5-1 loss.

We'll have more in the Extra Bases blog as it becomes available.

Boston to host 2014 US Figure Skating Championship

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff June 5, 2012 02:11 PM

Boston has been chosen to host the 2014 Prudential US Figure Skating Championship, which will be the final qualifying event before the US Olympic team is chosen for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The event will take place Jan. 5-12 at TD Garden. The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia, from Feb. 7 to 23, 2014.

“U.S. Figure Skating looks forward to returning to Boston for the 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships,” US Figure Skating executive director David Raith said. “The area is steeped in figure skating tradition. I’m confident that the community’s impressive skating history will extend to the 2014 U.S. Championships.”

Past US champions include Massachusetts natives Nancy Kerrigan (Woburn) and Todd Eldredge (Chatham). The US championships were also held in Boston in 2001, 1962, 1941, 1931, 1926 and 1922.

The Skating Club of Boston will assist US Figure Skating in organizing and holding the event.

Dismal showing for Red Sox players in early All-Star voting

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff June 5, 2012 01:28 PM
The Red Sox are usually well represented on the American League All-Star team, but those days may be coming to an end.

While David Ortiz is on track to make the All-Star team for the eighth time, other Red Sox players are not faring so well in the first ballot update released today.

In a battle between seven-time All-Stars in the AL designated hitter voting, Ortiz (1,204,904 votes) leads Michael Young (1,049,170 votes) of the Rangers by a slim margin.

But that's where the good news ends for fans hoping to see some Red Sox domination at the ballot box for the midseason classic that will be played on July 10 in Kansas City.

Most shocking in the early results is that Adrian Gonzalez, a starter for the AL in 2011, wasn't even listed in the top five voting. Prince Fielder leads the first base field with 1,027, 070 votes followed by Mark Teixeira, Paul Konerko, Mitch Moreland, and Albert Pujols, newly acquired by the Angels. Gonzalez is somewhere behind Pujols, who has 478,020 votes.

At second base, Dustin Pedroia (699,422 votes) -- a regular at the top of the voting charts in the past -- is a distant third behind the Rangers' Ian Kinsler (1,447,171 votes) and Robinson Cano of the Yankees (1,164,448 votes).

Old friend Adrian Beltre is part of the Rangers domination in the early voting at third base. Beltre, one of five Rangers that are on pace to start the 83rd All-Star game, leads the pack with 1,179,864 votes. Kevin Youkilis, injured for a good part of the 2012 season, did not crack the top five vote-getters.

Derek Jeter leads all AL shortstops with 1,698,777 votes while the surprising Mike Aviles did not make the top five.

Despite a push from Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine and others in the media, Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is not in the top five in the catcher balloting. Mike Napoli of the Rangers leads with 1,224, 565 votes.

In the AL outfield, Josh Hamilton of the Rangers is the top vote-getter overall with 2,587, 991 votes. He is followed by Curtis Granderson, Nelson Cruz, Jose Bautista, Adam Jones... and eventually the injured Jacoby Ellsbury (346,774 votes), who is in 14th place. No, Carl Crawford is not in the top 15 vote-getters among outfielders.

In 2011, the Red Sox had six All-Stars named or voted in: Josh Beckett, Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, Jon Lester, David Ortiz, and Kevin Youkilis.

The Red Sox also had six All-Stars in 2010: Pedroia (injured), Ortiz, Victor Martinez (injured), Clay Buchholz (injured), and Lester.

In 2009, the Sox came through with six All-Stars again: Tim Wakefield, Kevin Youkilis, Pedroia, Jason Bay, Jonathan Papelbon, and Beckett.

And back in 2008, the Red Sox dominated the AL squad with seven selections as Pedroia, Youkilis, Manny Ramirez, and Ortiz were voted as starters. Papelbon, Jason Varitek, and J.D. Drew were selected as reserves.

Fans can cast their votes for the 2012 All-Star game starters up to 25 times at MLB.com until Thursday, June 28, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Then the final postion player for each squad is selected via an online vote from July 1-5.

The pitchers and reserves for both teams will be determined through a combination of player ballot choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers -- AL manager Ron Washington of the Rangers and NL skipper Tony La Russa.

The full American League voting update released today follows:

FIRST BASE

Prince Fielder, Tigers: 1,027,070
Mark Teixeira, Yankees: 697,602
Paul Konerko, White Sox: 671,430
Mitch Moreland, Rangers: 618,226
Albert Pujols, Angels: 478,020

SECOND BASE

Ian Kinsler, Rangers: 1,447,171
Robinson Cano, Yankees: 1,164,448
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: 699,422
Robert Andino, Orioles: 317,434
Chris Getz, Royals: 278,585

THIRD BASE

Adrian Beltre, Rangers: 1,179,864
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 886,365
Evan Longoria, Rays: 789,434
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: 657,315
Mike Moustakas, Royals: 432,379

SHORTSTOP

Derek Jeter, Yankees: 1,698,777
Elvis Andrus, Rangers: 1,033,986
J.J. Hardy, Orioles: 489,941
Alcides Escobar, Royals: 392,195
Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians: 344,065

CATCHER

Mike Napoli, Rangers: 1,224,565
Matt Wieters, Orioles: 713,469
Joe Mauer, Twins: 637,364
Russell Martin, Yankees: 431,435
A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox: 424,646

DESIGNATED HITTER

David Ortiz, Red Sox: 1,204,904
Michael Young, Rangers: 1,049,170
Raul Ibanez, Yankees: 492,183
Billy Butler, Royals: 477,257
Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays: 391,131

OUTFIELDERS

Josh Hamilton, Rangers: 2,587,991
Curtis Granderson, Yankees: 1,406,128
Nelson Cruz, Rangers: 992,992
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 930,814
Adam Jones, Orioles: 857,543
David Murphy, Rangers: 652,379
Nick Swisher, Yankees: 624,215
Brett Gardner, Yankees: 437,126
Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners: 433,899
Jeff Francoeur, Royals: 422,304
Austin Jackson, Tigers: 389,664
Nick Markakis, Orioles: 384,390
Alex Gordon, Royals: 378,459
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: 346,774
Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics: 344,279

The National League results are available via MLB.com.

Video: Kyrie Irving goes undercover in pickup game

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff June 5, 2012 12:58 PM

This is what NBA players do in their offseason.

Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, the NBA rookie of the year, has some fun dressing up as an old man dubbed "Uncle Drew." He attends a pickup game, where he surreptitiously dominates in disguise.

It's not that great of a disguise and the game quickly becomes the "who's the young man in the old man makeup" kind of pickup game.

But he sure shows off some sweet moves, though.

Maine TV anchor: Celtics game ended in tie

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff June 4, 2012 09:05 PM

Maine television news anchor Meghan Torjussen made a gaffe Sunday night in delivering the news about Game 4 of the Celtics-Heat series.

Her live broadcast on Maine's ABC affiliate was in progress as the game was winding down, and she was given information from a producer who apparently told her the result was a tie.

"I guess the game just ended. It ended in a tie. This is what my producer is telling me right now," she said.

Watch the full performance in the embedded video.

(Hat tip to The Awesome Boston for finding this one first.)

Video: Deion Branch milks a cow

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff June 3, 2012 10:45 PM

So Deion Branch has his own funny video circulating on the interwebs, just like his quarterback. Unfortunately for him, he has to get down and dirty to procure the laughs.

In an appearance for the National Dairy Council, the Patriots wide receiver finds himself milking a cow -- something the 5-9, 195-pound player appears hesitant to do with such a large animal -- and then tops it off with a good ol' grip and grin, drinking the pilfered milk right for the camera.

Let's just say this is good physical comedy ... sorta.

At least he didn't go all Tom Green on it. Enjoy.

Ted Williams to be featured on 'Forever' stamps individually

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff June 1, 2012 03:00 PM

tedwilliamsstamp607.jpg

Image courtesy of United States Postal Service

The United States Postal Service said it will feature Red Sox hall of fame player Ted Wiliams individually on its new "Forever" stamps, a change from its original plan.

Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Larry Doby and Willie Stargell were to be featured on the new "Forever" stamp sheets together, but demand for the stamps spurred the postal company to reconsider the group configuration.

"We’ve heard from Indians, Pirates, Red Sox and Yankees fans and we’re stepping up to the plate to immortalize their revered players individually,” said U.S. Postal Service Stamp Services Manager Stephen Kearney in an e-mailed statement.

The stamps, designed by Los Angeles based artist-illustrator Kadir Nelson, will be released July 21, but will be available for order through Aug. 21. There will be a special event in Boston July 21 for the Williams stamp unveiling. Details about that event will announced later, according to the postal service.

"It will be interesting to learn which of the four players sells the most individual sheets," Kearney said.

Red Sox fans can order the stamps online at http://www.usps.com/play-ball, or by calling 1-800-STAMP24 (1-800-782-6724).

Or, in the spirit of the enterprise, by mailing a check or money order to:

MLB Pre-Order Offer
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive #210
Kansas City, MO 64144-0001

'Game of Thrones' author likens Patriots to the evil Lannisters

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff June 1, 2012 02:01 PM

Here's some Patriots hate from the Dungeons & Dragons crowd.

"Game of Thrones" author George R.R. Martin, whose books have spawned the popular HBO drama by the same name, through some nudging, has likened the New England Patriots to one of the more detested families in his novels.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Martin compared the Patriots to the oft-feuding and evilly inclined Lannisters, a murderous bunch that play the antagonists to the Starks.

Let's just say that the Lannisters are viewed as the bad guys, capiche?

Here's how the conversation went down, which you can find in full on their site:


SI: A popular internet story recently imagined Game of Thrones characters as politicians -- Barack Obama as Robb Stark, George W. Bush as Hodor -- can we try this with the NFL?

...

SI: What about the families: Are the Starks, say, the Green Bay Packers?

MARTIN: Whenever I propose analogies like that, fans jump in with their own ideas, but it depends on what team you root for. To me, the Starks are heroes, so they would be the Giants.

SI: And the Patriots, the archenemies?

MARTIN: Maybe those would be the Lannisters.

Martin, who is also known for producing episodes for the "Twilight Zone," is a self-professed New York Jets fan. So Patriots fans can rest assured that Bill Belichick will store this slight in his memory bank for those two contests this upcoming season. Or maybe not.

The season 2 finale of "Game of Thrones" will air at 9 p.m. this Sunday. The Celtics will be playing the Miami Heat in Game 4 at the same time (8:30 p.m start). What will you be watching?

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