'At Fenway' video features William Shatner, Ernie Boch Jr.

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff February 28, 2013 07:57 AM

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The music video for Brian Evans's song "At Fenway" features actor William Shatner and local car magnate Ernie Boch Jr., and will be released on April 1.

Shatner plays a home plate umpire and Boch plays the Red Sox' manager in the video, which Evans said is the first music video to be shot entirely at Fenway Park. It also includes Evans' mother, Helen Bousquet, who passed away shortly after the video was filmed.

A new CD/DVD will be available on iTunes (called Brian Evans - At Fenway) and features the video plus 11 songs by Evans.

The video was shot after a game last September.

"It was a day I'll never forget," Evans said.

The video is Evans's tribute to the Red Sox and the park. A Boston resident who has numerous acting and music credits, Evans sings and acts in the video.

"It's my fantasy, my field of dreams," Evans said.

In interview, Bobby Valentine can't help himself

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff February 26, 2013 07:01 PM

Bobby Valentine was all over the news today after being introduced as the new athletic director at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. He said he has moved on from his tenure as skipper for the Red Sox, and then proceeded to take some subtle shots at the team.

Valentine joined Chris "Mad Dog" Russo on his “SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio” show to discuss his transition. Here are some selected excerpts courtesy of the show:

Chris Russo: “Did you have the itch, say 10 or 12 days ago, to go find yourself a team in spring training?” Bobby Valentine: “Not really. No, I’ve been too busy to worry about standing around and watching guys stretch and play long toss.”
--
Russo: “That was a very difficult situation last year…” Valentine: “It wasn’t that difficult actually, Chris, and it wasn’t that bad, to tell you the truth. It was six months of watching guys play baseball and trying to get guys off the disabled list. And I’m glad it’s over but it wasn’t what people made it out to be. It wasn’t torture. It really wasn’t that bad.” Russo: “That’s a good point because I do think people think, ‘God, Valentine, what a mess, disaster, 69 wins, the great Red Sox…” Valentine: “Yeah, we were 52-50 after 102 games. We were holding it together with duct tape and super glue and then we made the trade and we decided we weren’t going to play anymore so, you know. We developed. We did what we had to do. Weeded out the weak, that’s for sure.”

--


Russo: “You’re a very prideful guy who has had a lot of success, and you’ve heard all the backbiting, Valentine this, Valentine that. Part of you has to be upset by that, no?”

Valentine: “No, I don’t get upset by small-minded people and I found a lot of them over the last year. I move forward. I try not to get too involved with anyone who doesn’t know reality and can’t distinguish reality from their little fairy tale world that they live in, whether they are reporters or players or anyone else.”

Listen to more of Valentine's interview with Russo here.

Bobby Valentine introduced as Sacred Heart athletic director

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff February 26, 2013 11:18 AM

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Former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was officially introduced Tuesday as the new executive director of intercollegiate athletics at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.

“We recognize that Bobby is an out-of-the-box selection, but we believe his entrepreneurial spirit, extensive sports background and love of athletics make him an ideal choice. He is a native son with strong name recognition, and his selection demonstrates Sacred Heart’s commitment to its athletic program and to innovation and excellence throughout the University,” said SHU president John J. Petillo in a school press release.

Valentine is from Stamford, Conn., which is close to Sacred Heart's campus in Fairfield. He was fired in October after one tumultuous season as the Red Sox' manager. The Red Sox were 69-93 under Valentine.

“I am looking forward to this new opportunity at Sacred Heart University. I have served in a variety of roles throughout my sports career – experience that will serve me well as I take on this new challenge. It is exciting to find an opportunity so close to home where I can use my skills and experience to make a difference," Valentine said.

Sacred Heart has 31 Division 1 teams.

Aly Raisman to join 'Dancing with Stars' cast

Posted by Staff February 26, 2013 07:28 AM

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Olympic gold medal gymnast and Needham native Aly Raisman will be part of the cast of the next edition of ABC's hit TV show "Dancing with the Stars." She will partner with professional ballroom dancer and two-time winner of the show, Mark Ballas.

The official cast list was revealed on Tuesday's edition of Good Morning America. Raisman will join fellow sports stars Jacoby Jones, a receiver for the Baltimore Ravens, boxer Victor Ortiz, and ice skating legend Dorothy Hamill on the show's 16th season. Other contestants include country music singers Wynonna Judd and Kellie Pickler, comedians D.L. Hughley and Andy Dick, Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Lisa Vanderpump, Disney actress Zendaya Coleman and soap opera actor Ingo Rademacher.

On Good Morning America, Raisman said that she was happy to join an amazing cast. "I'm really excited to have Mark as a partner," said Raisman. "I can't wait."

Athlete have been very successful on the show, and winners include Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson, Olympic gold medal speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, Olympic gold medal ice skater Kristi Yamaguchi, and football players Emmett Smith, Donald Driver, and Hines Ward.

Report: Sebastian Vollmer underwent knee surgery

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff February 22, 2013 08:40 AM

Patriots offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent March 12, recently underwent knee surgery, according to a report.

Vollmer, a four-year veteran with known back issues, is one of 18 free agents the Patriots have to address this offseason and one of three starters who are possible suitors for the franchise tag, including Aqib Talib and Wes Welker.

News of his surgery, an arthroscopic procedure according to a Herald source, could certainly diminish his ability to command top dollar, especially if the nature of the surgery is because of a serious injury.

If the Patriots were to use the franchise tag on Vollmer, it could cost the team an estimated $9.66 million.


Patriots corner Alfonzo Dennard found guilty of assaulting a cop

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff February 20, 2013 11:59 AM

Alfonzo Dennard was found guilty of felony assault on a Lincoln, Neb., police officer in April, 2012 and was also found guilty of misdemeanor resisting arrest, according to reports from the Omaha World-Herald and Journal Star.

The Patriots cornerback was found innocent of misdemeanor assault on another Lincoln, Neb., man.

Dennard's felony conviction carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The resisting arrest charge carries a maximum 1-year prison term and $1,000 fine. His sentencing will be April 11.

Werner calls Francona book 'fiction'

Posted by Robert Burgess February 15, 2013 02:37 PM
We've been waiting to hear how the Red Sox ownership group would react regarding the recently released book, "Francona: The Red Sox Years." The feedback from the top has been trickling in this week.

On Friday's edition of Mut and Merloni on WEEI, Red Sox team chairman Tom Werner acknowledged reading the book, authored by former Red Sox manager Terry Francona and Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, and called it "a good piece of fiction."

Francona contends in the book that the Boston ownership group does not love baseball the way the now-Cleveland manager does. The former Sox skipper also said public relations goals and television ratings affected player acquisition decisions.

The last 24 hours have also resulted in an interesting exchange between Shaughnessy and Red Sox team president Larry Lucchino. Francona presented an unflattering characterization of Lucchino in the book.

While taking questions from reporters on Thursday, Lucchino twice offered a terse "no comment" to Shaughnessy before answering the same questions when posed by other reporters. The writer responded with a column in Friday's paper titled: "Why we love Larry Lucchino," which ended with the line "In Earl Weaver style, Lucchino loves a good argument, has thick skin, and doesn’t take things personally."

For his part, Lucchino told reporters he hasn't read the book.

"I know some people find that hard to believe. But it seems logical to me. I want to look forward, not back. I'm afraid if I do read it, I will find in it inaccuracies and things that will cause me to react to it in a way that would divert me and cause some kind of sideshow instead of dealing with the here and now. It seems perfectly logical to me not to read it. I don't feel any great compulsion to. I may get around to it sooner or later."

Lucchino told WEEI on Thursday he believes Shaughnessy "mischaracterized" Francona's perceptions.

Earlier in the week principal owner John Henry arrived at Spring Training in Fort Myers and dismissed the idea, put forth by Francona and former general manager Theo Epstein, that ownership was too focused on TV ratings.

“I have to laugh. That’s just laughable,” Henry said. “It’s ludicrous to say that we signed any player since we’ve been here for PR purposes.”

Globe national baseball writer Nick Cafardo asked Henry if he loved baseball.

“Again, I don’t want to be defensive. Especially about stuff that really is ridiculous. That’s ridiculous,” Henry said.

Shaughnessey isn't backing down, Tweeting earlier in the week: "Francona book lands at Number Two in New York Times today."

Carl Crawford reflects on his 'toxic' tenure in Boston

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff February 14, 2013 01:44 PM

Carl Crawford felt trapped by his contract with the Red Sox, a seven-year, $142 million deal he signed prior to the 2011 season, when he realized that playing in Boston was too tough on him and was a "toxic" environment.

Crawford reflected on his two seasons in Boston, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, calling it the hardest period of his career.

"It was just everything," he said. "Me not playing well. Me being in an unfamiliar area in an environment that was toxic. Just all those things combined. You start to say, 'Is this ever going to end?'"

Asked if he regretted signing with the Red Sox, Crawford replied, "A lot of times I did. You hear a lot of talk about how I just wanted money. At some point, you just wondered if you made the right decision."

Crawford was traded to the Dodgers in August 2012 along with Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto in a salary dump by the Red Sox.

"From the outside, you watch guys playing over there and you think you can go and play," Crawford told the Times. "But you realize, once you get there, it's a little tougher than you expected."

It's unclear from the story which element Crawford was calling toxic: the clubhouse, Red Sox fans, perhaps both. But it is clear that in addition to having two disappointing, injury-plagued season, his mental state also was affected. He told the Times he was in a depressed state of mind.

"I knew with the struggles I was having, it would never get better for me," Crawford said. "I just didn't see a light at the end of the tunnel. It puts you in kind of a depression stage. You just don't see a way out."

Dice-K wants to pitch against Boston badly

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff February 14, 2013 09:54 AM

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Daisuke Matsuaka warmed up at Cleveland's spring training facility in Goodyear, Ariz. (Paul Sancya / AP photo)

Daisuke Matsuzaka wanted to stick around the American League to play under manager Terry Francona again, but also so he can face the Red Sox.

Matsuzaka, who signed with the Indians on a minor league deal that would pay him $1.5 million if he makes the club, talked to Cleveland media Wednesday.

"What it came down to was I wanted to pitch for an American League team," said Matsuzaka, "and I wanted to pitch against Boston to see what that would be like. And, of course, I wanted to play under Tito again."

Dice-K spent the last six years in Boston, going 50-37 in 668.1 innings. But he pitched only 82.3 innings over the past two seasons, struggling to stay healthy with an elbow that required reconstructive surgery. He finished the 2012 season a shell of himself, going 1-7 with an 8.28 ERA, after several stints on the disabled list while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He said he feels much better about his health now.

"I've been throwing with pain for a while now," said Matsuzaka, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "So it's going to be important getting used to throwing without pain at first. Getting used to that might take some time. But I believe that without the pain, I should be able to become the pitcher I was in the past."

Jeremy Lin's new SportsCenter commercial plays off his Harvard smarts

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff February 14, 2013 08:33 AM

Former Harvard star and current Houston Rocket Jeremy Lin is featured in a new commercial for SportsCenter.

The popular guard helps an anchor write his material for the show. Of course, with Lin being the smartest guy in the room, the folks at ESPN have some fun with it.

Gronkowski has epic bar bill in Las Vegas

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff February 14, 2013 08:14 AM

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski did a lot more than dance and wrestle at a Las Vegas nightclub after the Super Bowl. The all-pro racked up a $9,615 bar bill at the XS Nightclub at Encore, according to a report.

The folks at Busted Coverage have a photo of the receipt.

Among Gronkowski's choice of beverages: Grey Goose ($1,575), an array of expensive champagnes ($3,554), 14 bottles of Fiji water ($154), a couple of flavors of Ciroc vodka ($1,575), and a couple of glasses of Crown Royal ($32).

His gratuity was a whopping $1,400.

Watch: Sneak preview of 'The Next Knuckler'

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff February 13, 2013 04:35 PM



MLB Network has released a sneak peek at "The Next Knuckler," the reality series that premieres Wednesday at 9 p.m.

The show features former Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield teaching a group of former quarterbacks, including ex-Boston College and Patriots signal-caller Doug Flutie, how to throw his signature pitch.

The winner of the competition gets an invitation to Arizona Diamondbacks spring training and a chance to pitch in a spring game.

Story: Tim Wakefield to teach knuckleballing on MLB Network show

Rob Gronkowski is sorry for partying

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff February 13, 2013 08:53 AM

How do we know? It says so on his shirt.

gronksorry.jpgPatriots fan Tarah Maciel (thanks for the photo, Tarah) posted a photo of herself and Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski wearing a tank top that reads "Sorry for partying". Maciel says the photo was taken at a pizza place at Universal Studios in Orlando.

The shirt was in reference to a video that surfaced last week that showed Gronkowski dancing and throwing another party-goer to the ground. Some made a big deal of the act because Gronkowski still has a cast on his broken left arm.

Did Gronk's partying bother you? Do you like his response. Leave a comment below.

Update: The source of Gronk's tank has been located. You can buy the shirts here.

Larry Bird's son facing charges, accused of trying to run down ex-girlfriend

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff February 12, 2013 12:21 PM

birdson.jpgThe son of former Celtics star Larry Bird faces multiple charges stemming from an incident at Indiana University over the weekend. University police told the Indianapolis Star that 21-year-old Connor Bird tried to run down his ex-girlfriend with his car. The two had argued at Bird's Bloomington, Ind. apartment, where Bird threw a cell phone at the woman, police said. The woman got away and found another Indiana student, who took her to the university's police department.

No formal charges have been filed. John L. Tompkins, an attorney representing Bird, told the Star, "This is a very private matter that we’re going to try to resolve quickly. We’re thankful that no one was seriously injured.”

Bird is facing multiple preliminary charges, including battery with injury, criminal mischief, intimidation with a deadly weapon and possession of marijuana.

Report: Indians sign Daisuke Matsuzaka to minor league deal

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff February 10, 2013 12:53 PM

The Cleveland Indians have signed former Red Sox starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka to a minor league deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Matsuzaka will be reunited with his former manager, Terry Francona. He has an invitation to spring training, and he will make $1.5 million if he makes the Opening Day roster and another $4 million if he hits all of his incentives.

Matsuzaka had a 4.52 ERA in six years in Boston after signing a $52 million contract. He made just 18 starts in the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He posted an 8.28 ERA in 11 starts in 2012.

2-year-old has an incredible basketball gift

Posted by Robert Burgess February 5, 2013 07:24 PM

You will not believe how good this 2-year-old is at shooting hoops. We guarantee you will not be disappointed. And if you think it's just OK in the beginning, stick around and you will be amazed by the end.

Kid's got some Paul Pierce in his prime in that shot right? Wouldn't want to have any money down on a game of Around the World with that tot.

Watch: Rob Gronkowski falls on broken arm while dancing

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff February 4, 2013 07:29 PM

The celebrity news web site TMZ posted the video above showing Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski dancing at a Las Vegas nightclub. He appears to lift a fellow dancer and fall back awkwardly on his left arm, which he broke in the Patriots' playoff game vs. the Houston Texans.

Report: Clippers interested in Kevin Garnett

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff February 3, 2013 02:38 PM

The Los Angeles Clippers have contacted the Celtics expressing interest in a trade for Kevin Garnett, sources tell Sean Deveney of the Sporting News. Deveney's tweet is below.

Eric Bledsoe, a dynamic guard, would be the attractive piece in terms of future talent. He's under contract next season for an affordable $2.6 million. Butler, the former UConn product, is solid NBA veteran who is above average when healthy, but it's unclear where the small forward would fit in on a roster that already has Paul Pierce and Jeff Green at the position.

That Garnett's name is surfacing in trade rumors at all is a sign that other teams are curious about whether or not the Celtics are still all-in on this season after injuries to Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger. On paper this season, trading Garnett would not appear to help Boston's cause.

Wing Bowl 21 won by Connecticut man

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff February 1, 2013 05:05 PM

How many wings do you have to eat to win Philadelphia's famous "Wing Bowl?"

Turns out this year 287 is the magic number. That's how many Jamie "The Bear" McDonald ate to win it on Friday.

McDonald, who is from Granby, Conn., wore a Tom Brady Patriots jersey for part of the competition.

Incidentally, his feat isn't a record. That was set last year by former hot dog eating champion Takeru Kobayashi, who ate 337.

Watch: For when you need a 'Pep Talk'

Posted by Staff February 1, 2013 10:28 AM

If you haven't yet stumbled upon YouTube sensation Kid President, take a moment and let him give you his pep talk about life. The already viral video, which had 1.2 million views on Monday, jumped to a staggering 6.3 million in less than a week. The video is featured on the "Soul Pancake" YouTube Channel and has more than 70,000 likes.

Kid President's references to Robert Frost, Journey, and even Michael Jordan may have you thinking about life a little bit differently. You might even dance along.

We've expanded The Buzz from a page of Red Sox trade talk and reports to a full-blown blog filled with news from around the web, viral videos, and commentary from the Boston.com sports producers.

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