So long Fort Myers: JBJ boards the Red Sox team bus

Posted by Robert Burgess March 30, 2013 05:19 PM

The team hasn't made it official yet, but this afternoon there was another good sign Jackie Bradley Jr. will indeed make the Opening Day roster: a picture Tweeted by the Boston Red Sox showing the rookie boarding the team bus.

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The Red Sox have until 3 p.m. on Sunday to make a final decision on the phenom outfielder, but all signs indicate Bradley will become the first Boston player to jump from Double A to the Opening Day major league roster since Shea Hillenbrand did it in 2001.

For the latest on Bradley's situation, check out Globe writer Pete Abraham's reporting on the saga.

UFC coming back to Boston

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 29, 2013 04:38 PM

The UFC is making its way back to Boston, announced UFC president Dana White.

The last UFC card in Boston was 118, in August 2010, which featured Massachusetts native Kenny Florian.

At least one prominent Bostonian -- or soon-to-be Bostonian -- was happy about the announcement.

Manny Ramirez is already a big hit in Taiwan

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff March 29, 2013 08:23 AM


Looks like our old friend Manny Ramirez has found a happy home in Taiwan.

Manny, who signed with the Taiwanese outfit EDA Rhinos earlier this month, made his debut in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan on Wednesday, and he's already the biggest superstar in the Chinese Professional Baseball League... not to be confused with the National League.

Manny Ramirez, former Boston Red Sox slugger, swings in his debut game for the EDA Rhinos baseball team in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan on March 27, 2013.

And it looks like Mannywood all over again. Eastern style.

According to The China Post, Manny, batting cleanup, went 2-for-6: a pair of singles in the second and fourth innings. The former Red Sox slugger struck out looking in the seventh with Japanese reliever Hiroki Sanada doing Ramirez in.

Manny's team lost the home opener to the Brother Elephants, perhaps the greatest team name in all of sports, 9-8 in 12 innings before a capacity crowd of 20,000 at the Chengching Lake stadium.

Manny Ramirez, former Boston Red Sox slugger, is introduced to the crowd in his debut game for the EDA Rhinos baseball team in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan on March 27, 2013.

The Rhinos reportedly offered the 40-year-old Ramirez $25,000 a month — the highest salary any team in the CPBL has given to a foreign player.

The Ramirez signing is expected to boost ticket sales in the league, which had been losing fan support following multiple game-fixing scandals over its 24-year history, according to the Post.

His last major league appearance was with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011, where he went 1 for 17 before retiring in April after testing positive for elevated testosterone. Ramirez decided after the season to attempt a comeback. He served a 50-game suspension for his 2011 positive drug test before returning with Oakland’s Triple-A affliliate, Sacramento. Ramirez hitting .302 with 14 RBIs in 17 games, but asked to be released in June.

Ramirez was suspended for 50 games in May 2009 while with the Dodgers after testing positive for a banned female fertility drug popular among steroid users because it can mask the effects of ending a cycle.

The best image of all out of the Far East is of the two fans below that displayed a sign in support of Manny on Wednesday ... only problem is, that's not our Manny on the sign. It's Dominican pitcher Johnny Cueto of the Cincinnati Reds.

For more images of Manny, signs of support for the steroid-tainted former MLB All-Star, and Rhino fans wearing fake dreads, check out the images on the Busted Coverage website.

Two fans carry a placard in support of Manny Ramirez in his debut for game the EDA Rhinos baseball team in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan ... only problem is, that's not our Manny on the sign.

Watch: 'At Fenway' music video released

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff March 28, 2013 09:00 PM

The music video for the song "At Fenway," was posted to YouTube this week.

The video for the song, performed by Boston's Brian Evans, features William Shatner as an umpire and is set entirely at Fenway Park. It was shot after a game in September.

Phil Jackson's first tweet is spectacular

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff March 28, 2013 01:56 PM

Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson, owner of 11 championship rings and widely considered one of the best coaches of all time, took the opportunity Wednesday night to rub it in. In his first posting since signing up for a Twitter account, the former Lakers and Bulls coach posted this:

Jackson's avatar photo is of his 11 championship rings. His Twitter page background, also the rings. It's as if Phil is trying to tell us something.

In a video almost a day after the tweet, Jackson explained the typo. Jackson, you see, had trouble typing due to the weight of all his rings. This is a good time to point out that Red Auerbach won 16 rings as a coach and general manager.


Menino was always a good sport

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff March 28, 2013 11:52 AM

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David L. Ryan/Globe file photo


The waterfront is booming, the Innovation District bustling, and there's a long stretch of green where an elevated highway used to be. Mayor Thomas M. Menino has accomplished a great deal for the city in 20 years on the job.

He has also, partly to his detriment but mostly to his benefit, butchered just about every athlete's name that's come out of his mouth during that time. Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo became "K.J." and "Hondo." He twisted "Gronk" to "Gonk." During a dedication ceremony at the Tobin Community Center in 2010, NBA commissioner David Stern was greeted by the mayor as "Donald Sterns."

A lesser politician may have crumbled under the circumstances. Some, like 2010 senate candidate Martha Coakley, have seen their reputations take a hit for similar transgressions. In a sports-obsessed town like Boston, brushing up on your knowledge of the Sox, Pats, Celts, and B's seems like a minimum requirement.

And yet Menino has seen his popularity increase with each slip-up. Combined with clumsy, everyman speech, Menino's lack of sports knowledge comes off as endearing. A reference to Wes Welker as Wes "Wekler" isn't a sign that the mayor doesn't care. On the contrary, his persistence to get burned and keep sticking his hand back in the fire is a testament that he's trying like heck. After the KG/Rondo gaffe, the following tweet was sent from Menino's Twitter account:

The substitution of Jason Varitek for Adam Adam Vinatieri in the clip below reveals Menino has at least some sports knowledge despite an inability to ad lib. (The clip below featuring that flub is a favorite. Note the long pause between "hail mary" and "pass" on the Flutie reference).

One of the things we like most about Menino is that despite his lack of knowledge, he's ours through and through. He goes to bat for us even when he's woefully out of his league. In an off-the-cuff chat about the 2004 Red Sox, Menino fares well until the very end.

"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," Menino said at the Fenway 100 celebration. "Jim Lomberg had that great year he had."

That would be Jim Lonborg, who played for the Sox in 1967.

Menino defended our local sports teams, never shying away from the ceremonial chowder-for-BBQ bets with the mayor of the opposing city. He defended our beer, incredulously asking "Colorado Rocky beer?" before a Patriots game against the Denver Broncos despite the Globe's beer columnist proving just how wrong he was. With each miscue we loved him even more.

Of course, Menino is much more involved in sports than his knowledge of the city's big four teams might indicate. After a series by the Globe's Bob Hohler revealed a lack of support for athletics in Boston public schools, Menino founded the Boston Scholar Athlete program to address the problem. Menino's "Game of the Week" telecast shined a spotlight on city teams. A quick search of the Globe's photo archives reveals shots of Menino shooting a basketball and throwing a baseball, a football, and a dodgeball.

For all the grief he gets, Menino's not the kid who takes his ball and goes home. Each time he gets it wrong he inevitably gets something else right. Boston is full of sports know-it-alls, and there's nothing wrong with that. That passion is what helps create the fabric of our city. But what Menino didn't know was also refreshing. It humanized him in a way that breaking down Bill Belichick's third-down defense or the Bruins power play could not. We'll miss the mayor's mistakes.

Maybe by November we'll get one more for old time's sake.

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Forbes: Kraft worth $2.3 billion

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 26, 2013 03:00 PM

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Patriots owner Robert Kraft talks with Tom Brady. Forbes estimates Kraft is worth $2.3 billion. (Jonathan Wiggs / Globe Staff)

Patriots owner Robert Kraft is worth an estimated $2.3 billion, according to the latest Forbes Magazine tabulation.

Kraft is one of 19 NFL owners who could conceivably write a 10-figure check, including Seattle's Paul Allen, who leads the pack with an estimated worth of $15 billion.

Kraft, chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group, also owns the New England Revolution. He comes in at No. 641 on the Forbes billionaires list and No. 221 in the United States.

Report: Patriots reach agreement to re-sign Sebastian Vollmer

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 24, 2013 11:17 AM

The Patriots have reached an agreement to re-sign starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, according to a report.

Vollmer will sign a four-year deal, according to the Herald's Karen Guregian. It was first reported by ESPN Boston's Field Yates.

The deal ensures the Patriots will have all five starting offensive linemen return for the 2013 season.

Vince Wilfork responds harshly to Ted Johnson remarks on Wilfork's wife

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 22, 2013 05:16 PM

Former Patriot Ted Johnson put his foot in his mouth when he joined a Houston area radio station and called Vince Wilfork's wife, Bianca, ugly.

Johnson, joining Sports Radio 610, was asked in a segment on the show which former teammate had the ugliest wife. Johnson took the bait without much fight.

"This is a big, big man," Johnson said in the interview. "This guy had his way with the Texans this year."

And then he not-so-reluctantly dropped all pretense.

"He won't hear this: Vince Wilfork."

Not true, Johnson. Wilfork heard all about it and responded not so kindly via Twitter. Wilfork tweeted:

@tedj52 your barking up the wrong tree I hear and see everything [expletive]

Wilfork went on to let his 144,466 twitter followers know that he wasn't done.

What followed was a profanity laced note attached as a picture to his Twitter account. Wilfork wrote in part:

Every1 is entitled to their own opinion, but it is [expletive] up when a x-teammate that I actually looked up to and enjoyed playing with takes shots at my wife for whatever reasons. I love my wife and my family She is my everything. I don't care when this was said no one should cross that line. The line has been crossed so it is what it is.

Johnson quickly apologized afterward.

UPDATE: 12:59 p.m.

For her part, Bianca Wilfork said on social media while she appreciates the support she's received from fans, "trust me, I'm good."

"In this day and age people forget to realize its not about looks, weight, money or status," she wrote. "My relationship with my husband ... is about being real, building each other up and having each other's back. Those things can't be measured, determined or valued by looks or money. Those things shine in the darkest times and relish in the best."

New Mexico sports writer says 'goodbye' after team loses to Harvard

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 22, 2013 04:53 PM

A New Mexico basketball writer apparently was so fed up with the Lobos' historic loss to Harvard Thursday night, he wrote a farewell column claiming he's been to his last New Mexico men's basketball game.

Dennis Latta, the Loboland.com editor, said he "won't be wrong again" about New Mexico.

"It was a lot easier to take when expectations were lower. Losing was acceptable because UNM had almost always lost when it really counted," Latta wrote on a Rivals.com network site. "You didn't have visions of greatness, only to have them dashed. After the pitiful performance UNM put up against a team that doesn't even offer scholarships, I've given up. Having all five starters back next season means nothing on a team that can just disappear like that. I'd be back to wondering when it would collapse, have a terrible game and lose to an inferior team again."

Read Latta's column on Loboland.com.

H/T to Deadspin.

Will Red Sox PA job be a Fenway triple play of Lobel, Flavin, and Mahegan?

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff March 22, 2013 01:22 PM

Fenway Park public address candidates

Bob Lobel, Dick Flavin, and Henry Mahegan will reportedly share public address duties at Fenway Park this season.

Will it take three people to fill Carl Beane's shoes at Fenway Park this summer?

Beane, the voice of the Red Sox since 2003, had a fatal heart attack while driving in Sturbridge in May. His death, at 59, left the Red Sox with a void to fill, emotionally and physically, as the park's public address announcer.

Earlier this month, we confirmed that there were five finalists for the PA position:

Friday morning on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show, Gerry Callahan reported that longtime sportscaster Bob Lobel, TV personality/satirist Dick Flavin, and former Red Sox media relations staffer Henry Mahegan would be the three sharing PA duties at Fenway Park this season.

The Red Sox would not confirm this report.

"I think they're waiting for the results of the swimsuit competition," Lobel said on Friday when asked to comment on the report. "I'd be pretty excited to be part of the mix. I've had a lot of fun doing the job as a guest."

When Lobel was asked if he would bring his endearing personality to the role if selected, he replied, "it will evolve, I'm just excited about it, if true, but I haven't heard a thing."

The finalists were brought to Fort Myers, Fla. in March, where their voices were heard in the open air of JetBlue Park and their presentations were analyzed by the Red Sox brass.

Mahegan, now a teacher and baseball coach at Charlestown High, saw heavy duty as one of the primary guest announcers last season.

Steinberg told the Globe he enjoyed the young “warm voice” of Mahegan, who knows the press box atmosphere and how the information flow works during a game.

Along with Lobel, Flavin, and Mahegan the other two finalists included Jensen Millar, who is indeed Kevin Millar's brother, and the Rev. Tom Kennedy, a fixture around Fenway for many years.

“What we’re looking for is a rising star,” Lucchino told WEEI in May. “We’re trying to find someone to fill a very big hole in the operation at Fenway Park."

Lucchino also said he had been speaking to his senior advisor, Dr. Charles Steinberg, about an idea to have the PA announcer say the balls and strikes count after each pitch, but said since no one has done this, he would have to get permission from Major League Baseball “down the road.”

“I hadn't heard of a final decision [on the PA position],” Steinberg said via email on Friday. “So if D&C are right, they're ahead of me.”

The Red Sox consider the PA job a part-time position, but it is an opportunity for someone to create a mood for the ballpark while watching the game unfold.

Most PA announcers in baseball do the job mostly for the love of the game.

Last May, the team held tryouts to replace Beane and the team held open-to-the-public along with invitation-only tryouts at Fenway again in January.

Last month, Steinberg told the Globe he was looking for the new PA voice to be the “color of Fenway.”

“It was a fun process for everyone concerned,” Steinberg said. “I think giving fans the stage to audition for this job was exciting in and of itself for so many of them.”

After Beane’s passing, the Red Sox had about 50 sports and media types handle interim PA duties at Fenway for the remainder of the 2012 season.

The Red Sox have had seven PA announcers in their history, starting with Frank Fallon from 1953-57. Former Bruins play-by-play man Fred Cusick did it in 1956 and 1957, and Jay McMaster had the job from 1958-66.

Sherm Feller took over in time for the Impossible Dream season in 1967. After Feller’s death in 1993, the Red Sox hired only the second female PA announcer in major league history, Leslie Sterling. (Sherry Davis, with the Giants, was the first). Sterling, now an ordained minister, was heard at Fenway from 1994-96, and Steinberg said there were “a few women” in the mix this time.

Ed Brickley from Winchester took over in 1997 and worked until 2002, when the Sox hired Beane.

Information from a Feb. 3, 2013 Boston Globe story was used in this report.

Greyhound named 'Rob Gronkowski' blazing past competition

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 20, 2013 09:33 AM

Like race horses, racing dog names are quirky and almost entirely commonplace phrases parsed for humor.

One particular dog, Rob Gronkowski, is named after the Patriots' all-pro tight end and has been making waves in greyhound racing, winning five of his last six races in Florida, according to BustedCoverage.

This greyhound is so good, he's now being placed into "Grade A" competition.

Of course this dog is making waves. He's named after a player that is the best in the world at his position. There's no reason an animal named after him shouldn't live up to the standard.

Only half serious here.

Danny Woodhead signs with the Chargers

Posted by Robert Burgess March 15, 2013 02:14 PM

The Sand Diego Chargers announced via Twitter that they have signed running back Danny Woodhead.

The Patriots first signed Woodhead in 2010.

Watch: Jeff Gordon takes car salesman for quite a test drive

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff March 12, 2013 03:23 PM



The same folks who brought us the Uncle Drew videos featuring NBA star Kyrie Irving disguised as an old guy who drops by a playground basketball court and teaches the unsuspecting young players a few things are at it again.

This time it's NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, who is disguised as an average Joe out shopping for a car. You can guess what happens when they take a Camaro out for a test drive.

Madden 25 cover vote matches football's old school vs. new school

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff March 11, 2013 05:09 PM

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The Madden NFL video game turns 25 this year, and game-maker Electronic Arts has matched "old-school" football players vs. "new-school" players in a voting bracket contest.

Thirty-two old-school players comprise one side of the bracket, and the winner will face the winner of 32 current players. Voting began today.

Two former 49ers, quarterback Joe Montana and receiver Jerry Rice, are the old school top seeds. Montana's modern counterpart in San Francisco, Colin Kaepernick, is one of the new-school's top seeds, along with Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi is seeded 11th and faces Marcus Allen in a first-round old-school matchup. Bruschi is the only old-school player with a Patriots logo beside his name, although former Patriots receiver Chad Johnson is listed as a Bengals player and former running back Curtis Martin is associated with the Jets.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski is the Patriots' representative in the new-school bracket, which includes two players from Massachusetts colleges. Former Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, now with the Panthers, is seeded 12th and matched against Ravens running back Ray Rice. Former UMass receiver Victor Cruz, who plays for the Giants, is seeded 11th against Broncos linebacker Von Miller.

The bracket voting continues until April 24, when the winner will be revealed. The Madden 25 game will be released Aug. 27.

Watch: Mexico and Canada brawl; Alfredo Aceves featured heavily

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff March 9, 2013 06:49 PM

Red Sox pitcher Alfredo Aceves was a large part of a brawl between Mexico and Canada in the World Baseball Classic in Arizona Saturday.

030913aceves275.jpgAfter Canada’s Rene Tosoni was hit by a pitch from Mexico's Arnold Leon at Chase Field, home of the Diamondbacks, a huge fight erupted with punches thrown. Aceves got mixed up with a few Canadians in the brawl, but particularly with pitcher Jay Johnson (not pictured), a prospect in the Philadelphia Phillies organization.

See the video above to catch Johnson, No. 57 for Canada, land a few left-handed punches on Aceves. Johnson also hammers Mexico outfielder Eduardo Arredondo.

Canada went on to win the game, 10-3, but it was marred by the fight and debris being thrown from the stands.

Watch Bobby V get fired over and over again

Posted by Robert Burgess March 7, 2013 06:01 PM

It's an ad for his new gig promoting fantasy baseball at cbssports.com, but it's still pretty funny watching Bobby Valentine get fired at each of his managerial stops.

Got to give the guy credit for finding ways to reinvent himself.

Tyler Seguin's 'awesome' photobomb

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff March 7, 2013 12:54 PM

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Photo courtesy Jessica Deitsch


Reader Jessica Sares shared this photo with us today, describing it as an "awesome Tyler Seguin photobomb photo."

That it is.

The details: Sares' friend, Paula Damigella, won a contest sponsored by AT&T and the prize was dinner with Seguin and the chance to skate with him.

The prize payoff was Wednesday night. Damigella is pictured in the foreground of the photo, which was taken by Jessica Deitsch.

Said Sares: "My friends and I got the chance to skate with Tyler Seguin at the Garden, and as my friend was taking a picture on the ice, Tyler totally photobombed her."

Many thanks for sharing.

Follow Matt Pepin on Twitter at @mattpep15

Watch: Aly Raisman talks life after Olympics, DWTS

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff March 2, 2013 04:22 PM
Olympic gymnast and double gold medalist Aly Raisman joined her sponsor, Poland Spring Water, at the American Cup at the DCU Center in Worcester on Saturday.

Raisman greeted fans, signed autographs and took pictures at the event. The gymnastics meet is particularly important to Raisman because she said it was where her career began to take off.

Raisman, 18, of Needham was the captain of the 2012 Team USA Women's Gymnastic team, also known as the "Fierce Five." Raisman won two gold medals and one bronze medal at the 2012 London Games, and will begin training for the 2016 Olympics at the end of this upcoming summer. In the meantime, she will appear as a contestant on the hit TV show, "Dancing with the Stars."

Watch our interview with Raisman, who discussed her life since the Olympics and the opportunity to compete for the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy with partner Mark Ballas on Dancing with the Stars.

The Heat take on the Harlem Shake

Posted by Staff March 1, 2013 09:39 AM

The "Harlem Shake" is sweeping the nation and the latest group to take on the song-and-dance craze is the Miami Heat. Watch Chris Andersen dance like a bird, LeBron James in a crown, Super Mario, and a teddy bear with 6-pack abs shake it in their locker room. You may even see John Cusack in there.

The video, uploaded to YouTube Thursday night, already has almost 2 million hits and is currently the lead video on YouTube's homepage.

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