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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Connecticut aquarium names seal after Trey Flowers; ESPN reportedly looking to woo Katie Nolan from FS1

02.28.17 at 9:30 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Tuesday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Exhibition: NY Yankees at Boston, 1 p.m. (WEEI-AM 850)
MLB: Exhibition: Baltimore at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL: Arizona at Boston, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Colorado at Philadelphia, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Golden State at Washington, 7 p.m. (NBA)
NBA: Charlotte at LA Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (NBA)
College basketball: Buffalo at Ohio, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Georgetown at Seton Hall, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Maryland at Rutgers, 6:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Florida State at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Indiana at Purdue, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Mississippi State at South Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: St. John’s at Creighton, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: DePaul at Providence, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Ohio State at Penn State, 8:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Oklahoma State at Iowa State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Vanderbilt at Kentucky, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Fresno State at Boise State, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)

AROUND THE WEB: 


— Connecticut’s Mystic Aquarium is honoring the Patriots’ Super Bowl win by naming a rescued seal after a member of the championship team.

Each year the aquarium has a naming theme for its rescue seals and this year’s theme is flowers. Fittingly, it decided to name one of the seals Trey after Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers. Trey is expected to be released back into the wild after he completes his rehabilitation in two to three weeks.

Before the Super Bowl, Mystic Aquarium made a bet with the staff at the Georgia Aquarium that whichever aquarium’s team lost the Super Bowl, the staff must perform the sea lion show in the opposing team’s jerseys. Georgia’s staff fulfilled the bet while the sea lions performed “Under the Boardwalk” last week.

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Read More: ESPN, Katie Nolan, Trey Flowers,

There’s nothing funny about Rob Gronkowski’s ’69’ jokes

02.27.17 at 4:05 pm ET
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Rob Gronkowski appears ready to embark on another wild summer. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Rob Gronkowski appears ready to embark on another wild summer. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Back when Rob Gronkowski was just beginning his NFL career, there was an endearing quality to his sophomoric sense of humor. He seemed to be genuinely juvenile, such as when he told a Spanish reporter “Yo soy fiesta” in response to a question about his post-AFC championship game party plans.

But now, after years of “69” jokes, the act seems fabricated. Gronk has jumped the shark.

The latest Gronkism came over the weekend, when he attended the Daytona 500 for Monster Energy, a sponsor of the NASCAR cup series. In an interview on Fox, Gronkowski tried his damnedest to get one of the Monster Energy Girls to say “69.” It didn’t work out.

“Hey Ashley, what’s your favorite speed limit out there?,” he asked. “I hope it’s somewhere around 70 or something.”

“I am hardcore. I like to go as fast as possible,” she responded, seemingly unaware of Gronkowski’s dimwitted obsession with “69” humor –– if there is such a thing.

There’s this notion that Gronkowski acts spontaneously, often blurting out the first thing that comes to his mind. But that doesn’t give him enough credit. There’s an apparent savviness to Gronkowski’s brand of inanity. At 27 years old, he’s crafted, and profited off, an amiable frat boy persona. Look no further than his line of party limos, which are supposed to bring the “the Gronk Bus experience to you in a Gronk’d up way.” Last year, roughly 800 people set sail on Gronk’s three-day party cruise, paying up to $1,100 for a balcony room.

There’s nothing harmful about Gronkowski’s schtick. But that doesn’t make it entertaining. Within the last couple of years, he’s taped No. 69 on the back of his practice jersey, worn a No. 69 jersey to a Super Bowl parade, almost keeled over in laughter after a reporter said “69” during an interview, and snickered at the podium when talking about his 69th career touchdown. Even Andrew Dice Clay’s routine had more variety.

The moment an act becomes brand-driven, it usually loses its luster. At the Daytona 500, Gronkowski was flanked by the Monster Energy Girls. Not so coincidently, the Gronk party buses are all stocked with Monster Energy drinks. Gronk’s latest “69” joke appears to be nothing more than sponsored content, designed to circulate around the blogosphere.

And that makes it lame. Very, very lame.

Read More: New England Patriots, rob, rob gronkowski,

Kevin Garnett modeled his workout routine after Beyoncé

02.27.17 at 1:52 pm ET
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Kevin Garnett retired from the NBA last season. (Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports)

Kevin Garnett retired from the NBA last season. (Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports)

Kevin Garnett stayed in impeccable shape throughout his 21-year NBA career, remaining an elite defender until the end. Apparently, Beyoncé was one of the reasons why.

In an appearance last week on Bill Simmons’ podcast, Clippers guard J.J. Redick said Garnett told him he modeled his work-out routine after the pop icon. Garnett said singing and dancing at the same time, just like Queen Bey herself, would help him keep his energy up for the entire game.

“One time I saw her working out, and she was doing her dances and she was singing while she was doing her dancing,” Garnett said to Redick. “So then I’m thinking to myself, ‘Maybe I should run and sing at the same time.’ So in the offseason, I would go to Malibu and I would go down to the beach, and when I run on the beach I would be like ‘Lalala lalala lalala,’ while I’m running. So then, when I get on the court and I’m getting back on defense and I’m talking on defense, I don’t get tired.”

Now that Garnett has joined the Clippers as a consultant, perhaps he’ll share his Beyoncé-inspired training methods with even more players. Advice like that is too good to keep to yourself.

Read More: kevin garnett,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Red Sox upgrade sleep room at Fenway for players to nap; ESPN’s ‘O.J.: Made in America’ wins Best Feature Documentary Oscar

02.27.17 at 9:30 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

MONDAY’S MORNING MASHUP:
MLB:
Exhibition: St. Louis at Boston, 1 p.m. (WEEI-AM 850)
MLB: Exhibition: NY Yankees vs. Baltimore, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA:
Milwaukee at Cleveland, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Atlanta at Boston, 7:30 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: Indiana at Houston, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL: Los Angeles at Minnesota, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: North Carolina at Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: West Virginia at Baylor, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Miami at Virginia Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Norfolk State at Hampton, 9 p.m. ESPNU
College basketball: Oklahoma at Kansas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Women’s college basketball: Connecticut at South Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Women’s college basketball: Baylor at Oklahoma, 8 p.m. (FS1)
Women’s college basketball: TCU at Texas Tech, 8 p.m. (FSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— When the Red Sox players return to Fenway Park this spring, they will find some major improvements to their team nap room.

The 145-square-foot sleep area is undergoing renovations after the Red Sox reached a deal with custom-made bedding company Bedgear this season. The room will now be equipped with performance bedding, including cool-vented pillows. It will also have oak floors, exposed brick and more beds.

“Every little edge you can get on your competition, if it’s one game or even an extra out, it matters,” Red Sox head athletic trainer Brad Pearson told the Boston Globe. “We’re always looking for ways to get better. This is one way.”

“How many hours can I sleep without waking up, that is the big thing for me,” Hanley Ramirez said. “It changes the way you play. It’s unbelievable. When you’re young you don’t think about stuff like that.”

Players tested mattresses and were fitted for pillows during spring training last week. They were also able to select their own luxury sheets and blankets.

The upgraded sleep room will be ready by Opening Day.

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, O.J. Simpson, Sonny Gray,

Paul Pierce roasts Draymond Green, shows he finally knows how to use Twitter

02.24.17 at 3:05 pm ET
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Paul Pierce played his final game at the T.D. Garden Feb. 7. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports

Paul Pierce played his final game at the T.D. Garden Feb. 7. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

Paul Pierce has finally figured out Twitter, and Draymond Green is still licking his wounds.

Early in the first quarter of the Thursday’s Warriors-Clippers matchup, TV microphones caught Green spewing some trash talk towards Pierce.

“You can’t get no farewell tour, they don’t love you like that…You thought you was Kobe?,” he said.

Pierce fired back on Twitter, reminding Green about the Warriors’ blown 3-1 series lead against the Cavaliers in the Final last year.

Ouch.

The most notable thing about Pierce’s tweet isn’t his diss, but rather his proper emoji use. Pierce revealed his emoji ignorance during the DeAndre Jordan free agency craze two years ago, when he appeared to download a picture of a rocket emoji instead of clicking the icon on his smartphone keyboard.

The Truth has come a long way. He seems to be putting those two cellphones he was spotted with at the Dunk Contest to good use.

Read More: Draymond Green, Paul Pierce,

Thinking Out Loud: Friars making run at NCAA Tournament

02.24.17 at 3:01 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud…while wondering whatever happened to Dougie McBuckets?

— Nothing like making it difficult for the decision-makers, at least when it comes to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament (aka March Madness). Here come the Friars, charging hard from the outside.

— Providence’s win at Creighton Wednesday night in Omaha was exactly what PC’s tournament resume needed – a road win against a Top 25 team (also a Top 25 RPI team), and another mark in the left-hand column that gets the Friars closer to .500 in the Big East. But it ain’t over yet.

— Kyron Cartwright’s aggressive offensive play = Providence is a pretty good team. No less an expert on good teams than UConn’s Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun told myself and the Journal’s Kevin McNamara as much this week. So, is that why the current Huskies keep ditching the Friars on future schedules?

— The Friars DO have six Top 50 RPI wins this season, which as we’ve been told recently, is at the TOP of the selection committee’s wish list – Top 50 RPI victories. They also DO have two bad losses, to Boston College and DePaul, that smudge the current resume.

— The only cure for that – is to keep winning. If Providence can do that, and get to a .500 minimum in league play, a school-record 4th straight NCAA tournament is in play. And if the Friars keep winning, this year may be Ed Cooley’s best coaching job in the six seasons he has been at PC, when you consider pre-season expectations.

— Villanova failed to clinch a record 4th straight regular season Big East crown, as Butler (Butler?!?) beat the Wildcats for a 2nd time this season, and the Bulldogs are now responsible for two of Nova’s three defeats. Whoa.

— The Big East now has a legit seven teams in position for post-season play in the NCAA field of 68. That’s an astounding 70 percent of your conference membership. The league, lest we forget, also produced last seasons’ national champ in Villanova. Those who once thought the Big East dead a few years ago, are looking a bit foolish today.

— Or, they’re just plain dumb. Stupid is as stupid does.

— URI’s win over LaSalle Tuesday night was big on two fronts – one, it avenged an earlier, somewhat surprising loss to the Explorers at the Ryan Center; two – the Rams showed some defensive strength that will be needed, if not required, to make a serious push into the post-season.

— While it is true the Rams have only managed to have their pre-season starting five available for 11 of the 26 games (through midweek) they’ve played this season, injuries and illness are a part of every team – every year. Some are luckier than others. Those that aren’t as fortunate need to find other ways to succeed – and in URI’s case, it starts with defense.

— Is late better than never? Or will it not make a difference for Rhody?

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The alt-right wants Tom Brady to run for U.S. Senate

02.24.17 at 1:44 pm ET
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Tom Brady refuses to reveal who he voted for in the presidential election. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

Tom Brady refuses to reveal who he voted for in the presidential election. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

Tom Brady was one of the first high-profile celebrities who expressed support for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, stuffing a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker in September 2015.

The Trump Train wasn’t very crowded back then, with most conservatives opting to support his 16 primary opponents. That is, except members of the alt-right, a loose collection of far-right ideologues that includes anti-semites, neo-Nazis and white supremacists. They were Trump’s top early political backers, sticking with him through the end.

Even though Brady has never publicly revealed his political views –– he hinted last month he may disagree with some of Trump’s policies –– the alt-right seems to feel a kinship with him. Or, at least, they want him to run for senate.

In an editorial on Breitbart, the right-wing news website formerly led by Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, one columnist says it would be exciting to see Brady challenge Elizabeth Warren for her senate seat in 2018. That is, assuming his conservative credentials check out.

“Brady over Warren is the no-brainiest of all no-brainers, and forcing the radical Warren from the Senate would be cause for much rejoicing. Still, it probably behooves most on the right to know a bit more about what Brady the politician would look like, before we arrive at that point,” Dylan Gwinn writes.

Infowars, the website run by conspiracy-theoriest and Trump advisor Alex Jones, who’s accused the U.S. government of orchestrating 9/11 and the Sandy Hook Shootings, also seems enthused about a hypothetical Brady run. In a video, one of site’s contributors talked about how exciting it would be to see Brady enter the political arena.

“I thought the notion of athletes, including Brady, to defeat some of these stalwarts like Warren might be the antidote we need,” says Owen Shroyer.

Brady, of course, almost certainly isn’t going to challenge Warren in 2018. He says he wants to play football for at least five more years, and doesn’t seem interested in entering politics.

But that doesn’t mean Warren won’t face a Boston sports legend when she’s up for reelection in two years. Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling has routinely talked about his interest in running against her. A Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll shows Warren with a 58-24 edge in a theoretical matchup between the two.

Read More: New England Patriots, Tom Brady,

Commend Caitlyn Jenner for her powerful condemnation of Donald Trump’s transgender order

02.24.17 at 12:17 pm ET
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It’s sometimes difficult to take Caitlyn Jenner seriously, considering she’s spent many years of her life exploiting her name on the Kardashian family’s reality show. But in a world bereft of prominent transgender voices, she plays an important role. That was on display this week, when she pushed back against the Trump administration’s decision to overturn federal protections for transgender students that let them use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

In a video posted to Twitter Thursday, the two-time Olympic gold medalist rails against the revocation of the Obama-era order. Jenner, who supported President Donald Trump during the election, calls the policy a “disaster.”

“I have a message for President Trump, from one Republican to another,” Jenner said. “This is a disaster. And you can still fix it. You made a promise to protect the LGBTQ community. Call me.”

Throughout the campaign, Trump disingenuously presented himself as a pro-LGBTQ candidate. In his speech at the Republican National Convention, he pledged to protect the community from Islamic terrorism, while ignoring his own vice president’s hostile record on gay rights. He also named Jeff Sessions attorney general, who was one of the most anti-LGBTQ members of the senate and reportedly pushed for the reversal of President Barack Obama’s transgender guidelines.

Despite those actions, Trump gave the transgender community lip service in an interview last April on NBC’s “Today.” He said if Jenner were to visit Trump Tower, she could use any bathroom she chooses. Apparently, he doesn’t feel transgender kids should have that same right when they go to school.

After those comments, Jenner said she thought Trump would be more pro-LGBTQ than his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. But her previous endorsement didn’t preclude her from condemning the Trump administration’s policy.

“You’re sick. And because you’re weak, you pick on kids, you pick on women or anyone else you think is vulnerable,” she said in her video. “Apparently even becoming the attorney general isn’t enough to cure some people of their insecurities.”

Transgender kids are some of the most vulnerable people in the U.S. More than 80 percent of transgender students say they feel threatened at school, and 41 percent of transgender people say they’ve tried to commit suicide at least once in their lives. The suicide attempt rate of the overall U.S. population is 4.6 percent.

Jenner may not be the most intellectual spokesperson for the LGBTQ cause, but that’s OK. After hiding her identity for over 60 years –– she says she used to wear women’s clothing as a teenager –– Jenner seems proud of who she is. It’s important for people to see that.

There’s no singular moment in the gay rights movement that’s led to mainstream acceptance. With each person who comes out, the stigma around homosexuality continues to decrease.

Jenner is perhaps the most famous transgender person in the world. Her advocacy is meaningful, even if it comes in the form of a goofy-looking video recorded in her kitchen.

“I have a message for the trans kids of America: You’re winning,” she said. “I know it doesn’t feel like it today or every day, but you’re winning. Very soon, we will win full freedom nationwide and it’s going to be with bipartisan support.”

Read More: Caitlyn Jenner, Donald Trump,

Is ‘Fences’ a sports movie?

02.24.17 at 11:42 am ET
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In this month’s issue of Sports Illustrated, “Fencesis included in the Extra Mustard about sports movies at the Oscars. Of the nominees for Best Picture this year, SI writes it is “the closest any come to sports,” but should it be considered a sports movie?

Baseball is a defining element in Troy Maxson’s life and he talks about it A LOT, but the story is about moving on from sports and how to live without them. Troy is no longer an athlete and he has to get over it and stop speaking entirely in baseball metaphors.

This is not a sports movie. It is actually an anti-sports movie.

And it’s not even a movie. It’s a play. This movie has the exact stage direction and script as the play and you might as well just go see the live production except the cast is excellent in this film. But the whole time I felt like I was watching the play.

While Troy’s life is defined by baseball and his son plays football, this should not be categorized as a “sports movie” because no one actually plays sports in the movie/play. There is a Hit-Away type set up in the backyard that is used a couple times, Troy and his son Lyons get into a physical fight and Lyons shows up in a football uniform at the end but that’s the extent of the visual athletics in this movie.

The story is about Troy’s life with his family after baseball, not his life as a baseball player.

And the fences in the movie are not sports related, they are picket fences. I’ve read the play a million times and I know there are many metaphorical fences here to keep some people out and everything you love in and this includes fences surrounding baseball fields. But we don’t see those in this movie. The sports elements have to be visual to add to the case for sports movie. Building a fence around your house while talking about not striking out in life doesn’t count.

The true measure for me is the Netflix Test. Go to Netflix and click on Sports Movies. Look at the movies. Would you put “Fences” in with these movies? I would not. These movies are either about athletes actually playing sports or about the characters’ lives improving through playing sports. Baseball did not improve Troy’s life at all and he doesn’t live his life according to his baseball values. And he talks to his sons about the lessons of sports but then doesn’t allow Lyons to go to college on a football scholarship, killing his dream of playing sports. Anti-sports movie.

(The Netflix Test can be misleading though because “Lilo and Stitch” is listed in Sports Movies, but they surf in that movie so even that makes it more of a sports movie than Fences).

If Fences wins Best Picture at the Oscars on Sunday, it will not be a win for a sports movie. Sports movies are “Million Dollar Baby,” “Rocky,” “The Natural,” “Happy Gilmore.”

I would put this in Dramas on Netflix.

ESPN’s Max Kellerman rips Patriots fans, says they need to get over Deflategate

02.24.17 at 10:17 am ET
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It seems as if Max Kellerman is trying to be the ESPN’s No. 1 Patriots troll. It’s no easy feat, but after declaring last year Tom Brady is “going to be a bum in short order,” he’s on the fast track.

The “First Take” co-host went on a rant against Patriots fans Thursday, shouting at the top of his lungs about New England’s persecution complex.

“Dear citizens of New England: I am here on behalf of a beleaguered sports nation with a message for you. No one, anywhere in this country, feels any sympathy whatsoever for you and your teams,” he said. “There are sympathetic characters, and then there are all of you. Want to know? Every single one of your major sports franchises has won a championship in the last 10 years. Yet somehow, you still play the persecution card.”

Kellerman was reacting to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who said this week on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” he’ll remember everybody who disparaged his organization during the Deflategate saga. The Patriots went on to win their fifth Super Bowl this year after Tom Brady missed the first four games of the season.

“First, your best ever quarterback did or did not cheat on the way to your fourth Super Bowl title,” Kellerman said. “Next, there was an investigation during which said incredible quarterback destroyed evidence. Then, the league commissioner suspended the quarterback. The quarterback fought the suspension, and lost. The commissioner did indeed have the power vested in him, in part by owners like Robert Kraft and also by the players’ union.

“So the 39-year-old quarterback sat the first four games of the season, the team went 3-1, and the backup quarterback increased his potential trade value to first-round pick level. The rested healthy star quarterback returned, and basically ran the table, giving a fifth chip to Mr. Kraft and all of stubbornly self-pitying New England.”

Kellerman’s thesis about Deflategate working out well for the Patriots is correct. Given Brady’s health at the end of the year and the possibility of trading Jimmy Garoppolo for a first-round pick this offseason, it may have even been a blessing in disguise.

But it’s asinine for Kellerman to question why Kraft would still be bitter about seeing his star quarterback get his reputation sullied for playing with slightly under-inflated footballs. He also, unsurprisingly, is wrong about the details of the investigation. While Brady destroyed his cell phone, he offered to help the NFL collect missing text messages. Roger Goodell declined that overture.

Facts can’t get in the way of a good rant, of course. Kellerman closed with an exclamation point, saying people aren’t jealous of Boston sports fans. They just hate their attitude.

“There’s a reason why everyone hates you guys. It’s not that your teams are so good, it’s that you handle it all so badly. Get over yourselves. Sincerely, everyone else,” he said.

Read More: ESPN, New England Patriots, Tom Brady,