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Cassel gets big points from video gamers

01.27.09 at 7:38 pm ET
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According to this ESPN.com story, Matt Cassel got a great reception from video game fans at a recent “Madden Challenge.” The Patriots’ quarterback drew plenty of fans when he wandered into the building, with “pounds, cheers and chest bumps” from the gamers. (Kind of like me when I go back to visiting the people at my old job at Dairy Queen. What up, DQ!?!) Anyway, in the Q-and-A, Cassel reveals a few things we didn’t know about him, including the fact that he grew up as a Cowboys fan, his feelings about his “Madden” rating and how he loves to play Tiger Woods golf against his brothers.

You saw this coming…

01.27.09 at 12:08 pm ET
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The ink wasn’t even dry from being smeared all over A-Rod’s pinstripes when, whaddya know, the Yankees are circling the wagons to defend the lightning rod of all lightning rods. Larry Bowa said players and coaches all took shots at Mr. Madonna in good fun, according to Mark Hale in the New York Post. Yeah, right. Whatever.

Andrea Peyser, a news-side columnist rips the Torre book in her column, “Revoltin’ Joe”. All due respect to our colleagues here in Boston, New York still has the best headlines in the business. She writes that Torre has always come across as a whiner and this is the biggest whine of all.

And Mike Vaccaro writes that Torre has managed to ruin his great legacy.

Seems to be no lovin’ for the Torre side in New York, and given the fact that the skipper has given up the sacred privacy of a clubhouse, it’s understandable.

Read More: alex rodriguez, Joe Torre, madonna,

That’s doesn’t look like a whirlpool, Tom

01.26.09 at 5:04 pm ET
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Here’s the latest from Tom Brady ‘€” after a busy week selling sports creme to Canadians, he and Gisele have been seen hitting the beach in Mexico for some R and R. Wonder how that conversation went: “What’s that, Doc? The best thing for my shredded left knee is a little time in Mexico with a Brazilian supermodel? I’m there!”

Cuban muzzle crisis…

01.26.09 at 10:58 am ET
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While watching a shell-shocked and depressed Mark Cuban sit on a trainer’s table following his team’s 124-100 laydown at the hands of the Celtics on Sunday, one couldn’t help but feel the misery. Maybe he needed medical help, the kind you get when you lay down on one of those tables and share your woes with a professional, or at least with the internet world via his own blog. But unfortunately, he hasn’t yet.

If he does, here are some suggestions. Was trading for Jason Kidd an abominable mistake? Does Dirk Nowitzki have any toughness? Did it bother him that his team was down by 32 in the second quarter of a game on national TV? And does he really feel the NBA, and the officials in particular, are picking on him when they call a technical on the Dallas bench with 2:10 remaining in the fourth quarter? The stat sheet reads that it was called on assistant Mario Elie but all indications are it was called on the owner who was doing something you’re not supposed to be doing as an owner… sitting behind the bench. He mouthed off and the bench was assessed with a technical but NBA rules state a technical needs to be levied on an individual. Elie apparently was sitting the closest to Cuban.

Jan Hubbard, a nationally-renowned Dallas-based writer for the Fort Worth Telegram, writes that former Celtic and current Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle should have seen this one coming.

Some other odds and ends… Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner, with the help of new coach Eric Mangini, has tabbed Mangini’s former roomate George Kokinis as the team’s new general manager, after a long wait. Mangini and Kokinis came into the NFL at the same time in 1991 with Bill Belichick’s Cleveland Browns.

Read More: Cleveland Browns, Eric Mangini, Mark Cuban,

The worst Super Bowl bet ever

01.25.09 at 11:11 pm ET
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Before a big game, the bet between the two opposing mayors is usually the best excuse for news guys to leech on to a big sports story. It also usually involves ridiculous local foodstuffs that only appeal to the people in those regions of the country. (“I’ll bet you a stack of Primanti Sandwiches against a metric ton of Scrapple!” “You’re on!”) But the Super Bowl XLIII wager sets a new standard in the weak department. According to this report, if Arizona wins, a cactus has to be planted outside of Heinz Field. If Pittsburgh wins, a tree native to Pennsylvania ‘€” such as a dogwood, elderberry or red oak ‘€” will be planted outside of University of Phoenix Stadium. You ever been to Heinz Field? Hung out with Pittsburgh fans? That cactus is gonna be ripped up about 30 minutes into the first preseason tailgate next August by this guy. And I don’t know much about the desert (Most of what I learned about life in the desert came from these guys), but 110-degree temperatures can’t be good for dogwood trees.

New York state of mind…

01.24.09 at 9:26 am ET
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While on family business in New York City, and by that I mean with my dad and sister, I came to notice that it was moving day in the Bronx for the Bombers.

The Yankees yesterday moved some of the more important items from their old offices at Yankee Stadium to their new $1.5 billion home across the street into the palatial new Yankee Stadium, including the World Series trophies they won in 1977 and 2000. MLB.com has the video of the move.

Friday’s move didn’t completely close up the House that Ruth Built. The ticket office, switchboard operations and some clubhouse staff will remain behind taking care of unfinished business.

Meanwhile, here’s a different take on the Yankees off-season spending spree on C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com notes that the Yankee payroll of $209 million is actually set to decrease from 2008.

Meanwhile down in Houston, two former Yankees continue to dominate the headlines… Don’t they always? Roger Clemens would still be welcomed to spring training to watch his son catch and Andy Pettitte isn’t likely to return to Houston.

Read More: Clemens, moving day, Pettitte, Yankee Stadium

Batting Stance Guy vs. Jed Lowrie

01.23.09 at 9:19 am ET
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As some of you know, Batting Stance Guy is a friend of WEEI.com, a relationship we hope continues throughout the coming season. So, as we trudge toward spring training, our man BSG gave us a little sample of what is to come.

Here is BSG offering Red Sox shortstop Jed Lowrie a look into the mirror …

And for a bonus, here is BSG vs. Ryan Howard

THE PROMOTIONAL TOURS ROLL ON….

01.22.09 at 11:42 pm ET
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What is it with Patriots’€™ quarterbacks and their promotional tours this week? A day after Tom Brady was shilling for a sports crème on Toronto sports talk radio, Matt Cassel was pushing Vizio via satellite as part of his winning the 2008 Vizio Top Value Performer Award. (Kevin O’€™Connell and Matt Gutierrez ‘€¦ we’€™re waiting on you.)

Anyway, we learned a handful of things from Cassel’€™s Q-and-A’€™s: First, the Patriots have not approached him about a new deal, so there’€™s also been no talk about a possible franchise tag. Second, he doesn’€™t sound like a guy who wants to challenge Brady for the starters’€™ job (this is presuming Brady is healthy). And three, he would ‘€œaccept’€ a role as Brady’€™s backup.

‘€œThey haven’€™t started discussions at all,’€ Cassel told Michael Felger on ‘€œMohegan Sun Sports Tonight’€ on Comcast SportsNet. ‘€œWe’€™re just kind of sitting here. I am working hard, but right now it’€™s just a waiting game really to figure out what is going to happen next.’€

As for his relationship with Brady, he told Felger and ESPNews he continues to speak with No. 12 frequently, and says, ‘€œevery time I talk to [Brady], he’€™s very optimistic’€ about his rehab. When it comes to the overall quarterbacking hierarchy in Foxborough, Cassel has no illusions about where he rests in the overall scheme of things.

‘€œThis is Tom’€™s team. The Patriots have been Tom’€™s team. He’€™s built that franchise up with his own two hands,’€ Cassel told ESPNews. ‘€œHe’€™s the guy, and he was the MVP the year before. I realize that. He’€™s been such a mentor for me that I would say ‘€˜No, there is no quarterback competition.’€™ But I’€™ve learned so many things from Tom, and hopefully it’€™ll help me in my career.’€

And if both of them are in the same locker room next year, Cassel said he’€™d approach the game in the same way he has in year’€™s past.

‘€œIf the situation is what it is, then I would accept it,’€ he told Felger. ‘€œI would continue to do what I have done my entire career which is work hard, put my best foot forward and continue to work on the things that I need to and put out my best effort.’€

Cassel: I’d take backup role

01.22.09 at 5:05 pm ET
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(Post by Chris Price)

In an interview set to air Thursday night on Comcast SportsNet, Patriots quarterack Matt Cassel said he’€™d be willing to ‘€œaccept‘€ a backup role in New England, but said he hasn’€™t had discussions with the Patriots regarding a possible franchise tag. Cassel added New England hasn’€™t started any sort of offseason negotiations, but he understands that if circumstances dictated that he stay with the Patriots ‘€” presumably as a backup to Tom Brady, if Brady is healthy enough to play ‘€” he would continue to approach the game the same way he always has. ‘€œIf the situation is what it is, then I would accept it and I would continue to do what I have done my entire career, which is work hard, put my best foot forward and continue to work on the things that I need to and put out my best effort,‘€ Cassel said.

Comcast SportsNet will post its exclusive audio of the interview at 6:45 p.m. at http://newengland.comcastsportsnet.com/category/wickedgoodsports/patriots/.

The Tom Brady interview (in Toronto)

01.21.09 at 11:41 pm ET
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(Courtesy intern Drew Scott)

Here is the transcript of Tom Brady‘€™s interview on FAN 590 in Toronto with Bob McCown. (To listen to the interview, click here.)

BM: And Tom Brady joins us on the telephone now. Mr. Brady how are you?

TB: Hi Bob, good afternoon.

BM: Good afternoon to you. I get the sense. Now we don’€™t know each other, but I get the sense that you’€™re a politically active if not interested guy. I wonder because we’€™ve spent a lot of time talking about yesterday and what an extraordinary day it was. I wonder if you were in front of your television all day.

TB: Yeah I think that most of America was watching yesterday and it was pretty incredible to see the turnout with over two million people there witnessing that. It was a historical moment and I think there are a lot of proud Americans and I think I’€™m happy to be alive to witness it all. It is all very exciting.

BM: You went to Africa in 2007 with a group that was organized by Bono, of course of U2, and Bono was part of the celebration the day before the inauguration. What was that like?

TB: It was great, it was great, I took my sister with me. Kind of on a mission to learn and listen and explore another part of the world, and it was one of the best trips that I’€™ve taken in my life. It’€™s created a new awareness for me and I’€™m always trying to share with my friends and family the experiences that I’€™ve had when I was over there. I hope to go back some day, hopefully in the near future I’€™ll take a trip back there and see if I can experience some other things that could really change my life.

BM: Just to seize on that point for a moment Tom, everybody knows your football career, but not too many people probably recall that you were cum laude at Michigan. If the president asked-

TB: (Laughs) There were a lot of athlete classes.

BM: Still the consensus is you’€™re a bright guy. If the president asked would you be interested, either post career or in the offseason, to try to get more of an African initiative going, or anything along those lines? That would smack a little bit of politics in but also might help the greater good.

TB: Sure, that’€™s why I took that mission over there. You know I think one of the great parts about, over my career, the attention you get, you use it for causes that you really believe in. I think that was one of the big benefits of going there, you raise some awareness, and there are a lot of people in this world that need a lot of help, and when you take a trip to Africa you realize that the level of poverty is pretty extreme, and if you can find ways to help and help people find ways to cure diseases it’€™s a really great thing, and it’€™s for the greater good of mankind. So I’€™ve always enjoyed that and I hope to continue to enjoy that.

BM: With Tom Brady, the quarterback of the New England Patriots. Before we get to some specific football stuff and the Super Bowl upcoming, what generally was it like, I’€™m sure difficult, to spend an entire football season virtually and not be playing?

TB: Yeah you know, you play this game long enough and s*** happens, so to speak.

BM: (Laughs) Yeah ain’€™t that true.

TB: The reality is that it happens to everybody and I’€™m in a new part of my career, and a different process that I’€™m excited about rehabilitation and different challenges. The tough part is you’€™re just not experiencing something that you love to do, but you get over that and you focus on what you’€™ve got to focus on, and you just say well I’€™m happy and I’€™m moving on and that’€™s what we’€™ve done.

BM: Over the many years that I’€™ve been doing this, I’€™ve talked to various guys who have been in your position, and you get a totally different response. My sense is that some guys are still absorbed, watch all the time, stay up with all the news, other guys tune it out completely when they can’€™t play. Which were you?

TB: I watched everything. I was the biggest cheerleader for our team (laughs). I mean it’€™s painful when you see our team lose, and I thought that we really had a great year. Being that we finished 11 and 5 it was tough to see us not make the playoffs, and the team that’€™s in the Super Bowl, the Arizona Cardinals, we beat by 40 points. I was disappointed along with the rest of our team and coaches, but you know it was what it was, it was a tough competition in the AFC this year. We’€™re going to try to make some improvements this offseason and see if we can make it back to being the division winner next year.

BM: Tom, looking at that blow out win over Arizona, does it surprise you that the Cardinals regrouped and managed to get themselves to a Super Bowl? Is there something going on in the NFL today that allows teams, that maybe don’€™t have the overall record, to just seize the moment? What’€™s going on out there?

TB: Well, I think a couple years ago the Giants, when they won the Super Bowl against us they were a six seed going in, the Cardinals weren’€™t playing their best football towards the end of the year, but you just get hot at the right time. They certainly have a lot of great players, I mean Larry Fitzgerald, anyone who has seen him play in this last three weeks understands he’€™s unbelievable, and I gain a new respect for him, I mean you don’€™t see too many Arizona Cardinals highlights on TV but when you watch him for a full game it’€™s pretty impressive what he can do. You know I feel that the NFL is extremely competitive from week to week and the rules that are in place are to bring everyone back to the middle, and a team like Arizona that has hasn’€™t ever been to Super Bowl, hey they have an opportunity and that’€™s the beautiful part of how the league is set up, the hope that it creates for each team at the beginning of the year. I think it’€™s pretty cool that Arizona is in it and they are going to play a great team in Pittsburgh that our team played as well this year.

BM: Speaking of your return, how’€™s the rehab going?

TB: It’€™s going really well, it’€™s going really well. You know anyone who has come back from injuries that require surgery, it’€™s just a process, you know there’€™s some good days and some bad days, and you’€™ve got to just keep plugging though them and that’€™s life, like I said things come up and you’€™ve just got to focus your energy and attention on all the positive things that you can gain, and it tests you in a lot of ways. Like I said I’€™m excited about the process, I’€™m excited about the workout, I have so many wonderful people that have helped me. I’€™ve said that I’€™m the most well taken care of knee patient in history, so I’€™m very very fortunate.

BM: (Laughs) Well to that end, I myself have gone through I guess four knee operations now, and not dissimilar to yours, anterior cruciate and medial collateral, and so I’€™ve sort of been there not obviously trying to get back to the level you’€™re at, but last September I was sent this product called Myo-Med, and I tried it and I had no real expectations of it, and I was surprised to find out that it actually worked.

TB: (Laughs) You’€™re surprised when you buy something and it works? It should work.

BM: Yeah, but you know yourself I mean, being an athlete you’€™re confronted with products from time to time that you look at and you’€™re skeptical, you know they make great claims but they don’€™t always achieve, at least for me, what they were designed to but this was a product that did, and then many months later I found out that you are also a spokesman for Myo-Med and have been using the product, and what have you experienced?

TB: Yeah, I mean you’€™re right I come across a lot of things over the course of my career and I have found something that has been great. I started actually using it a few years ago on my arm, I had some pretty bad tendinitis, and it was a product that I used and I really liked. It’€™s just over the last two years I’€™ve used on my ankle before the Super Bowl, I’€™ve used it on like I said on my elbow, and this year it’€™s been nice, it’€™s worked very very well on my knee. It’€™s just a great pain relieving cream and I’€™m glad, and hopefully people who hear this understand that if they have those aches and pains that it’€™s a really special product. Like I said, I’€™ve been fortunate to find it and I’€™ll be using it for the rest of my life.

BM: Did you traditionally ice your arm after every game? Or just when you felt you needed to?

TB: I always did when I was younger, I iced it a lot, and you know ice is a very important part of that. You know a lot of soft tissue work is extremely important, a cream like Myo-Med is extremely important for me, I use heat which is important, I mean there are all kinds of things that I’€™ve found that I’€™ve used that work for different reasons and at different times.

BM: This is a revelation for me because I am plagued with tendinitis issues, and I had no idea that there’€™d be something out there that could work on your arm.

TB: Just rub it on your jaw after a long day.

BM: (Laughs) After we’€™ve talked too much?

TB: Yeah I can’€™t imagine how sore those jaw bones get.

BM: I know there is no time set for you to come back, but when you do, the last two seasons it seems like there is an annual brain drain in relation to assistant coaches and coordinators and the like leaving New England. Does that make it difficult as a quarterback to come back every year and get everybody on the same page? And how do you think the Patriots will fair next season? Do you see people coming in the conference that could eventually rise to the level that you’€™re team has been at?

TB: Yeah I mean there’€™s change every year and I think you’€™ve got to get used to that in the NFL. I mean you look at Tony Dungy for the Colts retires, the head coach, and then you have the defensive coordinator I just saw, Meeks he retires. Every team deals with it, we’€™ve dealt with it about three or four years ago with our two coordinators Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini left and this year it’€™s different defections, and there have been incredible coaches that have been a huge part of our success that get opportunities and people who work hard deserve those opportunities. You know they take with them all the great memories and experiences they’€™ve had from our team, and it’€™s the responsibility of the people who are still with the Patriots to worry about the Patriots. As long as we have Robert and Jonathan Kraft and as long as we have Coach Belichick, I always think we’€™re going to be just fine.

BM: We wish you good luck with the rehab, and we expect to see you on the football field maybe this summer and certainly by the fall, and thanks a lot for taking time for us tonight. And hopefully you’€™ll come back and see us some time as well.

TB: Yeah great talking to you guys. I hope you guys aren’€™t too cold up there.

BM: (Laughs) It’€™s plenty cold. We’€™re really cold.

TB: I’€™m sure it is.