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Cape Cod: More than Potato Chips and the Beach

07.23.09 at 10:27 am ET
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Good morning everyone and allow me to share some good news with New England: there is positively no way the Red Sox can lose today, so for those who have had to endure the misery a losing streak brings for the last five days, take a breather and soak up the baseball that will be played around these parts today: the Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star festivities.

The Cape League is one of the finer traditions in both the wonderful state of Massachusetts and baseball in general. Between giving young players an opportunity to grow accustomed to wooden bats and seeing families on the Cape host players for the summer, the CCBL undoubtedly has a storied history.

[Cue the WEEI.com plug!]

No, we here at LEEInks wouldn’t endorse something unless it was absolutely top-notch. So allow us to point that WEEI.com’s Chris Price has an incredible CCBL book by the name of Baseball by the Beach. The book documents the history of the league and is a must-read for baseball fans.

Stars of all types have participated in the summer league, whether they be guys in the Sox system (Jasons Bay and Varitek, Kevin Youkilis, Mike Lowell, Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Bard, Justin Masterson, Mark Kotsay, Chris Carter) or elsewhere (2008 NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, Mark Teixeira, Evan Longoria, Chase Utley, Lance Berkman, Scott Bakerthe list goes on and on), and today local sports fans have the opportunity to catch the next batch of elite college players and future MLB mainstays. One of every seven players in the majors is a Cape League alum, so one would be foolish to pass up watching today’s home run derby and All-Star game.

Some of the stars participating in the festivities at Fenway today already carry some local weight. Boston College corner infielder Mickey Wiswall, who played his high school ball at Belmont Hill and is from Stoneham, leads the CCBL with 19 RBI for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. In addition, Wiswall’s hitting coach at BC, Steve Englert, led the Harwich Mariners to the CCBL title last year and is managing the East squad today at Fenway.

As for the Red Sox, the real club is all-too familiar with Falmouth first baseman Hunter Morris. The Red Sox made the first baseman a second-round pick back in 2007 and the two sides went through heated negotiations, only to see Morris walk away and attend Auburn University. The 6’4″ slugger has hit .318 with 23 homers and 82 RBI in two seasons as a Tiger. Morris currently leads the Cape League with five homers and will particpate in today’s derby.

Local stuff aside, there are two pitchers from the East team that you’ll definitely want to check out. Rob Rasmussen from UCLA has a 0.96 ERA for Orleans. Also don’t miss Kyle Blair, who has posted a 0.92 ERA for the Brewster Whitecaps. The righty plays his college ball at San Diego, where he struck 62 batters in 54.2 innings last season.

Now here’s where we talk about the single greatest moment in Cape League history, and I’ll be damned if everyone reading doesn’t see where this is going. I’m not talking about anything Bay, Lincecum, or Teixeira did, but what one Freddie Prinze, Jr. did. When he walked off the mound during a perfect game to run after Jessica Biel, he taught everyone what true love was about.

No, I’ve never seen Summer Catch, the movie starring Prinze, Jr. and Biel, but I’ve seen the ending. Worst thing ever. Check out the trailer and tell me what you take away from it.

Here’s what I got from it:

1. Matthew Lillard? I was convinced that the scene in Scream in which Sidney hits him with the TV was his honest-to-goodness death. Now he’s back as a CCBL catcher? Not buying it.

2. Doctor Percival Cox as a scout? Only good if he berates the guys he’s scouting as much as he does his co-workers in Scrubs.

3. I thought searching “Summer Catch” on YouTube would be good enough to get me the trailer, but all that came up were videos called “Summer Catch pool scene.” You’ve got to love cheesy teen movies that only cast Jessica Biel so they can put her in a pool.

Read More: Cape Cod,

Who is Adam LaRoche?

07.22.09 at 2:07 pm ET
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Welcome to a special Welcome Wagon edition of the LEEInks! Today the Red Sox have acquired Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche for minor league shortstop Argenis Diaz and pitcher Hunter Strickland.

So who exactly is this guy? First things first: LaRoche is a 30-year-old native of California. He has split his six-year career in both Atlanta and Pittsburgh.

LaRoche also comes from a baseball family. His father was former big leaguer Dave LaRoche and his brother Andy, mans the hot corner for the Pirates.

According to this Pittsburgh Post Gazette report from earlier this month, the brothers LaRoche genuinely liked playing with each other. The LaRoches certainly weren’t the first set of brothers to play on the same squad, and likely won’t be the last.

With the acquisition, the Red Sox bring aboard an additional first baseman to a recently slumping club looking for depth at the corners. LaRoche is the third Pirate starter this year to be jettisoned by the club, following outfielders Nate McLouth and Nyjer Morgan.

Pittsburgh G.M. Neal Huntington wrote season ticket holders a letter explaing the logic behind the McLouth deal. The Pirates may be investing in more team stationary after today’s deal.

LaRoche already has some friends among his new teammates here in Boston, including former Pirates outfielder Jason Bay. It’s a good thing the slumping Mets didn’t snag him, since he and Carlos Beltran would have some serious making up to do. After a three-game sweep of the Mets earlier this season, Beltran claimed that he was embarrassed to lose to the Pirates. LaRoche then upped the ante and claimed that Beltran had zero class and zero professionalism.

Finally, it looks as though LaRoche will fit right in with guys like Tim Wakefield and Josh Beckett due to a shared passion for hunting. LaRoche has even been a guest on the show Buck Commander.

This clip from Buck Commander can also give Red Sox fans an unusual scouting report on the newest member of the club.

Read More: adam laroche,

LEEInks Hits The Rumor Mill

07.22.09 at 11:36 am ET
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Good Morning New England! It’s that time of the year again — time to count down the days until the Major League Baseball trade deadline on July 31.

With the deadline looming that can mean only one thing — rumors and lots of them. If you’re looking to catch up on the latest and greatest chatter and speculation, look no further than MLB Trade Rumors, a site that runs the gamut on baseball trade talk.

Each year, one guy becomes the hot player to try and snag at the deadline. This year’s midsummer catch of the year could very well be Toronto ace Roy Halladay.

According to Toronto G.M. J.P. Ricciardi, the Jays have set a July 28 deadline for interested teams to throw down a deal for Halladay. Ricciardi also asserted that a deal sending the 2003 Cy Young Award winner away is unlikely.

It’s not that teams aren’t trying to acquire the all-world pitcher, because nearly every contending team in the bigs has scouted him. Many, including FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, have considered the Phillies the odds-on favorite to land Halladay.

However, the Phils are reluctant to let go of top pitching prospect and Major League scion, Kyle Drabek. Drabek was a first-rounder in 2006, drafted by Philadelphia 18th overall. Kyle is the son of former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek. The younger Drabek also underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2007.

Aside from Halladay, the next biggest name being thrown around the Rumor Mill is that of Cleveland’s Cliff Lee. Lee won last year’s American League Cy Young Award with a 22-3 record and a 2.54 ERA. Lee certainly took the road less traveled to baseball prosperity as the lefty was sent to the minors after a catastophic start in 2007. In 16 starts that year, Lee went 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA.

The teams who have reportedly sent scouts to Toronto to scout Lee this week reportedly include the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Phillies among others. At least that’s according to the Toronto Sun’s Bob Elliott and his Twitter page.

The Indians could snag a cache of talent if they decide to unload Cliff Lee and his $6 million dollar salary. However according to ESPN baseball guru Peter Gammons, the Indians would have to be bowled over on a deal for defending Cy Young Award winner.

Last year’s big pitching transaction came out of Cleveland last summer, could this year’s also come from Drew Carey’s city that rocks? We’ll simply have to wait and see over the next nine days.

Race and Sports in Boston

07.21.09 at 2:49 pm ET
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Today, July 21, is a notable day in American, as well as local sports, history.

In 1925, high school biology teacher John T. Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution in class and was subsequently fined a hefty $100 after a heated trial that pitted science against religion.

In 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘€œBuzz’€ Aldrin became the first men to walk on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission, representing not only the United States but all of mankind in an inspirational and unprecedented journey into the depths of space.

And in 1959, Elijah ‘€œPumpsie’€ Green saw his first-ever major league action as he pinch ran and played shortstop for the Red Sox in a game against Chicago.

There was nothing special about the way Green played baseball. He only lasted five seasons in the majors in which he batted a paltry .246 with only 13 homers and 74 RBI in 344 games with the Red Sox and Mets. But it’€™s not Green’€™s unimpressive statistics that make him the focus of today’€™s LEEInks entry ‘€“ it’€™s the fact that he was the first black player to play for the Red Sox who, in turn, became the last major league team to integrate.

Boston has always been a city marred by racial turmoil. From the busing riots in the 1970s to the Charles Stuart murder case in 1989, the race issue has dogged a city that prides itself on its forward-thinking, progressive liberalism.

Nowhere has this been more evident than in one of the city’€™s most beloved pastimes, baseball. There’€™s the famous story of the 1945 tryout the Sox held for the then-relatively unknown Jackie Robinson. According to a reporter who was there that day, someone yelled ‘€œGet those (racial epithet deleted) off the field.’€ Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers two years later and became a baseball legend and a Hall of Famer.

In 1949, the Sox gave up the chance to sport an outfield that included Willie Mays and Ted Williams because Mays wasn’€™t their type of player, according to team management.

Barry Bonds called Boston ‘€œtoo racist for me’€ in a 2004 interview and said he ‘€œcouldn’€™t play there’€ just based on what he’€™s heard about the city.

While there’€™s no denying the racial issues of the city’€™s past — both in baseball and beyond — not all of Boston’€™s major league teams were considered hotbeds of intolerance. The National League Boston Braves were the fifth MLB team to field a black player when they played Sam Jethroe in 1950. Willie O’€™Ree became known as the ‘€œJackie Robinson of Hockey’€ when he debuted as the first black NHL player with the Bruins in 1958. And the Celtics under Red Auerbach became not just the first NBA team to sport an all-black starting lineup, but also the first NBA team with an African-American head coach in Bill Russell.

In recent years it seems apparent that, despite what Barry Bonds says, race does not play a factor in Boston sports these days ‘€“ including baseball. A 2002 NPR article highlighted the Red Sox’ new ownership group as taking aggressive steps to combat the negative reputation their team has been given over the years, including ‘€œreaching out to black churches’€ and ‘€œstarting a scholarship program for city kids.’€

Recent statistics even show that 2009 was the first season in 14 years in which there was an increase of African-American players since the last season (2 percent). The study also showed that ‘€œpeople of color accounted for 39.6 percent of MLB rosters.’€

Earlier this year, Green visited Fenway to throw out the first pitch on the 50th anniversary of his signing with the Sox. Today, on the anniversary of his major-league debut amidst incredibly challenging circumstances, it is worth taking stock of his important place in franchise history.

“The legacy of players like Pumpsie Green and Jackie Robinson is evidenced by the presence of the diversity of players like Jim Rice, Mo Vaughn, Dave Roberts and David Ortiz as part of the Red Sox’s more recent history,” Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino told mlb.com earlier this year. “As fans and as an organization, we owe both Pumpsie Green and Jackie Robinson a debt of gratitude for their courageous contributions to the game and to society.”

Read More: Elijah "Pumpsie" Green, Jackie Robinson, Race, red sox

LEEInks Stops Being Polite and Starts Getting Real

07.21.09 at 10:41 am ET
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Welcome to your Tuesday morning edition of the LEEInks. Today, the LEEInks pledges to stop being polite and starts getting real.

The world of sports is now colliding with an equally bizarre and volatile realm: the world of reality television. This week, Terrell Owens launched his own reality show, The T.O. Show, and Shaquille O’Neal and ABC announced a new primetime effort linking the network and the Big Aristotle.

Owens’ show on the reality television mecca VH1, (which apparently rarely plays music videos anymore) premiered last night to quite a bit of buzz.

There was a lot of  talk about the show before it even hit the airwaves due to a fairly risque big city billboard campaign. Let’s just say it involved a scantily clad Terrell Owens.

If you’re a fan of Owens, chances are you’ll like the show. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s television critic Jonathan Storm is definitely not in that camp

In the first episode, Owens moves into an immaculate mansion deep in the Hollywood Hills and gets two personal assistantswhose aim is to rehabilitate the NFL star’s image. The enigmatic wide reciever also signs with his new team, the Buffalo Bills during the pilot episode.

As some of you may recall, this isn’t the first foray into reality television for Terrell Owens. Mere weeks ago, T.O. was a cast member of ABC’s The Superstars.

However, the NFL lightning rod’s run on the show was short-lived as Owens and teammate supermodel Joanna Krupa were the first two competitors eliminated. Krupa turned the tables on Owens by throwing the football star under the bus, much like he has to nearly every quarterback he’s played with.

In other reality television news, ABC announced that they will be launching a new reality show with NBA megastar Shaquille O’Neal. “Shaq Vs.” will pit the newest Cavalier against other athletes in their sports.

According to the press release, Shaq will swim against Michael Phelps, hit the gridiron against Ben Roethlisberger, return serves from Serena Williams and even step into the ring against Oscar De La Hoya. Yes, despite the high probility of injury,  the Cavaliers approved this small-screen venture for their new big man.

Thankfully, the new show, which premieres next month, keeps Shaq in the world of sports and not the music business. If this is the kind of fight he’d put up against a hip-hop star like Jay-Z, he’d be toast.

Both stars love the spotlight and reality television seems like a perfect fit for both. Let’s just hope there isn’t a spinoff of both stars doing a season of MTV’s The Real World.

That would just be a little too real for the LEEInks to handle.

Read More: Joanna Krupa, Reality Television, Shaquille O'Neal, Terrell Owens

Close but no cigar…

07.20.09 at 12:33 pm ET
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Let’s face it: Tom Watson’s loss in the British Open Sunday is the big story.

Bigger than Stewart Cink’s victory and bigger than Tiger’s absence altogether. One eight-foot putt away from golf’s oldest trophy on the 18th hole at Turnberry, and the 59-year-old Watson couldn’t come through. It may be harsh to call it a choke, but Cink merely had to play the next four playoff holes (two pars and two birdies) as Watson ran out of steam with a two bogies, a par and a double bogey.

In the end, Watson’s unlikely weekend atop the leaderboard among players who were barely born when he beat Jack Nicklaus in the 1977 British Open will be what is remembered about the ’09 British Open. Isn’t that usually how it goes? The loveable loser makes the story. Let’s take a look at some past “not-quite” winners:

1. Jean Van de Velde — Watson can look at the 1999 British Open for consolation. Van de Velde needed a double bogey on the 18th hole to win, but it seemed as though his ball and the cup were repelling magnets. The Frenchman took seven strokes before finishing with a triple-bogey, but ended in a tie with Paul Lawrie, and then lost in a playoff in a shockingly ugly finish.

2. Rocco Mediate — Last year’s US Open, not nearly as ugly but just as intense, pitted Mediate against Tiger Woods in an epic play at Torrey Pines. Woods sunk a 12-foot birdie on the 18th hole to force the extra day of play. Fresh off knee surgery a few months prior Woods battled through 91 holes to outlast Mediate who was trying to become the oldest U.S. Open winner in history. Mediate could have pulled out the victory leading by one stroke towards the end, but Tiger did as Tiger does best, and won the Open.

3. George Mason — The 2006 Final Four Cinderella story. The No. 11 seed Patriots miraculously came out of the field of 65 knocking out three Final Four champions: Michigan State (2000) in the first round, held North Carolina (2005) to 30 percent shooting in the second round and brought down Connecticut (2004) in overtime in the Elite Eight. The loss to Florida in the Final Four was bittersweet; so close but yet no one had expected them to get past the first round.

4. 2009 Super BowlArizona Cardinals: They came so close. They had never been to a Super Bowl and only played eleven postseason games in franchise history, but couldn’t pull it off. Falling behind 17-7 at halftime, it looked as though the Steelers had the game in the bag, with Kurt Warner’s 1-yard TD pass the Cardinals’ only spark of life against the Steel Curtain. Up 20-7 by the fourth, Pittsburgh was golden, yet Warner didn’t give up. Another 1-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald followed by a 64-yard hookup to Fitzgerald put the Cardinals up by three with less than three minutes on the clock. But Big Ben’s pass to Santonio Holmes with forty seconds left all but sucked the life out of Arizona and the comeback fizzled.

5. The 2003 Red Sox — Sorry to bring it up, but we’ll keep it short and simple (no need for a link). The unlikliest of unlikely teams — with their “Cowboy Up” slogan and shaved heads — surged to the forefront of the playoff scene, winning the AL Wild Card and battling the Yankees to a seventh game. Cut to Yankee Stadium, Tim Wakefield, the 11th innning and Aaron Boone … enough said. Add in the Cubs and the Bartman ball, and there was a World Series that could have and should have been.

Revs close out first half with a bang

07.20.09 at 8:58 am ET
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FOXBOROUGH — Steve Nicol smiled as he stood at the podium during the postgame press conference waiting for the first question from the media. The smile was probably the result of the Revs’ 2-0 Sunday night over Chivas USA. Or maybe it was the fact that New England won its first regular-season MLS game since June 7. Or maybe it was because his leading scorer, Shalrie Joseph, returned to the field after missing seven games with a bruised knee helping the Revs break a 302-minute scoreless streak.

Clearly, Nicol had plenty to smile about.

After an uncomfortable first half that epitomized the inury-plagued Revs’ play of late, Nicol said he felt lucky to leave the pitch knotted at zero. The Revs desperately tried to keep possession, but lacked communication and confidence. It was only after Nicol’s halftime locker room speech and the insertion of Joseph into the game that the Revs looked as though they had been jolted to life.

“The first half was garbage, and we basically told them that,” Nicol said. “We couldn’t hit, we couldn’t pass, we couldn’t close, we couldn’t challenge, you name, it we couldn’t do it. The second half is always going to be better but at the end of the day you have to give them credit for stepping up. In the second half we looked comfortable, we certainly weren’t fluent but we looked a  lot better. Then after we scored it looked as though we were going to win the game.”

Joseph’s cross to Kheli Dube in the 61st minute ended the 300-plus minute scoring drought in regular-season play. Jospeh and Dube teamed up just minutes before the first goal for what looked like a sure netter, but Chivas keeper Zach Thorton swatted it away with his fingertips.

With Joseph in the game the Revs looked like a different team, keeping the pressure on Chivas and moving the ball up the field away from the Revs end. Revs goalkeeper Matt Reis only had three saves Sunday night a week after recording 11 saves against Kansas City, the most of his career.

“I get opportunities almost every game,” Dube said of his goal. “But when you’re playing two forwards, that’s a lot, especially for me with my type of play. I’m not typically a forward so it gets kind of hard but with Shalrie tonight it’s easier.”

Joseph hadn’t played since scoring the team’s only goal in a loss against Kansas City on June 13. The midfielder-turned-forward has been the team’s offensive spark in the absence of Revs’ resident playmaker Taylor Twellman, who still suffers from concussive symptoms dating back to last season.

Nicol erred on the side of caution with Joseph not wanting to aggravate the knee. He had hoped Joseph wouldn’t need to play in Sunday’s match, giving him another week of practice to strengthen the leg but the dismal first half necessitated a change. Nicol said Joseph was in his ear all week pleading for playing time.

“I felt good being out there playing again,” Joesph said. “I was begging for a half since last Wednesday in the SuperLiga final but I didn’t get it and this weekend I was begging for a half and we get the result and that’s all that counts.”

Steve Ralston was also back for the third game in a row, recovered from a hamstring strain that had recently sidelined him. His unassisted goal in the 77th minute solidified the win. Joseph had passed the ball off to Dube, who clipped the ball but lost control. It spun to Ralston who had the ball alone and put it past Thornton.

“We kind of needed this one,” Ralston said. “We’ve talked about how we have games in hand, we’ve had injuries and excuses but at the end of the day we need the three points tonight and it was great for us.”

Exactly halfway through the 30-game season, the Revs sit at an even 5-5-5 with 20 points a clear indication of their mediocre season. Yet as Ralston noted, the injured players are returning and with at least two games in hand on every team in the league, the Revs have potential for improvement in the second half. To help them out they will play the next five of seven in the friendly confines of Gillette, where they hold a regular season MLS record of 3-1-2. Yet with a tough challenge coming on Saturday night in Houston against the Western League leading Dynamos, the Revs can only hope to start the second half off on the right foot.

Read More: new england, revolution, shalrie joseph, steve nicol

Julio Lugo, we hardle knew ye

07.17.09 at 1:01 pm ET
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Rob Bradford, the man with the laptop and fishing net, had it first: Julio Lugo is done in Boston.

After two-and-a-half disappointing seasons for the Red Sox, Lugo has been designated for assignment amidst a flurry of moves that include re-activating Mike Lowell and Jed Lowrie and calling up Clay Buchholz for tonight’s start.

Though he seemingly never had a strong fan base in Boston, LEEInks feels that Lugo at least deserves to have his Red Sox career glossed over one last time:

– Lugo put pen to paper with the Sox in December of 2006 on a four-year deal, hardly thrilling Red Sox fans.

-The shortstop didn’t exactly turn nay-sayers into believers out of the gate in the ’07 season, as he was hitting a dreadful .198 on July 2 and was viewed by baseball minds all over as the weakest link on a team that would eventually win the World Series.

– On that day, the lowest point of Lugo’s season, Houston pitcher Mike Hampton was statistically a better leadoff man than Lugo, as Hampton’s .370 on-base percentage put Lugo’s .260 mark to shame.

– The 2008 season saw more bashing from fans, including this cleverly-titled blog. 

– Lugo had seemingly lost his starting job to Jed Lowrie entering the season but was able to split playing time with Nick Green thanks to left wrist surgery that Lowrie required.

– Lugo’s lack of defensive prowess has long been (one of) his Achiles’ heel(s). Brad Penny didn’t appreciate it last month against the Rangers.

– In 268 games with the Red Sox, Lugo hit just .251 and committed 42 errors.

– This may be the greatest stat I’ve ever found in my entire life, and I once spent a day on this. Want to know how loved Lugo was? A google search of “Julio Lugo sucks” yields 11,800 results! For a point of reference, that’s about equidistant between “Rick Moranis sucks” and “John Allen Muhammad (the beltway sniper) sucks.”

Wow. Lugo will catch on somewhere else before the season’s over, but that’s just devastating.

And so, as the Red Sox prepare to absorb a hefty portion of the money due to him (even if they can find a trade partner, they’ll have to pay the vast majority of the deal for someone to take him off their hands), we at LEEInks wish Julio Lugo the best of luck down the road. Let’s hope those google results go down.

Read More: Beltway sniper, Julio Lugo, Rick Moranis,

Finally!

07.17.09 at 11:09 am ET
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Yes, there was some Major League action yesterday, but around this neck of the woods, life has been utterly meaningless with the lack of Red Sox this week. Yes, they did assure that, if history repeats itself, they could be celebrating a World Series victory on the road once again, but aside from that, there’s been nada.

The Roy Halladay fiasco continues, and while readers and fans continue to mispronounce and misspell his last name at an incredible pace, the flames regarding Red Sox rumors seemed to have died down a bit. They’ll undoubtedly pick back up when Clay Buchholz takes the hill tonight.

While he’s technically not a prospect– he graduated from said status last season– Buchholz is the Crème de la Crème of trade chips. No-hitter aside, he’s taken the time after a dreadful ’08 stint with the Sox to develop into a dominant starter who projects to be a top-of-the-rotation guy down the road.

This isn’t to say everything’s been peachy with the 25 year-old. Buchholz had been itching for this start long before Sunday’s announcement, and his frustrations with being stuck in the minors had been made apparant on multiple occasions earlier on in the season. Now possibly trade bait, Buchholz continues to view Fenway Park as the endgame, however, as he told WEEI.com’s Alex Katz on Sunday.

That does it for this mini-entry, enjoy the return of Boston baseball!

Read More: Buchholz, Halladay, Lugo,

Excuses, Excuses

07.16.09 at 4:10 pm ET
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For today’€™s afternoon LEEINKS we’€™ve decided to showcase a bunch of athletes that have tested positive for assorted drugs, and have had a host of bizarre explanations on how the positive test came about.

The first case that we’€™ll focus on made news yesterday. Richard Gasquet, the 23-year-old French tennis player who tested positive for cocaine a couple months ago and was banned from tennis for a year, was cleared to resume playing.

Why did the International Tennis Federation (ITF) decide to lift the ban so early? Because the ITF’€™s tribunal panel ruled that he inadvertently took the drug by kissing a woman in a nightclub.

Gasquet told the tribunal hearing held in London last month that he kissed a woman, identified in the ruling only as “Pamela,” in a Miami nightclub where a French DJ was performing at a dance music festival.

The festival was apparently notoriously associated with the use of illegal recreational drugs including cocaine and the tribunal said it was likely that ‘€œPamela’€ had consumed cocaine during the night, though there was no direct evidence.

As stated in the ITF’€™s report, Gasquet was “on the balance of probability, contaminated with cocaine by Pamela” and, therefore, not significantly at fault for the doping offense.

But this is not the first time an athlete has had what he or she thought was a perfectly logical excuse for a positive test.

In one of the most publicized sports doping stories ever, our good friend Manny Ramirez justified his testing positive for banned drug known as HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), by saying that the drugs were prescribed to him by a physician.

Manny said that he was using them for a ‘€œpersonal health issue.’€ HCG, a drug often used to soften the effects of ending a cycle of steroids, is also used to stimulate female fertility, stimulate testosterone production in men, and to treat delayed puberty in boys.

So unless Manny’€™s ‘€œpersonal health issue’€ was one of those above problems — in which case, there are profound metaphysical ramifications to the notion of “Manny Being Manny” — he has no good reason to take HCG.

In another story that received a lot of publicity last month, NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamine during a random drug screening at Richmond International Raceway on May 9th. His explanation stated that he had been taking prescription Adderall-XR and over-the-counter Claritin-D, and that was why he failed the test.

Just yesterday, results from a second test on July 6th showed Mayfield tested positive again.

NASCAR released these findings in a U.S. District Court filing Wednesday that included an affidavit from Mayfield’€™s stepmother, Lisa, who said she saw Mayfield using methamphetamine at least 30 times over seven years.

This led to another round of denials from Mayfield, who accused the sanctioning body of paying his stepmother to lie about his alleged past drug use.

“They picked the wrong woman to use against me because that (expletive) is trash and has got nothing on me but lies,” Mayfield told reporters.

According to the Sporting News, Lisa Mayfield said she first saw the driver use meth in 1998 at a race shop in Mooresville, N.C. She said Mayfield cooked his own drugs until the ingredient pseudoephedrine was taken off the shelves and it became too difficult for Mayfield to obtain the ingredients. She said her stepson then began to purchase meth from others.

Mayfield continues to protest these findings and statements from his stepmother by claiming that NASCAR paid for the affidavit.

“She’s tried everything she can do to get money out of me,’€ said Mayfield. ‘€œI won’t help her, so I guess she found a way to get money from NASCAR by giving them an affidavit full of lies.”

Finally, in an even more curious case, this wheelchair basketball player from Germany blamed his positive test on a treatment that he was taking for hair loss.

Ahmet Coskun tested positive for finasteride, a drug used to treat hair loss but which can also mask other banned substances.

‘€œI was thinking about my hair and had no idea that the drug contained a banned substance. I’m very upset. I never intended to do doping,’€ Coskun said.

One can only imagine that Coskun’s case will stand as a giant warning to athletes. If so, then perhaps Wade Boggs – spokesman for hair restoration – will be the real winner here.

Read More: jeremy mayfield, Manny Ramirez, richard gasquet,