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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Willie McCovey pardoned by Barack Obama; Chris Paul needs thumb surgery, out 6-8 weeks 01.18.17 at 9:14 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Wednesday 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.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS: 
NBA: New York at Boston, 7:30p.m. (CSN)
NBA: Milwaukee at Houston, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Oklahoma City at Golden State, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Boston at Detroit, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: San Jose at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Indiana at Penn State, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Missouri at Alabama, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Notre Dame at Florida State, 7 p.m. (NESN Plus)
College basketball: Oklahoma at West Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Saint Joseph’s at UMass, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: Temple at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Tulane at Tulsa, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, 9 p.m. (NESN Plus)
College basketball: Illinois State at Bradley, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Kansas State at Oklahoma State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Ohio State at Nebraska, 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Colorado at Washington, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Colorado State at Fresno State, 11 p.m. (CBSSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Baseball Hall of Famer and Giants legend Willie McCovey was one of the 273 people to be pardoned or have a sentence commuted by Barack Obama on Tuesday in the last days of his presidency.

In 1995, McCovey and fellow Hall of Famer Duke Snider pled guilty to tax evasion and received a $5,000 fine and a two-year probation.

“I want to express my sincere gratitude to President Obama not only for this kind gesture on my behalf, but also for his tireless service to all Americans,” McCovey said in a statement made through the Giants. “He will be deeply missed and I wish him all the best in the future.”

McCovey, the cove namesake, is now a senior advisor to the Giants.

Obama pardoned 64 people and commuted the sentences of 209.

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Read More: Chris Paul, Willie McCovey,
Alex Rodriguez set to host CNBC show ‘Back in the Game’ 01.17.17 at 2:32 pm ET
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N.Y. PostAlex Rodriguez is “Back in the Game,” but not literally.

The former Yankees slugger will host a CNBC show by that title in which he counsels former athletes who have gone broke, it was announced Tuesday. The reality program, from SMAC Entertainment and Machete Productions, will be produced by former Giants star Michael Strahan. 

“It’s a story we hear all too often,” read the release, tweeted out by Politico’s Alex Weprin. “A pro athlete heads into retirement, only to find themselves in financial free-fall. With no more games to play or paychecks to cash, the future can often look bleak to those athletes struggling to adjust and adapt. But help may be on the way.”

The sentimental CNBC show marks the latest step in Rodriguez’s public relations turnaround. A-Rod was once one of the most hated players in the game, but spent the past two years since his season-long PED suspension in 2014 remaking himself as a clubhouse mentor. Rodriguez also got rave reviews for impressively articulating his baseball knowledge as an analyst for Fox Sports during the postseason.

I’m not a huge Alex Rodriguez fan but he’s not bad on TV. The first lesson should be not to waste money hiring people to stand outside a courthouse and hold supportive signs for you, as it was speculated he did in 2013,

Johnny Manziel should be the first guest on this show.

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Cubs visit Barack Obama at White House, Jon Lester explains his absence 01.17.17 at 9:53 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:
NHL: Chicago at Colorado, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Houston at Miami, 7:30 p.m. (NBA)
NBA: Denver at LA Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (NBA)
College basketball: Illinois at Purdue, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Kentucky at Mississippi State, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Pittsburgh at N.C. State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: South Florida at UCF, 7 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Texas at Baylor, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Michigan at Wisconsin, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Vanderbilt at Georgia, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Wichita State at Evansville, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: New Mexico at Boise State, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
Women’s college basketball: Memphis at South Florida, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
Women’s college basketball: Oklahoma at Texas, 7 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The World Series champion Cubs visited the White House Monday for the last champion team visit of Barack Obama’s presidency.

“They said this day would never come,” Obama began his remarks during the ceremony. “I will say to the Cubs, it took you long enough. I only have four days left. You’re just making it under the wire. Even I was not crazy enough to suggest that during these eight years we would see the Cubs win the World Series. But I did say there has never been anything false about hope.”

Cubs team president and former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein joked about Obama’s White Sox fandom, granting him a “pardon.”

“We have taken the liberty of offering you a midnight pardon,” Epstein said. “We welcome you with open arms today to the Cubs family.”

“Among Sox fans I’m the Cubs’ No. 1 fan,” Obama responded.

Former Red Sox pitcher and current Cub Jon Lester was not in attendance at the White House and explained his absence was not political:

Read More: Chicago Cubs,
DirecTV spokesman Rob Lowe blasts company after Seahawks-Falcons game gets blacked out 01.16.17 at 12:01 pm ET
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Awful AnnouncingRob Lowe has been a prominent DirecTV spokesman, but he’s also a big football fan, and the latter role appears to be taking precedence for him at the moment. Lowe absolutely unleashed on DirecTV in a tweet barrage Saturday.

What’s at issue here? It looks like it’s a carriage dispute between DirecTV and multiple Palm Springs, CA-area local television stations. From The Desert Sun: DirecTV has pulled the plug on at least eight local television stations in the Coachella Valley, after the provider and those stations failed to renegotiate carrier agreements.

The stations were initially scheduled to go off the air on Tuesday, but the parties agreed to two 24-hour extensions before “reaching an impasse” on Thursday, said Mike Stutz, general manager at KESQ, one of the affected stations.

According to KESQ and its parent company, The News-Press and Gazette Company, DirecTV customers were scheduled to lose KESQ (ABC), KDFX (FOX), KUNA (Telemundo), CBS Local 2, KCWQ (CW), Desert News Now, KUNA-FM and KESQ-AM when their existing contract expired on Tuesday. After two extensions, the stations went off the air at 3 p.m. Thursday. Those stations carry local news and weather programming, local and national sports — including National Football League playoffs — and network television shows.

Lowe even retweeted a response suggesting people switch to Xfinity:  


This is a bold and hilarious move by Lowe– that “Screwed Over Rob Lowe” line wasn’t bad. But calling the company you work for greedy and promoting the switch to another cable provider is an almost guaranteed way to get fired.

So he tweeted this:

I was really hoping Lowe would pull a Paul from Verizon (now Sprint) and switch sides but it seems he is weak and backed down. He even deleted those two follow-up tweets, which were gold. But he does commercials for DirecTV and still has to pay for it? And Alison Ridley’s dad works for Xfinity and doesn’t have to pay for it? And Alison Ridley’s dad doesn’t even do commercials?

Not only might Lowe now need a new job, but he also needs a new agent.

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Death of Jimmy Snuka gets range of reaction on Twitter; Chiefs’ Travis Kelce rips referee for holding call 01.16.17 at 9:05 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 BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS: 
NHL: NY Islanders at Boston, 1 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Washington at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Charlotte at Boston, 7:30 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: Atlanta at New York, 1 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: New Orleans at Indiana, 4 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Cleveland at Golden State, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Oklahoma City at LA Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Marquette at Butler, 12 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Creighton at Xavier, 2 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: UT Arlington at South Alabama, 3 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: DePaul at St. John’s, 4:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Seton Hall at Villanova, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Boston University at Loyola Maryland, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: N.C. Central at Hampton, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Syracuse at North Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Jackson State at Texas Southern, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Kansas at Iowa State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Providence at Georgetown, 9 p.m. (FS1)
Women’s college basketball: Notre Dame at Tennessee, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Women’s college basketball: Wisconsin at Penn State, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

— WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy Snuka has died at the age of 73 his daughter, Tamina, announced on Sunday on her Twitter account. It was reported in December Snuka was in hospice with six months to live.

Snuka was the legendary WWE character “Superfly” but was charged in 2015 with the 1983 murder of his then-girlfriend, Nancy Argentino. The charges were dropped earlier this month when he was found incompetent to stand trial.

Because of this, reaction to his death was both positive and negative in social media.

      Jimmy Snuka is a murderer. His place in wrestling history is cemented but no one’s legacy in a business outweighs murder. Come on, simple. — TOMÁS RÍOS (@TheTomasRios) January 15, 2017


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Read More: Jimmy Snuka, Travis Kelce,
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Chargers face funny backlash on Twitter after releasing new Los Angeles logo, reportedly plan to hire Anthony Lynn as new coach 01.13.17 at 8:08 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Friday 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.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Boston at Atlanta, 8 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: Detroit at Utah, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Chicago at Washington, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
College basketball: Detroit at Oakland, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Toledo at Central Michigan, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Rider at Manhattan, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Women’s college basketball: St. John’s at Georgetown, 7 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Chargers are officially moving from San Diego to Los Angeles and unveiled a new team logo Thursday in their rebranding of the franchise. The reaction on Twitter to the design was swift and unforgiving.  

Other sports teams even got in on the jokes:  

Then the Chargers clarified this new logo will not be on uniforms.

 

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Read More: San Diego Chargers,
SB Nation writer claims Patriots have a ‘Trump problem’ 01.13.17 at 12:09 am ET
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SB Nation— The Clinton-Kaine signs were still up on the afternoon of December 24, sagging in the snow like tombstones of hope. They flashed by the windows as I drove through my hometown of Lincoln, Massachusetts, where 77.7 percent of residents voted for Hillary Clinton. Hanging off porches behind some of the Clinton signs were New England Patriots flags.

For over a decade now, people outside of New England have reviled the Patriots for turning winning into a science and, many believe, cheating to do so. Pats fans doubled-down in response, and a fierce loyalty took root in Massachusetts that, through the sagas of Spygate and Deflategate, seemed unshakeable.

But recently, that blind faith has faced its greatest test in the form of the team’s connection to Republican president-elect Donald Trump.

The trouble began when Patriots reporters spotted Brady with a Make America Great Again hat in his locker in Foxboro in the fall of 2015 (feels like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?), soon after Trump announced his candidacy and called Mexicans rapists in the same speech. Over the past year and a half, the team’s ties to Trump have only grown stronger.

I was at a neighborhood holiday party in Lincoln a few days before Christmas, talking to the parents of several friends I grew up with. They asked about my job, so the conversation turned to sports. And then, naturally, to the Patriots. And then, naturally, to Trump.

“Oh, Susan Pease won’t even watch anymore,” one of my friend’s moms said. “She used to watch every Sunday with her family, and now she just can’t do it.”

I called Pease a few days later to ask her if this was true.

“Yeah, I just will not watch,” she said. “I really enjoy watching the game with my family. I like what it means for my family to sit down and talk and laugh and watch and snack and now … I just, it’s just ruined for me. It’s not the worst thing about this, of course — this whole thing stems from my tremendous disappointment over this election and country. But it will forever color my opinion of the team. I will not watch, I will not buy any more jerseys. I’m done.”

Over the course of reporting this story, I’ve received countless emails and Facebook messages from people in Massachusetts telling me how disappointed they are in their team. Writing those letters almost seemed like catharsis for many: Several ended with sentiments along the lines of “it feels so good to get this off my chest,” and “I’ve been thinking about this so much.”

Some of these notes I got were filled with anger. People wrote things like “fuck Brady,” and “I used to think Belichick was a genius and now I hate him,” and “I actually take delight when they lose.” Pease isn’t alone — at least six other people told me they can’t bear to watch Pats games anymore, either. A few told me that they were looking for a reason to give football up already because they find the NFL immoral and what it does to men’s bodies indefensible. Trump was the final straw that eliminated any feelings of loyalty.

Is Wilder trying to argue Patriots fans have stopped watching games or denounced the team because it has a connection to Trump? If so, she uses this to make her case: at least SIX people said they stopped watching games, PLUS Susan Pease, so that’s at least seven. 

Also, she doesn’t mention any of the names of these six people who contacted her about not watching the games. So her sources are unconvincing.   

If you’ve talked to so many people, why not include that in the story and maybe name some of them?
Her argument is weak also because, as Kirk Minihane mentioned, she has no substantial proof to back up her claims the Patriots have a Trump problem.

Wilder says the problem is here: It’s hard to have a conversation about the Patriots without talking about Trump anymore. The connection reverberates far beyond the place I grew up.

OK, so what are some of those conversations that reverberate far beyond Massachusetts?

Because from what I’ve seen it is not hard to have a conversation about the Patriots without talking about Trump. It’s actually pretty easy. I have heard and been a part of many, many, many conversations about the Patriots that have nothing to do with Trump. I hadn’t heard any conversations about the Patriots and Trump for a while until this thing was published.

No matter how anyone feels about the team or the president-elect, the two have become as woven into each other’s histories as Trump’s hair is to his head. The difference is that while the rest of the country doesn’t really have a stake in this connection, Patriots fans in liberal Massachusetts who find Trump abhorrent have to grapple with the emotional implications.

This is how Wilder concludes her piece. Are Patriots fans grappling with emotions because some people involved with their favorite football team support Trump? Not at all from what I have seen. And when I think of the history of the Patriots, one of the last things I think of is Donald Trump. And the history of Donald Trump is going to be full of a lot more important things than his connection to the Patriots. This is a little dramatic.

What are we supposed to take away from this? I honestly have no idea. If she had named a few sources or cited some data showing this is a real problem and people have stopped watching games or supporting the team, then she might have a story here. But this is pretty weak.

Petition to ban Joe Buck, Troy Aikman from calling Packers games has almost 24,000 signatures 01.12.17 at 2:25 pm ET
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Change.org–Get Troy Aikman and Joe Buck banned from announcing Green Bay Packer’s games

Andrew Dorff, Brookfield, WI

This is a petition to get Joe Buck and Troy Aikman banned from announcing/commentating on the Green Bay Packers. 

On behalf of the Green Bay Packers fans across the world, we would like action taken to prohibit them from giving their constant negative input about our team. We are sick of the biased announcing always coming from them.

Letter to

NFL
Roger Goodell
FOX News
FOX Broadcasting Company

Yeah, this will definitely work. Petitions like this always do.

And Roger Goodell definitely cares. I’m not sure this is even his jurisdiction.

But I like this guy’s succinct explanation for this matter of great importance to his life.

My favorite part of petitions like this is the “Reasons for signing” section. The option to give your reason was made for petitions like this.

Here are some of them:

“They’re biased and annoying to hear. Joe buck needs a new face. Troy needs to keep it to 2 beers before games.”

“I hate Bucket”

“Troy is a biased punk and Joe is annoying”

“Cause I don’t need Boy Aiken and Blow Shmuck drooling over the Cowgirls for 4 hours….Geeeezzzz”

“They are bias and borring to listen”

“You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig. Joe and Troy try to say all the right things but their anti-Packer feelings still bleed through. Sometimes it’s not what they say it’s what they don’t say.”

“I woudl liek ot see Joe Buchk and Aikman not only banned from this game – but banned from announcing all games, in any sport, forever and ever. Amen”

And on and on and on it goes.

Good luck to Andrew Dorff. If enough people agree with him, absolutely nothing will happen.

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Chargers players react to plan to move team to Los Angeles; Tim Tebow not invited to Mets major league camp 01.12.17 at 8:28 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Thursday 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.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Boston at Nashville, 8 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Montreal at Minnesota, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Indiana at Denver, 3 p.m. (NBA)
NBA: Chicago at New York, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Detroit at Golden State, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Belmont at Morehead State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: La Salle at URI, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Notre Dame at Miami, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Ohio State at Wisconsin, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Arizona State at Arizona, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Austin Peay at SIUE, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Northwestern at Rutgers, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: SMU at Cincinnati, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Washington at California, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Saint Mary’s at Portland, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: UCLA at Colorado, 11 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Chargers organization is expected to announce as early as Thursday the team will move from San Diego to Los Angeles.

The Chargers notified NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and league owners of their plans to move the team for the 2017 season but nothing is set in stone. The team’s chairman has not yet sent a formal relocation letter to the NFL nor notified members of the Chargers organization or public officials in San Diego or Los Angeles.

“At first, I hoped it was fake news,” said former Charger Dan Fouts. “It’s something that is unfathomable, but it is reality.”

The organization has reportedly scheduled a staff meeting for 11 a.m. on Thursday but the topic of the meeting is unknown.

Chargers players reacted on Twitter with a lot of emojis:

 

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Read More: San Diego Chargers, Tim Tebow,
Would you pay $50 for a selfie with Johnny Manziel? 01.11.17 at 10:34 am ET
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ProFootballTalk — If you’re going to the Super Bowl next month, start saving your pennies.

Johnny Manziel will be in Houston, too, and he’ll be charging for autographs and pictures.

Manziel will be at two different Stadium Signatures stores, one on Feb. 2 and one on Feb. 3, to greet fans. Per the Stadium Signatures Facebook page, selfies will cost $50. Manziel will sign any item for $99, and the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner and Browns 2014 first-round pick will personally inscribe those items for an extra $29.

Manziel’s quest to be relevant again continues.

There are absolutely people who will pay for this and good for Manziel and his people for realizing this and taking advantage of his Texas connection to the Super Bowl.

I’m sure he will use this money to turn his life around.