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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Theo Epstein eats a goat to celebrate Cubs’ World Series win; Steph Curry sets 3-point record 11.08.16 at 8:18 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Tuesday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Boston at Montreal, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Atlanta at Cleveland, 7 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: New Orleans at Sacramento, 10:30 p.m. (NBATV)
College football: Eastern Michigan at Ball State, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College football: Western Michigan at Kent State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB: Gold Glove Awards, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

NHL: Bruins 4, Sabres 0
NHL: Panthers 3, Lightning 1
NHL: Islanders 4, Canucks 2
NFL: Seahawks 31, Bills 25
NBA: Hornets 122, Pacers 100
NBA: Jazz 109, 76ers 84
NBA: Rockets 114, Wizards 106
NBA: Thunder 97, Heat 85
NBA: Bulls 112, Magic 80
NBA: Clippers 114, Pistons 82
NBA: Warriors 116, Pelicans 106


— After the Cubs won the World Series and broke the “Curse of the Billy Goat,” Theo Epstein celebrated by actually eating a goat.

Restauranteur Kevin Boehm said Epstein, the Cubs’ president of baseball operations, requested the goat from Girl & the Goat, a restaurant Boehm co-owns in the Boka Restaurant Group.


“We were on the phone with [Cubs GM] Jed [Hoyer]. He was recapping the game, and in the background, Theo says he wanted roasted goat for lunch,” Boehm told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I said we’d make it happen.”

The restaurant’s executive chef and “Top Chef” winner, Stephanie Izard, roasted a 9-1/2 pound goat for Hoyer, Epstein and three others to eat at Wrigley Field last week.

“They were all sitting in the left-field bleachers in an empty Wrigley Field. They ate it right there,” Boehm said. “They’ve said there are no curses, that it was just a matter of putting together a great baseball team. But they were happy to eat that goat.”

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Read More: Steph Curry, Theo Epstein,
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Barack Obama congratulates Cubs; Bill Murray celebrates with Theo Epstein 11.03.16 at 8:29 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Thursday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Boston at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Boston at Cleveland, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Oklahoma City at Golden State, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College football: Buffalo at Ohio, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
College football: Arkansas State at Georgia State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Oklahoma at Iowa State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: UCLA at Colorado, 9 p.m. (FS1)
NFL: Atlanta at Tampa Bay, 8:25 p.m. (NFL Network)
Soccer: Europa: Austria Wien vs. Roma, 2 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: Europa: Fenerbahce vs. Manchester United, 2 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Europa: Schalke 04 vs. Krasnodar, 4 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: Europa: Southampton vs. Internazionale Milano FS1

MLB: Cubs 8, Indians 7
NBA: Celtics 107, Bulls 100
NBA: Raptors 113, Wizards 103
NBA: Hornets 109, 76ers 93
NBA: Nets 109, Pistons 101
NBA: Rockets 118, Knicks 99
NBA: Grizzlies 89, Pelicans 83
NBA: Suns 118, Trail Blazers 115
NBA: Lakers 123, Hawks 116
NBA: Jazz 97, Mavericks 81
NBA: Thunder 85, Clippers 83
NHL: Canadiens 3, Canucks 0 
NHL: Penguins 5, Ducks 1
NHL: Flyers 4, Red Wings 3


— President Barack Obama is a huge White Sox fan, but that didn’t stop him from congratulating the Cubs on their World Series win.

He tweeted to the crosstown team after its long-awaited win Wednesday night and invited the players to visit the White House before he leaves office in January.

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Read More: Chicago Cubs, Theo Epstein,
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Theo Epstein agrees to 5-year extension to remain Cubs president 09.29.16 at 8:01 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Indians at Tigers, 1:10 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Reds at Cardinals, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Rockies at Giants, 11 p.m. (MLB Network)
NFL: Dolphins at Bengals, 8:25 p.m. (NFL Network)
College football: Hampton at North Carolina A&T, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: UConn at Houston, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Kansas at Texas Tech, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
Hockey: World Cup of Hockey, Canada vs. Europe, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Europa League, FSV Mainz at Gabala, 11 a.m. (FS2)
Soccer: Europa League, Internazionale Milano at Sparta Praha, 1 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Europa League, Red Bull Salzburg at Schalke 04, 1 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: Europa League, Astra Giurgiu at AS Roma, 3 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: Europa League, Zorya Luhansk at Manchester United, 3 p.m. (FS1)


— Theo Epstein apparently is finding it a lot easier to work for management in Chicago.

The Cubs announced Wednesday that the former Red Sox general manager agreed to a five-year extension to continue as president of baseball operations of the long-suffering franchise. Epstein, who was GM when the Red Sox ended their 86-year championship drought in 2004, has turned the Cubs into 100-game winners for the first time since 1935 as they pursue their first World Series title since 1908.

“In the five years under Theo’s leadership, he has brought in a strong executive team and acquired and developed some of the best players in the game,” Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said. “Now, the results are on the field.”

General manager Jed Hoyer and senior vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod — also former Red Sox employees — will receive extensions as well, Ricketts said.

Rickets explained that he and Epstein first discussed an extension over dinners in early March, although the deal was not finalized until this week.

“We sat down at spring training, had a nice dinner, talked about getting an extension done,” Ricketts said. “Basically, I told him I thought he was the best in the game at what he did. He told me no matter what I paid him he wasn’t going to leave Chicago, so we were off to a good start. We checked back in on it a couple times during the summer. There was no real time pressure.”

— Marlins players walked alongside as a hearse carried the body of Jose Fernandez, the pitcher who died over the weekend in a boating accident in Miami.

During the Wednesday procession, the players and coaches wore T-shirts featuring Fernandez’s image and the letters “RIP.” Crowds along the route chanted “Jose! Jose!” while some waved Cuban flags in honor of the 24-year-old Cuban-American.

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Read More: Jose Fernandez, Theo Epstein,
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Manny Ramirez homers in home debut for Triple-A Iowa Cubs 07.01.14 at 8:01 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Cubs at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Brewers at Blue Jays1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Athletics at Tigers, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
World Cup soccer: United States vs. Belgium, 4 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
World Cup soccer: Argentina vs. Switzerland, noon (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
WNBA: Indiana Fever at Atlanta Dream, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
WNBA: Chicago Sky at Los Angeles Sparks, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 8 a.m. (ESPN, ESPN2), 11:30 a.m. (ESPNews)


Manny Ramirez made his home debut for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs on Monday night and it was a good one. The former Red Sox star went 3-for-4, including a two-run home run off Royals prospect Sugar Ray Marimon. The Cubs rallied to beat the Omaha Storm Chasers, 7-6, in 10 innings, although Ramirez was not around for the comeback as he was removed in the eighth for a pinch runner.

Ramirez played in his first game for the team last Thursday (going 0-for-4 but reaching base on an error) after working out for a few weeks to get back in game shape. He’s serving as a player-coach, scheduled to make occasional appearances in the lineup while mentoring the team’s top prospects.

Asked Monday what he’s advising the young players, Ramirez — who twice was suspended by MLB for violent the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs — said: “Do the right thing, bro. Follow the rules. That’s it.”

Added Ramirez: “When you love the game and you want to help young players and give them your testimonial and the things that you went through so they don’t go through that, it’s easy,” Ramirez said. “When you come here and you’re helping young players grow up and see them go to the next level, I think that’s such a joy for yourself, to come and help somebody else. It doesn’t matter who you are. It’s who you’re going to be.”

Cubs president Theo Epstein joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning and spoke glowingly of Ramirez, who claims to be a new man after finding religion.

“Manny gave me as many problems as he gave anyone, probably besides [former Red Sox manager Terry Francona] in his time in Boston. He’s responsible for most of the gray hairs on my head. So it’s not something that we entered into lightly,” Epstein said. “But people do change. I talked a lot to Manny, and he seemed like a completely different guy. ‘€¦ He’s grown for the better. He’s open and honest about all the mistakes he’s made in the past and he wants to fix that by being a positive influence on young players.”

— The trial pitting Donald Sterling against his estranged wife will begin next Monday after lawyers for both sides agreed to no longer make an issue of the banned Clippers owner’s mental capacity.

Donald Sterling had been examined by two doctors called by Shelly Sterling who declared him incapacitated, but he since has found a physician to indicate he is competent following a weekend examination, his lawyer said.

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Read More: Donald Sterling, Manny Ramirez, ncaa, Theo Epstein
Top Boston Sports Stories of 2013, No. 13: Red Sox owners go on defensive after being blasted in Terry Francona’s book 12.20.13 at 10:44 am ET
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Over the final days of the year, will count down the top 13 stories of 2013 in Boston sports. This is No. 13: Red Sox owners go on defensive after being blasted in Terry Francona‘s book.

While memories of the 2013 World Series championship are fresh in the minds of many Red Sox fans, looking back, the mood and atmosphere surrounding this team was significantly less positive during the first few months of the year. Entering 2013, the sting of the September collapse of 2011 and the massively disappointing 69-93 campaign under the helm of one-and-done manager Bobby Valentine in 2012 loomed over Fenway Park like a dark cloud.

One of the most interesting storylines that emerged during Boston’s bleak franchise slump was the war of words between former Sox manager Terry Francona and team ownership, specifically John HenryLarry Lucchino and Tom Werner, upon the release of Francona’s book, “Terry Francona: The Red Sox Years.”

The manager of the Sox from 2004-11, Francona was one of the most successful and beloved skippers in franchise history, leading his team to two World Series titles in 2004 and 2007 while posting a 744-552 (.574) regular-season record.

While Francona boasted an impressive track record in Boston, he was was the manager during one of the worst collapses in MLB history, as the 2011 Red Sox went 9-20 in September, blowing a nine-game lead to the Rays in the American League wild card race and missing out on the playoffs.

After the season ended, the Red Sox and the manager agreed to part ways. The divorce was not pretty, as a source from within the Red Sox organization told a Boston Globe reporter that Francona was distracted by marital problems and an addiction to pain medication during Boston’s September slump.

Fair to say, Francona was not happy with these allegations, and he blamed ownership.

“If there was one thing I was probably guilty of, it was protecting everyone in that organization. Everybody. I felt that was part of my responsibility, even to the point where in that last press conference, I said I take responsibility for this,” Francona said during an appearance on The Big Show in December 2011. “I couldn’t get to the players. I thought, ‘OK, I’m done here. I’ll take responsibility and go away.’ Little did I know I was going to be going away limping because someone cut my legs out from under me.”

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Read More: Boston Sports Stories of the Year 2013, Dan Shaughnessy, John Henry, Stories of the Year 2013
Rick Renteria reportedly set to become new Cubs manager 11.07.13 at 9:19 am ET
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The Cubs’ search for a new manager appears to finally be over, as the team reportedly is prepared to hire Padres bench coach Rick Renteria, a source close to the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The hiring is expected to be announced Thursday.

Renteria, 51, has served as a member of the San Diego coaching staff for six years and has been bench coach since 2011. Renteria also managed Mexico during the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Renteria will be tasked with leading a team that finished last in the NL Central for the first time in seven years in 2013 under the watch of former manager Dale Sveum.

The Cubs decided to move on and look for a new manager after many of the team’s young franchise players did not show much progression during Sveum’s two year-tenure at Wrigley. With players such as Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, both under 25 years old, already integral pieces to Chicago’s lineup, as well as prospects such as Jorge SolderKris Bryant and Javier Baez on the way up to the majors, the Cubs are hoping that Renteria will be able to take this inexperienced team and morph it into a contender in the coming seasons.

Renteria’s hiring will cap off a long managerial search for the Cubs. Chicago had originally targeted Yankees manager and Illinois native Joe Girardi but were turned down after Girardi signed a four-year contract with the Yankees on Oct. 10.

Chicago also interviewed former Mariners manager Eric Wedge, Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, former Indians manager Manny Acta, former Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch and Brad Ausmus, who was hired by the Tigers on Sunday.

The Cubs also were said to be interested in interviewing Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, but Boston reportedly would not allow Chicago to contact Lovullo, citing a deal made during Theo Epstein‘s departure from the Red Sox that states that the Cubs cannot hire any Boston employees over a three-year period.

Read More: Chicago Cubs, Rick Renteria, Theo Epstein, Torey Lovullo
Friday’s Morning Mashup: UConn hockey team releases video supporting gay athletes 05.25.12 at 8:02 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Rays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)
MLB: Rockies at Reds, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL playoffs: Rangers at Devils, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

NBA playoffs: 76ers at Celtics, 8 p.m. (ABC; WEEI)
MLB: Rays at Red Sox, 7:15 p.m. (Fox; WRKO)
MLB: Tigers at Astros, 2 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Indians at White Sox, 4 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Astros at Dodgers, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLS: Revolution at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)

MLB: Rays at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN, TBS; WEEI)
MLB: Cubs at Pirates, 1:30 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Nationals at Braves, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Thunder at Spurs, 8:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs (if necessary): Rangers at Devils, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)


‘™¦ The University of Connecticut hockey team is taking a public stand against homophobia. The Huskies released a video in which players proclaim they would support “any teammate, gay or straight, that can help us win games.”

‘€œWe thought it was a great idea to show the community how we feel about homosexuality in sports, and let people know that anyone can play on our team,’€ UConn captain Sean Ambrosie told the Hartford Courant.

The video is part of the You Can Play program, created by Flyers scout Patrick Burke. The son of Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, Patrick is paying tribute to his late brother, Brendan Burke, who announced he was gay one year before he died in a car accident in 2010.

Burke said that about 100 athletes, including 50 from the NHL, have signed a pledge promising they would play with gay or transgender teammates. UConn is one of eight teams to join as a group.

“When a whole team stands up to do something like this, that’s very important,’€ Burke said. ‘€œFor a young gay hockey player who is looking for a place to play hockey, he knows that UConn is an option, that he will be safe at UConn, that he will be accepted at UConn.”

‘™¦ The Jets held a full-squad practice Thursday, and Mark Sanchez impressed the onlookers far more so than Tim Tebow, who threw two interceptions. That led to Sanchez’ agent, Brian Murphy, crowing on Twitter.

Wrote Murphy: No offense media, but of course Sanchez is going to out perform Tim T. Mark is a franchise quarterback and Tim is a great athlete.

Murphy later realized he had put his client in an awkward position, so he backed off his braggadocio: Didn’t mean to create a stir not disrespect TT who has done nothing but excel on football field. This is my opinion and time will tell.

‘™¦ Yankees managing partner Hal Steinbrenner denied a New York Daily News report that the team might soon be put up for sale. The report quoted sources as saying the Steinbrenners were intrigued by the Dodgers’ sale for more than $2 billion.

“It is pure fiction,” Steinbrenner said. “The Yankees are not for sale. I expect that the Yankees will be in my family for many years to come.”

Added the commissioner’s office: “Major League Baseball has received no indications from any representatives of the New York Yankees or anyone else that the club is for sale.”

Meanwhile, Yankees COO Lonn Trost was so bothered by the story that he said he wants the commissioner to investigate the source and “take appropriate action.”

‘™¦ In case you haven’t been keeping up with former Red Sox manager Theo Epstein, his Cubs have lost nine games in a row and are 15-29, tied with the Twins for the worst record in baseball. Yet, Epstein does not appear willing to pull the trigger on any big moves to salvage this season.

Writes Chicago Tribune baseball columnist Phil Rogers: The ship is sinking, and no one seems to be feeling much urgency to save it.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On May 25, 1984, the Red Sox traded Dennis Eckersley and Mike Brumley to the Cubs for which player?

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Read More: Brendan Burke, Brian Burke, Hal Steinbrenner, Mark Sanchez
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Joe Namath unimpressed with Jets’ hiring of Tony Sparano 01.13.12 at 7:45 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup — especially everyone in Mr. Kearney’s seventh-grade class. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Bulls at Celtics, 8 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI)
NBA: Heat at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Cleveland State at Butler, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Lightning at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)

NFL playoffs: Broncos at Patriots, 8 p.m. (CBS)
NFL playoffs: Saints at 49ers, 4:30 p.m. (Fox; WEEI)
NBA: Celtics at Pacers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)
NBA: Lakers at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Virginia Tech at Boston College, 3 p.m. (WEEI)
College basketball: UConn at Notre Dame, 11 a.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: North Carolina at Florida State, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Bruins at Hurricanes, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Blackhawks at Red Wings, 12:30 p.m. (NBC)

NFL playoffs: Texans at Ravens, 1 p.m. (CBS; WEEI)
NFL playoffs: Giants at Packers, 4:30 p.m. (Fox; WEEI)
NBA: Suns at Spurs, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Indiana at Ohio State, 4:30 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: Duke at Clemson, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Rangers at Canadiens, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)


‘™¦ Jets legend Joe Namath is not impressed by his old team’s hiring of former Dolphins coach Tony Sparano as offensive coordinator.

“I’m stumped,” Namath said during a Thursday appearance on New York’s 1050 ESPN Radio. “I am stumped. Ay yay yay.”

Namath questioned Sparano’s qualifications for the position.

“Other than calling some plays with the Dallas Cowboys I don’€™t know what his credentials are for an offensive coordinator,’€ Namath said. ‘€œThis goes back ‘€¦ Sparano’€™s relationship with [Jets GM Mike] Tannenbaum goes back to the [Bill] Parcells days, too. This is the football fraternity, the coaching fraternity, the general mangers with their friends and all. That’€™s basically what I think about Tony getting that job. Credentials as an offensive coordinator? I don’€™t see it.”

‘™¦ Following his appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning, Theo Epstein met with about 100 grammar school students at Wrigley Field and talked about ending the team’s Billy Goat curse.

“We can break it,” said Epstein, who also discussed the team’s partnership with Bloomberg Sports that will help the team’s baseball operations department develop a new player-evaluation system. “If we stick together, if we have a plan, if we support each other, if we keep focused on what’s best as a team, and not what’s best for the individual, if we work really hard, if we prepare really hard, someday we can turn this thing around, and yeah, we can win.”

‘™¦ Bruins fans might not realize it watching their feisty team, but fighting is down 25 percent in the NHL this season.

“I think there has been a shift in the way the game is being played,” Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said. “Right now I think the rules are protecting players, where in the past the players policed the game a little bit more.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 13, 1983, the Red Sox shipped which veteran pitcher to the Mets for a minor leaguer to be named later (infielder Mike Davis, who never reached the majors)?

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Read More: Don Maloney, Joe Namath, Theo Epstein, Tony Sparano
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul guarantees win over Packers 01.09.12 at 7:57 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

College football: BCS national championship, Alabama vs. LSU, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI)
NBA: Bobcats at Knicks, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: West Virginia at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Cincinnati at Georgetown, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)


‘™¦ The Jets failed to make the playoffs, but New York still has a loud, cocky team making noise. After dispatching the Falcons Sunday following a few days of bad-mouthing them, the Giants are preparing to face the defending Super Bowl champion Packers in Green Bay. No problem, claims defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

“We’re going to win,” Pierre-Paul said. “A hundred percent we’re going to win. ‘€¦ Because we’re the best.”

‘™¦ The Cubs are preparing for their annual Cubs Convention, an event that allowed fans to interact with Cubs management and players. According to the Chicago Tribune, they might as well change the name of the weekend event to Theo Fest, as all eyes are are on former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein.

‘™¦ The family of the late Roy Disney (nephew of Walt Disney) is preparing to make a bid to buy the Dodgers, according to a story in The Los Angeles Times. The Walt Disney Co. owned the Angels when they won the 2002 World Series and sold the team the following year.

‘™¦ European soccer has had a number of racial incidents to deal with lately, including multiple issues involving the John Henry-owned Liverpool team. The latest incident occurred in Barcelona when fans of Espanyol mocked Barca defender Daniel Alves by making monkey sounds whenever he touched the ball. The Brazilian, who is black, said he did not hear the chants during the 1-1 draw.

Said Barcelona club president Sandro Rossel: “It’s clear we are not happy with this, not happy at all.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 9, 1993, who resigned after two seasons as Patriots chief executive officer, clearing the way for the new staff led by coach Bill Parcells?

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Read More: Jason Pierre-Paul, Theo Epstein,
Top Stories of 2011, No. 2: Red Sox’ September collapse 12.30.11 at 12:00 pm ET
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For the final 10 days of 2011, will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. Our next entry in the countdown is No. 2: The Red Sox‘ September swoon.

Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NBA lockout
No. 9: NFL lockout
No. 8: Celtics’ playoff loss to Heat
No. 7: Patriots’ acquisitions of Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco
No. 6: Jacoby Ellsbury’s MVP-caliber season
No. 5: Patriots’ playoff loss to Jets
No. 4: Celtics’ trade of Kendrick Perkins
No. 3: Red Sox’ manager/GM turnover

In the ninth inning of the Red Sox’ 4-3 loss to the Orioles on Sept. 28, the ticking time bomb that was Boston’€™s season finally blew up. In just three plays, the Red Sox watched a 3-2 lead turn into a 4-3 walk-off loss with closer Jonathan Papelbon on the mound.

Just minutes later, the Red Sox saw their season end when, down in Tampa, Evan Longoria hit a walk-off home run to cap a seven-run comeback against the Yankees for an 8-7 Rays win. The Rays won the wild card, shocking a Sox team that just 28 days before had been nine games up in the wild card race.

‘€œThis is one for the ages, isn’€™t it?’€ said Sox general manager Theo Epstein on the night the season ended. ‘€œWhat was going on with those two games, how poorly we played in September. We can’€™t sugarcoat this, this is awful.

‘€œWe did it to ourselves, and put ourselves in a position for a crazy night like this to end our season. It shouldn’€™t have been this way ‘€¦ 7-20 in September. We go 9-18, we’€™re where we want to be, and 9-18 is what, winning a third of your games? The worst teams in baseball win a third of their games. There’€™s no excuse, we did this to ourselves.’€

So how did the Red Sox, a team that in June and July was the best in the major leagues, fail to win even a third of their games in September?

It started innocently enough, when the Sox lost the first game of the month in 4-2 fashion to the Yankees in a game that held hints of what was to come. Starter Jon Lester lasted just five innings, but his pitching line looked OK. He allowed one run on seven hits with six strikeouts and three walks. It was a mediocre outing, but certainly not a disastrous one.

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Read More: Carl Crawford, Daniel Bard, David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon