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Lester's NVRQT Night moved to Aug. 26

Posted by David D'Onofrio July 29, 2013 06:33 PM

Monday night at around 6:30, Jon Lester stood next to pitching coach Juan Nieves in the Red Sox dugout, wearing a red pullover and munching on sunflower seeds -- instead of hanging out across the street at the House of Blues, hosting the VIPs attending his NVRQT Night.

That's where he would've been if the Sox didn't have a game last night, but when rain postponed the tilt between Boston and Tampa Bay, and it was instead shifted to Monday, Lester needed to correspondingly move the event the left-handed pitcher holds in support of the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation. Now it is slated for Aug. 26, still at the House of Blues.

NVRQT is an abbreviation for "never quit," and Lester -- himself a cancer survivor -- adopted the mantra in forming his foundation with his wife, Farrah. And NVRQT Night has a fun format: Celebrities including the Lesters will take part in a game of "3 Up, 3 Down" which is a Hollywood Squares-style game show that'll be emceed by Greg Hill and his friends from the WAAF morning show. There will also be live and silent auctions.

Tickets are still available, and can be purchased by clicking here. General admission ducats are $100, and are good for mezzanine access plus complimentary food and drinks. VIP admission includes access to the main floor, invites to the pre- and post-parties, as well as the free food and drinks.

tags Red Sox

Pierce and Wilfork show off their -- bad -- Boston accents

Posted by David D'Onofrio July 29, 2013 12:17 PM

It's been said that Paul Pierce grew up quite a bit during his time in Boston, learning many things about life and basketball along the way.

One thing he didn't learn, however, was how to speak with a Boston accent. Courtesy of Dish Network's Talk Boston campaign, here's evidence:

Next Pierce will have to learn to talk New York, as he heads to Brooklyn to chase a second championship -- and to eat "peetsir," apparently -- he leaves the accent ambassadorship to Vince Wilfork. He's a bit better at it; still forced, still over the top, but believable in some uses.

Brady hangs with his 'best friend' in new Funny or Die spoof

Posted by David D'Onofrio July 24, 2013 10:09 AM

Patriots training camp begins this week, but before he gets down to the business of football, Tom Brady -- or should we say, Tomahawk, Tommy Salami, or Shady Brady -- sharpened his acting chops with a follow-up to the Funny or Die short he filmed last year.

Much like his receiving corps, it doesn't appear Brady's acting skills have improved over the past year, as a couple times he looks ready to break character and burst out laughing -- but he sure does make that Under Armour look good. Check it out.

tags Patriots

Red Sox pitcher to host 1st annual Buchholz Bowl

Posted by David D'Onofrio July 16, 2013 09:00 AM

Clay Buchholz is still experiencing soreness when he tries to throw a ball overhand. Thursday night, though, he'll ensure that going underhand can have a positive impact, too.

Following in the bowling-shoe-trodden footsteps laid by Nomar Garciaparra and Josh Beckett, the Red Sox right-hander will host the first annual "Buchholz Bowl" at Jillian's Lucky Strike Lanes. The all-star won't be bowling himself, but he will host the festivities with his wife and charity co-founder Lindsay, with all proceeds from the event will benefit the Clay Buchholz Foundation that the couple introduced earlier this year as an avenue by which to provide health, educational, and sports opportunities for children in need.

“Lindsay and I are honored to be able to help children facing their incredibly tough battle with cancer," Buchholz said in a release identifying Christopher's Haven and Pitching in for Kids as the two primary beneficiaries from the event. "We wanted to start our Foundation here in Boston because of the incredible support my family and I have received from this community. We are overwhelmed by the support for our first event.”

That support included commitments from roughly three dozen corporate sponsors -- with MassMutual as the presenting sponsor -- and the event is already sold out, even with tickets going for $200 apiece. Each team will be joined by a celebrity captain; 12 of Buchholz's current Sox teammates already confirmed as participants, as are players-turned-team-employees Pedro Martinez and Jason Varitek.

The teams will be competing for prizes, of course, but what may be the best stuff will go to the highest bidders during silent and live auctions that'll offer up some unique and appealing items and opportunities. Those include:

  • Ceremonial first pitch for a 2014 Red Sox game

  • One-of-a-kind Clay Buchholz signed #BostonStrong Wilson glove

  • Commemorative shadow box collection of baseballs signed by each 2013 Red Sox player

  • Trip to New York City that includes a four-night stay at The New York Palace, tickets for Red Sox vs. Yankees, Live with Kelly & Michael (with a personal meet/greet) and America’s Got Talent and the Late Show with David Letterman.

  • Trip to Maui with a four-night stay at the five-star Four Seasons Resort, Old Lahaina Luau and other excursions

  • Jerseys signed by Tom Brady (game used), Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Rajon Rondo, Rob Gronkowski and the 2013 Boston Bruins

  • Zac Brown Band concert tickets, backstage meet & greet and signed guitar

For more on the event, check out @ClayBuchholzFdn, or #BuchholzBowl2013, on Twitter. Then, Sox fans, hope the unbeaten Buchholz doesn't follow Garciaparra and Beckett too far down their path -- seeing as each was traded within weeks of hosting the Bowl bearing his name.

tags Red Sox

Sox teammates congratulate Ortiz on DH hits record

Posted by David D'Onofrio July 11, 2013 01:28 PM

Red Sox slugger David Ortiz broke baseball's all-time record for hits by a designated hitter on Thursday night in Seattle, and while the rest of the major leagues seemed to be using its Twitter influence to sway tweeters in the vote for the final spot on the AL and NL all-star rosters, a few of Big Papi's Boston teammates took a break from Koji Uehara's #HighFiveCiti campaign to salute No. 34.

tags Red Sox

Win a chance to spike with Gronk

Posted by David D'Onofrio July 11, 2013 12:00 PM

Rob Gronkowski is joining his father and his four brothers at the Prudential Center Barnes & Noble on Thursday afternoon as the family signs copies of its brand new book, "Growing up Gronk: A Family's Story of Raising Champions." But fans who couldn't make it to Boston, or wish they could've eliminated the table barrier between themselves and the Patriots tight end, are in luck.

Now through Aug. 1, entries are being accepted for a contest that'll ultimately give a winner and one friend the chance to learn how to spike a football like Gronkowski does, complete with an in-person tutorial given by the man himself at a time and place to be determined.

It's put on by BodyArmor SuperDrink -- a company in which the tight end is a partner -- and Tedeschi Food Shops, which will be fielding entries for the contest at its Facebook page.

Locally, Tedeschi stores will also feature talking signage where customers can enable a special video message from Gronkowski by using their smartphone to scan a bar code on an in-store display, while nationally BodyArmor is asking people to upload videos of themselves emulating Gronkowski's signature celebration to Those who submit by Aug. 31 will be eligible for even more prizes.

(And in case you need a reminder of what the Gronk Spike looks like, you can see a few examples here, here, and here. Oh, and it is not always necessarily a football. Sometimes it's a microphone. Sometimes it's milk.)

tags Patriots

Revs collecting soccer equipment for kids prior to Saturday's match

Posted by David D'Onofrio July 10, 2013 01:00 PM

The Revolution will be collecting new and gently used soccer equipment on behalf of disadvantaged youth prior to Saturday's match at Gillette Stadium, beginning a series of monthly collections that'll ask fans to bring school supplies to a tilt in August and winter coats to a September contest.

All three will support local organizations in their community enhancement efforts, with this weekend's donations going to Project GOAL, which is a Rhode Island-based program that'll facilitates development through after-school tutoring and soccer-related programs. Saturday night, items will be accepted at the Bank of America Gate and the NRG Plaza from 6:15 through the 7:30 kickoff with the Houston Dynamo.

And no good deed goes unrewarded: Fans who make a donation will receive a player card, autographed by a Revolution player.

The next collection comes Aug. 17, prior to the Revs’ match against the Chicago Fire, the team is calling for school supplies to support Boston’s Cradles to Crayons initiative. On Sept. 21, the club will be accepting new or gently used winter coats for the Worcester County Sheriff’s office’s annual coat drive.

'Growing Up Gronk' book now available

Posted by David D'Onofrio July 8, 2013 11:59 PM

Rob Gronkowski. Remember him? Less than a month ago, he was the Patriots tight end whose off-field behavior had folks worrying about what it might mean for his future as a football player, and what kind of headaches he was causing Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft.

In the wake of the Aaron Hernandez situation, though, an ill-advised DDT and some shirtless nights at the bar don't seem quite so bad now, and other than a variety of surgeries on his arm and back, Gronkowski has lately managed to keep himself out of the headlines.

But now he and his family have decided to write their own story. Literally.

Arriving in a bookstore near you today, or available right now on your Kindle, is "Growing Up Gronk: A Family's Story of Raising Champions," which is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, was written by the Gronkowski Family with the help of Jeff Schober, and purports to tell the reader in 224 pages everything they need to know about the upbringing that led five brothers to various levels of sporting achievement.

Each of them had a hand in the book, and if anyone should need help identifying the brothers, they need flip no farther than the table of contents, where chapter titles tag each with a distinguishing characteristic, as if they're Buffalo's favorite boy band: There's Dan, "the talented workhorse"; there's Rob, "the superstar"; there's Chris, the "brains and pedigree"; there's Goose, "greatness expected"; then there's Gordon Jr., of whom it's asked, "Doesn't he know the rest of the family plays football?"

The ring leader is father Gordy, the "Papa Gronk" who seems to have spearheaded the project that's summed up by the book's front flap:

The Gronkowski family is a legitimate miracle. 5 towering brothers: Three who play in the NFL - a Denver Bronco, a Cleveland Brown and a record-breaking tight end with the New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski, who is realizing a meteoric rise to a spot in NFL history. Another who played major league baseball. And the youngest, an up-and-coming Division 1 football player. Growing Up Gronk takes readers behind the scenes to tell the Gronkowski's incredible story, revealing how they were raised, how they were motivated, how they trained, how they played, even how their mother kept them fed. It all started with their father, Gordy, under whose tutelage this collection of giants has broken every rule about how 21st century athletic success functions. Beyond their monstrous size, physicality, and raw talent, Papa Gronk recognized early on that a clear commitment to fitness, health, and determination would give his boys a leg up in a way other families simply couldn’t match.

This unique story of the NFL's new first family reveals the secrets to the Gronkowski's collective success and opens the door a one-of-a-kind household, a veritable incubator of athletic greatness.

Like many great literary works, the book begins with a quote from the Urban Dictionary, and its first chapter features the story of the difficult decision the family faced after Robbie (as his dad calls him) injured his back in the weight room at the University of Arizona, and was left with a choice between having surgery to fix the issue or collecting on the $4 million insurance policy that Gordy had taken out in case an injury cost his son a chance to be a pro:

“We went around and around about Rob’s surgery,” Gordy said. “He had choices. One was to not have surgery and never play football again but get four million dollars. The other was don’t collect the money but have surgery and hope that everything comes out right. It wasn’t an easy choice. It’s a serious operation. One slip down there and you’re dealing with the vertebrae and spinal cord.”

The insurance policy was both a blessing and a curse. If Rob elected to walk away from football, he would be financially set for life at only twenty years old. Even though he had played only two years of college football and sat out his junior year because of the injury, Rob was talented enough that the NFL was still interested. Could he forgo his junior year of college and make a leap to the pros despite surgery?

“Four million dollars is a lot of money,” Gordy mused. “With investments, I knew he could get five percent back in tax-free bonds. If he took the insurance policy, he could collect two hundred thousand tax-free every year. But if you have the operation it’s like rolling the dice.”

Rob ultimately made the decision to roll the dice, had surgery, endured the rehab, was drafted by the Patriots, and (presuming his back is healthy now) is presently in the midst of a career so impressive that people are actually interested in reading the tale of his entire family.

The whole gang, Rob included, will be at the Prudential Center Barnes & Noble at noon on Thursday to sign a book that's endorsed on its back cover by ESPN's Jeremy Schaap and the Globe's Dan Shaughnessy -- and is available in hardcover, printed with real ink, for adults, despite what any former teammates might think.

tags Patriots

Aaron Hernandez removed from EA Sports games

Posted by David D'Onofrio July 8, 2013 03:26 PM

After an early version of its NCAA Football 14 game presented players with the prize depicted above -- Aaron Hernandez available to be used in the game's Ultimate Team Mode -- a representative from EA Sports told that the video game manufacturer has decided to remove the former Patriot from that title, as well as the soon-to-be-released Madden 25, after the tight end was charged with murder.

"We made a decision to remove Aaron Hernandez from Madden NFL 25 and NCAA Football 14. Because NCAA Football 14 was finalized prior to our decision, Hernandez' image still appears in the Nike Skills Trainer," an EA Sports spokesman said to CBS. "However, he is not in the game, and anyone who unlocks that particular Nike Skills Trainer reward will receive an Alex Smith Ultimate Team player item instead."

The image of Hernandez, who was released by the Patriots after being arrested in connection to the killing of Odin Lloyd, will be removed altogether in a forthcoming online title update.

NCAA 14 won't actually be released for general sale until Tuesday, but some EA subscribers were able to download the game as early as last Friday. EA's ever-popular Madden game isn't scheduled for release until Aug. 27, and while Hernandez wouldn't be on the Patriots roster in that game anyway -- having been released -- he won't show up among the free-agent pool, either.

tags Patriots

Seguin tweets thanks to Boston fans

Posted by David D'Onofrio July 5, 2013 12:18 AM

If anyone thought Peter Chiarelli's comments about Tyler Seguin needing to become a better pro were meant as motivation or posturing, the Bruins' general manager proved just how unhappy he'd become with the forward's progress in his third NHL season, shipping the 21-year-old to Dallas in a seven-player trade.

Less than 10 months before, it looked as though Seguin would remain a Bruin for quite a while, as the former second-overall pick signed a six-year extension that figured to make him part of the team's long-term foundation. That, in turn, figured to make the Ontario native a fabric in the city's hockey community.

Instead, after scoring just a single goal in this season's playoffs, it appears the city will be part of him even if he won't be part of the city.

It wasn't the first time Seguin expressed his love for Boston, either. After the B's lost to the Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, he broke a tweeting drought that lasted the length of the postseason with this:

He also used his platform to support various causes related to the Boston Marathon bombings, and was so invested in the pursuit of its perpetrators that after a day full of retweeting related reports, this is how he signed off on April 19:

And here's his tweet from after the Bruins became the first team to play in Boston post-bombing:

There are plenty more, too -- friendships with the Patriots, attending Celtics games, regretting that he was seen in public wearing a Yankees hat (he says it fit well) -- that suggest Seguin appreciated this city and still wanted to continue playing here. That suggest his message Thursday was genuine.

Unfortunately for him and his many admirers, so were Chiarelli's hints that Seguin might be traded.

tags Bruins

Red Sox dedicate July to celebrating service

Posted by David D'Onofrio July 2, 2013 08:21 PM

Before taking the field for Tuesday night's game against the Padres, Dustin Pedroia paid a visit to the Jimmy Fund clinic to meet with patients. Meanwhile, Jon Lester was meeting up with patients from Boston Children's Hospital. And just a day earlier, a couple of their former teammates, Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek, were playing in the annual Pitching in for Kids Golf Tournament, which raises money to improve the lives of children throughout New England.

And that's just the beginning of what will be a busy month off the field for the Red Sox.

Throughout July the organization will be "Celebrating Service" in a variety of ways, including by getting out into the community themselves, and by honoring service providers with recognition and financial contributions at every home game.

Perhaps coolest among the moments will come Thursday, when the club joins “Operation Rolling Thunder” to paint a seat black at Fenway Park and dedicate it to the memory of Prisoners of War and to those Missing In Action, while throughout the month the team will honor citizens who have dedicated their careers to public service, and continue with its in-game "Hats off to Heroes" presentations.

Players' wives and front office members will also be participating in a host of activities that is, according to a press release, scheduled to include:

July 3
Victorino’s Flyin’ Hawaiian All-Stars – Shane Victorino will host 25 kids from the Best Buddies and Boy Scouts programs at Fenway Park for the game against the San Diego Padres. The children will have an opportunity to watch batting practice from the field and meet with Victorino before the game.

July 4
The Pine Street Inn – Red Sox staff members will be preparing and serving lunch to homeless men and women at the Pine Street Inn, an organization that provides permanent supportive housing, job training and placement, and emergency shelter and street outreach.

July 10
The Dimock Center – Members of the Red Sox front office will volunteer at the Dimock Center to paint a mural. The Dimock Center delivers comprehensive health and human services to an urban community that might not otherwise benefit from the care, and is one of the foundation’s cornerstone programs.

July 18
Buchholz Bowl – Clay Buchholz will host the Buchholz Bowl at Jillian's Lucky Strike Lanes. The event, organized by the foundation that Clay created, supports community-based programs for children who are seriously ill, disabled, and underprivileged.

July 21
Red Sox Foundation/Covidien Community Service Project – A team of volunteers from the Red Sox Foundation, in partnership with Covidien and YouthBuild Boston, will volunteer at the Cooper Community Garden and Education Center in Roxbury. The volunteers, including Red Sox personnel, will create composting bins, construct picnic tables and planter benches, and landscape the gardens at the center.

July 23
Baseball Day at Children’s Museum – A Red Sox player will participate in Baseball Day at the Children’s Museum, where children have an opportunity to take photos with Wally the Green Monster and the 2004 and 2007 World Series trophies, play games, dress up in baseball gear, and check out equipment from the past and present.

Papi’s Pals – David Ortiz will host and meet with children from Massachusetts General Hospital at the game against Tampa Bay. In addition to meeting the Red Sox star and watching the game, the kids will have a chance to watch batting practice from the field.

Lindos Sueños – Lindos Sueños, presented by JetBlue, will take place from July 23 through August 1. The program, created by the Red Sox in 2004, is now in its 10th year and sends American teens to the Dominican Republic to play baseball each afternoon with Dominican teens and to engage in community service together every morning. The service work will focus on rebuilding homes in an impoverished Dominican village. This year, Pedro Martinez, along with children from his foundation in the Dominican Republic, will participate.

Room to Grow – Red Sox Wives will participate in a sorting project at Room to Grow, an organization that enriches the lives of babies born into poverty throughout their critical first three years of development

July 24
Camp Harbor View – Red Sox players will visit with kids attending Camp Harbor View, a summer camp for Boston's neighborhood children.

Funds for Food Drive – Red Sox Wives will host a two-day Funds for Food Drive at Fenway Park on July 24 and July 25. The drive benefits the Greater Boston Food Bank in their fight against hunger.

July 25
Sox Talk – Red Sox players and coaches will give instructional tips at Moakley Park in South Boston to a group of children attending inner city camps and youth programs.

Covidien Double Play Health and Fitness Workshop – children from non-profit groups will learn the benefits of exercise and healthy eating choices during a workshop at Fenway Park. The event also includes advice from dieticians, chefs, trainers, and Red Sox players.

July 29
NVRQT Night at the House of Blues – Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester will host the second annual NVRQT fundraiser at the House of Blues. NVRQT is the voice to support kids in their battle against cancer and inspire researchers working towards a cure. The program raises money and awareness for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF).

July 30
Make-a-Wish Foundation – David Ortiz will meet with a child, thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, before the game against Seattle. Make-a-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

July 31
Sox Talk – Red Sox players and coaches will give instructional tips at Billings Fields in West Roxbury to a group of children attending inner city camps and youth programs.

Habitat for Humanity – Red Sox alumni and front office members will take part in a Habitat for Humanity Build Day in Worcester.

tags Red Sox

About the author

Dave D'Onofrio follows Boston's pro players away from the field, court or ice, covering their interests and activities in the community and beyond. A Massachusetts native, once his dreams of More »

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