Q&A with Joe Andruzzi

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff November 27, 2012 01:57 PM

Former Patriots lineman Joe Andruzzi, who is hosting his annual "Tackle Cancer Gala" on Monday at Gillette Stadium, joined Boston.com readers to talk some football on Wednesday.

Review the discussion below.

Rob Gronkowski closes deal on Tampa mansion

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff November 26, 2012 09:02 AM


Looks like "Yo Soy Fiesta" will be taking the party to sunny Florida.

Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski will spend his autumns in New England for the foreseeable future, but it looks like he'll be living large in Florida when the football season is over.

Gronkowski, currently recovering from a broken left forearm, recently closed on a deal to purchase a 4,781-square-foot mansion in Tampa for $1.6 million according to a report from TMZ.

The new House of Gronk reportedly has 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, built-in fish tanks, a premium surround sound system, three outdoor entertainment areas, an infinity pool, spa, and ocean views. See photos on TMZ's site.

Gronkowski signed a six-year, $54 million contract extension with the Patriots in June. He was injured on an extra-point play against the Colts in Foxborough two weeks ago. Gronkowski had scored 10 touchdowns to go along with 53 receptions and 748 yards on the season before the arm injury.

And don't worry about Gronk jumping ship to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers anytime soon. The big tight end might not see free agency until 2020, when he would be 31.

Jets' superfan retires 'Fireman Ed' personality

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff November 26, 2012 07:38 AM


"Fireman Ed" will still go to Jets games, but he'll just be Ed Anzalone from now on.

The Jets' superfan, known for wearing his fireman's helmet and leading the J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets! chant, says he'll just be an ordinary fan to avoid confrontations at MetLife Stadium.

"Whether it’s in the stands, the bathroom or the parking lot, these confrontations are happening on a consistent basis," Anzalone wrote in a story for Metro in New York. "Although I can 'hold my own,' I do not want to lose my temper and make a stupid mistake. I have a responsibility to the families and kids that enjoy the game and Fireman Ed."

Video: Kenyan children re-enact 'There's a steal by Bird'

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 21, 2012 01:59 PM

In the video clip above, more than 150 children at the Grace Care Orphanage in Kenya re-enact Larry Bird's legendary steal and game-winning assist from the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals vs. the Pistons. The goal of the video is to raise money for charity. Click here to learn more about the "Lift the Children" humanitarian effort.

This summer, children from the orphanage re-enacted another famous Boston play, the Bill Buckner error in the 1986 World Series.

Video: Turkey predicts Patriots over Jets

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 21, 2012 10:09 AM

Jimmy Junior, the world's first football-predicting wild turkey, has predicted that the New England Patriots will defeat the New York Jets on Thanksgiving night.

In a promotion for Wild Turkey bourbon, Jimmy Junior chose a plate of feed on top of a Patriots helmet over the feed atop a Jets helmet. Little Jimmy follows in the footsteps of great animal prognosticators Paul the Octopus and Punxsutawney Phil.

Of course, Jimmy Junior also chose the Lions over Houston, so his reliability is suspect. Former NFL quarterback Vinny Testaverde, who trained the bird, according to the press release, said, "I was a little disappointed in the last pick, where he picked New England over the Jets, but other than that I thought he did well."

Watch the video clip above to see all the action.

Watch: Grinnell's Jack Taylor scores 138 points

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff November 21, 2012 07:31 AM

Watch highlights from Grinnell College basketball player Jack Taylor's NCAA-record 138-point performance in a Division 3 basketball game vs. Faith Baptist on Tuesday. Taylor wears No. 3.

Taylor's stat report for the game:
FGM-FGA: 52-108
3FGM-3FGA: 27-71
Total points: 138
Assists: 0
Minutes: 36

See the full box score here.

New York tabloids lampoon Belichick

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff November 20, 2012 09:03 AM


Combine a Patriots-Jets week with Thanksgiving, and it's like, well, Christmas, for the tabloid boys in New York. The New York Post's cover featured Patriots coach Bill Belichick Photoshopped onto a turkey, and the New York Daily News also made Belichick its back cover with the headline "Brain Freeze."

Both papers were critical of Belichick keeping Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski in for the final extra point of Sunday's blowout win over the Colts. Gronkowski broke his arm on the play and had surgery Monday.

The Patriots play the Jets Thursday night in New Jersey.

Danny O'Connor vs. Derek Silveira headlines fight card at TD Garden

Posted by Staff November 20, 2012 07:54 AM
Danny O'Connor's boxing career is taking him on a tour of Boston's top sports venues. After a summer bout at Gillette Stadium, O'Connor now headlines a card at TD Garden Dec. 14.

O'Connor will fight Derek Silveira in a 10-round main event. A Framingham native, O'Connor is seeking his 20th victory. He has 2 national amateur championship titles and a 19-1 professional record with seven KOs, ands he's ranked 15th in the world by the International Boxing Federation and 22d by the World Boxing Council.

Both O'Connor and Silveira are coming off knockout wins. Silveira, a Salem native, defended his New England welterweight title after knocking down William Correa in the sixth round of a bout on Nov. 10.

O'Connor said fighting at TD Garden is what he has been working toward.

"Fighting at the TD Garden in front of all of my fans is a dream that I've had since I put on the gloves," he said.

On the undercard, Quincy junior lightweight Ryan Kielczewski will compete in an 8-round bout to defend his undefeated 14-0 record. Portland, Maine-trained Russell Lamour will fight in a 4-round middleweight bout to round out the professional matches. In the amateur division, USA Boxing New England All-Stars and world-class prospects will make up an additional five matchups.

Tickets for the TD Garden Night at the Fights' are on sale at the TD Garden Box Office and Ticketmaster outlets. Event tickets are $37.50 and $47.50, with limited admission VIP autograph event for $50.

Report: Darko Milicic leaning toward leaving Celtics to be with ill mother

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 19, 2012 02:47 PM

Celtics reserve center Darko Milicic is leaning toward leaving the team to be with his ill mother in Europe, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

Milicic did not travel with the Celtics to Detroit, and he's close to his decision to leave the team and return to Serbia, the sources said. The report says Milicic is also unhappy with his lack of a role with the Celtics. The former No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft is on a one-year contract.

Heidi Watney joins MLB Network

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff November 19, 2012 12:22 PM

Former NESN Red Sox reporter Heidi Watney has joined MLB Network as a studio host and reporter, the network announced Monday.

Watney worked for NESN from 2008 to 2011, and left last November for a position covering the Lakers for Time Warner Cable in Los Angeles. However, in September Watney left Time Warner without covering any Lakers games.

MLB Network said Watney will make her debut in January.

“I’m extremely excited to return to baseball by joining MLB Network’s on-air talent lineup. Baseball is a true passion of mine and I’m looking forward to covering all 30 MLB clubs 365 days a year,” Watney said in a press release.

According to a report by the Globe's Chad Finn, Watney's departure from Time Warner was the result of Time Warner's frustration that news of her hiring became public before the Lakers were told, and the Lakers' desire to have input in personnel decisions. Time Warner began a broadcast rights agreement with the Lakers this season.

Milan Lucic shows off acting chops in bank commercial

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff November 8, 2012 04:53 PM

Move over Tom Brady and Robert Kraft, there's a new sports-icon-turned-actor in town.

Bruins winger Milan Lucic "stars" in an ad for the Northern Massachusetts Telephone Workers Community Credit Union. The video, which was posted online six months ago, shows a frustrated Lucic complaining about various bank fees before he makes the switch to NMTWCCU.

In the acting skills department, Lucic makes Robert Kraft look like Sir Laurence Olivier.

But maybe it's the script in the above video that needed help.

Regardless, with the NHL currently on hiatus with the ongoing lockout, Lucic should have ample time to work on his skills... both on and off the ice.

Johnny Damon to play for Thailand in World Baseball Classic

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff November 8, 2012 04:41 PM
Former Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon, who has bounced around the big leagues the last few years, will play for Thailand in the upcoming World Baseball Classic qualifying round.

According to CBSSports.com, Damon's mother is from Thailand.

Thailand opens vs. the Philippines Nov. 15.

Damon, 39, played in 64 games for the Indians last season, hitting .222 before he was released Aug. 9.

Colts players shave their heads to honor coach Chuck Pagano

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 7, 2012 01:45 PM
About two dozen Indianapolis Colts players, including rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, shaved their heads Tuesday in support of head coach Chuck Pagano, who is battling leukemia. Pagano is in remission, but he is scheduled to undergo two more rounds of chemotherapy. The coach is on leave from the team as he undergoes treatment.

“We’re a family and the coach is almost like a father figure," Colts punter Pat McAfee told the Indianapolis star. "When something happens, you want to rally behind him."

McAfee, kicker Adam Vinatieri, running back Donald Brown, and cornerback Darius Butler are among the players who shaved their heads. More players are expected to participate before Indianapolis takes on Jacksonville this week.

Spartan Race coming to Fenway Park

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff November 6, 2012 04:56 PM
Fenway Park has been the location for a lot more than baseball, and it will add obstacle racing to its history this month.

The Spartan Race series will make a stop at Fenway Nov. 17-18. The series, known for diabolical courses that can include, among other things, fire, barbed wire, and water hazards, will conduct sprint races at Fenway Park that will be about 1 mile long.

“Spartan Sprint at Fenway Park will be an experience no one has ever seen in the world of obstacle racing,” said Spartan Race co-founder Joe Desena in a news release.

According to Spartan's website, the Nov. 17 event is sold out, but spots remain in the Nov. 18 races. Registration and spectator ticket info is available at Spartan's event page.

Video: Chuck Pagano's moving locker room speech to Colts

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff November 5, 2012 08:01 AM

Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who is battling leukemia, delivered a moving postgame locker room speech after Indianapolis defeated Miami on Sunday.

"You decided as a team, and as a family, to live in a vision," Pagano said. "That's why you bring things home like you brought home today. And that's why you're already champions. ... I've got circumstances, you guys understand it, I understand it. It's already beat. My vision that I'm living is to see two more daughters get married, dance at their weddings, and then hoist that Lombardi several times. ... I'm dancing at two more weddings, and we're hoisting that trophy together."

He also visited the team before the game.

The Colts face the Patriots on Nov. 18 in Foxborough.

Reports: Sox, Ortiz agree on two-year deal

Posted by Robert Burgess November 2, 2012 07:34 PM

According to multiple reports, the Red Sox have agreed to a two-year $26 million deal with David Ortiz that could reach $30 million with incentives.

Globe sports reporter Nick Cafardo said the Ortiz deal is now in language stage according to major league source.

The Globe's Peter Abraham tweeted earlier that two sources expected the deal to be completed Friday night.

Globe staff are working to confirm the deal.

Earlier in the day, the Red Sox made a one-year qualifying offer that essentially guaranteed the team a draft pick if another team - the Rangers were reportedly interested in the designated hitter - signed Ortiz.

Ortiz has been quiet in recent weeks, despite being publicly criticized by former manager Bobby Valentine, but the word from the TD Garden, just as news of the deal is coming out, is that Big Papi is on hand for the Celtics home opener.

Red Sox tender one-year qualifying offer to Ortiz

Posted by Robert Burgess November 2, 2012 05:39 PM

The Red Sox have released a statement regarding the David Ortiz contract situation:

The Boston Red Sox today tendered a one-year qualifying offer to designated hitter David Ortiz. The club did not tender qualifying offers to right-handed pitchers Aaron Cook, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Vicente Padilla, first baseman James Loney, and outfielders Scott Podsednik and Cody Ross.

Clubs retain the right to negotiate and/or enter into a contract agreement with any of their free agents, regardless of whether an offer was made. There are no deadlines for such negotiations and/or agreements.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, a free agent is subject to draft-pick compensation if his former club offers him a guaranteed one-year contract with a salary equal to the average salary of the 125-highest paid players from the prior season.

New York City Marathon canceled for Sunday

Posted by Robert Burgess November 2, 2012 05:24 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The New York City Marathon, one of the premier U.S. distance-running events, will not take place as planned on Sunday, a New York city official said.

City officials and the organizers of the marathon have been under pressure to cancel the event as the Northeast struggles to recover from heavy flooding and power outages caused by superstorm Sandy.

The New York Times wrote:

After days of intensifying pressure from runners, politicians and the general public to cancel the New York City Marathon in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, city officials and the event's organizers decided Friday afternoon that the race would not be held Sunday, according to a person familiar with the decision.

Such a move would be historic — the marathon has been held every year since 1970, including the race in 2001 held two months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks — but seemed inevitable as opposition to the marathon swelled. Critics said that it was in poor taste to hold a foot race through the five boroughs while so many people in the area are still suffering from the storm's damages, and that city services should focus on storm relief, not the marathon. Proponents of the marathon — notably Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Mary Wittenberg, director of the marathon — said the race would provide a needed morale boost, as well as an economic one.

Among the many details that remain unclear are whether race would be postponed or canceled entirely and how popular the plan would be among the field of nearly 50,000 runners who were expected to compete in Sunday's marathon, thousands of whom traveled to New York from other countries.

Mayor Bloomberg and Wittenberg, who is chief executive of New York Road Runners, the organization that operates the marathon, repeatedly stood behind the plan, insisting it was best for the city. But many runners joined a chorus of politicians and area residents this week in speaking out against the plan to stage the marathon despite the widespread damage wrought by the storm Monday night.

Uncle Drew Chapter 2 features appearance by Bill Russell

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff November 1, 2012 07:29 AM

Celtics legend Bill Russell makes a cameo appearance in the latest installment of Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving's "Uncle Drew" video series.

"Uncle Drew Chapter 2" begins with a conversation between Russell and Drew about basketball, and Russell implores Drew to reassemble his team in a Blues Brothers "mission from God" kind of way. Drew is an aging hoopster played by Irving who, in his first viral video, showed up at a street game to surprise an unsuspecting gathering with his court savvy.

"Drew, you're a real baller. You've got to get out there and put your team back together again," Russell says. "Go find them."

At Drew's first stop, he picks up "Wes," played by Timberwolves star Kevin Love, and they find a street game to reprise the moments that made the first video so humorous, lulling the opposition with one mistake after another before coming to life and hitting long jumpers and throwing down dunks.

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