The Mavericks are down 2-1 to the Heat in the NBA finals, but they apparently aren't afraid to speak their mind and criticize their opponent — and each other. On Monday, DeShawn Stevenson revealed to the media that one of the Mavs' strategies is to transition to offense quickly after a Dwyane Wade drive because of his "overreacting" in an attempt to draw foul calls.

Struggling outfielder Jason Bay, whose average is down to .216 (with two home runs and 10 RBIs) after going hitless in his last 17 at-bats, was benched Sunday by Mets manager Terry Collins. "Judging by my results lately, I couldn't say no," the former Red Sox slugger said. "Obviously, I want to play. I like playing. But ... I don't think it could hurt."

On the heels of the Dodgers' and Mets' financial problems, The Los Angeles Times reports that nine of 30 major league teams are carrying debt 10 times more than annual earnings, in violation of MLB rules. The other seven are the Orioles, Cubs, Tigers, Marlins, Phillies, Rangers and Nationals.

Also in the news, rock star Bono received a lift Tuesday when Oilers center Gilbert Brule saw him hitchhiking in Vancouver. As thanks for the ride, Bono gave Brule and his girlfriend backstage passes to Wednesday's U2 concert in Edmonton and told the crowd how grateful he was.

Two years ago, during his public confession about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, Yankees star Alex Rodriguez explained that his cousin, Yuri Sucart, purchased steroids for him in the Dominican Republic. Now, Sucart — who was banned by the Yankees from any team-related function or facility — has resurfaced at A-Rod's side, allegedly accompanying the player on road trips this year and last, according to the New York Daily News.

Sports Illustrated polled 185 major leaguers to determined the most overrated players in baseball. Three Yankees topped the list: Alex Rodriguez (18 percent), Joba Chamberlain (12) and Derek Jeter (7). Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon received 4 percent.

"I've been on this list before. I think it will be like that for the rest of my career," Rodriguez told the New York Daily News Tuesday. Asked if he was one of the players who was polled, A-Rod said: "I have so much respect for anyone that wears a major league uniform, I would never answer that."

 

Mailbag time and it's all Jack Edwards this week.



KIRK MINIHANE

BIO | ARCHIVE


The discussion about the safety of catchers continues to be a hot-button topic in the wake of Giants backstop Buster Posey suffering a season-ending injury in a collision with Marlins baserunner Scott Cousins last week. On Monday, former major league catcher Mike Matheny weighed in, criticizing Cousins for unnecessarily targeting Posey.

A ticket scalper in Texas filed suit against the Rangers because the team refused to sell him 100 tickets to a Rangers-Yankees game. Michael Melendrez said the team regularly sold him blocks of 100 tickets for $10 apiece, and he resold the tickets for much as $75 each. He is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for fraud and deceptive trade practices.

Howard Bryant, a former Boston Herald columnist who now writes for ESPN.com, reached an agreement with authorities in Western Massachusetts to have charges of domestic assault and resisting arrest dropped after he serves six months of pretrial probation. Bryant had been arrested Feb. 26 in Buckland.

Former Giants running back Tiki Barber, who plans to make a comeback this fall, is taking some heat for a comment he made comparing himself to Holocaust victim Anne Frank.