THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Trail Blazers at Spurs, 8:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Suns at Jazz, 9 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, UNC Wilmington vs. Duke, 12:15 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Butler vs. Texas Tech, 12:40 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, UConn vs. Colorado, 1:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Iona vs. Iowa State, 2 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Yale vs. Baylor, 2:45 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Hampton vs. Virginia, 3:!0 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Austin Peay vs. Kansas, 4 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Arkansas-Little Rock vs. Purdue, 4:30 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Buffalo vs. Miami, 6:50 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Chatanooga vs. Indiana, 7:10 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Florida Gulf Coast vs. North Carolina, 7:20 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Fresno State vs. Utah, 7:27 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Wichita State vs. Arizona, 9:20 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Stony Brook vs. Kentucky, 9:40 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Providence vs. USC, 9:50 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Gonzaga vs. Seton Hall, 9:57 p.m. (truTV)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Villareal CF at Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 2 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Liverpool at Manchester United, 4 p.m. (FS1)
White Sox president Kenny Williams acknowledged Wednesday that he spoke to LaRoche twice in the last week, asking the one-time Red Sox first baseman to cut back on his son’s time at camp so the team could be more focused.
“I want to be very clear on something. It’s not because the young man was a distraction, not because he wasn’t well-received or well-liked by players management and everyone else,” Williams said. “He’s a quality, quality young kid that one day might be a heck of a player one day. Anyway, one of the things we said coming into this season is, ‘Let’s check all the columns’ with regards to our preparation, our focus to give us every chance to win.”
Added Williams: “To have his child on the field 100 percent of the time, and that’s kind of where we were, every day, yeah, I asked him initially just dial it back. Even 50 percent is probably too much, but there is a wide range between zero and 50 percent.
“I was a little surprised at the stance that he took. It’s unfortunate. But talk about a quality decision, a life decision and a family decision. He talked about being there for his family and family first and front and center, and I respect and admire that.”
Around baseball — and the team — LaRoche received widespread support.
“On our side of things, I think everyone would say we enjoyed Drake LaRoche in the clubhouse and everything he brought to the clubhouse,” White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton said. “He helped out around and wasn’t a burden by any stretch of the imagination. He wasn’t a big problem last year, either. … Adam and Drake are probably the most respected people in baseball I ever played with. Drake would clean cleats, he would help out in drills, pick up baseballs when we needed, he didn’t say boo to anybody and was never a trouble in the clubhouse.”
Tweeted National League MVP Bryce Harper, who played alongside LaRoche with the Nationals from 2011-14: Good for you Roche! Nothing like father and son in the clubhouse..It’s a FAMILY game.
The team asked LaRoche to reconsider, although Williams said the 36-year-old “seemed pretty convicted in his decision.” LaRoche, who hit just .207 with 12 home runs last season, would give up $13 million in salary if he does not return.
Williams stressed that he thought it was “great” for kids to be around the team. However, he said, “I just don’t think it’s great every day.”
— Goose Gossage’s recent tirade about players’ obnoxious behavior was not well-received by everyone, but he has some support from at least one young star.
Angels outfielder Mike Trout said Wednesday he agrees that bat-flipping after a home run is disrespectful.
Nationals star Bryce Harper recently called baseball “a tired sport, because you can’t express yourself,” but Trout puts limits on that expression. He said he sometimes flips the bat during batting practice, but not when the pitches are for real.
“During the game, I just hit the ball and go,” he said, noting that bat-flipping “definitely” shows up the pitcher. “As a pitcher, I’d be pretty upset.”
— FIFA publicly acknowledged Wednesday that corrupt members of its organization handed out tens of millions of dollars in bribes related to World Cups, but the group had an ulterior motive in finally admitting the obvious: It wants a big chunk of the money back.
A day after filing a claim to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York, FIFA released a statement saying the money should go back to soccer’s governing body to be put to better use.
“The convicted defendants abused the positions of trust they held at FIFA and other international football organizations and caused serious and lasting damage to FIFA,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said Wednesday in a statement. “The monies they pocketed belonged to global football and were meant for the development and promotion of the game. FIFA as the world governing body of football wants that money back and we are determined to get it no matter how long it takes.”
In addition to asking for the return of the bribes, FIFA requests for money to pay legal bills and for damages for harm to its reputation.
“These dollars were meant to build football fields, not mansions and pools; to buy football kits, not jewelry and cars; and to fund youth player and coach development, not to underwrite lavish lifestyles for football and sports marketing executives,” Infantino said.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 17, 1979, which Bruins goalie got the win in a 4-2 decision over the visiting Blackhawks and became the third netminder in team history with 200 wins in a B’s uniform?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I like the city a lot. It’s cold, but they love sports here. It’s a family atmosphere I feel when I walk around the city, so yeah, I like it a lot.” — Thunder star and pending free agent Kevin Durant, speaking prior to Wednesday’s Thunder-Celtics game at TD Garden, on how he feels about Boston
‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Wizards guard Ramon Sessions shows that NBA players can look just as silly as anyone, as he fumbles the ball away while trying to shoot a 3-footer.
In the last hour of Mut till Midnight, John Tomase joins the show to talk everything Red Sox. He sheds light on the latest clubhouse incident involving Pablo Sandoval and offers explanation at the crazy Adam LaRoche retirement.
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We dig deeper into the Jones trade and discuss the impact his departure may have on this defense.
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