We wrap up the day with the best in sound you may have missed from this Friday, plus our intern on the mic Laroy Streat puts another verbal beatdown on Michael Holley.

[0:04:30] ... get a walked network who would have been all right. And not Indianapolis Colts tickle look into your future that's what it's got to look like. But now we don't want it to get the team ...
[0:07:42] ... us that's when the plot well speaking of players who were defeated. Christian Fauria did complete the goal tell pending patents defensively. And did OK from what we heard but we found out that Christian maybe ...
[0:09:43] ... in turn LeRoy street. Has blessed us. Well first off with a New York Jets hitting new lows this week by filing tampering charges evil Roy channeled Eminem. And tell the story of stand disgruntled jets fan. ...
[0:13:39] ... voices the alleyways no offensive in the you can go to the Super Bowl we'll go to this you go to this site. Yeah absolutely. I'd rather watch football left for TV anyway would you go ...

We look back at 4 famous athlete cameos in the 30 year history of Wrestlemania.

[0:01:07] ... Regulatory authority. They it's not doing Roman numeral flip that like the Super Bowl event a put numbers on them it's learning this year at their at Belmont that. Authorities regarding. Russell Wilson was on rob ...
[0:01:50] ... I'll let him. Band and Bigelow was in the main event against New York Giants linebacker. Lawrence Taylor. You don't want to hear from this and Lawrence Taylor. You don't scare me nobody scares me and if ...
[0:09:05] ... got through it you're off you're and I thought street. With your basketball tournament. Well I'm still alive as when I AM yeah I wonder if you wanna. You know little to outline. Mayweather. On base ...
[0:13:19] ... know you wonder things on the level it yet. Well the National Football League were pistols. Take away from its broad disparities. And health and adult football I'll now be called. It tried a dime out. ...

We look back at 4 famous athlete cameos in the 30 year history of Wrestlemania.

[0:01:07] ... Regulatory authority. They it's not doing Roman numeral flip that like the Super Bowl event a put numbers on them it's learning this year at their at Belmont that. Authorities regarding. Russell Wilson was on rob ...
[0:01:50] ... I'll let him. Band and Bigelow was in the main event against New York Giants linebacker. Lawrence Taylor. You don't want to hear from this and Lawrence Taylor. You don't scare me nobody scares me and if ...
[0:09:05] ... got through it you're off you're and I thought street. With your basketball tournament. Well I'm still alive as when I AM yeah I wonder if you wanna. You know little to outline. Mayweather. On base ...
[0:13:19] ... know you wonder things on the level it yet. Well the National Football League were pistols. Take away from its broad disparities. And health and adult football I'll now be called. It tried a dime out. ...

We hear more audio from Christian's day between the pipes. He did his best to try and intimidate the small children shooting on him.

[0:08:12] ... know more. About it but there's always like that. The tough like high school do the public in late did okay are whoever's dressed up as some sort holly creek. And they go right to this ...
[0:09:34] ... o'clock hour with the Soviet pet dog vote. Blood cheerleading goes all Bill Belichick also encourage New England Patriots fan favorite starts talking about his own patriot mortality you'll see who is and what he said next 937 W yeah. ...

After Christian gave away his children's dog, we find out that Lola eventually found a better home.

[0:02:31] ... She's been great I'm playing like oh the other organ. Of the black lab rescue. All serious fraud like now I will. What's really admit we've given crushed a world of grief over this but I ...
[0:05:35] ... now those are borderline sincerely then that Dahab sorry. Yeah and the high school boys. I'm not sorry to them at all you know now. No I I expect more from them. But there's a deal ...
[0:07:36] ... done I'm I'm over. And I'm not done yet so we at UC Irvine in North Dakota State idea triple now look at now look you guys are great Tina Allah for you always want to do is what the ...

During the recess of the Aaron Hernandez murder trial, Ted Daniel describes the first half of Shayana Jenkins testimony.

[0:01:13] ... couple of times in the house including one prosecution bullies. Put the murder weapon at the outset now regulate empire ever was one that we kept it in the junk or in the kitchen. And though. ...
[0:04:21] ... they believe it was Cote for her to get rid of the murder weapon which still has not been out. It's still not in question about that arrogant that. That's kind of or are waiting oh what will shape it you know yeah he traumatic era this thing I think they're earning Q hello this long. I have a hard time believing it today the data sheet aside you know lot. You know I I'm gonna arm and stole it all like to promote healing that you know she's been edit their law and it's not gonna change. Was it occurred from wrong but isn't she commit perjury here to murder trial is that life in prison. She's wont go that far. Well he I don't know what the actual ...
[0:06:46] ... the question that there are allowed apps. Are based on her initial grand jury testimony she met with the grand jury epic at least by. When this case where it's being put together and the way they even before she got on the ...
[0:09:50] ... cheaply declared the check that data should be Anita derby. During the grand jury that will work you go or are you remember. You know I don't see. I'm much change from that which he which ...

Jerry's pal and WEEI Wrestlecast regular Adam "Uncle Buck" Cormack visits with the legendary Hulk Hogan. (Photo: Adam Cormack)

Jerry’s pal and WEEI Wrestlecast regular Adam “Uncle Buck” Cormack visits with the legendary Hulk Hogan.

Wrestlemania time is upon us. By way of full disclosure, I am a guy who used to follow the Sport of Kings that is professional wrestling so much that as a lad I led a group of co-workers to the closed circuit pay-per-view of Wrestlemania I at the old Boston Garden, I couldn’t let a momentous occasion like this go without acknowledging it here on Thornography.

The operative words above, though, are “used to.” I still respect the great spectacle that is the squared circle, but I’ve moved onto other things. (Women, for example.) So Sunday I’ll be watching college basketball and the season finale of “The Walking Dead” and am ill-equipped to do the event the justice it deserves.

Fortunately I know someone who can. So here is my buddy and growing WEEI podcast legend Adam “Uncle Buck” Cormack with a special guest blog:

It’s been called the “Showcase of the Immortals,” “The Granddaddy of Them All,” and “The Grandest Stage of Them All,” and as sure as the NFL has the Super Bowl and Hollywood has the Oscars, the world of professional wrestling has its mixed tag version of both in Wrestlemania. This year’s event certainly lives up to the 30-year legacy with a changing of the guard main event, a multi-superstar ladder match expected to steal the show, a throwback to the WWF/WCW war of the ’90s, and all of this before even mentioning the mainstay talents of John Cena and the returning Undertaker (not so fresh off his streak-snapping loss last year).

As much as things remain the same with this year’s spring classic, however, the WWE and the business of professional wrestling finds itself in new and uncharted waters. The entertainment industry experiment of the WWE Network is now a year old. The “social media smart” and an increasingly critical viewership (many of whom grew up in the attitude area only to find their beloved product toned down to the kid-friendly acts of the Usos and El Matadores) continues to try to force its will on storytelling. And now the latest news of a death of wrestler Pedro Aguayo Ramirez during a match with WWE legend Rey Mysterio has many wondering if there will now be an outcry for increased safety measures in the future of sports entertainment.

So with all of this as a backdrop, and with Wrestlemania only days away, your old pal Uncle Buck along with the original host of the WEEI Wrestlecast, “Young” Ben Kichen, have decided to bring you up to to speed on all things Wrestlemania in a series of WEEI Retro Wrestlecasts. In Part 1, Ben and I discuss the evolution (cue Motorhead’s “Line in the Sand”) of the sport from a regional business to joint stadium shows and the broader reaches of closed circuit and Pay Per View. We also tackle the highs and lows of all 30 Wrestlemanias, from the height of Hulkamania to the New Generation and the Attitude Era. The buyout of WCW, The Streak and the Yes Movement. It’s all here! So sit back and enjoy Parts 1 and 2 and keep your ears out for the epic three-hour Part 3.

– UB

Wrestlemania Podcast, Part 1:

Wrestlemania Podcast, Part 2:


Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton

Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Steve DeMeo?

— Your bracket is busted, no doubt. For the first time in NCAA Tournament history, five games were decided by one point on the opening day of the Round of 64 games. But did you know that last Friday higher-seeded teams were 15-1, just the second time in tournament history that has happened in a single day in the Round of 64? The one, of course, belonged to Providence.

— It’s a question I’ve been asked plenty over the past week — why did PC lose to Dayton? The answer isn’t as concrete as you might think it would be, but it really boils down to one thing: toughness. A story Grantland.com published this week appears true — the Friars simply weren’t tough enough to beat the Flyers in that environment, and it’s hard to argue the premise.

— The access Ed Cooley allowed Fox during the Big East Tournament, and Grantland for the NCAA appearance, is pretty much unprecedented during my tenure as radio voice. Kudos to the coach for recognizing the advantages of program exposure and PR. The disadvantages? Well, it helps if you win. And the Friars came up a little short in that department — through no fault of their own in New York, anyway. Just sayin’.

— You can argue the NCAA screwed up the seedings, the pairings, the First Four game — all of it. And you would be right. The NCAA Tournament committee seriously messed this up, and undervalued the home-court advantage it handed to Dayton. It would not have taken much to fix the problem, however, if the committee had just switched out Providence’s 6 seed with Xavier. You could have had a blockbuster event in Columbus, with the arena split evenly between UD and XU fans, who already hate each other. Yup, blew that one.

— Not for nuthin,’ but Dayton was the last team in the Dance? In whose mind?

— The fallout from the disappointment of the second-round loss didn’t take long to get started. Tyler Harris announced this week he would be leaving the program, with one year of eligibility remaining. He is graduating in May, and by rule is entitled to transfer and play right away for his last year. Or, he can turn pro. This rule disappears in another year, so I’ve heard, so he’s getting out while the getting is still good. Best of luck, Tyler.

— Replacements? Well, 6-foot-6 forward Eric Paschall has announced his intention to transfer from Fordham — he was the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year — and there should be mutual interest, as he was on the Friars’ recruiting radar a year ago. His father, Juan, told SNY.tv this week he wants to visit PC and Villanova soon.

— Texas’ Rick Barnes is facing all kinds of questions about his job security, which should tell you something about great expectations in Austin, where football still rules over all. Seems to me that regardless of how Longhorns fans might feel about the current state of affairs, the team DID reach the NCAA Tournament this year. When did “the body of work” stop being so important?

— I mean, I love Charlie Strong — as I am a Texas-Ex — but the football team was 6-7 this past year. He gets a pass since it was his first season, and the culture needed a change. But now, show me something. Barnes has been doing that for 17 years in Austin, after his time spent at both PC and Clemson. His buyout, which has been discussed, is $1.5 million if it occurs after April 1 this year. Texas bought out former football coach Mack Brown for $2.75 million. Nice to have that kind of pocket change around, huh?

— Steve Lavin is in talks to have his contract extended at St. John’s, even though there are rumblings that a faction of SJU alumni wants him out. Apparently, the school president likes him. ‘€˜Nuff said.

— DePaul lost out on its chance to lure Ben Howland out of a two-year TV retirement, as Howland signed on this week with Mississippi State. However, after hearing that Buffalo coach and former URI assistant Bobby Hurley would interview in Chicago for the Blue Demons gig, the State University of New York stepped up and apparently re-upped his deal.

— Another former Friars coach — a one-time assistant to both Barnes and Rick Pitino — Herb Sendek was fired this week after nine seasons at Arizona State. Always a pretty solid recruiter, Sendek’s teams (and record) reflect good but not great results.

— So was it a good year for the Rhody Rams? The record says so. URI’s 14 wins at the Ryan Center this past season was the second-best win total since the building opened in 2002-03. The Rams had 15 in 2009-€˜10. But to take the next step — if the Rams want to reach The Big Dance next season — the guess is here they should beef up that schedule, home and away, as best they can. Be willing to take some road risks, if you can’t get teams to come to Kingston. The formula works, and the tournament committee will respond in kind if you can win a few.

— Not for nuthin,’ Part 2: Anyone notice the officials in Thursday’s Sweet 16 games being played? Each of the four had at least one Big East ref working, including Friars-killer Brian O’Connell in the Wisconsin-North Carolina game. That should tell you something, and no, the NCAA isn’t deaf, dumb or blind.

— It may be the absolute height of stupidity in this country, and we’ve got some dumb people here. But Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s signing of a “Religious Freedom” bill into law Thursday is exactly what he says it isn’t — turning the clocks back to the 1950s (and beyond) when water fountains were segregated and you could refuse service to blacks at lunch counters. The law allows Indiana businesses to practice religious freedom — which sounds great, until you realize a business can now refuse service to gays based on religious beliefs, regardless of what the law’s supporters might proclaim. It’s the last great stab at discrimination in this country, no matter the original intent. And with the Final Four headed to Indianapolis? Stupid is as stupid does.

— I will say this: The NCAA is doing something right here, for a change. The organization is leading, rather than reacting. President Mark Emmert has said this action could affect future events there, even to the point of pulling the NCAA offices out of Indianapolis. That’s what should happen in this instance. The NFL should follow suit by pulling the scouting combine, and the Big Ten needs to follow up and pull its football title game out of the city and out of the state. If they don’t, it’s simply little more than endorsing a perverted practice and becomes another sad period of time this country should not have to revisit.

— Got the Blue Devils in your bracket? I have never been a fan of Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, and it has nothing to do with the success of his basketball team. It has everything to do with his chameleon-like ability to change his colors based on the surroundings. He’s no different from any other hyper-competitive coach, and sure, he’s better than most. He certainly has the track record, the tradition, 1,000-plus wins, his own coaching tree of success and numerous success stories from the players he has coached and the people he has touched. Can’t argue any of that. But the way mainstream media treats him like a deity is unseemly, especially when the truth is that Coach K set out to kill the old Big East and succeeded.

— Friend and fellow reporter/college hoop connoisseur Mark Blaudschun opined recently on a subject I’ve touched on in the past — that Krzyzewski hated what was happening to the ACC, how basketball was becoming almost an afterthought on Tobacco Road with football’s wild goose chase for TV money. And he especially despised the Big East for its success in gaining national notoriety, beginning with the 3-out-of-4 teams it placed in the Final Four in 1985. Blaudschun pointed out that Coach K, joined later by his athletic director Kevin White, concocted a plan to strengthen the ACC while weakening — and ultimately destroying — the Big East, by blaming all of the conference realignments on football.

— Miami and Virginia Tech relocating regionally to the ACC made sense. Boston College? The Eagles are athletically irrelevant in the Northeast outside of their fan base, and even more so in the South at present with their current “partners.” But that didn’t matter to Coach K and the ACC — the league now  can claim owning the Boston TV market to advertisers and supporters. BC’s presence helped bring in Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame (for everything other than football), and it wasn’t to strengthen the football conference. It doesn’t take a genius to see that, based on their basketball pedigrees. Working the back rooms of the ACC, Krzyzewski and White eventually gained a consensus that in order to put the ACC at the top for hoops the Big East had to die. Or at least be weakened considerably.

— Football money was blamed here, but ACC expansion was basketball-driven. This is part of the reason why Maryland pulled out for the Big Ten — the Terps hated Duke and UNC running the show — and why Clemson and Florida State began flirting with the SEC. To balance the league, and quiet any dissension on the football side in South Carolina and Tallahassee, Louisville and UConn were the final choices for expansion. Louisville won out for its stronger football profile, and because BC held the right to veto another Northeast school from joining the conference as a condition of its membership in 2004. So there you have it, warts and all. Blaudschun simply outlined what many have suspected, including me — Coach K really is a clever devil after all, isn’t he?

— ICYMI, the present-day ACC had five teams reach this year’s Sweet 16, tying the record for most by a single conference. Tied with whom? That would be the old Big East, with the mark set in 2009.

— By the way, Duke places ninth among Forbes’ annual rankings of college basketball‘s most valuable teams in revenue and earnings. Louisville repeats as No. 1 from a year ago, North Carolina is fifth, Syracuse sixth. Marquette is 15th (leading the Big East) and Xavier cracks the Top 20 at 18. Dayton just missed making the top 20.

— As much as it might pain Friars fans right now, should the Big East ever decide to expand from the current 10 teams, Dayton is a no-brainer. That, and Marquette and Xavier now are entering dangerous territory — could they ever be gobbled up by the virus-like ACC? Guess that will depend on Coach K’s mood. Can we still offer up UConn as an altar sacrifice?

— Our buddy Ken Fang from Awful Announcing seems almost gleeful over the ratings pounding the Big East apparently is taking on Fox Sports 1, as compared to ESPN’s ratings of other league championships. While I can’t imagine anyone in the Big East is thrilled with the numbers, for the umpteenth time let me stress here that you can’t compare apples to oranges. Or, FS1 to present-day ESPN. Let’s give the current Big East, and the new TV network, a little more than a year and a half to work itself up to speed against the 35-year monolithic giant that is the self-proclaimed World Wide Leader, shall we?

— With the PC hockey Friars squeezing into the NCAA Tournament this week — with a “home” game at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, no less, against Miami (Ohio) — is this the NCAA’s way of saying, “Sorry about last week, we screwed it up. Please take a home hockey game against another Ohio team as our sincerest apology”?

— The matchup with the Red Hawks will be Providence’s 12th game all-time at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, and the first since 2004. The Friars won the 1985 Hockey East championship at what was then the Providence Civic Center, but they haven’t played a postseason game in the building since 1986. PC and Miami are 1-1-2 against each other over the past two years during the regular season. Boston College and Denver supply the other side of the bracket — but will BC fans travel? They rarely do.

— And here’s a little “stand alone” news for you: Providence and Harvard are the only two schools to reach both NCAA basketball and hockey tournaments this year. Taking it a step further, the Friars are the only program in the country to reach both tournaments the last two years.

— It has been a very successful athletic year for PC, regardless of any basketball disappointment. Providence ranks 22nd nationally out of 207 schools in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, where points are awarded based on athletic team performance in up to 20 sports. Again, taking it a step further, PC is the only program without football (FBS or FCS) ranked in the top 25. Georgetown (13th) and Villanova (36th) are the other Big East schools in the top 50.

— OK, show of hands here: How many of you are surprised the NFL changed some rules this week, based on the Patriots’ ability to interpret the rulebook? Anyone? Bueller?

— As far as I’m concerned, the Baltimore Ravens will rank right up there among all-time whiners with the Indianapolis Colts. Can’t beat the Patriots? Can’t even understand their formations or player substitutions? Don’t like their defensive backs beating up on your receivers? Change the rules.

— Among the changes coming from this week’s NFL meetings is one that will result in a five-yard penalty for an offensive player wearing an eligible number to report as ineligible and line up outside of the tackle box — which is exactly what NE did to the Ravens in the playoffs, with some success. It’s very reminiscent of when the Colts lobbied to the NFL for change after their receivers were clubbed by Ty Law and company in 2003 — defensive backs now can’t make contact after a five-yard cushion. What’s next?

— “Next” might have already happened for Bill Belichick, who reportedly was upset with ownership shooting down his request for cameras to be placed in end zones to give officials better angles on replay reviews. Cost apparently was a reason behind the rejection, to which Belichick expressed extreme disappointment — based on the league’s decision to play games in London and potentially take the Pro Bowl to Brazil because it can make more money. For what it’s worth, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett backs Belichick on this, when it appears few others will publicly support him.

— Although, because there was a fair amount of discussion on the matter, Belichick also supports changing up the extra point attempt to make it more of a challenge on the field, and the issue apparently will be brought back up for discussion in May. It is entirely possible you’ll see a change in where and/or how PAT’s are attempted next season.

— The circus that is the Aaron Hernandez trial took on a completely different tenor this week after a bomb threat was called in prior to Thursday’s testimony at the Fall River Justice Center. Earlier in the proceedings, Judge Susan Garsh had said some jailhouse phone calls in which Hernandez discusses giving money to a cousin could be used as evidence in the case. And why exactly is this case being tried in Fall River?

— Oh, goody. Injuries already are becoming the story at Red Sox training camp. Catcher Christian Vazquez hasn’t had any improvement to his throwing elbow since he felt some discomfort two weeks ago, which means backup Ryan Hanigan could start the season as No. 1. Or, Blake Swihart’s timetable gets moved up. Shouldn’t this be an example for baseball’s poo-bahs that the exhibition season is simply too long and too much for the players to endure?

— When you’re ready to go, you’re ready to go. Just ask David Ortiz. Why else do you really believe he’s been sitting out spring games? Dehydration? Umm, no. Boredom, more likely.

— My buddy Statbeast tells me he’s always ready. When he was recently getting ready to address his ball during a round of golf, a voice over the PA system announced, “Will the gentleman on the ladies’ tee please move back to the men’s tee?” Again, he tried to address his ball when the PA blared, “Will the man on the red tee box please move back to the white tees?” Statbeast then turned around and shouted, “Will the idiot on the PA please shut up so the man on the ladies’ tee can hit his second shot?”

— We’ve had the long branches of the Providence Friars basketball coaching tree on the front of the brain stem for the past few weeks, and Steve DeMeo’s name recently popped up in conversation. The ex-PC assistant has been in Niceville, Florida, for the past two seasons, and his Northwest Florida State Raiders team won the National Junior College men’s basketball title this past week after defeating South Plains (Kansas) College. DeMeo served under Tim Welsh for 10 seasons in Providence, and also coached at Iona, Hofstra, UCF, Newberry (S.C.) College and Monroe College in the Bronx.

— Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to jrooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster, and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke.

— Don’t forget to join Scott Cordischi and me on Providence’s 103.7 FM every Saturday from 7-9 a.m. for Southern New England Sports Saturday! Call in at 401-737-1287 or text us at 37937.

Blog Author: 
John Rooke

Sometimes, even in the middle of an otherwise maddeningly frustrating hockey season, life steps in and presents you with a pure good. And without question that’s what Liam Fitzgerald’s rise to fame has been.

Well done, Bruins and Upper Deck. And of course, Liam. Fist bump to you all.

#BumpOutCancer at BostonBruins.com/Liam.


Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
Michael Sam

Michael Sam

Michael Sam, the openly gay player who was drafted by the Rams last year, said that there are other gay players in the league during an appearance in Dallas on Thursday, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“I am not the only gay person in the NFL,” Sam said. “I’m just saying there is a lot of us. I respect the players that did reach out to me and had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out before I even played a down in the NFL.

“Was it a risky move? Yes. But at that moment, the reason why I came out is I thought it wasn’€™t going to be a big deal. Maybe I was naive. Maybe I thought it was 2014, and people will understand that there’€™s gay NFL players. There’€™s gay athletes everywhere. But I was clearly wrong. It was a huge deal.

“The players who have reached out to me and told me about their sexual orientation, it just means a lot. But I will never say anything about who they are, what teams they are [on]. I’€™m just saying there’€™s some famous people, and I’€™m not the only one.”

Sam has yet to see regular-season playing time in the NFL. After being drafted in the seventh round by St. Louis, he did not make the team and was placed on the Cowboys’ practice squad. He was released by Dallas in October and has been a free agent since.

“Hopefully I’m not being discriminated [against] because I’m gay,” Sam said. “I don’t believe that I’m being discriminated [against] because I’m gay. I just want to know if I’m truly not in the NFL, it’s because of talent. Let it be because of my talents. But you’ve got to prove that I can’t play this game. If you look at the film, clearly I can. So, I’ll leave it at that.”

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler