Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Jazz at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Lakers at Heat, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Trail Blazers at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Providence at Seton Hall, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Notre Dame at Louisville, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Central Florida at South Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: La Salle at Saint Joseph’s, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Houston at Tulane, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: USC at UCLA, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: TCU at Oklahoma State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: St. John’s at Marquette, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Cincinnati at Tulsa, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Oregon at Oregon State, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: San Diego State at UNLV, 11 p.m. (CBSSN)
NHL: Rangers at Red Wings, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB exhibition: Phillies at Yankees, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: Women, United States vs. Norway, 2 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Premier League, Chelsea at West Ham, 2:40 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Alex Rodriguez is set to play his first spring training game Wednesday, marking his return to the majors after his one-year suspension that cost him the entire 2014 season.

“I’ll be a little nervous,” Rodriguez admitted. “I haven’t been in front of my — our — fans for a long time. I’m excited about that. I have some challenges ahead.”

Added Rodriguez: “I am excited for [Wednesday]. I’m not sure how ready, but I’ll give it a shot.”

The Yankees are anticipating about 9,000 fans for the game, and it’s unclear what kind of reaction Rodriguez will get. Manager Joe Girardi said he expects the Tampa crowd to support him.

“He was caught. He paid his time, and now he’s back, and he’s a Yankee and we’re going to cheer for him,” Girardi said. “Some people are going to say, ‘You know what, I might have a hard time cheering for him,’ And some people are just fans and they fall in love with a player, and no matter what they do, it doesn’t matter.”

— The Panthers, chasing the Bruins for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, found themselves scrambling for a goalie during Tuesday night’s 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs.

Following injuries to starter Roberto Luongo and backup Al Montoya, the team considered having center Derek MacKenzie play as management contacted the league office to sign an emergency contract with 41-year-old goaltending consultant Robb Tallas, who last played an NHL game in 2001.

“It’s rare. Doesn’t happen very often,” Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. “You’re in constant communication with the league to do the right thing, and you have to have him be legal and it has to be cleared by central registry.

“It’s hard to do that at 11 o’clock or 10:30 at night. … If we couldn’t get him cleared, it would have had to be a player.”

In the end, Montoya remained in the game for about 10 minutes after his third-period injury, and then Luongo, who had changed into street clothes after being replaced during the first intermission, put his gear back on and finished the game.

“We’re playing a pretty good game, and all of a sudden, boom, boom, you lose two goalies real quick,” Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. “Fortunately for us, both of them were able to return and play some of the game, and Robbie [Tallas] didn’t have to go in there. But there was a lot of confusion going on.”

— Josh Smith is an Atlanta native who played nine seasons for the Hawks, but he’s not very welcome in his hometown anymore — at least based on the reaction of fans at Philips Arena on Tuesday night.

Smith, who was criticized for his shot selection during his time with the Hawks, was loudly booed whenever he touched the ball in Houston’s 104-96 loss.

“Those fans are fickle, very fickle and bandwagoners,” Smith said afterward. “It really doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Atlanta, the surprise team in the East, is averaging more than 17,000 fans per game, far more than when Smith was a polarizing figure there.

“I’d been here for nine years and all I did was positive things in the community and with the basketball team,” Smith insisted.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 4, 1984, which standout Red Sox catcher from the 1930s was chosen for the Hall of Fame by the veterans committee?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Guys can get in the mix at any time. Just because it’s the first game doesn’t mean anything. We’ll all mix in and get good opportunities. The main thing is getting reps.” Red Sox manager John Farrell, on Mookie Betts starting over Rusney Castillo in the team’s first spring training exhibition of the season Wednesday in Fort Myers, Fla.

STAT OF THE DAY: 24,508 – Career points for LeBron James, who moved into 21st place on the NBA’s all-time list after scoring 27 points in the Cavaliers110-79 victory over the Celtics on Tuesday night

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Ducks goalie Frederik Anderson makes a diving save on Coyotes forward Martin Erat.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Rick Ferrell

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Chris Rea was born on this day in 1951.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
We discuss Curt Schilling's outing of the internet trolls who thought rape jokes were appropriate to direct at his daughter, and we discuss it with you, on how this isn't just a sports issue, it's a societal issue.

[0:00:24] ... not better but it's illegal. The lead up against the law and. Curt Schilling who was on this morning width Dennis and Callahan with men hand. This whole thing exploded yesterday when now when Kurt posted ...
[0:01:05] ... never seen a more clinically Visser ration of Twitter trolls than what Curt Schilling undertook yesterday it did its textbook. I don't know how you could do it more effectively and and better than he did it. Yeah I mean you know this is. This is something that and we we talk but this. Prolonged time we talked about yesterday when you're here we talked about it this morning. A before the show that this. Maybe not to the Curt Schilling level. But this is this just in the atmosphere. This is in the atmosphere right now. With the way. The way people. ...
[0:02:52] ... as if this wild west. Wild west world Internet doesn't exist but. Curt Schilling and what was it his his defense of his daughter admirable sure that no problem with that. If you if you look ...
[0:03:56] ... a seventeen year old girl here no matter what you think of Curt Schilling and people don't like he's a polarizing. A figure I understand that. Some people like them some people hate them I understand ...






We discuss Curt Schilling's outing of the internet trolls who thought rape jokes were appropriate to direct at his daughter, and we discuss it with you, on how this isn't just a sports issue, it's a societal issue.

[0:00:24] ... not better but it's illegal. The lead up against the law and. Curt Schilling who was on this morning width Dennis and Callahan with men hand. This whole thing exploded yesterday when now when Kurt posted ...
[0:01:05] ... never seen a more clinically Visser ration of Twitter trolls than what Curt Schilling undertook yesterday it did its textbook. I don't know how you could do it more effectively and and better than he did it. Yeah I mean you know this is. This is something that and we we talk but this. Prolonged time we talked about yesterday when you're here we talked about it this morning. A before the show that this. Maybe not to the Curt Schilling level. But this is this just in the atmosphere. This is in the atmosphere right now. With the way. The way people. ...
[0:02:52] ... as if this wild west. Wild west world Internet doesn't exist but. Curt Schilling and what was it his his defense of his daughter admirable sure that no problem with that. If you if you look ...
[0:03:56] ... a seventeen year old girl here no matter what you think of Curt Schilling and people don't like he's a polarizing. A figure I understand that. Some people like them some people hate them I understand ...






We check in on the Patriots off-season with ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss. Mike updates us on Revis, McCourty, Wilfork and more.

[0:05:38] ... that's with the team want to remind me a little bit. A Randy Moss. In 2007 after that big year he had remember he was a free agent they could have put the tag on him ...
[0:09:10] ... over two really big decisions the patriots have to make one. When Vince Wilfork and two I think right after would Jerod Mayo where do you think those negotiations are gonna go. They had this little ...
[0:10:32] ... who historically spend craze really in free agency and I see. Hello Oakland Raiders meet Ndamukong Suh do you see that happen in. I concede that I concede that they have to spend it you just because they they spent the last two years sort of clearing their captain. That would be sort of one guy to build around to pick about the new coach Jack Del Rio is in food shortage is tight the guy. The builder I think the colts could be another interesting one. From the sense. ...





We check in on the Patriots off-season with ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss. Mike updates us on Revis, McCourty, Wilfork and more.

[0:05:38] ... that's with the team want to remind me a little bit. A Randy Moss. In 2007 after that big year he had remember he was a free agent they could have put the tag on him ...
[0:09:10] ... over two really big decisions the patriots have to make one. When Vince Wilfork and two I think right after would Jerod Mayo where do you think those negotiations are gonna go. They had this little ...
[0:10:32] ... who historically spend craze really in free agency and I see. Hello Oakland Raiders meet Ndamukong Suh do you see that happen in. I concede that I concede that they have to spend it you just because they they spent the last two years sort of clearing their captain. That would be sort of one guy to build around to pick about the new coach Jack Del Rio is in food shortage is tight the guy. The builder I think the colts could be another interesting one. From the sense. ...





Dale and Michael talk about the trade deadline deals and how the Bruins did improve themselves, but how it might not be enough to make the ultimate difference.

[0:04:58] ... pretty good on first round picks. I mean you go back to Phil Kessel Tyler Sagan Doug Lee Hamilton now consume band. First round picks they've done a decent a decent job and I didn't receive ...
[0:11:38] ... equated it yesterday on the on the nest and special to the Chris Kelly acquisition. When they acquired him. Just before the trade deadline to the year they won the cup and everybody was totally underwhelmed ...
[0:17:31] ... guys who have ended up being hurt your this year but. Where Zdeno Chara goes down. You put a lot of elk yet IR and and you bring somebody into replace and that sort of thing. ...
[0:18:30] ... you're now you're now left with bringing a guy up from the American Hockey League if to fill the spot I'd like to have seen him get some debt. And just and just historically you know a ...






Dale and Michael talk about the trade deadline deals and how the Bruins did improve themselves, but how it might not be enough to make the ultimate difference.

[0:04:58] ... pretty good on first round picks. I mean you go back to Phil Kessel Tyler Sagan Doug Lee Hamilton now consume band. First round picks they've done a decent a decent job and I didn't receive ...
[0:11:38] ... equated it yesterday on the on the nest and special to the Chris Kelly acquisition. When they acquired him. Just before the trade deadline to the year they won the cup and everybody was totally underwhelmed ...
[0:17:31] ... guys who have ended up being hurt your this year but. Where Zdeno Chara goes down. You put a lot of elk yet IR and and you bring somebody into replace and that sort of thing. ...
[0:18:30] ... you're now you're now left with bringing a guy up from the American Hockey League if to fill the spot I'd like to have seen him get some debt. And just and just historically you know a ...






We review four of the most polarizing athletes in recent Boston sports history.

[0:01:07] ... map and and a child. So what we're talking about polarizing athlete Curt Schilling absolutely positively is back. We've got a few others as well. You mentioned Kirch and so might as well start right there. ...
[0:02:07] ... don't know why. I don't know what people's beef is with with Curt Schilling really like he rubs from the front row why because he speaks in. Probably senses he gives one answer is like we've always got struck but I get by with Carmelo driving and we've vilify people in this town before all over. Not talking about about refusing to cooperate or whatever. Here's a guy who would answer any question give you thoughtfully at that you might not agree that but I just never got it but more importantly. He came here. Talked about though he was gonna win a World Series and backed it up. You don't have it likely we hate guys for being nice that they fail key in only that ...
[0:03:23] ... and that's why there that's why the polarizing guy the antipathy to Curt Schilling. Three words. Rework changed it forever for him in this town vote for bush yeah yeah that changed everything there was an election with two guys around him. He he backed the guy who by the way one but you talk about that got but that an upset with you before. That resumes. That all Republicans agree with Curt Schilling and all Democrats hate and I don't think that's the case at all. It's coming out Republicans not fair and Curt Schilling a Saturday they roared again Palmer Republican. He made them there Republicans out there. Who. Don't like shelling that's not you. Yes Michael yes we are onto already. The next athlete on this list is also a former member of the Boston Red Sox and but he was just being himself most of the time and that's probably what irritated a lot of people but it's ...
[0:05:39] ... W my daughter wears number 24 in high school soccer because of Manny Ramirez. She he was her favorite player because he'd look so goofy and funny. He wasn't you know he is one of those ...






We review four of the most polarizing athletes in recent Boston sports history.

[0:01:07] ... map and and a child. So what we're talking about polarizing athlete Curt Schilling absolutely positively is back. We've got a few others as well. You mentioned Kirch and so might as well start right there. ...
[0:02:07] ... don't know why. I don't know what people's beef is with with Curt Schilling really like he rubs from the front row why because he speaks in. Probably senses he gives one answer is like we've always got struck but I get by with Carmelo driving and we've vilify people in this town before all over. Not talking about about refusing to cooperate or whatever. Here's a guy who would answer any question give you thoughtfully at that you might not agree that but I just never got it but more importantly. He came here. Talked about though he was gonna win a World Series and backed it up. You don't have it likely we hate guys for being nice that they fail key in only that ...
[0:03:23] ... and that's why there that's why the polarizing guy the antipathy to Curt Schilling. Three words. Rework changed it forever for him in this town vote for bush yeah yeah that changed everything there was an election with two guys around him. He he backed the guy who by the way one but you talk about that got but that an upset with you before. That resumes. That all Republicans agree with Curt Schilling and all Democrats hate and I don't think that's the case at all. It's coming out Republicans not fair and Curt Schilling a Saturday they roared again Palmer Republican. He made them there Republicans out there. Who. Don't like shelling that's not you. Yes Michael yes we are onto already. The next athlete on this list is also a former member of the Boston Red Sox and but he was just being himself most of the time and that's probably what irritated a lot of people but it's ...
[0:05:39] ... W my daughter wears number 24 in high school soccer because of Manny Ramirez. She he was her favorite player because he'd look so goofy and funny. He wasn't you know he is one of those ...






The Jets are leaking to the New York media that they're going to make a strong move to sign Darrelle Revis. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The Jets are leaking to the New York media that they’re going to make a strong move to sign Darrelle Revis. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Manish Mehta, NY Daily NewsWoody Johnson is positioned to pull off a coup by bringing back a defensive force that will bolster his wayward franchise.

The Daily News has learned that Johnson has been involved in serious internal discussions with Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan to make a push for perennial All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis if/when he becomes a free agent next week. …

There are few images more nauseating in Florham Park than Revis hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in a Patriots uniform, but Johnson can electrify everyone from his fan base to his players and coaches by reacquiring one of the NFL’€™s biggest difference makers at the exact right time. …

Johnson’€™s admission the day he fired [head coach Rex Ryan and [GM] John Idzik in December that he’€™d ‘€œlove to have Darrelle back’€ prompted a hissy fit by the Patriots that resulted in a formal tampering charge against the Jets. Although Johnson’€™s words were harmless ‘€” he didn’€™t even know who the new GM and head coach would be when he praised Revis in response to a direct question ‘€” it makes perfect sense now to help the organization land a dynamic player, who will yield myriad benefits.

Manish Mehta joined MFin’B MFB Tuesday afternoon and repeated what he wrote here, which is that Woody Johnson wasn’t tampering. To review: The owner of one team stands before the assembled media and announced to the world that he lusts after a player who not plays for a division opponent (I’m pretty sure at this point the word “rival” no longer applies), but who was in the process of getting ready for a Super Bowl run and oh, by the way, is under contract with that team.

But that’s “harmless.” And if anyone suggests it’s tampering, like say, the team that holds the 2015 club option for Darrelle Revis, well they’re just having “a hissy fit.”

Look, I don’t know exactly how the NFL’s bylaws define tampering, but I do know how dictionary.com does: “to engage in underhand or corrupt dealings, especially in order to influence improperly.” And Woody Johnson‘s open open coveting of Revis weeks before he and the Pats would start talking about an extension not only violates that definition, I’m pretty sure it violates a couple of the Ten Commandments.

Of course Mehta doubled down on the “Woody Johnson is a dumb Lucky Spermer who can’t be held accountable for the nonsense that comes out of his mouth.” But what good does pleading ignorance do the Patriots if Revis’ agents are being sent every signals short of morse code that the Jets will pay him stupid money to come to New York and them get from four wins to five next year?

If Johnson saying what he did in December, and then the Jets leaking this to the Daily News now isn’t tampering, then tampering is not a thing. And if it isn’t, it’s time for the Patriots to list every good player in the NFL and saying they’ll pay them anything to get them to come to New England. Then again, they can’t hide behind the stupidity defense the way Woody can.

@JerryThornton1

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton