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GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alberta, CanadaA private area to breastfeed infants in the arena was quickly set up at the Canadian women’s curling championship Thursday morning after women expressed concern over having to leave the building to nurse their children.

Curlers who are nursing were either going to the players’ lounge at a curling club a block away or had to find space near Revolution Place to breastfeed.

Nova Scotia second Blisse Joyce twice nursed her nine-month son in a vehicle in the parking lot.

“Our last night draw is tonight. A little late, but it’s good,” Joyce said Thursday. …

“We did have an area set aside over at the curling rink,” Curling Canada’s media relations director Al Cameron said. “Once we were aware there were complaints, we jumped on it.”

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Nobody responds to a crisis and finds a resolution faster than Curling Canada. The men and women running the Sport of Kings up there in that vast, beaver-riddled wasteland we call America’s Hat are the MacGyvers of the athletic world. No problem is so big that they can’t solve it with a roll of duct tape and a few yards of curtain fabric. The NFL would have spent years working on this problem. Forming committees. Spending of millions of dollars studying the options. And ultimately Roger Goodell would’ve announced some nursing mom would be releasing the Grande Prairie Two right in the middle of the sheet in front of everybody.

So kudos to Curling Canada. Breastfeeding isn’t an issue most sports face. But the same people who gave us the kizzle kazzle, the vice-skip and the broomstack were uniquely qualified to meet the problem head on and save the championship tournament for hot curling moms everywhere.

@JerryThornton1

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
The NFL's appeal of Judge Berman's decision in the Tom Brady case is right around the corner, and yesterday, we learned the identities of the 3 federal judges who will hear the case.

There aren’t too many February nights when an NBA player is going to do something you’ll be remembering all season. But this is one such moment. It just has everything you could ask for in one play in a regular-season game. Less than a minute to play. A team on the verge of blowing a big lead in front of the home crowd. A budding star in the league making an insane, over-the-shoulder, no-look pass to a wide-open teammate who is also an ascending talent. And of course, he pounds the 3-point wooden stake into Milwaukee’s heart.

Watching Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder connect on that is like this entire Celtics team in microcosm. Two dedicated, hard-working players on the rise who are figuring out how to win in this league making a heads-up hustle play. It’s almost as much fun as hearing Thomas’ old GM in Phoenix admit he screwed up trading him to Boston for Marcus Thornton and Cleveland’s first-rounder. Or the realization the Celtics got Crowder plus Dallas’ first-rounder for the coach-killing damaged goods that is Rajon Rondo. Watch this play and feel good about our pro basketball future.

P.S. Just as an inside blogging note, thank you to the NBA for getting that making game highlight videos available for websites to post doesn’t hurt the league, it helps showcase your league and your best players. Which you would think is sort of the point. What do the NBA and the NHL get that those gawdawful sites run by the NFL and MLB don’t? End of rant.

@JerryThornton1

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and even Ben Carson all had incredible moments last night. We played all the highlights.
David Price joined the morning show and said all the right things. The guys talk about the effect he'll have on the rest of the pitching staff.
Lou has been in Fort Myers all week trying to get a read on the work that Hanley Ramirez has been doing at 1st base.
Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman

The Yankees apparently will be without newly acquired closer Aroldis Chapman for at least some length of time this year. The Cuban flamethrower has been under investigation this offseason for an alleged domestic violence incident.

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman took to Twitter on Thursday to report that MLB would be handing down a punishment in the near future.

Heyman’s tweet read: Chapman suspension wont come today but soon. interesting case. no charges, no cooperating witness. but he will get a ban.

In the alleged incident, Chapman fired a gun eight times in his garage and choked his girlfriend. While he admitted to firing the gun, he denied ever putting his hands on his girlfriend. No arrests were made due to inconsistent stories and a lack of physical evidence to corroborate the claims.

Meanwhile, Chapman has been taking some time off during the opening week of spring training. He missed both Monday and Thursday this week for what he called “a family matter.” Through a translator, the 27-year-old told reporters the personal days were in no way related to the domestic violence allegations.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he was fine with Chapman being absent from spring training.

“Excused absence for personal reasons,” Cashman told reporters. “Shortly after we acquired him, they gave us some information, ‘Hey, there’€™s something that he needs to attend to on this particular date.’ No problem.”

Although it appears a suspension is on the horizon for Chapman, it remains to be seen how long it will be or if he will miss any regular-season games as a result. Whenever he does return, he will join Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in what is arguably the most dominating bullpen in the majors.

In his four years as a full-time closer for the Reds, Chapman totaled 145 saves to go with a career ERA of 2.17.

Blog Author: 
Travis Upham

 

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Boston.comJames “Whitey” Bulger was disciplined at a Florida prison last June for alleged sexual activity in his cell, The Boston Globe reports. …

[T]he now 86-year-old was reportedly seen masturbating in his cell with the lights on, according to prison documents obtained by the Globe.

The prison prohibits any sexual activity by inmates. Authorities put Bulger in solitary confinement for 30 days. …

The documents showed Bulger denied the sexual activity, saying he was applying medicated powder to an irritation on his genitals.

“I’m 85 years old. My sex life is over,” Bulger told a disciplinary hearing officer in June, according to the Globe.

As far as any of us are concerned, Whitey Bulger is one of history’s greatest monsters. Accused of 19 murders, convicted of 11, and who knows how many lives ruined by his extortion, drug dealing and general thuggery. Not enough bad things can happen to him between now and the end of his miserable, misspent existence.

That said, prison bosses can’t really tell a guy not to masturbate, can they? I mean, that is a big ask. You can’t reasonably expect a guy lying awake in a jail cell at 3 a.m. not to whip up a batch. It’s unnatural. What, are they afraid some kids will walk in while he’s in the middle of hitchhiking to the moon? It’s a federal penitentiary, for crying out loud. All these criminals have is the ability to fist off some knuckle children. Denying them the right to play solitaire must be unconstitutional in some way. Not expressly written in there, “… freedom of speech, the press, and rubbing one out …” but definitely covered under the “cruel and unusual punishment” clause.

It makes you wonder how that conversation with the guard who caught him went:

Again, I don’t want to come off like I’m concerned about this old creep, because I’m not. But denying a man his right to spit shine the ol’ candlestick just seems kind of severe. Especially at 85 years old. As I’ve heard Mikey Adams quote the late, great Dick Radatz, “At my age, you never want to waste an erection or trust a fart.”

@JerryThornton1

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
Dexter Fowler

Dexter Fowler

The Cubs have been active on the free agent market this week, as they made a couple of notable moves to bolster their roster for the upcoming season.

First, the team signed Dexter Fowler to a one-year deal Thursday. While Fowler was a serviceable outfielder for the Cubs last season, retaining him for another year was not what made headlines.

During negotiations with the Orioles, rumors began spreading that Fowler had agreed to terms with Baltimore. Fowler’s agent, Casey Close, dismissed these rumors while ripping both the Orioles front office and the Baltimore media.

Said Close in a statement: “In my 25 years in this business, never before have I witnessed such irresponsible behavior on so many fronts. Both the Orioles front office and members of the media were so busy recklessly spreading rumors that they forgot or simply chose not to concern themselves with the truth. The Orioles’ willful disregard of collectively bargained rules governing free agency and the media’s eager complicity in helping the Orioles violate those rules are reprehensible. Dexter Fowler never reached agreement with the Orioles and did not come close to signing with the club; any suggestion otherwise is only a continuation of an already disturbing trend.”

Fowler previously had turned down a $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Cubs, which ended up being worth far more than his current one-year deal signed for $8 million. The contract includes a second year option worth $9 million, although next season the Cubs have a buyout option for $5 million.

Last season with the Cubs, Fowler played in a career high 156 games, batting .250/.346/.411 with 17 home runs and 46 RBIs while stealing 20 bases. In eight major league seasons — six with the Rockies and one each with the Astros and Cubs — the 29-year-old has a career line of .267/.363/.418.

Additionally, the Cubs signed 35-year-old former Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino to a minor league contract, which includes an invitation to spring training.

In just 71 games last season, Victorino posted a career low .230 batting average, hit just one home run and knocked in only seven runs. He was traded from the Red Sox to the Angels on July 27.

Blog Author: 
Travis Upham

 

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I just feel the need to take a quick break from chronicling the sports world, goofy news stories and wacky Gronkowski family hijinks and make a few points about this controversy between Apple and the FBI because I think it affects all of us.

1. I take a backseat to no man when it comes to distrusting the government. To me, the Constitution is the greatest document ever written by the hand of man because, despite its flaws that required a lot of bloodshed to correct (including some of my own ancestral blood at the battle of Antietam), it was the first time in human history a nation was founded on the principle of protecting the people against their government. It put an end to the king’s men coming into your house, confiscating your muskets, reading your daughter’s diary and going through your wife’s pantaloons drawer. And today it looks out for you in ways from preventing traffic stops without probable cause to making it so you don’t have to open your door for the cops unless they have a warrant. The Constitution is the protector of the ultimate minority, the individual.

2. That said, in this case, the FBI has a warrant. This isn’t the Men in Black showing up unannounced, flashing a little strobe-light thing and tricking Apple into handing over the information. The feds went to a federal magistrate, made their case and legally obtained the court order. Which, by the way, is exactly how John Adams and Thomas Jefferson drew it up, if you substitute “iPhone” for “messenger on horseback.” Now, of course, Apple can use the same court system to appeal the order. And it has. But if it doesn’t go its way, Apple is not entitled to make up its own laws. If the feds show up at the Apple store at Derby Shops in Hingham with a warrant, it’s not like Brendan the clerk doesn’t have to ope the door for them. “Subpoena” literally means “under penalty.” And as the judges say, it’s a court order, not an invitation.

3. We are, after all, talking about a dead terrorist. As freaked out as I was by the Edward Snowden revelations about the government data mining everything from your sext messages to the Money Angel emails the old lady in your office sends you, we are not talking about someone with constitutional rights. We are at war. The San Bernardino killer was an armed combatant slaying innocents in a war crime. He’s no more entitled to due process than the German pillbox gunners who were mowing down Army Rangers at Omaha Beach. And he was working with someone who’s information is in that phone.

4. Because everything in my life always circles back to this one topic, I have to repeat what I said yesterday on social media. Apple refuses to give up the phone of a dead, mass-murdering terrorist, and the company is lauded as a defender of liberty and justice. Tom Brady refuses to give his phone over to the NFL, and he’s vilified as a cheating, lying, cover-up artist. Again, I wanted to hit the pause button on sports for a minute. But I can’t ignore the hypocrisy.

5. Apple is worried the technology it’s being asked to develop won’t be limited to this one investigation, and will be used to violate the privacy of others. I have a solution. When the feds get the data they’re looking for, have them type L-U-C-I-U-S-F-O-X.

OK, that is as serious as I can get. Now back to the usual drivel.

@JerryThornton1

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton