The Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club appeared ready for merger under the roof of the current Red Sox ownership



JOHN SHIMER

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It's the baseball postseason, which means umpires' blown calls are magnified and calls for instant replay get louder and louder. In Thursday night's Twins-Yankees game, home plate ump Hunter Wendelstedt struggled with the strike zone and ejected Twins manager Ron Gardenhire for bringing it to his attention. In Game 2 of the Rangers-Rays game, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was tossed for complaining about an apparent missed check swing call that proved to be a turning point. Now, reports are emerging that the players union has requested an offseason meeting to discuss the umpiring problem.

The sports gossip website Deadspin indicated that it plans to publish X-rated photos of quarterback Brett Favre on Thursday. The site claims the photos were sent from Favre's cell phone to Jets TV host Jenn Sterger in 2008, when Favre played in New York. Deadspin also promised to post voicemails from Favre in which he comes on to Sterger. Read more about that story, plus check out videos, trivia and more, at Thursday's Morning Mashup.

The Titans were penalized 10 times for 111 yards on Sunday in a 26-20 loss to the Broncos, and then Tennessee was on the receiving end of some criticisms from Denver players and coaches. Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton called the Titans "cheap" after the game, and coach Josh McDaniels followed up on Monday by implying the team is taught to play dirty, saying, "You either coach it or you allow it to happen." Titans coach Jeff Fisher denied the charges.

According a new report, Tour de France winner Alberto Contador tested for high levels of a chemical that is found in plastic IV bags. Contador, who last month blamed tainted beef for the existence of high levels of the banned drug clenbuterol, has yet to come up with an explanation for the existence of a plasticizer in his urine.

 

U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell's par on the 17th hole at Celtic Manor gave him a 2-up victory over Hunter Mahan and proved to be the clinching point for Europe in the first-ever Monday finish at the Ryder Cup.

 

Europe won the matches by a 14.5-13.5 final, and have now won six of the last eight Ryder Cups. The Americans won in 1999 at Brookline and two years ago at Valhalla. The U.S. has not won a Ryder Cup on foreign soil since 1993.

 

Former Giants running back Tiki Barber was booed during his introduction at halftime of New York's win over the Bears on Sunday night. Barber was one of 30 inductees into the team's Ring of Honor, but his recent critical comments of coach Tom Coughlin did not sit well with the fans. Get additional details on that story and others, plus videos, trivia and more assorted minutiae, at Monday's Morning Mashup.

With the United States' Ryder Cup team trailing the Europeans, NBC Analyst Brad Faxon broke down what has happened to the US in Newport, Wales, saying "The European team this year is as strong as they've ever had." The U.S. team entered the final day trailing the Europeans, 9 1/2-6 1/2.

 

"We're getting spanked,"  observed Faxon.

 

As part of a plea deal with the Los Angeles city attorney's office, sports columnist Jay Mariotti pleaded no contest to one count of misdemeanor domestic violence Thursday and was sentenced to three years probation and 40 hours of community labor. Mariotti was arrested in August after allegedly pushing and grabbing his girlfriend. Read more about that story, plus check out other news, videos, trivia and more, at Friday's Morning Mashup.

Just another day of controversy in the cycling world. Tour de France 2010 winner Alberto Contador tested positive for a banned substance on the final rest day of the event, according to his spokesman. Contador, a three-time winner, blames it on tainted food. Meanwhile, friends of Lance Armstrong are being called to testify before a grand jury investigating doping in the sport.