...Darren Dreger seems to believe it is. Dale and Michael discuss the plight of the Bruins, and Malcolm Subban's first start in net.

[0:01:59] ... rally could end up Brian Murray is the general manager of the Ottawa Senators. Fighting cancer grow Oakley fighting cancer retiring at the end of the season to continue his medical battles. That's where Peter surely ...
[0:05:18] ... by the you know he's got primary go to China is no Tim Thomas. So then does not plays well they win tonight. There's going to be a portion of the Bruins fan base that's gonna ...
[0:06:08] ... management so that's not desperation among. Among charette that your rally. And Claude Julien don't have the same level of desperation that. Jam Melian Charlie Jacobs. So. Or are they telling are they saying one thing ...
[0:09:22] ... Julian been good coach has been a good coach yes won a Stanley Cup Europe Adam Stanley Cup finals another year that I playoffs every year and he's been a good coach right. And as I said the U. That ...

Dale and Michael discuss the Sox on the official opening day of Spring Training.

[0:01:45] ... especially your replacement somebody's really good Errol said you don't now. Tell Tom Brady the Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe led an unheralded and run the patriot OK but it if it. If somebody if smoky bets. If 1015 games in and ...
[0:06:09] ... then you look somewhere else you look at the patriots went with Bill Belichick transport arms and patriot than bill would Bill Belichick patriots fans want to assign it to Jerry dissension. We know we know we've got the best in the business and we ...
[0:09:00] ... not. They they're not responded to. Left clos. Eleven as much as Mike Babcock who's who could be available but I love quote is a really good coach look at his record speaks for itself. Brought ...
[0:11:38] ... it contract extensions in the east part except for one we want. Bill Belichick to sign up 28 year contract extension. And that they block their angle up all eleven and five next year you'll wanna ...

Dale and Michael discuss the Sox on the official opening day of Spring Training.

[0:01:45] ... especially your replacement somebody's really good Errol said you don't now. Tell Tom Brady the Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe led an unheralded and run the patriot OK but it if it. If somebody if smoky bets. If 1015 games in and ...
[0:06:09] ... then you look somewhere else you look at the patriots went with Bill Belichick transport arms and patriot than bill would Bill Belichick patriots fans want to assign it to Jerry dissension. We know we know we've got the best in the business and we ...
[0:09:00] ... not. They they're not responded to. Left clos. Eleven as much as Mike Babcock who's who could be available but I love quote is a really good coach look at his record speaks for itself. Brought ...
[0:11:38] ... it contract extensions in the east part except for one we want. Bill Belichick to sign up 28 year contract extension. And that they block their angle up all eleven and five next year you'll wanna ...




Pictures usually say a thousand words, but this one says only one. And that word is “power.” I don’t know if you can find a greater example of a pure dominance than this photo. Rex Ryan doing the walk of shame of a loser and Bill Belichick doing the stride of pride only a champion can take. Rex in the shirt of a Super Bowl his new team lost and a player who couldn’t find his helmet at the start of the game, Belichick rocking the hoodie of his own charitable foundation.

And as much as I appreciate Belichick taking his Alpha Male posture and Ryan doing the downcast eyes, pinned back ears and lowered forelegs of the defeated challenger, I’m not comfortable with The Hooded One standing that close to the old foot-rubber. You never know if the losing is contagious. Watching down there, coach.


Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton

ESPNMajor League Baseball has implemented significant pace-of-play rule changes for the 2015 season in an effort to speed up the game, it was announced Friday.

The rules include mandating that managers stay in the dugout during replay challenges, that hitters keep at least one foot in the batter’s box during at-bats, a prompt return to play after TV commercial breaks and timed pitching changes. …

The league, which announced the changes with the MLB Players Association, established a pace-of-game committee in September aimed at making recommendations to speed up games, which grew to a record average of 3 hours, 2 minutes in 2014, up from 2:33 in 1981.

Players who violate the rules will receive a warning, with “flagrant violators” subject to a series of fines up to $500, sources familiar with the changes told ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. The intention is not to impose penalties but rather to help change the habits of current players in an effort to speed up the game, sources told Stark.

The new rules begin in spring training, but the warnings and fines will not be imposed until May, as spring training and the first month of the regular season will be a phase-in period. …

The batter’s box rule remains in place unless an established exception occurs. Those exceptions include swinging at a pitch, foul balls, foul tips, if the hitter is brushed back by a pitch, time granted by the umpire and wild pitches.

Also, two timers — on or near the scoreboard and another on the facade behind home plate near the press box — will be used in every major league ballpark to help quicken the pace. For each half-inning break, teams will have either 2 minutes, 25 seconds (for local telecasts) or 2 minutes, 45 seconds (national telecasts) from the time the commercial break begins until the first pitch should be thrown to the next batter, who should be in the batter’s box with no fewer than 20 seconds remaining on that timer.

Is this a joke? I’m being semi-serious here. When I first heard this was how MLB was planning to shed the half an hour that’s grown on the game like a tumor over the last 35 years, at first I thought this might be an article from The Onion or something.

So the plan to stop the unnecessary step out of the batter’s box, adjust your gloves, straighten your helmet, clear stuff out of your eyes, fondle your bat, step back in the box OCD thing that’s made baseball virtually unwatchable is going to be cured with … $500 fines? And not just for everyone but only for the “flagrant violators”?

Meaning what, exactly? If a guy pulls up a lawn chair and sits down or goes and takes a potty break he gets the fine, but every other violator gets a stern talking to? And the exceptions include … well, basically everything? And even in the rare times they do decide to enforce this stuff at worst we’re talking about 500 bucks, which to your average major leaguer amounts to about what they’re paying in interest on their fleet of luxury cars while the game drags on. It’s the equivalent of letting us on-air WEEI guys get away with saying anything we want as long as we throw a nickel in the swear jar after.

I’ve got a new proposal to cut down on the rampant, desultory, narcissistic preening between pitches — by batters and pitchers alike, by the way — that’s destroying the game. How about instead of a $500 fine, MLB has the umpires give them an escalating series of punishments:

  • Nasty thoughts
  • Furrowed brow
  • Passive/aggressiveness
  • Eye-roll
  • Heavy sigh
  • Stinkeye
  • Going “Tsk!”
  • Clearing throat really loudly in an obvious way
  • A strongly worded warning letter.

It would be every bit as effective as a $500, rarely enforced and probably uncollectable fine.

But if the MLB people think their plan will work better, good luck to them. And I’d like them to let me know how it works out because I’ll be going to bed around midnight. Or as they now call it, the seventh inning.



Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton

Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Joey Meyer.

— Providence’s win at DePaul on Wednesday wasn’t a sizzler, but it was the kind of win that a contending team — a championship-contending team — needs late in the year against a team in the lower half of the league. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Oliver Purnell didn’t at least try a little zone against the Friars, but maybe if it’s not as good as DePaul’s man-to-man, then it makes sense.

— On the other hand, Providence’s zone was as good as it’s been in a while, and the Blue Demons had a very tough time hitting and getting into the gaps. The Friars did a superb job of cutting down and restricting the passing lanes, and extending to their shooters. Defense like that, provided there’s attention to detail when teams attack the baseline, will win a couple of tough ones down the stretch.

— LaDontae Henton is almost there. He’s 54 points and seven rebounds away from matching Ryan Gomes as the only two players in Friars history with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. That’s extraordinary, especially when you consider some of the talent that has come through PC over the past 88 years. This week he was a national nominee for the new “Julius Erving Award,” which will be given to the nation’s top small forward.

— Speaking of the award, college basketball this season follows in the uber-popular college football postseason awards show’s footsteps (on ESPN2 April 10) by introducing awards for best point guard (Bob Cousy Award), best shooting guard (Jerry West Award), best small forward (Julius Erving Award), best power forward (Karl Malone Award) and center (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award). URI’s E.C. Matthews made the list for the Jerry West Award, but for the life of me, I’ve been searching for Kris Dunn’s name on the Cousy list and can’t find it.

— Not for nuthin’, but Matthews is on that list, too. So is UConn’s Ryan Boatright, BC’s Olivier Hanlan, Georgetown’s D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono. All worthy in their own right, but no Dunn. Kinda makes this award a joke, really, because someone is clearly asleep at the wheel. Dunn might be the best guard in the country, period. And he’s a candidate for Big East Player of the Year, but not the Cousy Award. Who looks dumb here?

— Great national PR this week for both PC and URI basketball, as Dunn was the feature subject for a Sports Illustrated piece (on SI.com) and Dan Hurley received a great write-up in USA Today. Getcha popcorn ready, ‘cuz the show really hasn’t started yet. Just sayin’.

— Seven straight losses to the Minutemen? Rhody’s win over UMass on Wednesday night was a huge step in the right direction for the Rams, who now certainly must feel like the Atlantic-10 is there for the taking. But the wins must keep coming, especially on the road. Winning at Dayton is a must for the Rams to have a shot at an NCAA at-large spot, if they don’t win the tournament title.

— But with VCU’s wounded list such as it is, the A-10 tourney crown is achievable even if the regular season falls a little short. If I’m a Rams fan, I’m grabbing tickets for the Barclays Center next month.

— Glad to read this week where URI athletic director Thorr Bjorn has had good conversations with school president David Dooley about a contract extension, as his current deal is set to expire June 30. With Bjorn’s alma mater UMass looking for a replacement as well, it’s only natural that an alumnus would at least kick the tires on a homecoming. Keep this in mind, Rams fans, when Dan Hurley’s name pops up in New Jersey if Kevin Willard’s tenure at Seton Hall should come to an abrupt end.

— Bill Reynolds was spot on about this in the Providence Journal this week, but Ricky Ledo’s life and professional basketball career just became a little more complicated with his being cut by the Dallas Mavericks this past week. We can all say “Told you so” on this one.

— And I’ll say this, too, because if you’re a Friars fan you’ve surely thought about it. The timing would probably have never worked out right, but could you imagine a Providence team with Ledo, Bryce Cotton and Kris Dunn in the same backcourt? Come on. That’s not playing fair.

— Holy moly, but Cotton is scorching hot for the NBA D-League Austin Spurs, scoring more than 30 points per game over the past seven games he’s played, hitting better than 50 percent from 3 and 94 percent from the foul line. Thirty-one contracts have been handed out to D-League players so far this year, 14 of those to lead or point guards, and Cotton can’t get a sniff? Stupid is as stupid does.

— It’s happening more and more these days — broadcasters and reporters getting moved out of their vantage points for covering games as teams (college and pro) sell their seats. Frankly, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened more often, but Bob Knight had a few words for a couple of fans that jumped in his way this past week while working an SMU-Temple game for ESPN: “Sit down, boys! Hey, either take my seat and let me sit there or sit down. We gotta see here!” Naturally, his outburst on national TV would have been complete with the actual throwing of his seat.

— Seton Hall’s fall from the Top 25 has been precipitous, to say the least. The Pirates may have bottomed out with Sterling Gibbs’ whack of Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono this past week resulting in a two-game suspension. Ironically, much of the mess came about with freshman Isaiah Whitehead’s return to the lineup after an injury. Whitehead once was considered a one-and-done prospect, but SHU voice Gary Cohen told us on “This Week in the Big East” that’s no longer a possibility, or probability.

— Think you have game? Then here’s your chance to prove it. The Big East Conference is sponsoring an open 3-on-3 basketball competition in New York during the men’s tournament week, and teams will have the chance to compete for the right to actually play on the Madison Square Garden court just before the championship game. The “Big East 3×3 Battle” tips off on March 7 indoors at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. And the winning team in the Adult Elite Division will qualify for the USA Basketball 3×3 national tournament, and qualify for the FIBA 3×3 world tour. Whoa’€¦

— Under the radar this week was former Big East member West Virginia getting slapped with two years probation by the NCAA for impermissible texts and phone calls from coaches in 14 sports. The violations allegedly began while the Mountaineers were still in the Big East, and continued after they joined the Big 12. In 14 sports? Sounds like a department-wide problem, and maybe one reason why athletic director Oliver Luck skipped out of town — ironically, to work for the NCAA.

— Bryant has clinched a spot in college basketball‘s postseason for a third straight year as a full-fledged Division 1 member. Now comes the hard part: actually winning something. The Bulldogs are in a fight for one of the four NEC quarterfinal home court spots, and the league appears wide open enough for Bryant to have a shot at dancing next month.

— Sad to hear the news this past week about “Wave ‘em home” Wendell Kim. The former Red Sox (and Giants and Cubs) third base coach passed away from complications due to early-onset Alzheimer’s at age 64. Kim, a native of Honolulu, was the first Korean-American to wear a major league uniform. He was beloved (and sometimes reviled) for his aggressive approach in sending runners to the plate for Boston from 1997-2000 (hence the “Wave ‘€˜em home Wendell” moniker). I miss that approach, it was never boring — even if it was a bit maddening.

— Call me crazy, but I’m not feeling real good about Clay Buchholz potentially at the top of my rotation, and 40-year-old Koji Uehara as the first option for a closer. Sure hope the offense swings the bats.

— That would only change marginally if Cole Hamels winds up in Red Sox, as opposed to staying unfulphilled for a Philadelphia team ticketed for the bottom of the National League East.

— How about A-Fraud? “He Keeps Coming Back Again” could be the title to his new book, once all of the chapters are written. Alex Rodriguez‘s return to the Yankees this spring stands to be one of the most-watched stories of training camp — undoubtedly beaten into our heads by ESPN and others for weeks. Wake me up when — or if — he wins a daily gig in the lineup.

— Could someone please explain how a team — any team — like the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night in Edmonton could miss 12 (Twelve!) shots on goal in a shootout? Missed ‘€˜em all? Was Gretzky in goal for the Oilers?

— I have no words for the current status of “Deflategate” this week, no words at all. Just a shrug of the shoulders as I wonder why anyone gives a tinker’s damn about a pound of air pressure.

— Recently hired as San Francisco’s defensive coordinator, ex-Jets coach and ex-Patriots assistant Eric Mangini has said he believes he was blackballed by the NFL after he snitched on the Pats for Spygate — because he couldn’t get coaching work and was forced into television. Forced. Into. Television. Some hardship, Eric. Wonder if the same thing will happen to current Colts GM Ryan Grigson, who blew a whistle on the Patriots to the league during the second quarter of his team’s AFC title game beatdown? Especially if it’s discovered there was no wrongdoing.

— You heard it here first. No, really, you did. Said a few weeks back the Patriots would have offensive linemen as a top priority for the draft this year, and from all indications they were plenty interested in a few of the big guys at the combine this week in Indianapolis. Considering the fact Dan Connolly is a free agent guard and Ryan Wendell is an overachieving guard, guards definitely are on the agenda.

— Want a name? I’ll give you two: Tre Jackson from Florida State and A.J. Cann of South Carolina. Jackson was an All-American for the Seminoles, the same program that brought the Patriots rookie center Bryan Stork this past year. Cann probably won’t be around for the Pats to pick, unless New England moves up to take him. Which is a rarity, you know.

— It makes even more sense the Patriots are considering bolstering the line as a top priority when you realize former line coach and associate head coach Dante Scarnecchia still is helping out his old team in retirement by scouting rookie prospects at the combine. So is recently retired special teams coach Scott O’Brien, which may or may not provide a clue as to NE’s interest in re-signing kicker Stephen Gostkowski.

— Ever wanted to be a “fly on the wall?” The Patriots are holding their annual cheerleader tryouts on Feb. 28 at Ahern Middle School in Foxboro. Registration — and securing wall space — begins at 10 a.m.

— The Patriots reported this week that last year’s cheerleading team included a biomedical engineer, a psychology and neuroscience professor, an accountant, a dentist, a social worker and a physical therapist. That’s nice and all, and it makes for good stories, but were there any with actual cheerleading experience? Rah-rah-rah, sis-boom-bah.

— My buddy Statbeast sez there is absolutely way too much violence in football. Every time he says something about the cheerleaders, Mrs. Statbeast puts an elbow in his ribs.

— Didn’t author Thomas Wolfe tell us you can’t go home again? Apparently, Kevin Garnett never read the book.

— Looking up into the rafters at DePaul’s Allstate Arena this week, it was hard not to spot the banners honoring some of the Blue Demons basketball greats from the past, including the late, great coach Ray Meyer. The Demons have had at least one active player in the NBA for each of the past 40 years, which speaks to the caliber of player they’ve had and the overall success of the program. But does anyone remember Meyer’s son Joey, who assisted for his father for 11 years and took over the program when his dad retired in 1984? Joey Meyer led the program to seven NCAA tournament appearances in his first eight years, and 231 wins over 13 seasons before fading like a comet in the stratosphere. Rod Strickland and Dallas Comegys were two of the big-time players during his successful run, but as a member of the Great Midwest Conference in the mid-’90s, the Blue Demons began a steady decline that arguably exists to this day. Meyer was fired in 1997, then coached in the ABA and more recently in the NBA D-League, winning championships in Asheville, North Carolina, in 2004 and 2005. Meyer’s last coaching job was in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with the Mad Ants in 2011-12, and he ranks as the all-time winningest coach in D-League history.

— Jeremy in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, posted this on Facebook, in response to an item in last week’s column on TV ratings for the Big East: “It’s silly to make any judgments on the Big East or their television ratings at this point. The conference needs time to grow and develop new rivalries. UConn smartening up and coming back home would be a nice addition.” Jeremy, I don’t disagree with this at all. But unless the Huskies decide to drop football or de-emphasize it, it ain’t happening. They’re too deep into the muck, too invested in the sport. The two biggest “losses” in the move from the old league to the new league were UConn and Syracuse, hands down. But football now drives the bus at those two schools, even though the decision to stay in lockstep with other football programs might not have been the wisest for the basketball teams in both places. They surely have been out of the spotlight this year, even just one year removed from a national title in Storrs. Women’s hoop success will have to suffice for the masses, and the TV money in the ACC in Syracuse will have to help heal any wounds from the basketball team’s self-imposed “sanctions” this year.

— 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
Aloha Friday

[0:00:00] ... Rumor loan Christian Fauria at ten business. Days a week and a half. On the WEEI Sports Radio network and WEEI dot com. I. Blogs he's ...
[0:01:35] ... I hear you and it could be bitch and moan about a Super Bowl trip two weeks after it happened anything they wanted to hear those guys pitching him O'Neill about the hotel while not absolutely ...
[0:05:30] ... race on 8:50 AM ESPN. The Daytona 500 here's the auto of Danica Patrick yelling ends did not stand out that's a boyfriend Denny Hamlin that he. Yeah I love comedies. Nobody had a batting like I have used at all it's. No. But I can't. Yeah. ...
[0:06:23] ... other at that time what it's it's like the end of a Super Bowl everybody's talking cameras everywhere flashes. TV cameras people you needed me cyst on having a discussion like it's gonna need something. Dale ...

Should Julien be fired? Chiarelli? Both? The guys debate

[0:00:00] ... So what you're down in Florida enjoying. 32 degree Walt Disney World or whatever laws. Lot of Florida panther talk about them that's the Bruins are none whatsoever most most talked about that none ...
[0:08:36] ... am amazed at like all the sudden feeling just wake up and Claude Julien is the worst coach around and you're trying to replace them his fault totally. But don't you go about these things. Every ...
[0:16:44] ... place or two places or three places. Mean if you want out Cole Hamels got no trade clause. These are because I wanted to win I want how to go get a trade center at Boston ...
[0:19:19] ... we've got a trade worked out for you were sending YouTube the Vancouver Canucks are John too early you don't wanna go there screw it I'm not reporting a retired before plea that a whole again. ...

After two years of asset collection, Danny Ainge finally went out and added legitimate talent.

[0:00:14] ... with this new TV money can access. Love here TV muddy well Larry Allen bought last night here on an actress and VI. But and men hand and meter. This morning in for DNC. That was ...
[0:01:30] ... always gonna be used to get something else. Now I must say Isiah Thomas won't maybe be used at some point but I feel like. For the first time it would Danny is soda please cashed in a little something. Right in the got a guy can help now and a guy who might be part of it is almost like he's chips are gonna expire and use them but it's this is that this is a good trade for him down Isiah Thomas and in the championship let's not over reactor anything but does have very good trade. You know for Danny Ainge knew when you think about it. The end result. Give they've made this trade with the cast as a Caster for your money for LeBron everything else has turned over Kevin Love. The Celtics actually a three way deals that they just a second round pick. Right to get going to get Tyler Zeller and that cavs 20161. Round they've now turned the Wharton and at first rounder into Isiah Thomas. So essentially what Danny Ainge has done in the last whatever months. Has turned a second round pick at the Tyler Zeller and Isiah Thomas. That's it. The death so far so good I mean he's second round draft pick. For Tyler Zeller and Isiah Thomas so okay. But I Israelis just casual semi get Cleveland beautiful this doesn't this make the right or straight look better. Well I mean you look at accidents they Agha Isiah Thomas at three years. What 766. Suddenly in that range under control. He's a point guard that could scored a team that needs scores Iran as a trait I mean a pass first kind of guy repeated every score so. And there was no certain move for you I'd rather have this demo and forward and pay Max dollars Rajon Rondo on a team. He's a better fit. He's an additional now it knows of personal debates don't whatever they do runners in ...
[0:03:44] ... but still these boycotts like president Thomas. But it Gary TO. And Rajon Rondo there's a team Rondo fits better than Isiah thomas' team what Thomas was better than Rondo will win this team is that the championship teams when you had ray Kevin and ...
[0:07:17] ... thought you could look at it and look at it was a Chris Bosh is how long plots now for Miami. And there are 12 in the they're trying to track down obviously they're gonna slip ...

In the final installment of Lou's Spring observation, Lou talks about the powerful Red Sox lineup

[0:03:59] ... be a guy that by the end the year. Could be your Andrew Miller out of Japan or it could be in this rotation depends how it develops a startup but we've seen them a starter ...
[0:12:12] ... a lot of making a trade. At the deadline or requiring a Cole Hamels I would think would hat cannot do it now. Would have to do with how well they get out of the gate ...
[0:13:44] ... good prospect key you really get I don't want. Work this out Cole Hamels didn't you have to include him in the trade. Took took. Which you have a guy can pick up at number one ...
[0:15:42] ... like tech is a quick salty. You know he looks more like Jason Kendall you know bigger than him will DePaul in him but he's just an athletic guy. Who won a big impressed with his defected he was a catcher commute in was the catcher and high school. But was once you get the pro ball and it's really come along to a 47%. Of the runners. That's you lovable best as but he does the same thing. Is simply the clip ignored pleas for Christian from Shane Victorino yesterday down in Florida about not. Going to be a bench player I'm going there with the mindset that I'm prepared regular ...