For Sale: Bearded Pro-Bowl punter

191549.jpg

For Sale: Bearded Pro-Bowl punter

By Adam Hart
CSNNE.com

Hear the nice things Oakland Raiders punter Shane Lechler had to say about owner Al Davis?

A sampling of his reaction to the Raiders declining to bring back head coach Tom Cable:

"I'm not so sure this wasn't a terrible decision."

"Tom was good at how he handled the whole dealing with Al. He was one of the better coaches that I had that could handle that part of it and not let that part of it bother the football team. And that's what I enjoyed about him."

"Whether a new coach can call plays and pull off the whole head coaching deal and deal with Al Davis on the side, I don't know. That's a lot on somebody's plate."

"Al Davis once ate a dirty sock out of my locker, and I can't reconcile that fact."

That last one is fabricated, but the others are straight from the horse's mouth. And since Mr. Davis is so much a reactionary, skeletal, Kim Jong Il-like guy, he's put his Pro-Bowl punter up for sale in the classified ads . . . in a newspaper.

All right, you got me. There's no way the real Al Davis knows Stan Van Gundy as anything other than an enemy of the Allied Forces in WWII. And Mr. Davis was probably born before newspapers were invented, so there's a strong chance he considers the classifieds "newfangled technology."

But the point remains the same that -- facts or fake-facts -- there's about three-percent chance Al Davis doesn't address this in an overtly-crazy manner. Anything less would be a sign of the end of times.

Gronkowski presented with 2016 Ron Burton Community Service Award

patriots-rob-gronkowski-1-061316.jpg

Gronkowski presented with 2016 Ron Burton Community Service Award

At Tuesday night’s Patriots Premiere event, tight end Rob Gronkowski was presented with the 2016 Ron Burton Community Service Award.

Gronkowski is the 14th player to have received the award that is named for the late Ron Burton. The first player the Patriots organization ever drafted, Burton was well-known for his charitable work.

“Ever since I’ve been here, following the Krafts, the whole Kraft family, from Myra Kraft, Mr. Kraft, all his sons, seeing everyone lead by example, how they give back to the community every single week was just an honor to see,” said Gronkowski, “I just wanted to be a part of it and give back to the community in a positive way.”

Those who have received the award in the past include Nate Solder (2015), Devin McCourty (2014), Matthew Slater (2013), Zoltan Mesko (2012), Jerod Mayo (2011), Vince Wilfork (2010), Kevin Faulk (2009), Larry Izzo (2008), Ty Warren (2007), Jarvis Green (2006), Matt Light (2005), Troy Brown (2004) and Joe Andruzzi (2003).

"Rob is just as fun to watch at a community event as he is on the game field," said Kraft. "Giving back to the community is a big part of being ‘Gronk.' He is engaging with fans of all ages. His gregarious personality makes him one of our greatest ambassadors, especially when spreading cheer to children at local hospitals or schools. We love the devotion and enthusiasm that he shows in the community and are proud to present him with this year's Ron Burton Community Service Award."

Gronk, never shy about cracking a joke, entertained the crowd like only he can.

“Who would have ever thought five years ago when I was on ESPN every weekend drunk that I’d be accepting this award?”

Expect Red Sox call-ups to come in two waves when rosters expand

Expect Red Sox call-ups to come in two waves when rosters expand

BOSTON - On Thursday, rosters will expand for major league teams, enabling them to add as many as 15 more players -- if they so choose.

The Sox, of course, won't be adding nearly that many. In fact, they'll probably only promote three or so players by Sept. 1, with additional players added after minor league seasons end on Labor Day.

The Sox call-ups will come in two waves. A look at who might be called up and when.

FOR FRIDAY: (the Red Sox are off Thursday)

* catcher Ryan Hanigan

* reliever Joe Kelly

* outfielder Bryce Brentz.

Hanigan is finishing up a rehab assignment and will provide the Sox with a third catcher, enabling John Farrell to either pinch-hit or pinch-run for one of his two catchers (Bryan Holaday and Sandy Leon) without worrying that he's putting himself in a potential bind.

Kelly would give the Red Sox another swing-and-miss bullpen option, though he's yet to establish himself as big league reliever.

Meanwhile Brentz would give the Sox another outfield option with the injury to Andrew Benintendi and further free up Brock Holt for infield duties.

FOR TUESDAY: (Day after International League season ends):

* reliever Heath Hembree

* infielder Deven Marrero

* reliever Noe Ramirez

Hembree has been effective in spurts and could offer some match-up options against righthanded hitters.

Marrero was a September call-up last year and could be a late-inning defensive replacement for Travis Shaw at third, or spell Xander Bogaerts at short if the Sox want to rest Bogaerts in one-sided games.

In the bullpen, Ramirez would serve as a long man in games in which a starter is knocked out early.

 

Davis Mega Maze unveils corn maze tribute to David Ortiz

david_ortiz_davis_mega_maze.jpg

Davis Mega Maze unveils corn maze tribute to David Ortiz

STERLING, Mass. -- Nothing quite measures up to the latest tribute to retiring Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.

A corn maze dedicated to the player known as Big Papi was unveiled at a ceremony Tuesday in Sterling, Massachusetts.

Ortiz had a message for his legions of fans at the unveiling: "I love corn."

The 8-acre maze was created by Davis Mega Maze and features a cornstalk rendering of Ortiz's trademark home run pose of pointing two fingers to the sky. It's accompanied by the phrase "Thanks Big Papi."

The maze opens to the public on Saturday.

Davis Mega Maze has been carving a different design into the field every year for about 20 years. This year marks the first time a living celebrity has been featured.