Wakeup call: A turning point for the U.S.?; 'no deal' between Vilma, NFL

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Wakeup call: A turning point for the U.S.?; 'no deal' between Vilma, NFL

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, August 7:

BASEBALL
If he'd been this honest and approachable during his career, people might actually like Barry Bonds. (CSN Bay Area)

Just a little too much Justin Verlander for the Yankees last night. (AP)

The O'Malleys are back in baseball: Peter O'Malley and golfer Phil Mickelson head a group that's reached agreement to buy the Padres. (AP)

Long time no see, Evan Longoria. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
A little thing like a hip fracture won't keep Jim Calhoun off UConn's bench. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Penn State has lost nine players since the NCAA announced its sanctions against the program, but Bill O'Brien thinks that'll be it. (AP)

Meanwhile, one of the school's trustees is appealing the penalty. (AP)

All those years that his father hung with Bill Belichick apparently rubbed off on Hud Mellancamp, who's trying to make the Duke team as a walk-on. (AP)

HOCKEY
Deadline? What deadline? Donald Fehr says there's plenty of time for the NHL and NHLPA to reach a labor agreement. (AP)

Looks like Manny Malhotra and Jason Garrison won't be spotted in any Vancouver Chick-Fil-A's anytime soon. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

OLYMPICS
The "Regime Team" found its stride in the second half against Argentina -- turning a 60-59 halftime lead into a 126-97 rout -- and Jack McCallum thinks we may look back on this as the turning point. (NBC)

Pro Soccer Talk's Jenna Pei explains why Alex Morgan's game-winning goal Monday, which lifted the U.S. women into the gold-medal game, was just another case of "Alex being Alex". (NBC's Pro Soccer Talk)

Mystery solved: We know, at last, the identity of Michael Phelps' girlfriend. (NBC's Off The Bench)

And because contrived controversies aren't limited to politics in Fox Land . . . (Off The Bench)

PRO BASKETBALL
Relax, Bulls fans. Luol Deng says he's fine. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
As everyone feared, the family confirmed Monday that the death of Garrett Reid, son of Eagles coach Andy Reid, was drug related. (CSN Philly)

Rumors are flying of a "settlement" between the NFL and Jonathan Vilma, in which the Saints' lineman will have his season-long suspension for his participation in Bountygate reduced in return for his dropping his lawsuit against commissioner Roger Goodell. The league, however, calls the reports "completely inaccurate". (AP)

The Ravens' Bryant McKinnie a) apparently borrowed 4.5 million from a lending agency during last year's lockout, and b) then didn't pay it back. So the Ravens will pay it for him by withholding half his salary and sending it to a company called Pro Player Funding. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Another thing you'd probably never have seen if the NFL hadn't locked out the officials: A woman will serve as line judge in Thursday's Packers-Chargers exhibition. (AP)

"Congratulations, Seahawks fans. Or, as the case may be, condolences." Mike Florio said it better than anything I might come up with. (Pro Football Talk)

Extended podcast with David Ortiz on his career, PED's, the Marathon bombing and more

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Extended podcast with David Ortiz on his career, PED's, the Marathon bombing and more

David Ortiz offers thoughtful answers and insight in this interview with Sean McAdam touching on his beginning with the Red Sox, the Boston Marathon bombings, showing up on a PED list, his impact in the dugout, and more.

You can also see pieces of the interview on CSN Friday at 6:30pm on a special Arbella Early Edition with Gary Tanguay and Lou Merloni.

RELATED Special Video Series - "Big Papi - An Oral History" from CSN

Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

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Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

NEW YORK -- Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a terrific 2015, his second full season in the big leagues.

He finished second in the American League batting race, established himself as a solid defender at short and generally showed immense promise.

The only thing he didn't do was show much home run power, limited to just seven homers.

This past spring, both manager John Farrell and Chili Davis expressed confidence that the home runs would come, and that they would come organically.

And so they have. In Thursday night's loss to the New York Yankees, a solo homer in the fifth by Bogaerts represented the only Red Sox run of the night in a 5-1 loss. It also gave Bogaerts 21 homers for the year, exactly triple his output from a year ago.

"The maturity is clearly taking hold," said John Farrell of Bogaerts' growth. "You start to get a couple thousand at-bats at the major league level, you're starting to understand your swing, you're picking out certain counts in which to leverage a little bit more. He's been able to do that.

"Home runs are up across the board. But with Xander in particular, he's physically maturing and he's maturing as a major league player as well."

Bogaerts took the advise of Davis and others and didn't set out to try to hit more homers this year. He knew they would come in time.

"Maybe not this quick," he said of the big increase, "but probably in the future, yeah. That's what I did in the minor leagues, so it's kind of something that I thought might translate to the big leagues, too."

Bogaerts is hard-pressed to put his finger on any on factor to explain the big uptick. After all, he didn't change his swing or his stance.

Rather, the homers came as a result of him understanding himself better as a hitter and consistently taking the right approach at the plate.

"It's just (a matter of) taking good swings in good counts," he offered. "Sometimes, you're looking for one. But overall, it's just being a more mature hitter and looking for the right spots to pick and choose."

It hasn't hurt that he's surrounded by quality hitters in the Red Sox lineup, with Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia ahead of him earlier in the year, and now Pedrioa ahead of him and David Ortiz behind him.

In addition to seeing better pitches because of who's surrounding him, Bogaerts has also benefitted from listening to Ortiz, who watches his at-bats and offers advice when called for.

Still, most of the credit belongs to Bogaerts himself, who has grown into his power naturally -- just as his manager and hitting coach forecast.