Sports - In the first 67 games of the Cubs’ season, they racked up a record of 43-24. In the 34 games since then that Alfonso Soriano was out with a broken wrist, they were 16-18. The Cubs leadoff man went 1-5 with an RBI in his first game back, helping the Cubs beat the Diamondbacks 10-6.
The Chicago Tribune also reported that the Cubs may call up right handed power pitcher Jeff Samardzija. The former Notre Dame wide receiver has been extremely effective, and may help in the closer role until Kerry Wood returns.
Sports - Wide Receiver Plaxico Burress of the New York Giants said today that he will report to camp for the team despite not being happy with his current contract situation. Burress already missed five team meetings at a Giants mini-camp and was fined over $40,000 for those actions. Plax says he will show up this time but feels he is owed more money given the recent contracts awarded to Terrell Owens and Randy Moss.
Burress doesn’t want to be a distraction to the Giants like former teammate Jeremy Shockey. Shockey who was traded to the Saints on Monday, was unhappy about his role with the Giants offense. The Giants would love to put an end to off-season distractions so they can focus on defending their Super Bowl title. It will be an uphill battle to repeat for the Giants in 2008-2009 given the loss of Michael Strahan and Jeremy Shockey. To do it without Plaxico Burress would be nearly impossible.
2008-2009 Giants tickets are now available. The Giants will begin their regular season at home against the Washington Redskins. The Giants will have a pre-season rematch with their Super Bowl opponent New England Patriots on August 23rd at Giants Stadium.
Sports - Less then one week after the Boston Celtics watched free agent James Posey sign with the New Orleans Hornets, the 2007 NBA Champions made sure not to lose out on two of their other free agents in Eddie House and Tony Allen. According to Boston media outlets, both House and Allen have agreed to two-year deals keeping them in town through the 2009 season.
Celtics GM and Director of Basketball Operations, Danny Ainge, was not very specific about the details of either contract but a source reported to the Boston Herald that each would be worth close to $2 million dollars each year.
The 30-year old House averaged 7.5 points in 78 regular season games last year for Boston shooting 39 percent from behind the three point line. In the 2007 NBA Finals over the Lakers he averaged 8 points a game and shot 41 percent from behind the arc.
Coming off of off-season knee surgery in 2006, the 26-year old Allen averaged 6.6 points in 75 regular season games last season for the Celtics.
Sports - After many months of publicly expressing his unhappiness with the New York Giants offensive system, TE Jeremy Shockey was traded to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for second- and a fifth-round draft pick in 2009.
New Orleans had been after Shockey since February but the Giants held onto their former Pro-Bowl tight end because they felt he was too valuable to give up for what was being offered. Originally, the Saints had only offered the second-round pick, and then right before the NFL draft they threw in the fifth-round pick as well but the Giants didn’t budge.
After more disgruntled complaints from Shockey, the Giants finally said enough was enough and accepted the Saints offer, handing the remainder of Shockey’s contract over to New Orleans club.
One of the main reasons the Saints were so adamant about acquiring Shockey was the fact that their offensive coordinator in Sean Payton was a former offensive coordinator for the Giants and worked with Shockey during his rookie season when he made 74 receptions for 894 yards.
So far in his six-year NFL career, Shockey has totaled 371 receptions for 4,228 yards and 27 touchdowns. That reception mark leaves him at fourth all-time in Giants history.
Sports - After winning his second NBA title with the Boston Celtics, James Posey has opted to begin his quest for a third championship with the New Orleans Hornets. Posey signed a four-year contract worth $25 million dollars Wednesday afternoon. The deal came less then a month after the 6-foot-8 forward helped lift the Boston Celtics to their 17th Championship.
“It was a really tough decision for him,” said his agent, Mark Bartelstein. “Boston was an incredible experience for him every way you look at it. If he was going to leave Boston, he wanted to make sure it was for a team that would compete for a championship immediately and the Hornets certainly are in that world.”
Posey leaves behind the Big Three in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to join the likes of Chris Paul, David West and Peja Stojakovic in New Orleans.
Boston fans will be sad to see him leave knowing the great defensive prowess he possessed when guarding the likes of Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and many of the league’s other top scoring threats.
The Celtics would have loved to re-sign the fan favorite 6th man, but if it was going to take a four-year contract to get him to stay; they may have made the best move for the franchise by letting him go. At 31 years old, Posey’s age is certainly going to become a factor over the course of this contract. He may have one or two solid years left in him but asking for four is a stretch.
As for now, Boston fans can only wish Posey the best of luck in New Orleans, and pray that when he comes into town he takes in easy while covering Pierce.
Concerts - One of the most exciting additions to Patriots Place by Gillette Stadium is Showcase Live. The 16,000 square foot venue is set to host many concerts, comedians, and theater events that normally would not have a place in Mass.
Showcase live seats 500 for seated shows, and 1,000 for general admission concert performances. The Kraft Group and National Amusements have joined together to create an upscale concert experience. National Amusements President Shari Redstone said they want it to be a place “where everybody who walks in feels like a star and is treated like a star”. Showcase Live will feature luxury dining and drinking, as well as state-of-the-art visuals onstage behind the artist.
The inagural list of performances at Showcase Live:
Sat, 08/16/08 Al Jarreau
Mon, 08/18/08 Chaka Khan
Tue, 08/19/08 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Wed, 08/20/08 Boyz II Men
Sat, 08/23/08 Dave Attell
Tue, 08/26/08 Squeeze
Thu, 08/28/08 John Hiatt & the Ageless Beauties
Fri, 08/29/08 Savion Glover
Thu, 09/04/08 Robert Earl Keen
Fri, 09/12/08 Evening with Peter Frampton
Thu, 09/18/08 The Average White Band
Sat, 09/20/08 Gin Blossoms
Tue, 09/23/08 From the Jam
Sat, 10/04/08 David Grisman Bluegrass Experience + John Sebastian
Sat, 10/18/08 Hanson
Sun, 10/19/08 Hanson
Sat, 10/25/08 Joe Bonamassa
Wed, 11/12/08 Bayside More Info
Fri, 11/14/08 Girl Talk
Sat, 11/15/08 Ska Is Dead Presents Skanksgiving Feat: the Toasters and Mustard Plug
Sports - The major league club was not the only team in the organization that sent players to an All Star Game this week. Both the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Portland Sea Dogs sent players to their respective All-Star games.
The Pawsox sent DH Chris Carter, left fielder Jeff Bailey, second baseman Joe Thurston, and left fielder Jonathan Van Every as a reserve. Despite 3 hits from Thurston and a 2-run homer from Carter, the International League lost to the Pacific Coast League.
The Sea Dogs sent right fielder Zachary Daeges, left fielder Jeff Corsaletti, and pitcher Beau Vaughan. With a hit from Corsaletti and a clean inning from Vaughan, the Eastern League North All-Stars won a close game.
27 year old Vaughan has had a stellar season as the Sea Dogs’ closer. In 40.1 innings, 33 appearances he has a 1-1 record, an ERA of 2.45, WHIP of 1.22, 13 saves, 48 strikeout, and has only surrendered 1 home run. Look for “Beau” to be making a contribution at the major league level in the future.
You can see the Pawtucket Red Sox at the upcoming Futures at Fenway!
Sports - The Yankees Stadium clock read 1:37 AM as Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins slid home in the 15th inning giving the American League a 4-3 victory over the National League in Tuesday night’s 2008 All-Star Game. The game itself lasted 4 hours and 50 minutes long, a record for the longest All-Star Game in MLB history.
“It was just crazy how it seemed like it lasted forever,” Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler said. “It was the last year for Yankee Stadium, the last All-Star game, and it’s kind of fitting that it seemed like it lasted forever.”
Beside the record long time, the game itself also saw many other records take place including combined strikeouts (34), runners left on base (28) and players to make an appearance (63).
When the game finally finished up, both teams were down to their final pitchers and both coaches were starting to wonder if they would have to call upon position players to fill the pitching void. Neither team wanted a repeat of the 2002 tie in Milwaukee so some team members began volunteering to toss a few outs if need be including J.D. Drew of the Boston Red Sox and David Wright of the New York Mets.
“I told David, ‘You were the last pick, I went and got you. Have you ever pitched in an All-Star game?” NL Manager Clint Hurdle said. “I was doing Chinese arithmetic from the sixth inning on. I felt like I was in algebra class. It got wild.”
As far as the game itself goes, the 20 or so thousand fans who stuck around at Yankee Stadium for the whole contest definitely got their moneys worth. The NL opened up the scoring with a solo-homerun by Matt Holiday of the Colorado Rockies in the 5th innings. Lance Berkman of the Houston Astros drove in the NL’s second run on a sac-fly in the 6th inning.
The AL was able to tie the game on a two-run homer by Boston’s J.D. Drew in the 7th inning off of Cincinnati Reds ace Edinson Volquez. Drew would finish the game going 2-4 with 2 RBI’s, a run, a stolen base and a walk to earn the MVP honors.
With the game knotted at two, Francona called for his own closer, Jonathan Papelbon, to enter the game in the 8th. After surrendering a leadoff single to Miguel Tejada, a throwing error by Tampa Bay Rays catcher Dioner Navarro who had just entered the game, moved Tejada into scoring position with only one out. San Diego Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez drove home the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly putting the NL up 3-2.
The AL struck right back, scoring in the bottom of the 8th inning when Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays slapped an RBI double down the left-field line, scoring Grady Sizemore of the Cleveland Indians.
And then the scoring stopped.
Neither team was able to plate any runs in 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th or 14th innings. The chances were certainly there but neither team capitalized on those opportunities. The AL even had the bases loaded with no outs in the 10th inning but failed to score off of Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Aaron Cook.
The winning run for the AL would finally come in the 15th inning off of Brad Lidge of the Houston Astros. Lidge, who was not supposed to pitch in the game, was called upon as a last resort effort before position players would be summoned to hurl. A single by Justin Morneau started things out in the inning. Dioner Navarro also singled and J.D. Drew followed the hit up with a walk to load the bases with only one out for Michael Young of the Texas Rangers. Young, a former All-Star Game MVP, delivered by driving a fly ball to right-field just deep enough to score Morneau for the game winning sacrifice fly.
The American League’s 4-3 victory extends their winning streak over the National League to 12 games/years (11-0-1). They have not been defeated since a 1996 loss in Philadelphia and are a perfect 6-0 since the game has determined the site of home field advantage in the World Series.
The walk-off RBI by Young was also only the second time in All-Star Game history that the AL has won in its last at bat. The first came back in 1941 when Ted Williams hit a walk-off homerun to propel the American League to a victory.
Both leagues have today off and games resume on Thursday July 17, 2008.
Concerts - UK Rockers Coldplay are letting their fans choose a local band to open for them in six cities on their current US tour. Fans in San Jose, Chicago, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Hartford, and Boston have the opportunity to vote for the band they want to go on before Coldplay in their city.
The finalists have been chosen, and voting is underway for the Boston date. Aloud, The Luxyury, The Family Township, Fendline, Aberdeen City, The Motion Sick, The Brother Kite, Old Abram Brown, Deadly, Hooray for Earth, Filligar, Superduperrad, Plumerai, Hello Ninja, and Common Thrill are in the running to start the Boston show. You can cast your vote here.
Tickets to see Coldplay in Boston are still available.
Concerts, Ticket Sales - The country’s longest running benefit concert series, Farm Aid, will be coming to Massachusetts for the first time this September. Back in 1985, American farmers were struggling in an economic lull so musicians Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp came together and played a benefit show to raise money for those in need.
“In the beginning it was Willie’s intention to take it different places where as many farmers as possible could go to the show,” said Farm Aid executive director Carolyn Mugar. “Family farming has grown enormously in New England, and they’ve been asking us for a long time to come here. We’re very happy to be shedding a light on New England agriculture and how people can do more to support it.”
The Farm Aid mission is very simple, keep family farmers on their own land
“The only way to solve this is to do it locally,” said Nelson. “Let your neighbors grow your food so you don’t have to import it. That addresses not only the big expense, but the environmental problem. And at the same time you’re getting better food.”
The Farm Aid show will take place at the Comcast Center (formerly the Tweeter Center) on September 20, 2008.
“Farm Aid is vital in the sense that they’re here every year,” said Philip Korman, the group’s executive director. “The challenge with foundations is this year they’re excited and next year they’re excited about something else. Farm Aid supports the mission year to year.”
This year’s Farm Aid headliner, Dave Matthews, also supports the mission. Matthews who first performed at Farm Aid in 1994 was invited to join the board in 2001. He owns the Best of What’s Around farm, close to Scottsville, Va., where he grows organic vegetables, flowers, and herbs through a community-supported agriculture program.
“The corporate philosophy still dominates, but people are realizing that it’s not healthy and that we need to change the way we view ourselves in connection to the planet,” Matthews said.
Other performers are expected to be officially announced over the next few weeks while the official announcement of the show will come today by Mellencamp who is holding a news press conference at the Copley Square Farmers Market. Performers expected inlcude Mellencamp and Willie Nelson.
Farm Aid tickets will be available soon.