THIS AND THAT, notes and quotes, from around the sports world as we prepare to honor our veterans Monday:
• Great news: Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy announces he’s cancer free. He was diagnosed in August. This was his sixth battle with the disease.
“Friday was a very good day for me,” he wrote on Twitter. “Had my first scan since going through treatments. Highly successfull. Cancer free for now and hopefully forever. So pleased !!!!”
• Gordon Hayward returned to Utah Friday night, and not only wasn’t he given a video tribute, he was booed during the intros. Oh, and the Celtics, with Kyrie Irving attending his grandfather’s funeral service, lost the game.
Hours after filing my defense of his MVP candidacy, J.D. Martinez was named as the first player ever to get two Silver Slugger Awards, as a DH and an outfielder. Sounds pretty valuable. Take your WAR and stick it.
Former UConn and Northeastern basketball coach Jim Calhoun returned to coaching after a six-year absence, and got his first technical foul 16 minutes into his first game, a University of Saint Joseph (Division III) win over William Paterson. “The officials said it seemed like I never went away,” Calhoun said. “I’m just trying to help with my 1,400 games (of experience). I think I mentioned that to (a ref) one time. He tried to tell me, ‘I see that kind of block all the time.’ I said, ‘I’m sure you do — in high school.’ I can’t understand. I was just trying to make an observation.”
In a career that was indeed well played, Joe Mauer has hung them up after 15 years with the Twins, and cited potential head injuries as a cause. Remember, his buddy and former teammate Justin Morneau lost his career to concussions.
Sounds like no Rob Gronkowski again today when the Patriots visit the Titans. Are you getting the feeling this is his last year? I am. Why does he have to bother with this with other, easier, things awaiting?
There’s a chemistry problem with the Celtics and you get the impression a deal involving Terry Rozier could be coming. The kid blossomed into a star last year and is clearly having trouble re-adjusting.
Dez Bryant signed with the Saints, and then tore his Achilles tendon and may well never play for that team. “Things was just starting to heat up for me... I won’t question the man upstairs... this is the ultimate test.. thank you everyone for the prayers.”
Whatever it is Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is dealing with, here’s hoping it all turns out positively.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora to Peter King of Sports Illustrated after meeting Patriots coach Bill Belichick last week: “The way you see him in silence. He’s thinking,” Cora told Peter King. “He’s calm, very calm. That’s what people say about me. Don’t show emotion, don’t get too high, don’t get too low. Biggest moments of the game, be the same.”
“I told him, ‘We have to catch up because you know a lot about this back to back stuff. You have to fill me in how we keep the team focused and how can we do this.’”
• Sportsline projection on today’s game in Nashville: “Score: Patriots 28, Titans 18; Vegas line: The Patriots are favored by 6.5 points, up from 6.0 (O/U 46.5, down from 48.5). Projected Statistics: Tom Brady passes for 308 yards and two TDs, Rob Gronkowski catches five passes for 69 yards and Julian Edelman catches six for 67 for New England. Marcus Mariota throws for 210 yards, one TD and one INT for Tennessee.” This was clearly done before more Gronk news.
• Belichick after meeting Cora: “To see Alex and the great players is certainly inspirational for me. To talk with them before the game and to have them out there for the start of the game. Again, what a tremendous year they’ve had and set the bar so high for all of the rest of us, but that’s a good thing. That’s where we want it. It was good to have them.”
• The NBA’s Eastern Conference got a whole lot more interesting Saturday with the report that Jimmy Butler is going to Philly from Minnesota for Dario Saric, Robert Covington and a pick. Philly’s biggest failure is outside shooting — and now the Sixers have it.
• The heartwarming story of the week had Butler, who was a huge distraction to his Minnesota Timberwolves teammates before Saturday’s trade, doing something pretty cool for teammate Tyus Jones. Tweeted Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic: “UK v. Duke in Indy tonight. Tyus was looking for a flight from LA to see his brother Tre‘s first game. Couldn’t get one to work. Jimmy Butler heard him and chartered a private jet for the two of them. More: “Butler ended up not being able to make the trip. Let Tyus Jones take the plane himself. So Tyus is there for the big night and will be back in plenty of time for the Lakers game tomorrow night.”
• The Raptors took an 11-1 record into Saturday’s game against the Knicks. The Celtics were 7-5, four games out of first place.
• On a personal note, my Wichita State Shockers defeated sports editor Chris Duffy‘s Providence Friars in men’s basketball on Friday night. What taints this win slightly for me is I also root for head coach Ed Cooley and the Friars.
•Steve Pearce revisited? New Patriot Obi Melifonwu grew up in Grafton, Mass., as a Pats fan and is thrilled to be home. “Everybody was excited, especially my family,” he says. “Growing up here, I’ve been a huge Patriots fan. So, everybody’s excited. Everybody’s ready to watch me play … “Lawyer Milloy, Rodney Harrison are two I definitely watched. The team as a whole — Ty Law, Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, Troy Brown, Deion Branch, all of them. I was a huge fan.”
Rask’s strange quote after both goalies failed Thursday in an 8-5 loss to Vancouver: “I was just trying to keep it under 10; that’s what I was worried about. But yeah, you know, like I said, a loss is a loss, it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. It was kind of a crazy game both ways. You know, a lot of goals scored and there was, at the end it looked like everyone was napping in the crowd. It was just one of those games where there wasn’t a whole lot of action on either end, low shots and you know all of a sudden it’s 5-3, 8-5 whatever. So yeah, weird game but that’s entertainment and we’re just providing it.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens on his team’s shaky defense heading into Portland: “Obviously, with (Damian) Lillard and (C.J.) McCollum next they’re probably licking their chops on us right now.”
Irving threw Jamal Murray‘s game ball into the stands the other night in Denver, costing Irving 25 grand. Friday night, Murray got the ball back from a young fan, and the kid walked away with a Nuggets gift package, including a pair of signed Murray shoes.
Bruins GM Don Sweeney after his team’s 8-5 loss to the Canucks Thursday night: “Let’s be honest, our compete level was nowhere near where it needed to be last night and in a lot of ways we disrespected the hockey game.”
If you’re the Red Sox, how much to offer to keep Nathan Eovaldi in Boston? Tricky case. He’s had two Tommy John surgeries but I think he’s worth the gamble. The Yankees, his original team, will also be in the hunt.
Pats quarterback Brady on receiver Josh Gordon: “I think he’s done really everything the coaches have asked him to do. Here early, stays late, always getting extra reps at practice, takes as many reps as he can and it’s been fun to see. So he’s obviously done a great job for us. I think all the receivers are doing a great job in their role and we’re just going to try to get better as we go.”
Postseason doesn’t count in baseball voting, but here’s column pal Chris Smith of MassLive’s numbers on Martinez: “J.D. Martinez posted a .300/.403/.520/.923 line with three homers, two doubles, 14 RBIs and six runs in 14 postseason games (62 plate appearances).”
Belichick on the Patriots being one of the teams still carrying a fullback: “I think it’s just a fundamental, schematic thing. If you want that aspect of it, of putting a guy really that can go either way in a formation then that’s good. If you don’t then that’s fine, too. There’s other ways to do it. It creates different blocking angles. It creates a different balance in your offense. There’s a lot of other ways to do it, too. It’s hard to have everything.”
The Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild wore “ENOUGH” stickers on the back of their helmets Thursday night after the latest mass shooting.
“I think at some point we all looked at each other and said: ‘It’s enough.’ We’ve got to stop the violence,” said Kings president Luc Robitaille.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are rolling, but the gap between the club and running back Le’Veon Bell continues to grow. Bell deleted the team from his Twitter account and Dick’s Sporting Goods in the area are selling his jerseys at 50 percent off.
MLB.com ran a piece on the “free agent signing each team can be proud of.” The Red Sox: David Ortiz, one year, $1.25 million, 2003 — Ortiz was only a free agent because the Twins released him, making this arguably the most fortuitous free-agent signing ever. Every contract the Red Sox signed him to after this one — for much more money than he got in this deal — was more than worth it for them as well.”
Patrick Marleau, in town with the Maple Leafs on Saturday night, joined Joe Thornton on Friday as the only active NHLers with 600 assists. Marleau is still a mere 432 behind Thornton, his longtime former Sharks teammate.
”It’s always nice when a milestone like that comes with a win,” Marleau said. “The guys played great (in a 6-1 win over the Devils) tonight so it was fun.”
ESPN’s Mike Reiss on the practice shorts problem in Foxborough: “Some of the ugliest orange shorts are all around Pats locker room. Apparently too many players were taking the old gray ones home and not keeping them at facility as required. How to fix the problem? Change the color to something no one would want to be seen in outside facility.”
Baseball stats guru Bill James got into trouble this week for tweeting “If the players all retired tomorrow, we would replace them, the game would go on; in three years, it would make no difference whatsoever. The players are NOT the game, any more than the beer vendors are.” The Red Sox, who use his expertise as a consultant, said, “He is not an employee, nor does he speak for the club. His comments on Twitter were inappropriate and do not reflect the opinions of the Red Sox front office or its ownership group.
Players union chief Tony Clark said, “The comments Bill James made yesterday are both reckless and insulting considering our game’s history regarding the use of replacement players. The players ARE the game. And our fans have an opportunity to enjoy the most talented baseball players in the world every season. If these sentiments resonate beyond this one individual, then any challenges that lie ahead will be more difficult to overcome than initially anticipated.”
Finally, veterans should be in our thoughts at all times, but Monday is Veterans Day.