Red Sox

Wakeup Call: Kobe has A-Rod's back

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Wakeup Call: Kobe has A-Rod's back

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, October 11:

BASEBALL
Are these A's a great story, or what? (CSN Bay Area)

They're even overshadowing the Giants, and that's not easy. (CSN Bay Area)

But this great story may be coming to an end. (CSN Washington)

This one, too. (CSN Baltimore)

So how about it, Joe Girardi? You're not still thinking of keeping A-Rod in the No. 3 spot, are you? (NBC's Hardball Talk)

You'd better, if you don't want Kobe Bryant mad at you. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

It may be the 167th -- and potentially final -- game, but NBC's Hardball Talk's Matthew Pouliot says it's time for the Tigers to change closers. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
The NCAA is knocking on Myck Kabongo's door down at Texas, and that's never a good thing. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Speaking of the NCAA, its standing by its sanctions against Boise State. (AP)

Jerry Sandusky's lawyer says the state of Pennsylvania has no legal grounds for revoking his client's pension, and he believes "they are just going through the motions to try to throw some red meat to the public". (AP)

GOLF
Tiger Woods channels his inner NHL skater and looks to play in Europe. (AP) He'd still stay on the PGA Tour, though.

HOCKEY
But it looks like some of the hockey players who went over -- or at least the Russians -- may stay there all year, even if the lockout ends. (CSN Washington)

Apparently, the NHLPA -- at the urging of the league -- is working on a new proposal. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk) What, so the owners can say "no" again and then cry the players are being unreasonable? Or put their own laughably one-sided offer back on the table and claim they made a "legitimate counteroffer"? Sorry to be so cynical; just can't get the phrase "past actions are the best indicator of future performance" out of my mind.

And why does the phrase "crocodile tears" leap into my head at this one? (Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
Looks like the Warriors are going to have to start the year without Andrew Bogut. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Judging by last night, the Lakers better hope they don't have to start it without Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard. (AP)

Cross David Stern at your peril. Just ask Stan Van Gundy. (Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
R.I.P., Alex Karras. (AP)

Using capital letters to make sure everyone gets the point, the done-for-the-year Brian Cushing assures his Facebook friends -- and Texans fans, I would imagine -- that "WE are STILL winning THIS year's Super Bowl". (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

The NFL is reviewing Matt Slauson's hit on Cushing, though nothing's expected to come of it. (Pro Football Talk)

Rex Ryan's support for Mark Sanchez is getting a little weaker. (AP)

The NFL says former Vikings defensive lineman Jimmy Kennedy was the original whistle-blower on BountyGate. Kennedy, ah, denies it. Strongly. (Pro Football Talk)

Don't invite Scott Fujita to a party with Roger Goodell. (AP)

Hasn't been much of a year for Ryan Kalil. First there was the Super Bowl guarantee, then the Panthers' 1-4 start, and now he's out for the season. (AP)

To paraphrase Gordon Gecko (sort of), Jim Harbaugh says paranoia is good. (CSN Bay Area)

Terry Bradshaw continues to audition for the lead role in Grumpy Old Men III. (Pro Football Talk)

Brady Quinn's getting ready, since it looks like Matt Cassel's a no-go for Sunday. (AP)

Old friend Mark Anderson's out indefinitely in Buffalo. (AP)

T.O. won't take 'no' for an answer from the Jets. (Pro Football Talk)

TENNIS
Roger Federer says he forgot all about those death threats once the match started. (AP)

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

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HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep “known steroid users” out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball’s steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall’s board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

Read the full text of Morgan's letter here. 

“Steroid users don’t belong here,” Morgan wrote. “What they did shouldn’t be accepted. Times shouldn’t change for the worse.”

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions.

About 430 ballots are being sent to voters, who must have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, and a player needs at least 75 percent for election. Ballots are due by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Writers who had not been covering the game for more than a decade were eliminated from the rolls in 2015, creating a younger electorate that has shown more willingness to vote for players tainted by accusations of steroid use. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a majority of votes for the first time in 2017 in their fifth year on the ballot.

Morgan said he isn’t speaking for every Hall of Famer, but many of them feel the same way that he does.

“Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in,” Morgan wrote. “Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right.”

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. They were joined by former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, who were voted in by a veterans committee.

Some baseball writers said the election of Selig, who presided over the steroids era, influenced their view of whether tainted stars should gain entry to the Hall.

Morgan praised BBWAA voters and acknowledged they are facing a “tricky issue,” but he also warned some Hall of Famers might not make the trip to Cooperstown if steroid users are elected.

“The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too,” he wrote. “The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.