Orioles

Man at center of Te'o hoax says he was molested

Man at center of Te'o hoax says he was molested

The man who says he tricked Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o into falling for a fake woman he created online claims the hoax had ``everything to do'' with escaping from real life because he had been molested as a child.

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo spoke publicly for the first time in an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw for the ``Dr. Phil Show,'' the second part of which aired Friday.

The 22-year-old Tuiasosopo told McGraw he was repeatedly molested, beginning at age 12, by someone who was close to his father, a church pastor and youth minister.

``I felt that I couldn't do things, accomplish things, pursue things, live out as Ronaiah,'' Tuiasosopo said. ``And I felt the need to create this. It has everything to do with what I went through as a child.''

Tuiasosopo did not identify his alleged attacker by name and did not say whether he had told police about his claim.

His father, Titus Tuiasosopo, said it was difficult to hear the details of the abuse his son suffered.

``When he told me the location, the time, I could go back and vividly remember those trips, the times that these guys came over,'' he said. ``That part, right there, was kind of gut wrenching for me.''

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo said he built the online persona of Lennay Kekua, a nonexistent woman who Te'o said he fell in love with despite never meeting in person. Tuiasosopo then killed off the character last September.

He said creating Kekua - who met Te'o online during the player's freshman year at Notre Dame - allowed him to live in an alternate reality, and helped validate that he was a good person.

``When I looked at Lennay through Manti's eyes, I got a glimpse of who I was as far as my heart,'' said Tuisasosopo, who told McGraw that he fell in love with Te'o.

When Deadspin.com exposed the hoax in a story on Jan. 16, the report raised questions about whether Te'o was in on it. But Te'o denied he was involved and Tuiasosopo also said the All-American had nothing to do with the scam.

Kekua ``died'' the same day in September that Te'o's real grandmother passed away, and the story of the linebacker playing through the double tragedy became an often-told tale as Notre Dame went 12-0 last season and earned a spot in the BCS championship. Te'o failed at the time to make clear that he had only known Kekua online and through phone calls, which caused confusion later.

Te'o won seven national awards for his play and was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. A couple of days before that award was presented, the linebacker had a call from the Kekua character saying she was alive.

Te'o, who has said he was deeply confused by that conversation, ultimately told his parents and coaches about the situation. Notre Dame said an investigation of Te'o's claims backed up his story and pointed to Tuiasosopo as the person behind the hoax. When asked by Katie Couric in an interview broadcast last week, Te'o said he is not gay.

Te'o and his family had no immediate comment on Friday.

In the McGraw interview, Tuiasosopo said he was the voice of Kekua, and provided samples to McGraw and a producer. One of those samples, McGraw said, was compared by three separate laboratories to recorded voice mails sent by Kekua to Te'o. They were a match, he said.

Tuiasosopo apologized to Te'o, Notre Dame, his own family and everyone else affected by the hoax during the interview.

``People say, `Well, does he even have any feeling toward this?''' Tuiasosopo said. ``The truth is, I hurt every day from the decisions that I made.''

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All it took for Chris Davis to break out of his slump was a letter from a Red Sox fan

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All it took for Chris Davis to break out of his slump was a letter from a Red Sox fan

Well, dang. We did not expect to need tissues for this video.

When Orioles first baseman Chris Davis was in the midst of the worst slump in Major League Baseball history, it often felt from afar like nothing could pull him out of his doldrums. It was difficult to watch Davis make the worst kind of history, knowing there was nothing fans can do to help.

Apparently, that was a mistake. All it took was a letter.

Henry Frasca, a diehard Red Sox fan, hated watching Davis struggle. So, when the O’s were in town to play his favorite team, he decided to write Davis a letter of encouragement.

The note made its way to Davis, who kept it with him. Inspired by the kind words, Davis had a breakout day at the plate, driving in four runs one his first three hits of 2019. The longtime Oriole has kept the letter with him ever since.

Frasca was unaware of the specific impact his message made, but as the Orioles returned to Fenway Park once again, he was given the opportunity of a lifetime.

This is, frankly, one of the coolest things we’ve seen in a long time. Frasca is just nine years old, but his view on the world and, specifically, helping those in need is both mature beyond his years and inspiring to the adults around him.

The most impressive part of the letter, as Orioles broadcaster Gary Thorne highlights in his interview, is the idea that how Davis is playing on the field does not define the person he is off it.

It’s an insightful message, one that’s easy for even grown men and women to forget when cheering on their favorite players from afar. For someone so young, who roots for a rival team, to recognize it so early is mighty impressive.

The video is five minutes long, but well worth every second of your time. Well done to the Orioles, Thorne, Davis, and of course, Frasca most of all.

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Much to his pleasure, Max Scherzer ‘probable’ to start this week

Much to his pleasure, Max Scherzer ‘probable’ to start this week

WASHINGTON -- If you ask Max Scherzer, he is ready. Which is not an upgrade from where he was earlier in the week.

Scherzer felt well again Sunday when he woke up following his second simulation game of the week. His workload increased Saturday, his comfort remained the same and Sunday his body told him he is ready to pitch in a game for the first time since July 25. Davey Martinez agreed -- for the most part. He said Scherzer is “probable” to start Thursday in Pittsburgh.

“I feel good,” Scherzer said. “Kinda do my normal little tests, move my arm and go through the throwing motion, so I feel good. I’m basically sore today the way I should be sore, given that and all the treatment we did yesterday and throwing a sim game. Like everything feels right where it should be. There’s no extra soreness other than what I anticipated. To me, that’s right on par.”

Scherzer remains irritated he was instructed to throw a second simulation game. He understands why. It just was not his personal preference. Part of the reason is in the title of the act. “Simulation” is not reality. For instance, he warned Gerardo Parra a slider was coming in the first simulation game. “Watch your foot,” Scherzer told him out of concern for possible injury. Pitchers are not truly pitching inside during simulations because of that worry. Players could be found to stand in the box without concern of injury. However, they couldn’t competently handle a hall-of-fame pitcher. So, that’s a false test, too. Only being in a game tells the truth.

But this is what Scherzer had to deal with because of the organization managed his return slowly. They focused on the future -- both this season and beyond. Scherzer is much more concerned about the now because, in his view, his rhomboid strain is not a significant injury.

“The long-term health, that’s not even part of the equation,” Scherzer said. “We all know that’s going to be good because we’re dealing with a muscle strain. Every other structure within the back, shoulder, you name it – nothing at play here. It’s literally dealing with the muscle strain and getting through it.”

Knowing this is not a long-term injury has keyed Scherzer’s frustration with the process. He’s felt close, then ready, really close, and again ready throughout the recovery. He’s being teased by the thing he wants to do most: get back on the mound in a real game. 

“Honestly, the toughest part about this whole thing is I feel like the carrot’s right in front of my face,” Scherzer said. “That it’s such day to day that any day it could turn and you always wake up every single day thinking today’s the day that you’re going to wake up and not feel anything and you’re going to go out there and you’re going to throw it and you’re going to feel no pain whatsoever. And you go off running because it’s not a serious injury. That’s been the most frustrating part. 

“If I knew that was going to be however long this is going to take – if I was dealing with, say, a more significant injury where they say, ‘You’re not going to feel good in six weeks’ – all right, you got it. You can easily mentally check out for six weeks knowing I’m not going to be able to throw a ball in six weeks and you can build your rehab around that. That hasn’t been the case. It’s really been day to day: ‘Hey, you might be feeling good here in two days.’ That’s really been the prognosis I’ve gotten from the doctors and everybody about what I’m dealing with. 

“So for me, that’s really been the hardest part mentally. I feel like at any point in time I could be ready to get back out there and at any day everybody’s expecting that this could turn. For me, when you have that carrot right in front of your face and you want to be helping your team, that’s what’s been the most frustrating part for me mentally.”

A bullpen session Monday should be next. After that, a final step to diffuse all of Scherzer’s irritation, his competition-based combat with Martinez and the organization and exasperation with a muscle strain which derailed him for a month can come: pitch one.

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