Conference realignment in college sports has been going on since 1984, when the Supreme Court invalidated the NCAA’s national television contract for football. The conference juggling has gone through ebbs and flows through the years since, from small schools bumping up to bigger leagues to power programs switching to other major conferences. The latest move, UCLA and USC bolting the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, could be part of a tectonic shift. Not just because of the marquee-named schools involved, but because it happened at a time when the NCAA is looking to take a more decentralized approach to governing college athletics, handing more power to schools and conferences.
Growing up as the son of a major league ballplayer, Terry Francona knew to speak only when he was spoken to. Baseball clubhouses are more welcoming now and not just to toddlers raiding the bubble gum bin. Some of those tykes turn out to big league ballplayers themselves. According to the Baseball Almanac, 252 sons of major leaguers have made it on their own. That runs from Cubs left-hander Jack Doscher in 1903 to Roger Clemens’ son Kody, who made his debut with the Tigers last month. There are more than two dozen sons of big leaguers on AL and NL rosters this year.
There are a lot of key story lines as Wimbledon gets set to return. There is the comeback of Serena Williams after a year away from singles action. There is the ban on players from Russia and Belarus because of the war in Ukraine with No. 1-ranked Daniil Medvedev among those affected. There is the unprecedented withdrawal of ranking points by the professional tennis tours in reaction to that ban. There are other missing players like Roger Federer and Naomi Osaka. There is Rafael Nadal's pursuit of a calendar-year Grand Slam and Iga Swiatek's 35-match winning streak. And more.
Former NFL wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who died last December at age 33, had CTE, his family said Tuesday. Boston University CTE Center researchers diagnosed the four-time Pro Bowler with stage 2 chronic traumatic encephalopathy following a brain study through the Concussion Legacy Foundation. Thomas’ family released the findings of the study. Stage 2 CTE is associated with “progressive behavior, cognitive and mood abnormalities.” Family members say Thomas developed depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and trouble with his memory in the years before his death. Stage 4 is the most severe stage of CTE and is usually associated with dementia.
The Boston Celtics have improved their backcourt depth by trading for Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon. The Associated Press has confirmed that the Celtics are sending five backup forwards and a 2023 first-round pick to Indiana in exchange. Brogdon became available after Indiana acquired Tyrese Haliburton from Sacramento during a flurry of midseason trades. The Pacers also now have about $31 million in salary cap space.
Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens believes first-year coach Ime Udoka succeeded this season in making their pieces fit together and cultivating an identify for a team that was at its best when defending and sharing the ball. Stevens would like to add more playmaking and depth off the bench and has been given the freedom to spend as needed this offseason. But he doesn’t want to do it at the expense of a core group he thinks can find another level together.
Nick Pivetta pitched seven dominant innings with 10 strikeouts, Christian Vázquez hit a three-run homer and the Boston Red Sox held off the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 to win their fifth straight series. Trevor Story added a solo shot and Jackie Bradley Jr. had a go-ahead single for the Red Sox, who rebounded after getting blown out 11-2 on Saturday night for their 13th victory in 17 games. St. Louis wrapped up just its second visit to Fenway Park in 14 years, and second since 2017. The Cardinals have lost three of four. Juan Yepez hit a pinch-hit, three-run homer for St. Louis.
The Boston Celtics couldn't hold off the Golden State Warriors and had trouble taking care of the basketball. For three quarters, the Celtics responded to nearly every punch the Warriors threw at them. But Boston’s mistakes and an inability to beat back one final charge by Golden State in the fourth quarter cost the Celtics in a 107-97 loss in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Jayson Tatum finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, but had six of Boston’s 16 turnovers which led to 19 points for Golden State. The Celtics are now 1-6 this postseason when committing 16 or more turnovers. With the series tied, Game 5 will be Monday night at Golden State.
The Golden State Warriors’ last chance at pulling out a comeback victory in Game 3 of the NBA Finals ended during a scramble that went Boston's way with 3½ minutes left that went Boston’s way. Marcus Smart emerged with the ball, and the Celtics held on to win 116-100 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Golden State trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half. But it was a 12-point Boston lead with about four minutes left when Jayson Tatum missed a 15-footer. The rebound was batted around and three Celtics and as many Warriors went to the floor trying to secure the ball. Celtics center Al Horford rolled up on Stephen Curry’s leg during the scrum. Curry came away limping.
BOSTON >> The Boston Bruins are going to start the regular season without one of their top players. Center Patrice Bergeron is day-to-day with a lower-body injury and did not make the trip …
BOSTON >> The Boston Bruins last season failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second straight season, and it was obviou…