Friday, June 28, 2013

Sports Chowdah Update- Former Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez Arrested, Charged With Murder; Red Sox Kick Wang Around; What's Up Doc? Blockbuster Trades By C's Wipe Away Any Trace of Big 3 Era as Rivers Flows West

PATRIOTS- Former Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez was arrested on charges of murder this week after the body of an acquaintance was found less than a mile away from his N. Attleboro, MA home. I say 'former' because the Patriots cut him within two hours of his arrest on Wednesday afternoon.

The prosecution alleges that Hernandez orchestrated the murder of 27 year old Odin Lloyd during the overnight hours of June 16th and June 17th. Lloyd, a semipro linebacker with the Boston Bandits, had been dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée at the time of the murder.

According to investigators, after seeing Odin talking to a some people at a Boston nightclub who earlier had a falling out with Hernandez, the tight end summoned two friends from Connecticut. After texting Lloyd, Hernandez and two accomplices arrive at Lloyd's house around 2:30 AM. Lloyd's sister sees him get into a silver Altima and receives a final text message from him at 3:23 AM- around the same time a silver Altima that Hernandez had rented is seen on a security camera driving into a secluded area of an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez's home. Shortly before 3:30 workers at a nearby business report hearing the sound of gunshots.

The following day, Hernandez returns the Altima to the rental agency and asks for another vehicle, after the driver's side mirror is damaged. Hernandez claims he doesn't know how it happened while getting another vehicle. After Hernandez leaves, the attendant finds a spent shell casing from a .45 pistol. Later that day, Odin's body is discovered at an area where sand and gravel are stockpiled at the North Attleboro industrial park.

A subsequent search of the Hernandez's apartment turned up a clip from a .45 semiautomatic. Investigators also learned that Hernandez's cell phone and home security system were destroyed (likely deliberately) shortly after Lloyd's slaying and the tight end hired housekeepers to scrub his mansion after the slaying.

In addition to Hernandez, police have arrested three suspected accomplices in Florida and Hernandez's hometown of Bristol, CT this week. All of them are facing extradition to Massachusetts to stand trial for their role in Lloyd's murder and Hernandez was denied bail after being deemed a flight risk.

The Bristol County Sheriff also said that police are looking into Hernandez's alleged involvement in a 2012 double slaying in South Boston and that Lloyd may have been killed because Hernandez thought he knew too much.

A civil-suit alleging that Aaron Hernandez shot a man in the face outside a Miami nightclub was filed in a Florida federal court last week as well. Meanwhile, the Patriots announced that they would offer a free jersey exchange to fans who had purchased a Hernandez #81 jersey at the team's shop in Gillette Stadium or through the team's website.

AP Photo/Charles Krupa
RED SOX- After completing a sweep of the brief two game series against Colorado- including Tuesday night's outing where the Red Sox notched 20 hits in their 11-4 win- the Red Sox had a chance to add to their lead in the AL East and cool off the torrid Blue Jays, who had won 17 of their last 22 games in June to put them within striking distance of the AL East lead [although still dead last- NANESB!]. The last time Toronto starter Chen-Ming Wang faced the Red Sox was four years ago while wearing pinstripes, and he lost to knuckleballer Time Wakefield in the Bronx.

Although Wang would get through the first inning without allowing a hit, the wheels came off in the second inning when he allowed 7 runs in just ⅔ of an inning. Dustin Pedroia's two out, two run homer knocked Wang out of the game. With plenty of run support early on, Lester seemed to be cruising along- although he gave up a 2-RBI double to Maicer Izturis in the top of the 5th and allowed two singles to lead off the top of the 8th where the runners eventually came home when Jinuchi Tazawa gave up a sac-fly to Jose Reyes and an RBI groundout to Jose Bautista to make it 7-4. That would be the final, though, as Koji Uehara came in for his second straight save- and like Wednesday's afternoon game against the Rockies, he got all three batters he faced out in order.

Lester went seven complete innings and improves to 8-4 after struggling mightily while Toronto falls back to .500 with the loss. The 7-run second inning was enough for Boston and Dustin Pedroia led the scoring by going 1-2 with a homer and 2 RBI. Lester threw a total of 94 pitches and the seven innings was his longest outing of the season so far. Game two of the four game weekend series will get underway from Fenway Friday night at 7:10 ET. The pitching matchup will feature Allen Webster [0-2; 11.25 ERA] against Toronto's Josh Johnson [1-2; 4.60 ERA] and the game will be televised by NESN.

OTHER SOX NEWS- The Red Sox selected New Castle, IN high school pitcher Trey Ball as their first overall draft pick in the 2013 MLB draft. The 6'6" left from the Hoosier State is the highest selection for Boston since the 1993 pick of outfielder Trot Nixon.

BOSTON CELTICS- Shortly after the NBA approved of an unorthodox trade that sent head coach Doc Rivers to the LA Clippers for a first round pick in the 2015 NBA draft, Celtics GM Danny Ainge orchestrated a blockbuster deal that sent two-thirds of the Big Three to Brooklyn in exchange for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Reggie Evans, Kris Joseph, a signed-and-traded Keith Bogans and first round picks in the 2014, 2016 and 2018 draft- plus the right to trade up if the Nets' pick is higher than Boston's in 2017. The Nets will be getting Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce- the longest tenured member of the Celtics. Garnett apparently had to waive his no-trade clause for the deal to go through and have the Nets agree to take on his entire salary through the 2014-2015 season.

The trade was foreshadowed by weeks of on-again/off-again talks between the Celtics and Clippers over Doc's exit from Beantown and landing on the west coast. The Celtics are still on the hook for the final three years and $21 million of his contract. In addition to head coach, Doc was also named vice-president of basketball operations- a position that would give him a greater say in the front office.

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