Baseball reality is short-changing the spendthrift Yankees

A sterling factoid brilliantly illustrating the current state of baseball affairs is this little nugget culled from the madness rampant in the turbulent American League East: Over the last five seasons (2008-2012), during which the New York Yankees and Tampa Rays have been slugging it out year after year, the Yankees have won a grand total of 21 more games than the Rays. But it has cost them in player salaries alone a tidy $560 million more than what the Rays expended in payroll those years.  Read more

Can Bruins possibly top what they have done so far?

As the Bruins roar into the Stanley Cup Finals, looking more and more like a runaway freight train on razor-sharp blades, many should be pardoned for wondering if what’s left to be done is somehow anti-climactic.

In the end, a certain historical necessity insists the Cup will be the ultimate measure of this team. But no matter how this rich and moving saga does end, nothing can diminish all the wild and crazy stuff that has glorified the mad dash to the ultimate moment. As the saying goes, the Bruins are playing with “house money” in these Finals. How terrific is that?  Read more

What place sports when a tragedy strikes?

There has always been a bit of disconnect between the games we play and times of distress. Sports equate with “fun” and are classified as “entertainment.” So when bad things happen, ought the games to be stopped? Are they appropriate when their relative unimportance is resoundingly underscored by the bitter sweep of harsh reality? Should we be happily at play when and where great sadness abounds?

These are hardly questions that drive philosophers daft, merely the stuff of common sense. Yet the answers have not always been clear while consensus remains elusive.  Read more

PLAY BALL! 'Overwhelming' response to news of Little League theft

This equipment locker was broken into and pillaged by unknown persons over the weekend. Photo by Bill Forry

Donations and equipment are pouring into Savin Hill Little League today after news reports about a weekend theft that wiped out the league's equipment locker at McConnell Park went viral yesterday evening.

The little league has fielded calls and donations from all over Massachusetts, including one from Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The Quincy-based charity Good Sports has pledged to deliver $4,000 in new equipment and uniforms to the little league in time for the opening of their season later this month.

"Its been overwhelming support from the neighborhood and across the city and state," said Michael Christopher, one of the league's organizers. "It makes you feel good and you realize how unique and special this place is that people step up when something like this happens."  Read more

Youthful life at Bird St. Center spurred Juan De Jesus to fulfill dream

From Columbia Rd. to Major League Baseball: Juan DeJesus cultivated skills at Bird Street Community Center.From Columbia Rd. to Major League Baseball: Juan DeJesus cultivated skills at Bird Street Community Center.Juan De Jesus doesn’t get home much these days. The Uphams Corner native is on the road most of the year in Latin America, where he works for Major League Baseball (MLB) to recruit, cultivate, and streamline the entry of young ballplayers into the United States.

It’s a dream job for the 30-year-old De Jesus, a graduate of BC High and Boston College. His mom and dad emigrated to Dorchester from the Dominican Republic. Baseball is in his blood, to be sure. His father knew many pro ball players from his hometown in the D.R. — and DeJesus fancied himself a bit of Fenway Park “rat” — often getting special access to watch batting practice before games.

But it was through his involvement with the Bird Street Community Center on Columbia Road that he learned to play and love the game.  Read more

One eve of season, Savin Hill Little League 'wiped out' by thieves

The Savin Hill Little League trailer at McConnell Park was broken into over the weekend. Thieves made off with "thousands of dollars" worth of little league equipment. Photo by Bill Forry

Just days before the first pitch of the season, Savin Hill Little League has been dealt a tough blow by thieves who pillaged their equipment locker at McConnell Park. The weekend incident left the up-and-coming youth sports league without helmets, bats, bases and balls— a loss of "thousands of dollars," according to Mike Christopher, one of the volunteers who runs the league.  Read more

Boxing takes hold at St. Peter’s: Former pros, cops teach kids the ropes

Eoin Cannon, Special to the Reporter
Apr. 4, 2013

St. Peter's Boxing duo: Boxing coach and former DEA agent Paul Doyle, right, with 15 year-old Jose Pires. Photo by Eoin CannonSt. Peter's Boxing duo: Boxing coach and former DEA agent Paul Doyle, right, with 15 year-old Jose Pires. Photo by Eoin Cannon After almost disappearing from the youth sports landscape, boxing has made something of a comeback in Dorchester. More gyms are opening their doors to young people, whether they are looking for serious competition or just the skills boxing teaches: discipline, composure, self-defense.

In places where the youth need those skills the most, though, instead of commercial gyms it sometimes takes the old, familiar networks of priests, police, youth workers, and ex-fighters and the commitment they make to passing those values on.

Paul Doyle knows both the before and the after phases of this phenomenon.  Read more

Sign-ups underway for Cedar Grove Baseball

Sign-ups underway for Cedar Grove Baseball
Registration has begun for the 2013 season of Cedar Grove Baseball. Remaining sign-up times include Fri., March 8 from 6-8 p.m. at St. Brendan’s School Hall, 29 Rita Rd. (use St. Brendan Rd. entrance) and
Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy, Neponset, 239 Neponset Avenue.  Read more

In the ring with the Boxing O’Briens

Jackie Gentile, Special to the Reporter
Feb. 28, 2013

Family that trains together: Maureen O’Brien and her father, John O’Brien. Photo by Bill ForryFamily that trains together: Maureen O’Brien and her father, John O’Brien. Photo by Bill Forry

With two Golden Gloves titles under her belt, Maureen O’Brien is flying high. The 30-year-old Dorchester native won the Lowell Golden Gloves on February 15 in the light welterweight division.

“It feels good,” she said. “It was exciting having all the hard work pay off.”  Read more

Dot, Southie gyms to square off at Victory Road Armory

UPDATED Fri., Feb. 22— This event has been postponed due to inclement weather. It has been re-scheduled for Sun., March 10 at the same venue. Tickets sold for Sunday's event will be honored on that date.- Ed.

Michael McLaughlin: Reps Co. Donegal and DorchesterMichael McLaughlin: Reps Co. Donegal and DorchesterA middleweight bout between Adams Corner-based boxer Michael Owen McLaughlin and South Boston’s Jimmy LeBlanc leads a Sunday evening Pro-Am boxing event at Dorchester’s Victory Road Armory. The fights start at 5 p.m. at 70 Victory Rd. Tickets will be available at the door.

McLaughlin, the former light Welterweight amateur champ in his native Ireland, has been training with the Dorchester Boxing Club in recent months. He is coming off a big win in Rhode Island, according to fight promoter and DBC owner Danny Kelly.  Read more