Morning Jolt: Thursday, September 29

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Thursday, September 29

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Francona a goner?

What in retrospect was a long and slow collapse came suddenly to Boston. David Ortiz didn't pause when asked whether what happened to the Red Sox this season was worse than the 2003 ALCS. "Oh, this was worse," he said. "Nothing is as bad as this." ... "I have to give credit to those guys in Tampa, man. We were watching that game during the rain delay. What they did, they deserve to be in the playoffs to be honest with you." ... Soon-to-be free agent Jonathan Papelbon was given several chances to indicate a willingness to remain with the Red Sox and passed. "I'll let the process play itself out," he said. "We'll see what happens." It's dangerous to read too much into the raw emotions of a season-ending post-game scene. But Terry Francona looked like a manager who knew his time may have come. (The Boston Globe)Comment

Running back controversy in Cleveland

The Browns may have traded one controversy for another. For the first time in years, the Browns do not have a quarterback controversy. They might, however, have some issues bubbling in their backfield with Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty. When Hillis was unable to play in Week 3 because of strep throat, Hardesty made his first NFL start and rushed for 67 yards on 14 carries in Cleveland's 17-16 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Both players were in uniform Wednesday as the Browns returned to the practice field, prompting coach Pat Shurmur to comment on their status going forward. "What happened on Sunday, we learned that Montario is further along than I thought he was and can handle more than I thought he could," Shurmur said. (The Chronicle Telegram)Comment

Hibbert goes to work for 'Parks and Rec'

Kevin Durant isn't the only NBA player working on his acting chops this extended offseason. The NBA lockout has given Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert time to work on a possible second career. The always-animated Hibbert will make his acting debut Thursday when he has a cameo appearance on the NBC show "Parks and Recreation," which stars Amy Poehler. Hibbert put out a Twitter message last week encouraging fans to tune in. It's unknown if Hibbert got the acting bug from watching Area55 audition videos the past two years. (Indianapolis Star)Comment

Must-See Photo

Marco Scutaro and Jonathan Papelbon reflect the shock and devastation of Red Sox Nation. (

Must-See Video

NBA Commissioner David Stern has grim news on the NBA labor front.

Game To Watch

South Florida at Pittsburgh, 8 p.m. ESPN

  1. South Florida Bulls
  2. Pittsburgh Panthers

SI Vault: More Willie Mays

This Day in Sports

  • 1954 -- The Giants' Willie Mays makes his famous over-the-shoulder catch in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series.
  • 2002 -- The Seahawks' Shaun Alexander sets an NFL record with five first-half touchdowns.
  • 2004 -- MLB announces the Montreal Expos will move to Washington for the 2005 season.