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The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 3: Last-minute moves



The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 3: Dalvin Cook iffy, Christian McCaffrey less so

UPDATE: 10:09 a.m. Sunday
What has already been a bad weekend for Minnesota stands to get a lot worse today with ESPN’s report that Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is unlikely to play today against Seattle.

Cook missed several days of practice this week because of a sprained ankle. So he will be watching along with you today as Alexander Mattison gets a shot at being the Vikings’ No. 1 running back.

Joining Cook on NFL sidelines today are Rams running back Darrell Henderson (making Sony Michel the starter) and Bengals wideout Tee Higgins (elevating the roles for Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd. And the Giants’ Kenny Golladay is reported to have a limitation on his work today, so you should probably count on someone else.

Getting cleared to play today are Arizona WR DeAndre Hopkins, Indy QB Carson Wentz and Giants tight end Evan Engram.

We’ll be back when the early inactives lists come out.

UPDATE: 1:02 p.m. Saturday
They were the consensus top two picks in fantasy drafts this summer, but the Vikings’ Dalvin Cook and Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey are not looking that well lately.

McCaffrey pulled a hamstring in Thursday night’s victory over Houston, and the No. 1 running back in the NFL will be out a “few” weeks, according to the team. That means Chuba Hubbard will move up for the Panthers, with Royce Freeman seeing some action. Only the former is worth rostering for now.

As for Cook, the Vikings haven’t updated his status since yesterday, when he missed another day of practice. So he is still listed as questionable with a sprained ankle.

Since the Vikings are playing at 3:25 tomorrow, you will NOT get to see their inactive list when you set your lineup in the morning. So you’ll have to keep an eye on the Twitter. If you’re counting on Cook, it might behoove you to have a backup plan ready with someone playing late Sunday or Monday. Or to have Alexander Mattison, which goes without saying …

In other Saturday headlines: it’s looking as though rookie Trey Sermon may finally get his first big workload with the 49ers. Elijah Mitchell is considered doubtful, so it will likely be Sermon on Sunday night in their big game against the Packers.

A few notables have been cleared to start. Dallas WR Amari Cooper and Cleveland wideout Odell Beckham Jr. are said to be good to go, as is Indy QB Carson Wentz, he of the double sprained ankles. You can certainly ignore the latter.

Ruled out for Week 3 are Tampa Bay WR Antonio Brown and Pittsburgh WR Diontae Johnson, and Bengals wideout Tee Higgins is doubtful.

Arizona star DeAndre Hopkins is listed as a game-time decision, as is another wideout, the Jets’ Jamison Crowder.

ORIGINAL POST: 9:30 a.m. Wednesday

From the moment the 2021 season began, it was only a matter of time. Just how long would it be before rookie Justin Fields replaced Andy Dalton as the starting quarterback for the oft-quarterback challenged Chicago Bears.

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) passes the ball to running back David Montgomery (32) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

The answer proved to be about 76 minutes of game play. That’s when Dalton left last Sunday with a knee injury, and the Ohio State phenom headed into the game amid rousing cheers at Soldier Field.

How did he do? Not that well.

Sure, Fields made a nice run to help clinch the game in the fourth quarter. But that was about it for his heroics. He completed only 6 of 13 passes for 60 yards. Fulfilling the fantasy dreams of nobody.

But Dalton is said to be “week to week,” so Fields is in line to get his first NFL start Sunday against Cleveland. Not a great matchup. The Bears have to start the former Buckeye, but wise fantasy mavens should probably wait before taking that plunge.

Other quarterbacks and teams are feeling the Bears’ pain:

Carson Wentz (Colts) — Indy’s QB pulled off the rare double by spraining BOTH of his ankles. There’s no way either you nor the Colts should count on starting him this week in Tennessee. And if Jacob Eason has to replace him, you can forget about starting any Colts except, maybe, for Jonathan Taylor.

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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) is sacked by Los Angeles Rams’ Sebastian Joseph-Day during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins) — The Deshaun Watson trade buzz heated up again immediately after No. 1 went down with injured ribs in the shutout loss to Buffalo. Tagovailoa has been ruled out this week, and the Dolphins might be better off with Jacoby Brissett at the helm.

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Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) is sacked by Buffalo Bills strong safety Micah Hyde (23) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Tyrod Taylor (Texans) — Houston’s QB had been surprisingly sensational in the first game and a half, and now he’s on injured reserve with a bad hammy. The Texans will likely be starting rookie Davis Mills the next three weeks. So expect our preseason pick to be the NFL’s worst team to start playing like it. Immediately.

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Houston Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) rushes for a 15-yard touchdown against Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers) — Pittsburgh’s QB has had an assortment of issues through the years, and now he has a “pectoral issue.” While he’s certainly not a top 10 quarterback anymore, Big Ben could have been a decent streaming option for this week against the Bengals’ defense. But you can scratch that thought.

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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) plays against the Las Vegas Raiders in an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Derek Carr (Raiders) — The early candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, Carr is questionable this week because of an ankle injury. But with 817 yards and four TD passes so far this season, Carr might still be worth grabbing off waivers and starting against a reeling Miami team.

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Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) plays against the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Despite winning Monday night, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers was in a testy mood. That will be true Sunday night when they play the rugged 49ers defense. … Tom Brady is a must start, but the Buccaneers’ QB will cool off a bit against the Rams in what could be an NFC championship preview. … New England RB Damien Harris will find the going tougher against New Orleans than he did last week against the J-E-T-S … Two other running backs who will have a tough day: Washington’s Antonio Gibson vs. the Bills and the fumble-prone Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. the Chargers

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Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (25) runs the ball as Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White (27) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Denver is a surprising 2-0, and QB Teddy Bridgewater and RB Javonte Williams will look almost unbeatable against the lowly Jets. … Same goes for Sam Darnold, the QB for 2-0 Carolina, against the Texans. … Philly QB Jalen Hurts has been up and down, but he’ll be very, very up vs. Dallas. … The Vikings’ meager pass defense will help Seattle’s D.K. Metcalf keep up with receiving partner Tyler Lockett. … Running backs we particularly like this week are Pittsburgh’s Najee Harris vs. Cincinnati, the Chargers’ Austin Ekeler vs. Kansas City’s poor run defense, and Arizona’s Chase Edmonds vs. Jacksonville.

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Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws a pass during an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

The ranks of running backs have taken a hit in the past week. Las Vegas’ Josh Jacobs (toe/ankle) is “very questionable” this week, according to Raiders coach Jon Gruden. So Kenyan Drake and Peyton Barber will see more duty. … San Francisco’s Elijah Mitchell has an ailing shoulder, but he might still be the 49ers’ healthiest runner. … The Rams’ Darrell Henderson has injured ribs, and his status will be up in the air until the weekend. So Sony Michel is getting warmed up. … Two prominent receivers are already out this week: Cleveland’s Jarvis Landry (knee) is on injured reserve and will miss at least three weeks, and Houston’s Danny Amendola (hamstring) will sit out Thursday night’s game against Carolina. … Players listed as questionable include Dallas WR Amari Cooper, Pittsburgh wideout Diontae Johnson, Cleveland WR Odell Beckham Jr., Jacksonville WR Laviska Shenault, Philly TE Zach Ertz and Giants tight end Evan Engram.

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Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) during an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

This isn’t the deepest dive we’ve ever taken, but it’s obvious that former Viking Cordarrelle Patterson is becoming a solid dual threat for the Atlanta Falcons. The receiver turned running back had two touchdowns last Sunday against Tampa Bay, one rushing and one receiving, and he ran for 54 yards in the season opener against Philadelphia. And this week’s opponent, the New York Giants, has an average-at-best defense. The Falcons’ No. 1 back, Mike Davis, has been especially ordinary with 87 rushing yards over two games. So we’re guessing we’ll see more of No. 84 looking out of place in the Atlanta backfield.

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Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson (84) runs 10-yard for a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

Panthers at Texans (+7½):
Pick: Panthers by 14

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Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold, left, hands off to running back Christian McCaffrey against the New Orleans Saints during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

We’ll be updating our column, based on the latest injuries and innuendo, right up until Sunday’s kickoff. Go to

You can hear Kevin Cusick on Wednesdays on Bob Sansevere’s “BS Show” podcast on iTunes. You can follow Kevin on Twitter — @theloopnow. He can be reached at [email protected]


Red Sox advance to ALCS, eliminate defending AL champion Rays with thrilling walk-off victory



Red Sox advance to ALCS, eliminate defending AL champion Rays with thrilling walk-off victory

The Red Sox have been fueled by doubt all season, carrying a “nobody believes in us” attitude through a strong first half, and when things looked dicey in the second half, overcoming it to reach an unlikely postseason berth.

But who could have predicted this when they arrived in Fort Myers for spring training back in February?

The Red Sox are going to the ALCS.

It was just four days ago when the Rays dominated a Game 1 in which Randy Arozarena stole home and was eating popcorn in the dugout. It looked like the Red Sox’ playoff stay would be short. But backed by clutch pitching performances, not to mention an explosive Game 3 offensive effort, the Red Sox once again surprised the baseball world.

Eduardo Rodriguez seized his moment with a big-time start, and the Red Sox came through with another phenomenal walk-off win to dispatch the defending American League champion and reigning division winner Rays. On a Marathon Monday to remember in Boston which began with the return of the Boston Marathon to the city’s streets for the first time in 30 months, the Red Sox ended the night with a celebration on the field after Kiké Hernández hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Danny Santana for the winning run in a thrilling 6-5 victory.

“Not too many people gave us a chance from the get-go, but we believed,” manager Alex Cora said. “At the end, for how bad it looked sometimes, we’re still here. We’re still in the dance.”

The Red Sox will face either the Astros or White Sox in the ALCS, a series the Astros lead two games to one. Game 1 would be Friday in either Houston or Chicago.

Faced with the possibility of another extra-innings game after Sunday’s 13-inning thriller, the Red Sox weren’t interested, and finally came through after coming up empty on major opportunities in the seventh and eighth. With runners on second and third after Christian Vazquez singled and Travis Shaw singled, Hernandez wasted no time to send the Red Sox through to the next round. His fly ball to left was deep enough to score Santana, pinch running for Vazquez.

Vazquez was already starting the celebration, running out to home to greet Santana before the throw home even got to the plate.

“Just proud of the group,” Cora said. “Proud of everybody here. Happy for my family that they can enjoy this. Happy for Boston. It was an amazing day. That was loud. That was actually better than yesterday.

“When something that we envision before the season, we envision in the off-season, and the fact that we are one series away from going to the World Series, it means a lot to this organization.”

Last Thursday’s Game 1 pitted Rodriguez against Shane McClanahan, a matchup the Rays lefty was easily victorious in as Rodriguez recorded just five outs in the Red Sox’ 5-0 loss. But in Monday’s Game 4, it was a reversal of sorts.

When the Red Sox needed him to go deep, Rodriguez — on just three days of rest — delivered, giving them five massive innings. He walked off the field to a standing ovation from Fenway’s electric crowd of 38,477 with a 5-1 lead after the Red Sox crushed McClanahan in the third inning.

“I’m very, very happy for him,” Cora said. “Everybody knows what happened last year and the up and downs of this season, and for him, to go out there and give us a chance to win, it means a lot.”

After Collin McHugh opened the game for the Rays, manager Kevin Cash turned to McClanahan, on three days of rest after throwing 82 pitches on Thursday. But it went bad in a hurry for him. Rafael Devers hit a three-run home run to open the floodgates for a five-run inning, ending McClanahan’s night after he recorded just two outs

The Red Sox spoiled chances in the seventh and eighth — including when Alex Verdugo was thrown out at third to end the eighth — but they stayed level-headed. Garrett Whitlock’s shutout ninth set the stage for more heroics. Vazquez singled, moved over to second on Christian Arroyo’s bunt, and the Sox had runners on second and third for Hernandez, who did what he needed to do with Santana on third.

”I’m glad I was able to get that pitch, and I’m glad I was able to get the job done,” he said.

The Red Sox may have not had many believers when this season started, so it was fitting that Hernandez was the one to send them to the ALCS. When he signed as a free agent last winter, Hernandez saw Boston as a fit for a long-awaited everyday job, but he also believed his new team had plenty of potential after a horrid 2020 season. It’s certainly realizing it now.

“I was like, man, I don’t understand why people are talking about this team like we’re the worst team in that division or whatever. I was like, this is a solid squad. They won the World Series a few years ago. They know what it takes to win. …

“I knew that we had a really solid team, and the same thing I said at spring training, nothing has changed. … I mean, here we are surprising everybody but ourselves. We knew in spring training we had the team to make it this far, and here we are.”

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The 125th running of the Boston Marathon



The 125th running of the Boston Marathon

Nancy Lane

| Photographer

Nancy Lane is a staff photographer at the Boston Herald who covers a little bit of everything. In the fall she spends a great many of her Sundays running up and down the sidelines covering the New England Patriots. She was the main political photographer for the Herald in this last election cycle photographing twenty-one different candidates, learning New Hampshire’s back roads and achieving the 200 thousand mile mark on her car’s odometer. She also covers as many Red Sox games as she can, enjoys a good feature hunt and telling the important stories of our community with her photographs.

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Bing Crosby’s heirs sell stake in estate to boost his work



Bing Crosby’s heirs sell stake in estate to boost his work

NEW YORK  — Harry Crosby was 19 when his father, Bing, died in 1977. But when he goes to a shopping mall or party in December, there’s a strong chance he’ll hear his dad’s voice singing “White Christmas.”

He and his family want to hear that voice more during the other 11 months, a desire that led to a deal being announced Monday to sell an equal stake in the rights to Bing Crosby’s estate to Primary Wave Music.

It’s another example of how the sale of catalog rights has become a booming business, with most involving rock artists who write their own music — Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Neil Young and Stevie Nicks are examples. The Crosby deal is the most prominent involving a pre-rock artist who primarily interpreted songs written by others.

The deal is estimated in excess of $50 million.

A younger generation knows Crosby best through “White Christmas” and the duet with David Bowie on “The Little Drummer Boy” made for a television special shortly before his death. Fewer people alive remember Crosby’s days as a major recording artist and movie star.

“There were things that became absolutely top hits in the ’30s and ’40s, for a sustained period of time, and they just went away,” Harry Crosby said. “People associate dad with Christmas, but in the ’40s and ’50s, they didn’t associate him with Christmas. They associated dad with tons of things, and that’s what I want to bring back.”

Some of his hit songs include “Pennies From Heaven,” “It’s Been a Long, Long Time,” “Don’t Fence Me In” and “Accentuate the Positive.”

Crosby won an Academy Award for best actor for playing a priest in the 1945 film “Going My Way,” and made seven “road” movies with his friend, comic Bob Hope. His association with golf is also remembered, as he created the first pro-am tournament and was reportedly a member of 75 golf clubs.

Crosby’s family, which includes his widow and two of Harry’s siblings, have been interested in a documentary series to tell Bing’s story.

Primary Wave’s first priority is to increase Crosby’s digital footprint, to boost his profile on Spotify and get his music added to playlists for a generation unfamiliar with it, said Larry Mestel, the company’s founder and CEO.

“We want to be in business and partner with the greatest of the greats, regardless of the genre, regardless of the era,” Mestel said.

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Feds seek to hold couple in Navy nuclear espionage case



Navy engineer charged with trying to pass nuclear secrets

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors asked Monday that a Navy engineer remain locked up as they press forward with charges that he tried to sell submarine secrets to a foreign country.

The detention memo for Jonathan Toebbe was filed ahead of an expected appearance in federal court in West Virginia on Tuesday. The Justice Department submitted an identical motion for Toebbe’s wife, Diana, who was also arrested Saturday.

Jonathan Toebbe is accused of passing on design information about sophisticated Virginia-class submarines to someone he thought represented a foreign government but who was actually an undercover FBI agent. The identity of the country was not revealed in court documents.

According to the documents, Toebbe reached out in April 2020 to the foreign country to offer information about the submarines and to provide instructions for how to maintain a furtive dialogue. But the package he sent was obtained eight months later by the FBI, which initiated contact with Toebbe through an undercover agent who agreed to pay tens of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency in exchange for the government secrets.

Toebbe left memory cards containing sensitive documents in pre-arranged “dead-drop” locations, concealing it in one instance inside a peanut butter sandwich and on occasions inside a chewing gum package and Band-Aid wrapper, the FBI says. Diana Toebbe accompanied him on several occasions, including serving as a lookout during one such dead-drop operation in Jefferson County, West Virginia, court documents say.

It was not immediately clear if either of the Toebbes had an attorney.

In the detention memo, prosecutors checked boxes indicating that they believe the Toebbes represent a risk to flee and to obstruct justice. They also checked boxes showing that the prosecution, under the Atomic Energy Act, involves an “offense for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment or death.”

Toebbe, 42, a former naval officer, held a top-secret security clearance and had worked on projects related to the nuclear propulsion of Navy submarines since 2012. He was assigned to the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, also known as Naval Reactors.

His wife, 45, has been a humanities teacher at the Key School in Annapolis for 10 years.

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At least 2 dead in California plane crash that burned homes



At least 2 dead in California plane crash that burned homes

SANTEE, Calif. — A small plane crashed in a densely populated San Diego suburb Monday, killing at least two people, including a UPS driver, and leaving a trail of destruction that sent neighbors scrambling to help neighbors. At least two others were injured.

Witnesses described a retired couple being rescued from one of two homes that were destroyed in Santee, a largely residential suburb of 50,000 people. Ten other homes were damaged.

Several vehicles, including a delivery truck, were also torched.

“Not to be too graphic, but it’s a pretty brutal scene,” Justin Matsushita, Santee’s deputy fire chief, said as firefighters searched the smoldering ruins.

Authorities didn’t identify the delivery truck company or say if anyone was inside, but United Parcel Service of America Inc. confirmed one of its workers died.

“We are heartbroken by the loss of our employee, and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” the company said. “We also send our condolences for the other individuals who are involved in this incident, and their families and friends.”

The condition of the two injured wasn’t immediately known.

Michael Keeley, 43, ran barefoot outside when his home shook. He saw the UPS truck in flames and found two neighbors at a burning home calling through an open window.

With thick smoke inside the neighbors’ home and flames licking the roof, Keeley stood on a rock and reached through to grab the woman’s arm and help her climb out of the window. Her forearms were burned, and her hair was singed.

“She kept saying, ‘My puppy, my puppy,’ ” Keeley said.

Moments later, there were explosions inside the home. Neighbors knocked out fencing to rescue the woman’s husband from the backyard.

“I’m glad I didn’t have to go inside with my bare feet,” said Keeley, a probation officer.

Andrew Pelloth, 30, was working from home when he heard a whirring and then a huge boom.

“My initial thought was that it was a meteorite coming down,” he said. “I could hear it falling and then some kind of explosion.”

Pelloth lives across the street from the retired couple and saw the house and the delivery truck engulfed in flames. Mangled ruins of vehicles were in the couple’s driveway.

Erik Huppert, 57, rushed to the couple’s home after his house shook. He joined Pelloth to pull boards off the fence to save the husband, who was walking in the backyard.

The woman and her husband were burned on their arms but were still able to walk and talk, Pelloth said.

“Both were definitely in shock, but at least they were alive,” said Huppert, a military contractor.

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Des Linden grinds through challenging 2021 Boston Marathon



Des Linden grinds through challenging 2021 Boston Marathon

Des Linden, 2018 Boston Marathon women’s division winner, struggled with the first-ever October edition of the race, but said the welcome return of the crowd helped her get through the “grind.”

“The course was exactly the same. It’s 125 years of history, the course felt exactly the same. But it was more humid. That was tough,” Linden told the Herald at the finish line.


Monday was the first time the Boston Athletic Association has ever held the marathon in the fall. Temperatures climbed near 70 degrees Monday, presenting an extra challenge to many elite runners. Linden told WBZ her race was a “suffer-fest” and she started hurting after Mile 13.

“It was a little bit of a grind,” Linden told the Herald.

Linden finished with an unofficial time of 2:35:25, placing her at a preliminary 17th spot in the women’s elite field. In 2018, she was the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985.

Boston’s typical mid-April race date brings notoriously variable weather: Runners can find themselves hoofing it under hot, sunny skies, or through cold, driving rain. Linden said she prefers the traditional calendar date and training schedule to the October date.

“I do like the routine of just training for this race through the spring,” she said.

That wouldn’t surprise anyone who’s followed Linden’s career.

Although her personal best marathon time across the board was a second-place finish in the 2011 Boston Marathon with a time  of 2:22:38 — the fastest time ever run by an American woman in the Boston Marathon — the race she won in 2018 was through strong winds and icy rain.

Her time that year was actually slower than Monday’s finish at 2:39:55, but conditions were so grueling that many runners dropped out mid-race.

At the finish line Monday, Linden said she had “no idea” what her time was at the end of the race, but she was happy to see the streets in Back Bay lined with crowds of spectators again.

“That was everything. The crowd, really the last half of the race, it was everything. It got me through every single mile, every single step. You don’t get that in a virtual race. You don’t get that when you’re out training on your own. It was a nice reward after a tough day, after a long wait for this,” she said.

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Battenfeld: Historic Boston mayor’s race is a dud so far



Battenfeld: Historic Boston mayor’s race is a dud so far

Boston mayoral hopeful Michelle Wu is coasting on a front-runner campaign strategy — preferring to land endorsements from out-of-town elected officials over actual interaction with voters.

Why risk talking to real voters who might pose tough questions?

The Roslindale city councilor at-large has based her entire general election campaign on endorsements and press releases touting the latest endorsement.

And this is the supposed historic election we’ve been waiting for? So far it’s been tame and lame.

Wu has not unveiled a single new idea since winning the Sept. 14 preliminary election. She has lined up what at first glance looks like an impressive roster of endorsers, ranging from state reps to Acting Mayor Kim Janey.

Wu even happily received the backing of U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, who has lived his life in Malden and knows as much about Boston issues as the out-of-town media that covers the race.

But do voters really care about who gets the most endorsements?

Not really. At least they shouldn’t.

Most voters make up their own minds based on which candidate they feel is addressing the issues they care most about.

That should give some hope to Wu’s opponent, Annissa Essaibi-George, who is badly losing the endorsement game but is managing to talk about issues.

But it’s tough for Essaibi-George, a Dorchester city councilor at-large, to gain traction when the lazy media simply regurgitates Wu press releases.

Essaibi-George’s best chance to change the dynamics of the race is in the upcoming face-to-face debates, which start this week.

Neither candidate so far has landed so much as a gentle jab. No fisticuffs and no robust debate on issues. That could change when the candidates find themselves facing each other with no media buffer.

Boston voters should be peeved at both candidates for this non-race, but most of the blame lies with Wu, whose campaign has failed to energize new voters. She’s apparently hoping that her 11,000 vote lead in the preliminary election and the kid gloves treatment she gets from the media will be enough to prop her up in the general.

Looks like we’re heading for another low turnout on Nov. 2.

Wu is the progressive whose historic candidacy — she’d be the first woman and first Asian American mayor ever elected in Boston — was supposed to generate an Elizabeth Warren-sized turnout and excitement.

So far it’s been a dud, unless you think lining up the latest state rep at a press conference is an exciting campaign.

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Boston Marathon welcomed back with a roar: ‘This is what Boston lives for every year’



Boston Marathon welcomed back with a roar: ‘This is what Boston lives for every year’

The thundering roars finally returned to the Boston Marathon course on Monday, as jubilant fans flooded back to the 26.2-mile route with signs, cowbells and a familiar buzz after a 910-day hiatus.

The first fall edition of the iconic race was a long time coming for spectators and runners alike after the 2020 in-person race was canceled at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and this year’s event was postponed from the traditional April date.

“The virtual marathons have been great, but it’s just not the same, especially for the runners who need this support and the fans,” said Leslie High, 60, of Pennsylvania, waiting for her husband, Eric, 53, to finish his eighth Boston Marathon.

“There’s nothing more fun than being here,” she added. “This is what Boston lives for every year.”

Monday was the 125th Boston Marathon from Hopkinton to Copley Square. Some 15,736 participants started this year’s edition of the world’s oldest annual marathon.

Near the finish line along Boylston Street, the excitement started to build as the announcer said the elite runners were only a few miles away. Spectators with signs and cowbells packed the sidewalks, delivering deafening roars when the runners soared down the final stretch.

Runners fist pumped and blew kisses to the crowd — energizing the pumped-up crowd even more.

“It’s awesome to be back. We’re thrilled,” said Matt Glidden, 49, of Connecticut, who was waiting for his wife, Nicole, 42, as she ran her seventh straight Boston Marathon.

“There’s just nothing like it,” he added, saying it was “tough” without the in-person race last year when his wife did the virtual run. “This is home for us.”

Susan Brosseau, 58, of Connecticut, was tracking her husband, Joseph, 59. He was running on a “new knee” after having surgery two years ago.

It was likely Joseph’s final Boston Marathon after completing it 10 times and finishing more than 30 other marathons.

“This is a very emotional day for me,” said Susan, reminiscing on all of the past races and the memories from marathon weekends.

Sarah Hlad, 31, was watching the Boston Marathon for the first time. The Iowa resident was waiting for her husband, Thomas, who had qualified for 2020 but then the race was canceled.

“He felt like he was never going to get out here after what happened last year, but he made it and we’re just elated,” she said. “It’s definitely a fun environment here, and we’re excited to be out here.”

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Bruins Notebook: Jack Studnicka, Chris Wagner sent to Providence



Bruins Notebook: Jack Studnicka, Chris Wagner sent to Providence

While there’s still a possibility of more moves to come, the Bruins cut down their roster to the limit of 23 on Monday by sending Chris Wagner and Jack Studnicka to Providence and placing Curtis Lazar on injured reserve.

Both Wagner and John Moore cleared waivers on Sunday, but for now the B’s have elected to keep Moore in Boston, giving the B’s the eight defensemen they usually prefer to carry.

Anton Blidh, who would require waivers to be sent back to Providence, remains on the Boston roster and is now the lone reserve forward.

Though Studnicka had a strong preseason to regain his status as the club’s top prospect, there was no room for him in the top nine with the three center spots taken by Patrice Bergeron, Charlie Coyle and free agent signee Erik Haula and there has been a reluctance to play him in a fourth line role or on the right wing. And with the 22-year-old pivot still developing, the management and coaching staffs certainly want him to be playing hockey somewhere, if not Boston then Providence. It’s a good bet he’ll see Boston again before too long.

Coach Bruce Cassidy did not have any more clarity on how long Lazar will be out. Lazar had been set to be the fourth-line right wing before suffering an upper body injury in the final preseason game last Wednesday when he crashed into the net. Cassidy said that the medical staff was waiting for inflammation to go down before a course of treatment — surgery being one option — could be decided.

“That’s going to affect the timeline,” said Cassidy.

Karson Kuhlman‘s speed has essentially taken over Wagner’s physicality at the fourth line right wing spot, though Cassidy would like to see a dash of Wagner’s game in Kuhlman’s. And the coach didn’t rule out Wagner coming back to retake the spot.

“We’re asking him to be a little greasier in that regard, maybe going to the net with more of a purpose when you have a chance to create some anxiety around the net. Playing a little bigger in terms of finishing checks,” said Cassidy. “He’ll arrive on time with a good stick and foot speed. He takes good angles. I think it’s tough for a smaller guy to impact (that way). But there are defensemen out there, like the (Matt Grzelcyks) of the world on other teams, that he can be physical against. Those are the areas where we try to encourage him. Sometimes he’ll drop off. He’ll lose some of that edge. … We’ve gone through that with (Trent Frederic) at times. It’s not unique to him. But he has been around a bit. So that’s going to be the ask for whoever is in that position. That’s why we’ve used different people. If it ends up being Wags again, with him there’s the same kind of drop-off. You’ve got to keep your pace and up and your physicality. That’s your job. It’s a tough one, but you’ve got to do it every night. And that’s the ask with Kuhlie.”

Kuhlman, who also would have required to be sent to Providence, believes he can improve that area of his game. At 5-10, 190 pounds, Kuhlman concedes he will have to pick his spots.

“That, and it’s a little bit of a mentality. Going in every night, telling yourself you can play that way, greasy or gritty or whatever want to call it, I think just going in with the mentality of bringing it every night will be what I’ve got to do,” said Kuhlman.

Power play could be potent

The B’s had already possessed one of the most explosive power-plays in the league, and now they’ve added Taylor Hall to the first unit at the net front position. It has the potential to be the best man-advantage in in the league, with five legitimate scoring options.

But Cassidy stressed the importance of Hall not roaming too much.

“The other night (against Washington) he got away from the front of the net a little bit,” said Cassidy. “There’s times when we can run a drop-off play when he’s on the goal line and he can interchange with (Brad Marchand), they’re both left sticks who can go there. But at the end of the day, you can’t get too far away from the front of the net if that’s your responsibility. Simply because with our group, it tends to get there. … We’ve got to make sure we’ve got a puck recovery guy.”

While Hall said he’s happy to play his role, he also said there will be some fluidity to the process because of the nature of the game.

“It’s hockey right? I don’t think there are really defined spots. Obviously, off the faceoff, if we can get set up in our perfect alignment, I’m at goal line, I’m retrieving pucks. It doesn’t sound like a bad thing. It’s awesome to be on the unit with those guys. Whatever I can do to help, that’s what I want to do,” said Hall. “As you get more comfortable, you just start playing. I remember when (Torey) Krug was on the power play, he’d be goal line, he’d be behind the net sometimes. It just kind of happens. When you’re on the ice with good players, you make plays and read off each other. I think that’s a good thing for your overall game, too, just being out there with those guys. I don’t think I’d taken a shift with Marchie at all last year. It’s been nice to play give-and-go with him. It’s a lot of fun. I’m relishing the opportunity I have on that unit.”

Dog days of fall

The B’s are fighting their way through a dead spot in their unusual schedule. Their last preseason game was last Wednesday and the home opener is not until Saturday.

“I think you’ll be better off for it eventually when you’ve had this rest. But right now in practice, today was a little tougher to get going. Guys are getting tired of practicing. They know the season is starting this week and they want to get going. We’ve got to keep them focused in that regard,” said Cassidy.

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Robbins: America unrecognizable as threats mount vs. teachers, hospitals



Robbins:  America unrecognizable as threats mount vs. teachers, hospitals

Fiona Hill knows something about how democracies die, and she worries that ours may be in critical condition. The working class girl from an English mining town immigrated to America and became a Russia expert, advising Republican and Democratic presidents alike. Hill rose to prominence during the 2019 investigation into former President Trump’s attempt to extort Ukraine into announcing an “investigation” into Joe Biden in exchange for the unfreezing of military aid.

She has had time to reflect on what has become of her chosen homeland, and she is worried. “I feel like we’re at a really critical and very dangerous inflection point in our society,” she told Politico recently. “I have a lot of friends who are immigrants like myself who have been here for a long time, who came from many, many different places. And they say ‘This is not the America I came to. This is not the America we chose to come to.’”

The Trump presidency may be over, but the Trump years are not. The stew of race-based hatred, white nationalism and domestic extremism that thrived over the past six years is very much with us. A mark of the jeopardy we are in is that the anger and the misinformation exploited and fomented during that period is now directed at those to whom we owe the most — our teachers and health care providers.

A surge in threats against educators because of public health measures enacted to protect students and teachers alike from COVID led the National School Board Association to appeal to President Biden on Sept. 29. “America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat,” it wrote, asking for federal assistance “to protect our students, school board members and educators who are susceptible to acts of violence … because of threats to their districts, families and personal safety.” News of on-line hatred and outright assaults in response to protocols aimed simply at preventing the spread of a highly contagious, potentially deadly illness reaches us on a regular basis.

In Ohio, one school board member was warned “We are coming after you and all the members of the (Board of Education). You are forcing (students) to wear masks for no reason in the world other than control. And for that you will pay dearly.” In Tennessee, a student who recounted that his grandmother, a teacher, had died of COVID and who called for masks in schools was mocked by a sneering audience.

Citing “an increase in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and workers in our nation’s public schools,” the Department of Justice announced the formation of a task force to combat the growing problem. As for the collapse of decency that underpins this conduct, there is no task force capable of remedying that.

Our health care providers, physically and emotionally ravaged by COVID, are being subjected to similar mistreatment. Fury at masking or testing requirements, restrictions on visitations due to the virus and long waits in emergency rooms thanks to the pandemic’s toll has resulted in what Deb Bailey of Northeast Georgia Health Systems calls “a huge increase in violence against our health care workers.”

Hospital workers “have been cursed at, screamed at, threatened with bodily harm and even had knives pulled on them,” Jane McCurley of Texas’ Methodist Healthcare System told the Texas Tribune. “It is escalating. It’s just a handful at each facility who have been extremely abusive. But there is definitely an increasing number of occurrences every day.”

At one Missouri hospital, where assaults have tripled since COVID’s onset, hundreds of staff have been given panic buttons to bring security officers running in the event of an attack.

President Biden has both preached civility and practiced it. But he is all but powerless to reverse America’s slide into incivility, its descent into civic decay, which are at the root of what is playing out in schools, hospitals and elsewhere. For that, for better or worse, we’re dependent on one another.

Jeff Robbins is a Boston lawyer and former U.S. delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

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