Wednesday's Morning Mashup: New Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman grilled by Chicago media, insists he's 'working to be a better person'

July 27, 2016 - 4:23 am

Welcome to Wednesday's Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire. WEDNESDAY'S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS: MLB: Tigers at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM) MLB: Nationals at Indians, noon (MLB Network) MLB: Rays at Dodgers, 3 p.m. (MLB Network) MLB: White Sox at Cubs, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN) Basketball: Women's exhibition, United States vs. France, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV) Soccer: Champions Cup, Real Madrid vs. Paris St. Germain, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2) Soccer: Champions Cup, Bayern Munich vs. AC Milan, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2) Soccer: Champions Cup, Chelsea vs. Liverpool, 11:30 p.m. (ESPN) AROUND THE WEB: -- New Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman said he's "working to be a better person" -- but only after he dodged questions from Chicago reporters about his domestic abuse issue and what the Cubs expected of him. During a meeting with the media in the visiting dugout at the White Sox' U.S. Cellular Field, the former Yankees closer was peppered with questions about the incident that led to him serving a 30-day suspension at the start of this season. With Cubs coach/Spanish translator Henry Blanco interpreting, Chapman was asked about a conference call with Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and owner Tom Ricketts in which expectations about his behavior were presented to him. After initially being evasive, Chapman at one point responded that he was sleeping when the call began, so he had trouble remembering what it was about. He later had a one-on-one interview in Spanish with ESPN's Pedro Gomez and was more forthcoming. "I knew that no matter where I was traded to, this would resurface -- that the controversy is going to follow me," Chapman told Gomez. "But I'm with my girlfriend. Our family is together. We're working toward making things better in our lives. And really, it's going to be with me." Added Chapman: "I've grown tremendously from that time. I'm with my girlfriend still, with the family, and I feel that I have absolutely changed as a person. I'm working to be a better person. "And now that I remember -- because they just asked me in the previous press conference what the owners asked me -- one of the things they did ask me was about being a better person and being a better neighbor to people. And that's something that I think that I am now, much more so." Epstein explained that the confusion about Chapman's initial response likely had to do with a translation issue. "I think there is a lot to be said that he was nervous and not speaking his native language and being translated," Epstein said. "Look, I was on the call. Tom was on the call. Aroldis was on the call, and Barry Praver, his agent, was on the call. It happened, and it was real. We talked to him about the incident and made sure that statement reflected his real feelings on it. "Because that was important to us, and to hear it directly from him. Tom laid out the exact same standards that he lays out to everyone in spring training. -- Penn State has finished serving its punishment for the Jerry Sandusky scandal, but athletic director Sandy Barbour said opposing programs are trying to scare recruits into believing the Nittany Lions could be punished further. Speaking at Big Ten media days Tuesday in Chicago, Barbour insisted that the NCAA is "very pleased" with Penn State's handling of the situation, and recent news that coach Joe Paterno and the school were made aware of accusations about Sandusky molesting children as early as the 1970s will not affect the program. "It's not factual," Barbour said of the alleged comments by negative recruiters. "It's one thing to take facts and skew them a little bit. It's another thing not to be factual." -- Russian athletes -- except for track and field -- are being allowed to compete in the Olympics, but at least 105 team members have been ruled ineligible by individual sports federations as part of the fallout from the country's doping scandal. Federations governing canoeing, sailing and modern pentathlon banned eight athletes Tuesday, including 2012 canoeing gold medalist Alexander Dyachenko. Some of the banned Russians have indicated they will appeal their bans to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On July 27, 1969, the Red Sox outlasted the Seattle Pilots in 20 innings, 5-3, with Joe Lahoud delivering the key hit, a two-run home run in the top of the 20th. Ray Culp started for Boston and pitched 10 innings of one-run ball but did not factor in the decision. Which former Cy Young winner got the win after pitching the final three innings, despite allowing two runs? QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Tom's going to be pissed. And him pissed is a good thing for the New England Patriots faithful. We love seeing him like that. Because he's as focused a human being as I've met anyway." -- Actor Matt Damon, on Tom Brady's mindset as he prepares to miss the first four games of the season due to Deflategate STAT OF THE DAY: 31 -- Home runs hit by the Red Sox since July 4 -- the most in the majors during that span -- after they hit a pair in Tuesday's 9-8 loss to the Tigers 'NET RESULTS: After falling behind the Padres by two runs in the top of the 12th, the Blue Jays score three in the bottom of the inning and win on a wild pitch. The Indians rally for three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 6-5 win over the Nationals. Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun lays out for an impressive catch against the Royals. TRIVIA ANSWER: Jim Lonborg SOOTHING SOUNDS: Bobbie Gentry was born on this day in 1944.

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