Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Red Sox Mystique? Bah

Today's Calls: Rays vs. Red Sox, Cole Hamels vs. Manny Ramirez, Pacman Jones vs. Roger Goodell, Roy Williams vs. Tony Gonzalez, Tommy Bowden vs. Tommy Tuberville and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: The Rays are not the Yankees. Or the Indians, for that matter. ↵

↵

↵And that is why there will be no Red Sox comeback from being down 3-1 in the ALCS, like they did last season against Cleveland. Or like '04 against New York. ↵

↵

↵More than anything, these Rays lack a sense of entitlement — and that missing historical and emotional baggage is its killer advantage, and why it is beating the brains out of Boston. Some might argue entitlement is swagger and "swag" is a prerequisite for any would-be champ. ↵

↵

↵But I say it is harder to beat a team that doesn't know how good it is — or, at least, won't let it get to their heads after a franchise history of nothing but losing — than a team that thinks the name on the front of its jersey demands deference. ↵

↵

↵And the names on the back of the Red Sox jerseys aren't having much success either: The Rays followed up a shellacking of historically-dominant postseason ace Josh Beckett by throttling Jon Lester, who had been untouchable this postseason. ↵

↵

↵The barrage of home runs (three more last night, seven total in two ALCS games at Fenway) is the byproduct of how loose this Rays team is. In the same way that Red Sox fans don't see the Rays as their "rival," the Rays have no reason to fear the Red Sox mystique. ↵

↵

↵After a decade of sucking, the Rays are unfazed by expectations — perhaps even immune. The team's "9=8" mantra means that all they focus on is the inning at hand, the single game they are playing. ↵

↵

↵For a team with as sorry a history as the Rays, that was the only mindset that could work. Forget history. Don't self-reflect. Aren't both what doomed both the '04 Yankees and '07 Indians? ↵

↵

↵Cinderella looked good, but she wouldn't really be the star of the party if she KNEW how hot she was. ↵

↵

↵NLCS Game 5: If the Phillies want to make their first World Series since 1993, they would be hard-pressed to find a better ace to carry them there tonight than Cole Hamels, who has the potential to be the new Josh Beckett — elevating his game in the postseason. (I will make this prediction: Matt Stairs will NOT be the hero this time. That HAD to have been a one-shot deal, right?) ↵

↵

↵NFL suspends Adam “Pacman” Jones indefinitely: With "indefinitely" meaning "four games." Hard to blame the league; Jones knew what the comeuppance would be for his very first post-suspension violation. At this point, he doesn't really deserve another chance. ↵

↵

↵(Meanwhile: How soon before the league punishes Larry Johnson?) ↵

↵

↵NFL Trade Deadline Mania: Cowboys trade for Roy Williams! Williams didn't like being No. 2 to Calvin Johnson in Detroit. He'll still be No. 2 in Dallas, but at least the offense will be geared to take advantage of him as perhaps the best No. 2 WR in the league. (Even if it's Brad Johnson, not Tony Romo, throwing the ball.) ↵

↵

↵Tony Gonzalez NOT traded: And you have to sort of feel for the guy. He had to be thinking, "Give me the Favre Treatment and send me to a contender! Any contender! Please!" But, no: He stays in Kansas City. The fans will appreciate him — that adoration will undoubtedly be the highlight of his ring-less career. ↵

↵

↵Redskins sign Shaun Alexander: Remember when Alexander was relevant? When he was a fantasy god? When he was a record-setting MVP? When he was a Madden video-game cover guy? Now, he's a mid-season replacement for Ladell Betts. And, even with all that, how can you NOT see the coming "Shaunnaissance." ↵

↵

↵In this economic environment, how can the NFL afford NOT to add an extra week to the regular-season schedule? ↵

↵

↵CFB: Who will replace Tommy Bowden at Clemson? Is it even a desirable job? The pros: Fertile recruiting base; ACC easier than SEC. The cons: Expectations. (Although "just don't choke like Bowden" seems like a fair expectation.) How about that other Tommy on the hot seat? (Auburn's Tuberville) ↵

↵

↵— Speaking of winning in the ACC with low expectations, Wake Forest's Jim Grobe adds Clemson to the list of teams he won't coach. ↵

↵

↵CFB: Colt McCoy is the new leader in the HeismanPundit.com and Rocky Mountain News straw polls. The QB of the No. 1 team in the country is the leading Heisman candidate? Shocker. ↵

↵

↵Lance Watch: I guess I'm confused. How can Armstrong’s participation in the Tour de France be considered a "distraction" when racing in it is really the whole point of his comeback? ↵

↵

↵NBA: God bless Sports by Brooks for taking a random Greek hoops rumor and turning it into an offer to Kobe Bryant for three years at $83 million. By the way, if that was true, Kobe would be absolutely insane not to take it immediately and not look back. (And the Greek team should totally do it.) ↵

↵

↵NBA Preseason: Mike Taylor Bandwagon. Everyone is so sure Greg Oden is a lock for Rookie of the Year. But watch out for another quasi-rookie — the Clippers' Mike Taylor. ↵

↵

↵Taylor was drafted out of the D-League and seems like one of the best in his class*. Last night, he helped lead the Clippers to an opener-ruining night for the Thunder in OKC. ↵

↵

↵(* - Nothing would do more for the D-League than to showcase itself as the best option for the transition between prep and pro.) ↵

↵

↵NBA Must-Read: In case you missed it, Free Darko “previewed” every single NBA game that will happen in October and November, with the intention of doing it for every single game of the season. It is like the NBA equivalent of John Hodgman's brilliant list of Hobo names. ↵

↵

↵NHL: The sudden and tragic death of Rangers top prospect Alexei Cherepanov gets stranger. Russian authorities are now blaming the paramedics, as much as the player's alleged heart problem. Tracking ... ↵

↵

↵CBB: Ready for Midnight Madness later this week? Mike DeCourcy asks and answers seven key questions for the season. ... As for "Who can challenge UNC?" I'd point out Tyler Hansbrough's March career; history points more to UNC choking than winning it all. ↵

↵

↵The Last Word: I'm thrilled to explain yesterday's absence was due to the birth of my second kid, Jonah. He seems happy, healthy and — as a bonus — enjoys the one-day-old's advantage of being able to pick up a rooting interest in any team he wants without being labeled some kind of bandwagoneer. ↵

↵

↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.