Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Cards, Holliday, Truth

Today's Calls: Mike Singletary vs. Mike Martz, Matt Holliday vs. Billy Beane, Evan Longoria vs. Geovany Soto, Tim Lincecum vs. CC Sabathia, Paul Pierce vs. OJ Mayo and More.
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↵The Opening Pitch: "What. A. Stupid. Freaking. Call." ↵

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↵That's how my SN colleague Mike Florio put it on his live blog of the ending of the Cards-49ers game. ↵

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↵Sure the Cards won on Monday Night Football for the first time in forever. And they are 6-3(!) with a 4-game lead(!!) in the NFC West. ↵

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↵And, yet, there is the "Singletary Factor," now defined as "What kind of crazy will we get from interim 49ers coach Mike Singletary?" ↵

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↵Singletary may have earned a little crazy this time, with odd play-calling on the game's final play, on the brink of a game-winning TD: ↵

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↵Michael Robinson -- not Frank Gore -- got the call, got the ball ... and got stopped at the goal line. ↵

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↵Singletary fumed: The 49ers could have "done a heck of a lot better job" to finish the game. ↵

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↵And you have to wonder what kind of conversation Singletary had with Mike Martz, whom Singletary made sure to "Single out" as responsible for the call. ↵

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↵(To "Single out": When Mike Singletary does something freaky and either hyper-aggressive or, in this case, hyper-passive-aggressive.) ↵

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↵At least Singletary didn't drop his pants, even if the 49ers offense was caught with its pants down in a game they could have won. ↵

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↵Say this for the 49ers: They may keep losing, but the ongoing Singletary melodrama ensures that they are must-see. ↵

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↵More must-read from Florio: His weekly "10-Pack." ↵

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↵MLB Hot Stove: A's grab Holliday. He's too pricey for this to be a long-term play. Holliday is a free agent next winter, making him either a key piece of a one-year run by the A's -- or trade bait to a contender next summer, when Billy Beane can extract max value. ↵

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↵MLB Awards Season: Who should win the NL Cy? After driving the "CC-for-Cy" bandwagon all season, I'd love to see Sabathia get it, but I'm a realist; it shouldn't surprise anyone to see Tim Lincecum win it. (But, in hindsight, shouldn't it go to perfect Brad Lidge?) ↵

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↵Yesterday: Rookies make it easy. Can't argue with either Evan Longoria or Geovany Soto. Unanimously winning in the AL, Longoria is one of the most impressive rookies of the past decade. ↵

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↵NBA Instant History: Paul Pierce was on fire. The Truth scored 22 in the 4th to lead the C's to a comeback W over the Raps. ↵

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↵Who needs Oden, Cont'd: Brandon Roy (27 pts) led the Blazers to their first road win of the season, over a very good Magic team. ↵

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↵Rookie Watch: OK, OJ Mayo can score. Mayo had 33 (12/23 FG) in a Grizz L. In his last 4 games, Mayo is averaging 28 ppg on 50 percent shooting. ↵

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↵CBB Opener: Duke routed Presbyterian, naturally. Kyle Singler led Duke with 19 pts and 10 reb. (No fancy frosh this season, Coach K?) ↵

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↵CBB Must-Read: DeCourcy breaks down ... well, superlative everything. Tons of goodies loaded in here. ↵

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↵NFL Injuries: Is Clinton Portis going to miss the Skins-Cowboys game? He is listed at 50-50. ↵

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↵More MLB: Nats get Willingham and Olsen. Great: Willingham has power (when he's not injured with a balky back). And Olsen is one of the leading MLB head cases. Kudos, DC! ↵

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↵CFB Top 25: Flipping Bama over Florida. Transparency is a good thing. From your feedback, I flipped unbeaten over beaten. (But both still sit behind TX Tech and Texas). See? I'm not THAT biased. ↵

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↵(Meanwhile, Hayes sees Florida vs. Texas in his bowl projection. Would love to see it, but I'm still buying Texas Tech winning out.) ↵

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↵Alabama-LSU death: What the hell is wrong with people? Seriously, that's all I have to say about that horrible story. ↵

↵Pop Culture: Alicia Sacramone would like to parlay her Olympic failings into a D-list TV career. My guess is that she succeeds in a way she couldn't on the balance beam. (Not a high bar ... zing!) ↵

↵Must-Have Sports Books: FreeDarko's "Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac," out today! ↵

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↵Co-authored by SN.com's own Nathaniel Friedman (aka Bethlehem Shoals), it is a profound and dazzling examination of the NBA, through FD's unique perspective on the style of the individual. ↵

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↵It is also a gorgeous book, with amazing drawings and diagrams, fit for coffee table display by any self-respecting NBA fan. ↵

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↵FreeDarko has long been the gold standard of NBA analysis within the sports-blog world. The book captures that -- and more. Learn more here. ↵

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↵The Last Word: Thank you, veterans. As Dave Larzelere points out, there is a rare but powerful connection between athletes and service, particularly recently. ↵

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↵For that and many other reasons, in my mind, no American story has been more compelling than the tragic death of Pat Tillman, who epitomized selflessness in service of the country. ↵

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↵Again, thank you, veterans. (And families of veterans, who should never be overlooked.) ↵

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↵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. ↵

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

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