The Opening Pitch: There are all sorts of good ideas floating around this morning ...
Lobbying to keep Ball State out of the BCS? Worthy cause.
Making MLB's LDS round a one-game playoff? I'm in.
Reminding Oden fanboys to check +/-? You bet.
Mike Mussina into the Hall of Fame? Clearly.
Alas, my favorite idea of 2008 won't be happening: With MLB announcing that final bids for the Cubs are due December 1, what we won't see is a consortium of a million fans putting up $1,000 each to make an unbeatable billion-dollar bid.
In this era of social networking — when Barack Obama can raise $640M for his campaign, mostly through small individual donations — this was doable. It even had a built-in catch-phrase: "Yes We Cubs!"
All it was missing was a centralized administration, and I think that as fans — no matter who you root for — we'll look back and regret that.
But, hey, Shaq is on Twitter! Talk about a great idea. We'll take what we can get.
CFB: Ball State still undefeated, out-shoots Central Michigan. That said, I saw nothing in this game that would make me think it was in any way "unfair" for the Cards to be kept out of a BCS bowl if they finish the season unbeaten. It is a dream season for them.
Top 25 Tonight: Miami at Georgia Tech. Given the Dow-style volatility within the ACC this season (lots of ups and downs, but overall, pretty gloomy), I fully expect The U to lose, making the division races that much more convoluted. Pick: GA Tech.
NBA Instant History: It was a win-win night for the Allen Iverson-Chauncey Billups trade. The Pistons snapped the sizzling Cavs' eight-game win streak behind AI's 23, and the Nuggets won their fourth straight by beating the Spurs in San Antonio (Billups: 22 pts, 6 ast, 5 reb).
Greg Oden Watch: Blazers fans were thrilled to finally cheer for him at the Rose Garden. Oden had 11 pts, 10 reb and 3 blocks in 17:27 min in a rout over the Bulls. (And yet, Oden's +/- was only +9, even though the Blazers won by 42. H/T to TrueHoop for raising that as an issue).
Pacman Update: Adam “Pacman” Jones reinstated, but won't play until December 7. The Cowboys should hope there is still time for him to impact their playoff chances by then. Actually, they better hope Jones doesn't find his way into more trouble before he takes the field because there's more than enough time.
Does Donovan McNabb not knowing NFL games can end in ties mean he truly doesn't love football? That’s Mike Florio's provocative theory, but I just don't think I can agree with him.
It was a curious ignorance, for sure, but there's no evidence McNabb wasn't playing OT to win, as opposed to waiting for a second OT to win. I wouldn't connect ignorance on this detail with lack of passion for the game.
Mike Mussina retiring? The immediate follow-up is: Hall-worthy? Despite only one 20-win season (2008, ironically), I think his sustained excellence and the fact that in this era he even approached (if not attained) 300 wins is enough to earn him a place. (SN’s Chris Mottram agrees with me.)
MLB Hot Stove: Giants to offer CC Sabathia 6Y/$100M+? That's not quite the 6Y/$140M the Yankees were reportedly offering — by a lot. But if the Yankees have turned their attention to A.J. Burnett, this may be the best offer CC will see.
Hot (Stove) Rumor: Will the Red Sox end up with Mark Teixeira, paying him the largest offer in franchise history? That's one theory.
More Red Sox: Boston trades Coco Crisp to Kansas City. Crisp never really delivered on the promise that prompted the Red Sox to trade for him. But Crisp had a good 2008 splitting CF with Ellsbury, he was part of the '07 title team and he enjoyed a signature moment in the 7-0 comeback in Game 5 of the ALCS.
Should LDS series be a one-game playoff? I love this idea from A's owner Lew Wolff. (In fact, let's couple it from an idea that has been talked about for a long time by some in the SABR community: Expand the World Series to 9 games. You will still end the season before we hit November.)
CBB Last Night: Lot of folks think Michigan State has a chance at a Final Four season; last night's scare from slow-mo IPFW might make them reconsider. ... When you talk about super-scorers, don't forget about Nova's Scottie Reynolds (19 pts). ... Freshmen Watch: Al-Farouq Aminu had a double-double (11 pts, 12 reb) in Wake's 120-88 rout of UNC-Wilmington. ... Fans are still talking about that Curry-Griffin battle from Tuesday night, but you haven't gotten the final word until Mike DeCourcy weighs in.
NFL Draft: Is Tim Tebow turning pro after the season? "I don't even think about it like that, man. The more I'm here, the longer I want to stay here, too. I love being a Gator. I'm not like, it's not even ... nah."
As an avid Tebow-watcher, I think he is more likely to leave than to stay, conditional on two things: (1) He leads Florida to a national title, and (2) NFL scouts project him as a 1st- or 2nd-round pick.
NASCAR: For you casual fans who like to stay minimally conversant in NASCAR, here's a very good summary of the past season.
The Last Word: "I'm committed to him. I believe in him. It's ridiculous to think he's not going to be back."
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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