Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Twitter, Plax, SEC

Today's Calls: Lance vs. Shaq, Steve Slaton vs. Plaxico Burress, Alabama vs. Florida, Magic vs. Celtics, ACC vs. Big Ten, Rickey Henderson vs. Mark McGwire and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Lance Armstrong will race in the 2009 Tour de France. But that's not the interesting part of his news. ↵

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↵The interesting part is he announced it on his Twitter page, scooping the AP interview he gave where he broke the story to the "media." ↵

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↵First, Shaq. Now: Lance. ↵

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↵About 10 years ago, the conventional wisdom was that "official" athlete Web sites would short-circuit the traditional sports media. Turned out that was a bit too much effort for the athletes. (But apparently not for coaches!) ↵

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↵Then a few years ago, athletes took to blogs: Less effort, more pay-off — particularly with bloggers eager to link to their wackiness (Arenas), analysis (Schilling) or earnestness (Oden). Still: It's a bit too much work. All those posts. (Unless a media company is sponsoring you.) ↵

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↵Now: It's Twitter. 140 characters, max — called "tweets." They can update from their laptop or their phone and have it show up on their Twitter page or blog or Facebook. And it is entirely digestible by their fans — in fact, you only see it if you're "following" them (or the media picks up the tweets). ↵

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↵Shaq is addicted to Twitter. He has 169 updates in his first two weeks. (From last night: "Go were yo dreams take u, live the live u have imagined Shaquille oneal.") ↵

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↵And Lance recognizes the populist power of the sizzling-hot service. He is WAY too crafty of a self-marketer not to completely understand what he was doing. ↵

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↵I think we've found the medium of choice for busy/lazy athletes to express themselves directly to the fans. Mainstream media, you're in trouble. How can you possibly compete with the tweet? ↵

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↵I have been on Twitter for a year or so and love it. You can follow me there by clicking here. ↵

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↵Plaxico, Cont'd: Charged with two felony counts. $100,000 bond. Up to 3.5 years in prison. The sketchy cover-up, allegedly with teammate Antonio Pierce and allegedly enabled by local hospital staff workers. And, of course, the unknown repercussions from the league. If Burress stays out of jail, that is. ↵

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↵MNF: It's the Steve Slaton Show. Neither the Texans, making their franchise "Monday Night" debut in a dazzling all-red uni combo a winning one, or the Jags, mired in the most disappointing season in franchise history, are going to the playoffs. ↵

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↵But Steve Slaton showcased why he might be the most exciting rookie RB in a class loaded with them. Slaton ran for two touchdowns and 130 yards on 21 carries, including a 40-yard burst. He also had two catches for 52 yards. Who needs Reggie Bush when you have a player better than Bush? ↵

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↵More NFL: The Pats and Bucs will be playing in London next season. Is it too early to wonder which sideline Matt Cassel might be on? ↵

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↵CFB/BCS Insanity: Matt Hayes thinks that if Florida beats Alabama, they will be in the BCS Top 2 and make the national title game. I'm a Florida fan, and you'd think I would wholeheartedly agree. But this situation between the Gators and the computer polls has me worried that even if they beat Bama, the Gators would still find themselves on the outside of the Top 2. Folks should still remember 2004. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, Florida is favored by 10 (By 10! Over an unbeaten No. 1-ranked team? Wow.) and the status of Percy Harvin is optimistic. ↵

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↵NBA Instant History: Was I suggesting before the season started that the Magic were ready to take the East from the Celtics? Perhaps that was premature, as evidenced by the C's 19-point win against the Southeast-leading Magic in Boston. It was the Celtics' ninth straight win, best current winning streak in the NBA. ↵

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↵Heat FTW! in Oakland, a comeback in OT capped by a game-tying 3 in the final seconds (Chris Quinn) then an inbounds-steal/game-winning FT by Michael Beasley FTW. Dwyane Wade was sizzling: 37 pts and 13 asts. The Warriors keep losing (seven straight) but at least they lose more entertainingly than any other team. ↵

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↵CBB Mania: ACC-Big Ten Challenge off to a wild start. Wisconsin needed a buzzer-beater to escape Virginia Tech. (Tonight: Duke-Purdue headlines the ACC-Big Ten slate. Mike DeCourcy's got the must-read preview.) ↵

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↵AP Poll: Big East rules with eight teams in the Top 25. But it should be seven: How is Marquette ranked and Dayton — which beat Marquette this past weekend — is not? Meanwhile, Xavier at 14? That's fine: Keep 'em down; you'll see them in the Elite Eight this season anyway. ↵

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↵MLB Hot Stove: Yeah, I'm really sure that CC Sabathia, Manny Ramirez, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett will take those arbitration offers seriously. ↵

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↵Hall of Fame Watch: Rickey! Rickey Henderson is a lock for the HOF in his first year on the ballot. It’s the smallest ballot of players ever at 23 — not sure that will help longtime causes Rice (last chance!) and Blyleven. Maybe the focus on Rickey will illuminate for voters just how good Tim Raines was. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "Singing Rocky Top all night long after we beat Florida next year, it's going to be a blast." ↵

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↵— New Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin, during his introductory press conference yesterday. He says he was joking. ↵

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↵Forget bringing his dad, Monte, over from the NFL to help coach the defense; the smartest thing Kiffin did was steal David Reaves from South Carolina, where he was Steve Spurrier's recruiting coordinator. (Reaves is also Kiffin's brother-in-law.) ↵

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↵Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. It's all about recruiting. But Kiffin has the energy and West Coast cachet — between his time at USC winning titles and his time in the NFL, um, not winning titles — to be effective at it. ↵

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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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