Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: 'Scandal' a Super-Dud

↵Today's Calls: Matt Walsh vs. Bill Belichick, David West vs. Chris Paul, Rays vs. the Field, Edinson Volquez vs. Shawn Estes, Wings vs. Pens, Annika Sorenstam vs. Justine Henin and More! ↵

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↵The Opening Pitch: So the super-sized Spygate story was bunk. ↵

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↵The Boston Herald apologized for publishing the original story about the Super Bowl 36 walk-through tape. ↵

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↵Now, don't hold your breath waiting for apologies from every other sports-media outlet -- particularly the TV hysterics -- that jumped all over the story, running with it as if it were undeniable truth. ↵

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↵Let me not throw stones from my glass couch. This is what I wrote on my blog on the day the story broke: "I believe these new allegations related to the Pats' win over the Rams." ↵

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↵But what that line speaks to more than anything is that Belichick's behavior before the Herald's bogus story -- the Jets scandal, the acknowledgement of persistent cheating over the years -- which made the Herald's story totally believable, even if entirely inaccurate. ↵

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↵We know Belichick is a cheater, that using any advantage available -- within the rules or not -- is a core part of his "genius." ↵

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↵Whether or not the Super Bowl story was true wasn't really the point. The point was that Belichick and the Pats' legacy was so tarnished that it seemed right. ↵

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↵It's the old Costanzan stand-by: "It's not a lie if you believe it." We all believed it, even if it wasn't true. What does THAT say? ↵

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↵Meanwhile, Roger Goodell seemed relieved -- almost gleeful -- that his discussion with former Patriots' employee Matt Walsh yielded nothing he didn't know already. (But not necessarily what WE didn't know already; Goodell has yet to really answer for destroying all of the evidence the Pats turned over.) ↵

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↵You have to love these Hornets: After getting their teeth kicked in twice in San Antonio, they came back to New Orleans and did the stomping and thumping -- beating the defending champs by 22 and putting the Spurs in a win-or-go-home situation for Game 6 back in Texas. ↵

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↵Everything went right for the Bugs: They held the Spurs to 37.7 percent FG shooting, out-rebounded them 50-41 and out-hustled them with 16 combined steals and blocks to the Spurs' 3. Oh, and David West (38 and 14) had a monster game worthy of his All-Star season. ↵

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↵MLB Instant History: The Rays are in first place in the AL East, with the best record in the American League. Savor that for a moment. (It's icing they beat Mariano Rivera in the 11th to get there.) ... Jered Weaver + 2 RPs = 3-hit W for Angels. ... Six-Win Club: Edinson Volquez. ... Fantasy Stud: Who had Nate McLouth with more HR (10) than any player in the AL? ... Yes, that was Eric Gagne with a save for the Brewers; that was a short exile. ... Milestone Watch: Shawn Estes reaches 100 wins, notable only because he hasn't earned a win since 2005. ↵

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↵More NBA: No Billups? No problem! The Pistons ousted the Magic in five games, even without Chauncey Billups (thanks to a solid relief performance by rookie Rodney Stuckey, who had 15 and a team-high six assists starting for CB). ↵

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↵Detroit now gets to rest up presumably for the Celtics, and it has time to scheme how to steal that single game in Boston that would mean doom for the Celtics. (The Pistons also could play the Cavs ...) ↵

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↵As for the Magic, a second-round playoff exit is nothing to be ashamed of for a team with the best young post player in the league, plus three very good complementary pieces in Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson. ↵

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↵Tonight: I hate the adjective "pivotal," so let's call it "pivortunity." If the Cavs or Jazz can steal a win on the road in Game 5, they will put a ton of pressure on the favored Celtics and Lakers. ↵

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↵NBA All-Rookie Team: Al Horford, Kevin Durant, Luis Scola and Al Thornton were no-brainers. I would have replaced Jeff Green with Carl Landry. ↵

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↵Landry was a second-teamer who was drafted in the second round and didn't even sniff regular playing time until January but then was instrumental in the Rockets' 22-game win streak and undermanned playoff run. ↵

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↵One Thing to Know About the NHL Playoffs: Between the Wings up 3-0 and now the Pens up 3-0, there isn't much drama in the Conference finals, but it sets up a heck of a Stanley Cup. ↵

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↵O.J. Mayo Scandal: Unbelievably, the NCAA is being proactive, getting involved in a story that only broke over the weekend. I think USC hoops is going to take it on the chin for this one ... if only the NCAA showed as much nerve investigating USC's football program. ↵

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↵Annika Sorenstam is retiring at the end of 2008: She will go down as one of the greatest women golfers of all time -- Top 5? Top 3? -- ironically, with her signature moment coming when she played against the men. ↵

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↵More: Justine Henin to retire imminently. The 25-year-old is burnt out coming off of her best year -- 2007 included two Grand Slam titles for Henin. ↵

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↵Kentucky hoops coach Billy Gillispie has an obsession with young players that borders on creepy. ↵

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↵He made a scholarship offer to ANOTHER ninth-grader, Jeremiah Davis of Muncie, Ind. Davis joins his AAU teammate Vinny Zollo and eight-grader Michael Avery. ↵

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↵Gillispie is constructing the world's greatest high school freshman-team roster. ↵

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↵(Jokes aside, I appreciate locking up the talent early, but isn't he worried they -- y'know -- won't develop into elite college players by the time they are seniors. Three years is a long time. Anyone else remember that ninth-grade man-child Schea Cotton?) ↵

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↵The Last Word: Let's be clear about Spygate. Fan appetite for this story is all but exhausted, much as it is for all things Barry Bonds (or PEDs in general). ↵

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↵Let's leave it here: The Pats' legacy -- for good and certainly for bad -- is secure. ↵
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↵Speaking of Bonds, don't be fooled by the latest 15-count indictment against him: It's the same old allegations of lying, simply chopped into new counts. ↵

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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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