Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Yup, Pats Still Cheaters

↵Today's Calls: Matt Walsh vs. Bill Belichick, Kobe Bryant vs. CP3 and KG, Joey Votto vs. Carlos Gomez, Cliff Lee vs. Barry Zito, Ozzie Guillen vs. Carmelo Anthony and More! ↵

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↵The Opening Pitch: Yup, the Patriots and Bill Belichick are the cheaters we all thought they were. Just not that bad. ↵

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↵The headline of Matt Walsh turning over 8 (presumably illegal) game tapes is that a tape of the Rams walkthrough from Super Bowl XXXVI was NOT a part of his gonzo collection. ↵

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↵But let's not lose sight of the larger story: Tangible proof that the Pats systematically cheated their way through their dynasty, including one of its pivotal moments: ↵

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↵The 2002 AFC championship game win over the Steelers, a 24-17 win by the Pats at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh that was a prerequisite for the Pats' subsequent championship over the Rams in the very same SB XXXVI. ↵

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↵(The fundamental problem with bleating about how it is "old news" is it promotes cheating, knowing that if you aren't caught, the reward is far greater than the risk. What if the Pats were caught mid-game?) ↵

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↵The NFL won't punish the Pats further -- although it doesn't take a Belichick-style genius to recognize that the conclusive proof of the tapes helps definitively diminish the Pats' place in NFL history. ↵

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↵Kobe reminds us why he is NBA MVP: This week's MVP-ish playoff performances from CP3 and KG must have inspired Kobe. ↵

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↵The league's real MVP lit up the Jazz for 34 (with 8 rebounds and 6 assists) and led the Lakers to a 2-0 lead in their series. ↵

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↵"We're going to play until June," he told the crowd in a pregame MVP trophy ceremony. With the Spurs on the ropes, I don't disagree. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, I never said the Magic would get swept by the Pistons after falling 0-2 -- only that they would lose the series. ↵

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↵(Now, does the injury to Chauncey Billups and emergence of Rashard Lewis -- career p'off-high 33 -- change things? Perhaps, but not enough.) ↵

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↵MLB Instant History: ↵Joey Votto! 3 HR in the Reds' clobbering of the Cubs, which included 7 overall -- and 4 in one inning off of Jon "Tee" Leiber. ↵

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↵Cliff Lee! He is unstoppable, running his record to 6-0 with 7 shutout IP (7 K, 0 BB) -- blanking the quasi-rival Yankees, no less. ↵

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↵Carlos Gomez! Hitting for the cycle is overrated (see Votto), but it is still cool enough that you merit a mention for completing it. ↵

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↵Fantasy Stud: Vicente Padilla, who earned a W with 8 Ks in 7 shutout IP, beating Mariners fantasy-hard-luck SP Erik Bedard, who lowered his ERA to under 2.00 but couldn't muster any RS. ↵

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↵Fantasy Dud: Jonathan Papelbon, notable mostly because Paps has been lights-out all season long. This time, he gave up the tying and winning runs to the Tigers in the bottom of the 9th, with no Ks. ↵

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↵Barry Zito Watch: He wasn't terrible (5 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 5 K, 2 BB), but he still lost, tumbling to 0-7. He is the anti-Lee. ↵

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↵Stat of the Day: John Maine became the first Mets pitcher to make it to the 8th inning this season. ↵

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↵No punishment for the White Sox for the blow-up dolls: Except, perhaps, embarrassment. But Ozzie has proven to have little shame anyway. ↵

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↵Must-See Video: Mr. Redlegs has his YouTube moment. ↵

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↵Roger Clemens Update: If he thought he was going to have a place on the US Olympic team if he wanted it, he is very wrong. ↵

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↵One Thing You Should Know About the NHL Playoffs: After what feels like an interminable wait, the Stars and Wings start their Western Conference finals tonight in Detroit. ↵

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↵College Sports: This is not a misprint: The NCAA busted Alabama State for 668 rule violations. 668. 668! ↵

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↵Almost as astonishingly, it took the NCAA five years to finally announce the extent of the violations, which came between 1999-2003. ↵

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↵Honestly: What's the point at this point? Unless the same administrators or staff are there -- and can be fired. ↵

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↵Billy Knight out as Hawks GM: Best moves: Drafted Al Horford and Josh Smith, signed Joe Johnson. Worst moves: Did NOT draft Chris Paul, did not lock up Smith last summer. ↵

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↵The question: Are the Hawks better now for his work? Before this season, I would have said "No." Now, I would say "Yes." ↵

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↵Someone take away Carmelo's driver's license for a while. Please. ↵

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↵I would love to continue mocking Andy Reid's hyper-delinquent son, but he is so messed up, mockery would be cruel. (But really: Smuggling drugs INTO jail? He will go to prison for 2 years for it.) ↵

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↵MLS: DC United's big sponsorship deal with VW reminded me that sponsor logos on jerseys in more mainstream sports is inevitable. ↵

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↵(Unless you are savvy enough to recognize it is already here: Nike in college football and hoops, Reebok in the NFL, Adidas in the NBA, etc.) ↵

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↵The Last Word: We can talk about the many controversies related to the Beijing Olympics, but the Olympic torch reaching the top of Mount Everest is pretty cool. (Bonus for Olympic apologists: Hard for protesters to greet the torch up there.) ↵

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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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