Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Take Field Over Tiger

↵Today's Calls: Tiger vs. the Field, Rajon Rondo vs. the Big Three, Alfonso Soriano vs. Albert Pujols, Milton Bradley vs. TV, Dan Uggla vs. Chase Utley, Jonathan Ogden vs. History, Bill Curry vs. Luiz Filipe Scolari and More. ↵
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↵The Opening Pitch: OK, so it's time again for everyone's favorite golf game: Tiger vs. the Field! ↵

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↵Normally, I would take Tiger and call it a day. ↵

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↵This time, I can't do it. You'd be crazy to do it. ↵

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↵Tiger is coming off the knee surgery. He hasn't played a tournament since that surgery. And it's not like the U.S. Open is the Rinky-Dink Open. ↵

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↵It would be a wonderful story if he won the thing -- probably like nearly everyone else, I am rooting for it. ↵

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↵But the greater chance is that he finishes far behind the eventual winner (who might come from his opening threesome with Phil and Adam Scott, but probably not). ↵

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↵And there is even a minor chance that he is embarrassed. That is a rare enough sight that, if only for novelty, I wouldn't mind seeing that. ↵

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↵The reality is that "The Field" has never had a better shot. And they had better take advantage of it now. ↵

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↵NBA Finals Game 4: It's all about ... Rondo? Nathaniel Friedman thinks so. The Celtics' PG is hobbled by an ankle injury, and it remains to be seen how effective he will be tonight. Suffice to say, without him, the C's are not nearly the same team, even with the Big Three. (KG and PP need to find their own games in L.A., too, if the Celtics want a shot at winning tonight.) ↵

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↵MLB Injuries: Alfonso Soriano is out 6 weeks with a broken left hand, on a HBP last night. The real implication: This opens up a starting All-Star spot in the NL OF for another player, right? ↵

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↵(The injury overshadowed a brilliant performance by Ryan Dempster, who pitched a CG 4-hitter with 11 Ks for his 8th W of 2008. He lowered his ERA to 2.81, good for Top 5 in the NL.) ↵

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↵More: Albert Pujols is out at least 3 weeks, which sends the surprising Cards into the All-Star Break on a down note (but feeling good if they can keep it close in the NL Central long enough for Pujols to return). Oh, wait: Except if they kill the ball even without him. ↵

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↵Milton Bradley gets nutty (again): I'll try to keep this light-hearted and positive, just in case Bradley reads it, then gets offended -- and then tries to come after me: ↵

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↵Apparently, he heard the Royals TV guy say something negative about him (in comparison to Josh Hamilton), and as soon as the game was over, Bradley hit the stairs to reach the TV booth to confront the guy. ↵

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↵Bradley was stopped before he got there, but it kind of proves the TV guy's point, which is a shame. Bradley is having an All-Star season, but his temper got the best of him ... again. ↵

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↵How should catching historic home-run balls work? If you catch the ball, then someone rips it away from you, is it rightfully yours or theirs? How do you define "catching" the ball? ↵

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↵That's the issue with the Griffey ball. I feel bad for the guy who claims it's his (it's a lot of money and/or fame), but -- as they say -- possession is 9/10ths of the ball. ↵

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↵MLB Instant History: Dan Uggla would be the best 2B in baseball... eh, if it wasn't for Chase Utley. Uggla got a semblance of an upper-hand, hitting a walkoff grand slam to lead the Marlins over the Phillies. Uggla's 19 HR are 2nd in the majors (behind guess who), and he is Top 10 in runs, RBI and OPS. ↵

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↵More: Did the Tigers really just take 2 straight from the White Sox? (Verlander: CG 4-hitter). ... If 200 pitching wins is the new 300, then is 150 the new 250? Bartolo Colon might want to know. ... Fantasy Stud: David Murphy (2 HR, 5 RBIs). ... Congratulations to David Ortiz on becoming a U.S. citizen. ... ↵

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↵NFL: Jonathan Ogden retiring after stellar 12-year career, in which he was named to the Pro Bowl 11 times. He also anchored the just-enough offense of the Ravens' Super Bowl team. ↵

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↵As far as left tackles go, I think Ogden should rank in the Top 5 LTs of all time, more than enough for the Hall of Fame. Want to know more about the position's importance? Read Michael Lewis' "The Blind Side." ↵

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↵More NFL: Plaxico Burress won't practice without a new deal. Surprise, surprise. ↵

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↵CFB: Georgia State hires TV guy Bill Curry. If you were going to start a program from scratch, there is something to be said for bringing in a "name" from the TV world, particularly if your team is playing 1-AA/FCS. That said, wouldn't you want to hire someone a little more ... contemporary? I guess it worked for Florida Atlantic when they hired Howard Schnellenberger. ↵

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↵Soccer: Portugal's Luiz Felipe Scolari will take over as manager of Chelsea, coming off its disappointing runner-up finish in the Champions League. Portugal is coming off a Euro 08 win over the Czechs, and Scolari has led them into the knock-out quarters. ↵

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↵Sports Media: It's a blog feud between Curt Schilling and Kobe Bryant. After Schilling ripped Bryant in his 38Pitches blog the other day, Kobe responded with a pretty good comeback: "Go Yankees." ↵

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↵(The better response would be to take Schilling up on his offer and sit in the Red Sox dugout during a tense game, then blog about every detail he sees while sitting there. It would be only fair.) ↵

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↵Donaghy Scandal, Cont'd: There are two camps. Either you support the league and reject Donaghy's claims -- or you remember Game 6 of the 2002 West finals and believe the league might just have a vested interest in keeping series competitive. ↵

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↵I might be in the latter group, but I can also strongly believe that this latest thing won't hurt the NBA one bit, just as the original Donaghy scandal didn't hurt the NBA one bit. The NBA controls the message, and fans are happy with the product. ↵The Last Word: Looking for a last-minute Father's Day gift for a sports-minded dad? ↵

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↵I highly recommend the new book "Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children" by my friend, former colleague and fabulous reporter Tom Farrey, about the insanity surrounding youth sports in America. It will make you think twice about dreaming your toddler will be the next, say, Jordan Farmar. ↵

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↵(Well, Jordan Farmar is the dream for SOME of us, at least. What: Like you thought I would say "Dreaming your toddler will be the next Tim Tebow?") ↵

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↵Here is a link to a more in-depth post I created yesterday about the book and the subject more generally. ↵

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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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