Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Tiger, Mets, Favre

↵Today's Calls: The PGA vs. Oblivion, Andy Sonnanstine vs. Carlos Zambrano, Jerry Manuel vs. Willie Randolph, Brett Favre vs. Retirement, Pacman Jones vs. Adam Jones, Michigan vs. Northwestern, Rick Dutrow vs. Congress and More. ↵

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↵The Opening Pitch: Tiger Woods is golf. That is the operating principle fans have been working under for the last decade or so. And now we will get the best test yet of that theory. ↵

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↵Woods is having season-ending surgery. So, if you thought Tiger's break between the Masters and the U.S. Open dropped the sport off the national radar, just wait for the epic void between now and, say, the 2009 Masters.  ↵

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↵Ironically, this began as an amazing week for the sport: The U.S. Open was among the most memorable golf moments since Tiger's World teed off with the 1997 Masters. It earned "Did you see that?!" status over the weekend. Monday, it dominated cubicles. Tuesday, the afterglow ruled. ↵

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↵Yesterday, it all came crashing down. Or, more accurately, it imploded into nothingness. Without Tiger, golf is a hobby you might play not a sport you spend your weekend watching on TV; even golf's biggest fans won't find watching nearly as appealing without Tiger playing. ↵

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↵Oh, sure, some can spin this as "What a moment for other players to emerge!" But take a lesson from Rocco Mediate: If Rocco wins the U.S. Open without Tiger's challenge, he is utterly forgettable; Rocco was made relevant only after being found rotating in Tiger's orbit. ↵

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↵Tiger is golf. Without Tiger, golf is ... ↵

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↵MLB Instant History: Lou Piniella should have never left Tampa. With more than three weeks to go before the All-Star break, the Rays have already tied their franchise record for wins before the break (42), at the expense of the guy who set it (Piniella) and his Cubs. That's eight wins for Andy Sonnanstine, by the way. (And, troubling for the Cubs, shoulder pain for Carlos Zambrano.) ↵

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↵Jerry Manuel gets first win as Mets manager: His .500 record puts him right in Willie Randolph territory ... ↵

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↵Randolph Axed, Cont'd:: "I didn't think it was going to happen." ↵

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↵(Again, I renew my question: Really? REALLY?! Maybe he was misled -- or maybe he was just self-deluded.) ↵
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↵A-Rod is the new Marcus Thames: Rodriguez has hit a HR in four straight games, and the Yankees have won six in a row. ↵

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↵(Meanwhile, here's how bad it is for the Yankees pitching right now: They are bringing in Sidney Ponson.) ↵

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↵Fantasy Stud: Dan Uggla. That's 21 HR. (Meanwhile, do Dan Haren's 3 RBIs last night count if you have him on your fantasy roster?) ↵

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↵TV Ratings: NBA Finals Game 6 ratings were as high as they have been since 2000, and the series overall was up 50 percent over last year. ↵

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↵That is sort of misleading: Last year's ratings were so awful that it is questionable whether a 50 percent improvement is actually all that great. ↵

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↵And let's just keep in mind that it took the NBA's dream scenario to create those ratings. It's not like they can rely on Lakers-Celtics every year. (Next year maybe, but not in perpetuity.)
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↵NBA Draft: With those pesky Finals out of the way, we can turn our attention to the NBA season's finest event: the draft. ↵

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↵Nathaniel Friedman has his mock coming out later today. I have to think Derrick Rose is a lock at No. 1, but I still wonder if Pat Riley is dumb enough to take O.J. Mayo over Michael Beasley at No. 2. ↵

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↵Brett Favre Watch: Does Favre canceling his planned participation in a celebrity golf tournament in mid-July mean he is unretiring? Look, if the guy wants to come back, more power to him, but it just makes his "retirement" that much more of a farce. ↵

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↵NFL: Javon Walker talks to The Dirty. "They cracked me in the head a few times, knocking me unconscious ... Somehow they got me into a car and dropped me off in the street." Anyone buying that? ↵

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↵Sports Business: "Pacman" to "Adam." It is the rebranding story of the year in sports: "Pacman" Jones wants us to call him by his given name, Adam (undoubtedly because the associations with "Pacman" are less than favorable). We shall see if the media complies. ↵

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↵CFB: Michigan's signal-stealing interruption earned them the '97 national title. This fascinating story is making its way around the fan bases of Michigan and Northwestern alike, and it is ready for its national breakout. Kudos to the Detroit Free Press on this one. ↵

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↵CWS: The U. is o-u-t. The tournament's No. 1 team was bounced by Stanford, which now has to beat Georgia twice to advance. ↵

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↵(I continue to argue that the double-elim format -- which certainly makes the CWS unique -- also makes it impenetrable to casual fans.) ↵

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↵CBB: Stanford shouldn't get too comfortable with Johnny Dawkins. Coach K would like Dawkins to replace him when he eventually retires from Duke. Not that it's happening any time soon, but I just don't buy the idea that Coach K won't pick his successor. ↵

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↵Steroids: Big Brown trainer Rick Dutrow has GOT to be able to do better than "Cough! Um, I'm sick!" to avoid testifying before Congress. He makes Roger Clemens look forthright. ↵

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↵Olympics: Jason Kidd is reportedly going to be on the USA Hoops roster to be named Monday, and Mark Cuban makes some pretty decent points about why the U.S. Olympic model is cynical. ↵

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↵The Last Word: Mea Culpa. When I was writing yesterday that the Celtics were the greatest sports turnaround, I knew I should have kept it NBA-only and not messed with "in all of sports." Thanks to the several of you who reminded me that baseball's 1991 World Series featured TWO worst-to-first teams. ↵

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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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