Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Can't Wait for 8/8/08

↵Today's Calls: Michael Phelps vs. Katie Hoff, Tyson Gay vs. Usain Bolt, Dream Team vs. Redeem Team, Rays vs. Red Sox, Jered Weaver vs. John Lackey, Cubs vs. White Sox, Chris Davis vs. Jay Bruce, Spain vs. the World, Earnest Graham vs. Najeh Davenport and More! ↵

↵

↵The Opening Pitch: This was the first real weekend I actually started getting excited about the Olympics, and it was inspired by three things: ↵
↵
↵

↵

↵(1) Michael Phelps is jaw-dropping (and so is Katie Hoff): At the Olympic trials, they both set world records in the 400 IM, perhaps the most difficult of any swimming event. ↵

↵

↵Phelps was obviously pushed to the record by a challenge from fellow Olympic vet Ryan Lochte (that slick new Speedo swimsuit didn't hurt, either). Hoff was more dominant, pulling away during the third-leg breaststroke and in a finishing kick in the final-leg freestyle. ↵

↵

↵Here's what I loved about the trials last night: You don't have to care (or know) anything about swimming to get totally fired up when you see that the person on the screen is on pace to break a world record. ↵

↵

↵(You know what is harsh? The cutoff to make the teams: third in a race by only two tenths of a second? Sorry, Erik Vendt. Not this year. They have to cut it off somewhere, obviously. It's just rough.) ↵

↵

↵(2) Tyson Gay is the "World's Fastest Man (* - Uh, wind-aided)" after having ran a 9.68 100M dash, .04 better than Usain Bolt's 9.72 set a month ago. ↵

↵

↵Bolt's record still stands because of that pesky "wind-aided" caveat -- 9 mph, double what the rule (and record) books allow. Still: 9-point-6-anything is still 9-point-6-anything. It is remarkable to see that number register. ↵

↵

↵(3) USA Oops: Practice begins for the Redeem Team. I have always hated that people call the USA Basketball team the "Dream Team" every four years. There was one Dream Team. One. It came together in 1992, obliterated the competition, basically triggered the rise of world basketball and was the most legendary sports team in our country's history. Leave it be. ↵

↵

↵I actually like the cheeky nickname "Redeem Team" (you'd imagine, given that I call the program "USA Oops"). They may be their own team, but they DO have to redeem the name on the front of their jerseys. ↵

↵

↵(Speaking of the front of their jerseys, apparently Dwight Howard has a fractured sternum, but he will be recovered by the time the team gets to Beijing.) ↵

↵

↵Meanwhile, remember when that team of 1992 collegians gave the Dream Team a game? I'm intrigued to see what Team USA's sparring partner might do: Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Al Jefferson, Rodney Stuckey, Kevin Martin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Al Horford, Andre Iguodala, Jeff Green. ↵

↵

↵(You'd think USA Basketball would bring in more shooters; it's like they want Team USA to play a poor man's version of themselves, rather than a team that will play in the style of their opponents.) ↵

↵

↵August 8 will be here faster than you think. ↵

↵

↵MLB Instant History: It is the last day of June, and the Rays are in first place in the AL East. That makes the timing of their three-game series against the Red Sox at the Trop even more important. ↵

↵

↵The hardest hard-luck result in baseball has to be throwing a no-hitter, only to lose the game. (Losing your no-hitter with two outs in the 9th? Bah: That's for sissies.) ↵

↵

↵Fantasy Stud: John Lackey. Remember those preseason drafts, when taking the injured Lackey seemed like a huge risk? Now he is 6-1 after throwing 8.2 innings and allowing just three hits in a shutout. ↵

↵

↵(So, um, between Saturday's no-hit job and yesterday's shutdown, I think the Dodgers should be slightly concerned about their offense.) ↵

↵

↵Chicago Flip-Flop: White Sox sweep Cubs at U.S. Cellular a week after the Cubs swept the South Siders at Wrigley. So call the entire intra-city rivalry this season a wash -- until we see which team emerges in the playoffs in October. (Hmm: What if it's both?) ↵

↵

↵Rookie Watch: Chris Davis is the new Jay Bruce. Davis hit a HR on Sunday night, his second HR in his first two starts this season -- the first Rangers player ever to pull that off. ↵

↵

↵The Tigers are over .500: Finally. If, like me, you wrote them off back in May, it's time to tip the cap and say, "You know, it's not even the All-Star break yet." They are totally in it. ↵

↵

↵NASCAR: Another Busch wins. Kyle Busch has been the Busch whose name has dominated this season. So it was refreshing to see Kurt get a win at Loudon -- even if he backed into it by a rain-shortened 17 laps and some not-lucky-if-you're-good pit decisions. A win is a win. ↵

↵

↵NBA: Free agency begins tonight at midnight. The pickings aren't exactly loaded. The biggest names are Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison, both expected to re-sign with the Wizards. Elton Brand holds an early termination option and is widely rumored to be available via sign-and-trade). Emerging PG Beno Udrih is an intriguing option. ↵

↵

↵There are a bunch of extremely interesting restricted FA's (which means their current teams have an option to match any offer): Josh Smith, Andre Iguodala, Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, Luol Deng. It will also be interesting to see which younger stars are locked up with a MAX deal by their teams as quickly as possible -- Deron Williams comes to mind. ↵
↵
↵

↵

↵Name to Know: Inbee Park, who at 19 became the youngest winner ever of the U.S. Women's Open golf championship. ↵

↵

↵Euro 08: Spain breaks through. The most hard-luck "good" team in Europe -- perhaps the world -- finally breaks through with a major championship. Obviously, enjoy it now; what it really does is set mega-expectations for the World Cup in 2010. ↵

↵

↵The Last Word: Earnest Graham is the NFL feel-good story of the summer. The Bucs RB is a classic success story of today's NFL -- a reminder about the vagaries of both the scouting system and the long-term prospects of any running back. ↵

↵

↵Graham went from being an undrafted free agent in 2003 to filling in at starting running back for Tampa when Cadillac Williams and Michael Pittman went down with injuries. ↵Graham then turned into fantasy football's "sleeper of the year", rushing for 10 TDs in 10 starts and nearly 900 yards. He just signed a 3Y deal worth north of $10M. ↵

↵

↵Just something to tuck away as we all continue to work on our fantasy-league draft strategies over the rest of the summer. The lesson: We really never know as much as we think we do. ↵

↵

↵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. ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

In This Article

Topics
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.