Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Shark, Taylor, NL East

Today's Calls: Greg Norman vs. Tiger Woods, Jason Taylor vs. Bill Parcells, Phillies vs. Mets vs. Marlins, Angels vs. AL Field, Thunder vs. Heat, Crew vs. West Ham and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: It seems fitting during a "Norman Like It Was 1986" weekend so steeped in nostalgia that the Shark choked away yet another big tournament. ↵

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↵Oh, sure, his sudden relevance was exciting. But not necessarily in a healthy way: ↵

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↵Without Tiger Woods around, it says a lot about the state of golf that they have to lean on a player more a decade past his sell-by date to make things interesting. ↵

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↵But, yes, I watched. ↵

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↵I watched not for the chance to see him win some crazy, improbable victory -- but for reassurance that even in this unpredictable world we live in, we can still count on the ol' Norman Sunday choke-job. ↵

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↵Golf has a serious problem: Without Woods, the sport has to rely on novelty and nostalgia. (Who do they think they are, the NBA?) ↵

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↵Then again, maybe I have it backward: What if novelty and nostalgia turn out to be, like, 90 percent of the reason we watch sports? ↵

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↵"I have never seen anything like this before" and "I haven't seen anything like this since ..." ARE powerful reasons to sit on the couch and tune in. ↵

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↵Hmm: What's Lee Trevino up to these days? ↵

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↵NFL: Dolphins trade Jason Taylor to the Redskins for draft picks. Taylor and Tuna were never going to work; this was inevitable. ↵

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↵The timing couldn't be better: The Skins just lost DE Phillip Daniels to a season-ending knee injury on the first day of their training camp. ↵

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↵Parcells rids himself of a pest: Tiki Barber in teal, who seems to care more about his long-term TV career than his team's immediate future. ↵

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↵For his part, Taylor will undoubtedly enjoy D.C.'s culture of celebrity, even if most of the celebrity is "Famous for D.C." ↵

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↵Mike Florio has a must-read analysis of the situation's 10 implications. ↵

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↵(Hmm: In a bit of a coincidence, the Rams signed top pick DE Chris Long on Sunday, which should remind fans of the "Long" draft debate.) ↵

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↵MLB Instant History: Baseball in New York is back. Feel free to insert your own half-hearted sigh here. ↵

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↵Yankees sweep A's: As mediocre as the Yanks looked earlier this season, are they actually now considered overachievers? ↵

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↵Mets move into tie for 1st in the NL East: Give team execs credit for jettisoning Willie Randolph and turning the season around. ↵

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↵Marlins close to NL East lead, too: Are fans focusing on the wrong low-payroll phenom from Florida? ↵

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↵Best team in the AL? Well, the Angels just swept the Red Sox in Anaheim and LAA extends its best record in the league. So there's that. ↵

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↵Dodgers rally to beat D'backs: You either mind that division leader(s) are under .500 or you don't care. I just want a pennant race. ↵

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↵Cards sweep: What a way for surprisingly contentious St. Louis to start the 2nd half, a 4-game sweep of the Padres on a walk-off grand slam. ↵

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↵Phenom Watch: Taylor Teagarden, the Rangers C whose first career MLB hit was a HR that proved to be the winning difference. Not bad. ↵

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↵MLB Trade Deadline Week: The Brewers keep pushing, acquiring 2B Ray Durham during the very series they were sweeping the Giants in SF. ↵

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↵Durham apparently won't replace Rickie Weeks every day, but once a week, he will offer a 110-point OPS improvement down the stretch. ↵

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↵NBA: Oklahoma City ... Thunder? That's the rumor. As far as names go, "weather" could be worse. It worked for the Heat ... for a while. ↵

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↵(Meanwhile, there were reportedly 16,000 requests for season tickets from OKC fans. That's not a bad start to relocation.) ↵

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↵NBA Summer in Vegas: The 10-day mini-season is over, and there were a few standouts: Portland rookie combo guard Jerryd Bayless was unstoppable offensively; he was named summer MVP. And it was obvious that the T'wolves' Kevin Love was the best frontcourt player in the field (though his Achilles strain Saturday has to be a bit of a scare). ↵

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↵The Warriors' Anthony Randolph showed way more proficiency than his draft stock would have predicted. The Rockets' Donte Greene showed an NBA-worthy ability to score. And, beyond the rookies, Anthony Roberson earned himself a deal with the Knicks. ↵

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↵Olympic Hoops: Germany is in, Puerto Rico is out. You kind of want to say "How could a team with Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman NOT make the 12-team field?" Then again, P.R. thumped the U.S. in '04. ↵

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↵The field is set: Germany joins the U.S., China, Spain, Angola and USA Hoops nemesis Greece in Group B, where the top 4 will advance to the quarters. The U.S. starts training today. ↵

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↵(The other group includes Lithuania, Argentina, Russia, Australia, Croatia and Iran. If Argentina is healthy, gold is no gimme for the U.S.) ↵

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↵In case you missed it: Deron Williams signed a max deal keeping him with the Jazz ... but only for 3 years, not 5. Shoals has context. ↵

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↵Soccer: Brawl in MLS. Columbus Crew fans apparently wanted to earn their "soccer hoodlum" bonafides by taking on some EPL fans. ↵

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↵A 100-person brawl between Crew fans and visiting West Ham fans gave new meaning to the word "friendly." ↵

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↵(It was the 2nd notable incident from Crew fans this season; in May, one fan yelled a racial slur at a Revolution player.) ↵

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↵Women's Golf: Michelle Wie added an ignominious chapter to her spotty career with that Saturday DQ for missing a scorecard signature. ↵

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↵(Prediction: Wie will drift in and out of incidents like this for another decade, before finally settling down to dominate in her 30s.) ↵

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↵Auto Racing: Danica Patrick is quickly developing a rep for having a massive attitude problem. If it isn't storming off the track after an accident, it's mixing it up with Indy Car femme fatale Milka Duno. ↵

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↵(Video via Fan IQ)
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↵Sports and Politics
: Your obligatory Barack Obama hoops video from his trip to the Middle East. (Now THAT is a pressure-packed 3!) ↵

↵The Last Word: Nate Robinson had his summer-league jersey retired. That alone sort of invalidates the entire thing, doesn't it? Imagine an NFL team retiring a player's jersey for continued excellence in the preseason. ↵

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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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