Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: More Crazy Brawling

Today's Calls: Minor-league baseball vs. WNBA, Nancy Lieberman vs. Brett Favre, Carlos Zambrano vs. Ryan Braun, Andris Biedrins vs. Josh Childress and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Brawls are the new hotness! Not even Nancy Lieberman can stop them! ↵

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↵On the day the WNBA handed down expansive (10 players plus Mahorn) but largely tame (4 games at worst) suspensions, minor-league baseball gets in on the act. ↵

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↵Here's the Fan-cam footage shot by someone mere feet from yesterday's wild melee between the Peoria Chiefs and Dayton Dragons. ↵

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↵Ejected: 15 players and 2 managers. In a wild twist, the Midwest League president actually contacted the umps an hour later and had the ejections ... rescinded. ↵

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↵It turns out the Cubs and Reds execs didn't want their precious pitchers playing outfield as emergency fill-ins. (Lesson: When it comes to the minor leagues, big-league business trumps farm-league justice.) However, the league will review video of the brawl and determine suspensions. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, Chiefs pitcher Julio Castillo was arrested on a felony assault charge after a ball he was aiming at the Dayton dugout hurtled into the stands and hit a fan. (Hope the fan is OK.) ↵

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↵Meanwhile, in a minor-league-quality marketing ploy, the WNBA suited up 50-year-old Nancy Lieberman for the Detroit Shock, as if nothing happened earlier this week. But no further WNBA brawling last night. ↵

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↵(Now, if Nancy Lieberman had gotten into another Detroit brawl last night, the WNBA would have really been on to something truly amazing.) ↵

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↵NFL: Oh, so now Devin Hester says he is willing to sit out the entire season? Saying you're thinking about sitting out the entire NFL season is the new saying you're thinking about playing basketball in Europe. ↵

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↵(Update: Per Florio, Hester reported to camp. When a player tries to take on the NFL compensation system, the player always loses. Where is the Josh Childress of the NFL? Oh, that's right: Scared to death that his contract is never guaranteed and future never secure.)
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↵Favre Watch: What a week to have the Packers annual shareholders meeting -- which means, basically, a fan pep rally. Awk-waaard! ↵

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↵Here's the thing: The fans/owners, in general, supported team management, a signal that trading Favre might not be the fans-will-riot moment I have theorized it would be. ↵

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↵(Meanwhile, the team said it might postpone Favre's jersey retirement, which seems entirely fair, no matter if he (a) plays for the Packers or, especially, (b) plays in another team's jersey.) ↵

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↵Today's NFL Camping: ↵
↵(In order of intrigue) ↵

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↵Dolphins (Davie, Fla.): Tuna worth watching. ↵
↵Falcons (Flowery Branch, Ga.): Ryan Era begins. ↵
↵Cowboys (Oxnard, Calif.): T.O.T.O.T.O. ↵
↵Chargers (San Diego): AFC contenders? ↵
↵Jaguars (Jacksonville): Can Garrard maintain? ↵
↵Titans (Nashville): VY's development curve. ↵
↵Bucs (Lake Buena Vista, Fla.): Favre an option? ↵
↵Broncos (Englewood, Colo.): Read Stefan Fatsis' book. ↵
↵Rams (Mequon, Wis.): How's S. Jackson look? ↵
↵Bills (Pittsford, N.Y.): Lynch-pin? ↵
↵Texans (Houston): How's Andre Johnson? ↵
↵Panthers (Spartanburg, S.C.): In SEC country. ↵
↵Sunday: ↵
↵Packers (Green Bay): Um, what do you think? ↵
↵Bengals (Georgetown, Ky.): Whither 85? ↵
↵Steelers (Latrobe, Pa.): Holmes eclipsing Ward? ↵

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↵MLB Instant History: Yes, the Yankees talked about Barry Bonds. No, they "aren't ready to jump on that." (Hey: That's not a firm "No!") ↵ ↵

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↵More: Big Z was good for what ails the Cubs (6 runs of offense were better). ... Brewers win 8th straight: Ryan Braun (4/4, GW HR) leads sweep of rival Cards. ... Mets on top in NL East: Tuesday's blown save is a distant memory. ... New plan for the Royals: Shave a new head every night. ... Milestone Watch: Was it really 25 years ago that we had the "pine tar" incident? One of baseball's most iconic moments of that last quarter-century. ... ↵

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↵WNBA Brawl fall-out: "10" was the magic number, but not for games suspended -- it was the total number of players suspended (11 if you count Rick Mahorn). ↵

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↵But the longest suspension was only 4 games, which seems unreasonably tame for an incident that has now basically defined the WNBA. ↵

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↵Perhaps the league mitigated the punishments because, in the end, the players created more buzz and relevancy for the league than any other moment in its history. ↵

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↵(You know Lieberman's "comeback" was planned long before the Shock hijacked the league's week with the brawl. That's what makes her comeback so hilariously awkward.) ↵

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↵More minor-league baseball insanity: In the California League, a game was postponed after a police standoff with a suspect a block away from the stadium in Vasalia, Calif. Is the month in sports really that slow? ↵

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↵CFB Media Daze: Pac-10. If you're talking about national-title contenders, it's USC and everyone else. The memory of the Stanford shocker is still fresh, but don't expect a repeat. ↵

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↵More: Big Ten. There's no reason to think that Ohio State won't (a) win the league and (b) play for the BCS title. The real question is: Who is this year's Illinois? (Umm: Michigan?) ↵

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↵SEC: Only SEC Media Days could turn into an episode of "Dukes of Hazzard," with process servers staking out and tracking down Tennessee's Phil Fulmer. Meanwhile, must-read from Spencer Hall. ↵

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↵NBA Flight to Europe: Is Andris Biedrins next? What about Carl Landry? How about Sasha Vujacic? Or Delonte West? Saying you're thinking about playing in Europe is the new saying you're thinking about playing in Brooklyn. ↵

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↵USA Oops: LeBron's teammates say, "Of COURSE we're confident we're going to win." And Mike DeCourcy says: "Guarantee? So what?" ↵

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↵The awkward part of LeBron's claim is that USA Oops players, particularly '04 alums, haven't earned the cred to make guarantees. ↵

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↵How about LeBron and his teammates starting with: "I guarantee we won't embarrass the country this time?" and working their way up from there? ↵

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↵Sports Media Name to Know: Steve Braband is going to go from anonymous to ubiquitous, after the ESPN behind-the-scenes staffer gets featured virtually 24/7 as the net promotes its new daytime SportsCenter block. Hope he's got a good blogger PR plan ready; he's no Erin Andrews. (For example: Tweak that MySpace page, Steve-O.) ↵

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↵The Last Word: How much would fans have to pay for MLB to pick Mark Cuban from the 5 ownership bids for the Cubs? ↵

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↵Yes, he would drive other MLB owners crazy -- and it's not like the Cubs aren't competing under the Tribune's ownership. ↵

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↵But there is no more fan-friendly owner in all of sports; I would love to see what he would do with the sport. ↵

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↵(From a marketing standpoint, the Cubs are already as close to an "America's Team" as MLB has; Cuban would have to get creative.) ↵ ↵

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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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