Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Favre, Bucs, Closure?

Today's Calls: Brett Favre vs. Mike McCarthy, Packers fans vs. Bucs fans, LeBron vs. Europe, USA Hoops vs. Australia, Brandon Webb vs. Dan Haren, Raul Ibanez vs. the World and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: If Packers fans truly care about Brett Favre — and the rest of us — they will quietly let him go. ↵

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↵It looks like Favre will be the Bucs' (or the Jets') circus now. ↵

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↵It isn’t the NFC North, so that should make Packers fans happy. If, by now, they’re weary like the rest of us (including the Packers players themselves), they just want this to end. ↵

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↵Perhaps this was all by unintelligent design: Have the story drag out for so long that resolution — any resolution, even one exiling Favre from Green Bay — would feel better for Packers fans than purgatory. ↵

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↵Both sides — Favre and the team, “led” by Mark Murphy, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy — came out of this saga looking terrible: Favre as petulantly selfish; the Packers’ “brain trust” as comically inept. ↵

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↵(Local polling numbers are fascinating: Less than 50 percent of Packers fans feel favorably about Favre, with more than one-third actually having an “unfavorable” opinion about him.) ↵

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↵Yesterday’s volley of “he whined/he whined” should have Packers fans begging for this to be over — even if it ends up in the make-their-eyes-bleed sight of Favre in pewter. ↵

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↵That’s not fair, of course: Packers fans deserve a day to publicly lament the state of their beloved franchise. ↵

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↵But the rest of us can’t handle this anymore. For the good of the game, can the Cheeseheads absorb this with Midwestern stoicism and move on? ↵

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↵Coming tomorrow: Winners, losers and — let’s hope — closure. ↵

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↵LeBron would play in Europe? If I was a European club backed by big money, I’d totally call his bluff and offer him $50 million a year in his free-agent year of 2010. Bet he’d do it, too. ↵

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↵(It probably doesn’t hurt that the Brooklyn arena won’t be done for the 2010 season. Why not head to Europe for a few years, make a ton of money, then return when the Nets are relocated?) ↵

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↵USA Oops: Close call against Aussies. Was that an exception or foreshadowing — a much-needed, um, wake-up call or a sign of weakness? I think it indicates the “Redeem Team” is not unbeatable, which should worry anyone who felt previously secure in the team’s gold-ness. Interesting analysis by Kelly Dwyer here. ↵

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↵MLB Instant History: Baseball has a total late-September feel right now. ↵

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↵AL Central had an amazing night: First the White Sox win on a Nick Swisher walkoff HR in the 14th; then, the Twins again feel the sting of Fantasy Stud (of the Month!), Raul Ibanez (that’s “IBANEZ!!!” to you). ... ↵

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↵Ozzie Guillen’s big mouth costs him two games (Know what? It was totally worth it.) ↵

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↵NL West: Brandon Webb may be the best pitcher in baseball right now, but his teammate Dan Haren might be more valuable — he just earned a $44.75M extension through 2012 ... (Hmm: Interesting contrast with Webb’s contract extension snafu.) ↵

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↵NL Central: Is Prince Fielder’s apology the spark the Brewers need for a playoff run? ↵

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↵NL East: Manny or no Manny, here come the Marlins. ↵

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↵AL East: Um, Jason Bay for AL MVP? ... Injury Watch: Joba Chamberlain will visit with Dr. James Andrews (never the consult you really want to have) ... You can just give that AL Rookie of the Year award to Evan Longoria now. ↵

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↵Milestone Watch: Mike Hampton won his first game since 8/14/05. ↵

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↵At the Ballpark: I was at the Rockies comeback in my Nats gear: It wasn’t pretty. ↵

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↵More NFL: Hey, what about Steven Jackson’s hold-out? This Favre story must be killing him. ... All things equal, why does Kyle Orton get to start in the preseason opener and not Rex Grossman? ... If the NFL really applies its new fan code of conduct (No drunkenness! No swearing!), half the stadium could be ejected. (That may not be a bad thing.) ↵

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↵Olympics Watch: The most dominant visual of the Games will be athletes wearing masks — in an event based so much on faces, it is a startling image to see them covered up. The U.S. cyclists break the seal, straight off the plane; expect many other athletes to follow. ↵

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↵(The USOC, unsurprisingly, isn’t happy about the public display of affliction. Then again, they aren’t trying to live out a lifelong dream while choking back smog. They have forced the athletes to apologize, message filtered through the USOC, of course.) ↵

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↵CFB: Trendy pick Texas Tech only merits No. 20 in SN’s preseason poll? Bah. This sizes up as “one of THOSE years” for the Red Raiders. (Of course, “those” years could include, say, an 8-0 start that sees them rise into the Top 5 — USF-style — only to falter late. Regardless, TT is arguably the most telegenic offense in the country.) ↵

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↵More NBA: Is Allan Houston coming back? At the rate things are going, if things don’t work out in the NBA, he can always go to Europe. (Just like Earl Boykins! And Shawn Kemp! Europe is the new “NBA in 1997.”) ↵

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↵From yesterday’s FC Barca exhibition in NYC to support Malaria No More comes a dispatch from reader B.D.: “Watching the likes of Henry and Xavi playing on a field where my friends and I play every weekend was pretty cool.” ↵

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↵More great things if you’re in NYC: Tomorrow night, the Varsity Letters Reading Series returns, featuring Stefan Fatsis (“A Few Seconds of Panic”) and Aaron Schatz (“Pro Football Prospectus”). Totally free. All are welcome. Details here. ↵

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↵The Last Word: The Jimmy Clausen “scandal” is a non-story. Period. College underclassmen drink. Get over it. ↵

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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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