Shanoff's W.U.C.: A-Rod, NBA Trades, Combine

Today's Calls: A-Rod vs. Media, Tyson Chandler vs. Vince Carter, Alvin Gentry vs. Terry Porter, Kevin Durant vs. Dwight Howard, Robbie Hummel vs. Back Injuries, NFL Scouting Combine vs. 2009 Draftees, Jose Canseco vs. Tiger Woods and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Would A-Rod have been better off not saying anything yesterday? ↵

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↵Part of the public redemption is offering at least a few juicy details: About "Boli" (which instantly enters the fans' lexicon), about pinning the blame on his cousin. ↵

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↵Part of public redemption is offering some quality self-flaggelation: ↵

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↵”I screwed up, big time." ↵

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↵"I knew we weren't taking Tic-Tacs." ↵

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↵"When you're young and stupid, you're young and stupid." ↵

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↵On those two counts, he checked the boxes, although critics will continue to harp on one small detail left unexplained: He didn't know what he was taking? Didn't WANT to know? Didn't BOTHER to find out? Really? ↵

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↵More than anything, A-Rod REALLY wants to, as he said, "move forward." Declaring that is the last part of any public reckoning. If you have done your job under the spotlight, the fans will follow you. And I think A-Rod offered just enough to satisfy fans. ↵Let's hope this is the last word. I suspect it won't be. ↵

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↵NBA Instant History: ↵

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↵— Hornets give up: Remember yesterday when I said only a handful of teams were actually playing to win a title this season? If the Hornets were ever on that list, remove them now. Classify them as caring more about wages than wins. ↵

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↵— Welcome, Alvin Gentry: It appears the Suns' new coach has given them license to return to the old "7 Seconds or Less" system — and racking up 140 is the result. (They even held the Clippers to 100.) ↵

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↵— T-Mac done: Who had "February 17" in this year's "When will T-Mac's season end because of injury" office pool? ↵

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↵— Trade Rumors: The Rockets (who I would qualify as one of those handful actually playing to win a title now) have two choices — (1) fold it up for the season, or (2) make a trade to replace T-Mac. Vince Carter is one option, but if Houston has to gut the parts that make it a contender to make a deal, it is not worth it. ↵

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↵(Portland also wants VC, and can offer young talent and Raef LaFrentz's mythic "super-duper-with-extra-cheese-expiring" contract. When it comes to cost-cutting, the Nets make the Hornets look like spenders; I could see the Nets making that deal.) ↵

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↵— Kevin Durant should have been an All-Star: If you thought his 46 in the Rookie Game was sick, how do you label his 47(!) last night? (All that was missing was the W — which will be OKC's story the rest of the season. But KD sure will be fun to watch.) ↵

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↵— Fantasy Stud: Dwight Howard. 45 points (career-high), 19 rebounds, 8 blocks in a Magic OT win over Charlotte. ↵

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↵CBB Mania: When healthy, Purdue is the best team in the Big Ten. It's that "when healthy" part that is the catch. But Mike DeCourcy was there to see the Boilermakers crush Michigan State, and the difference was Robbie Hummel playing through back pain. ↵

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↵Meanwhile: Nothing is as good for what was ailing Clemson this past weekend like a soothing tonic against Maryland. ↵

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↵NFL: Scouting Combine begins today. Get ready to hear a lot about 40 times and bench-press totals, who ran surprisingly fast and who clocked slow, who threw the tightest spiral on the toughest pass and who wins the unofficial (and illusory) title of "Workout Warrior." Here's a primer, but I'd also read Greg Cosell's Combine caveat. ↵

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↵49ers don't want Mike Vick: And the only logical follow-up question to the team's about-face is: Why not? ↵

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↵(The Niners were too far ahead of the parade; by July, half-a-dozen teams will say they would consider him, and fans will be fine with it. Why would the 49ers — a team that could use him — take themselves out of it so prematurely?) ↵

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↵NASCAR: Surprised? Fans don't want to watch auto-racing in the rain -- even the Daytona 500. (Meanwhile: Is there really a concern to test drivers' crew-members for PEDs? What's next: Testing golf caddies? Bat boys?) ↵

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↵CFB: I'm torn about the situation in Lubbock. Texas Tech has every right to expect its coach — under contract — won't go looking for other jobs without asking; Mike Leach has every right to want career flexibility. ↵

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↵He has two years left on his current deal; would TT even THINK about firing him now, for not signing a contract extension they agree on, money-wise, but don't agree on, clause-wise? Leach is not Jeff Jagodzinski. I think Tech will blink. ↵

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↵Recruiting: Will top-ranked RB (and top-ranked prep megalomaniac) Bryce Brown sign with Miami today? If not, his offer expires — apparently, Miami won't renew it, which is pretty high-minded for something as in-the-gutter as recruiting. (Or maybe they know he is going elsewhere.) ↵

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↵NHL Must-Read: Eric McErlain on the trade deadline. ↵

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↵Canseco Watch: He can always be counted on to insert himself into the biggest stories. In this case, his lawyer is not only demanding that MLB offer Canseco an apology for not supporting his accounts of a sport rife with ‘roids (don't hold your breath), he is now being positioned as a "whistle-blower." (Actually: "Blow-hard whistle-blower" isn't a terrible way for him to be seen in all this.) ↵

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↵Golf: Is Tiger coming back in a mere few weeks? That timing would tee him up to play the Masters. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "You and I both know that the one that you're asking about all the time, if I gave you the answer that you want to hear, then you would've already had it. So the fact you don't have it ought to tell you something. It really should." — Jerry Jones on whether the Cowboys will keep or release T.O. Go ahead: Try to make sense of 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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