The Opening Pitch: Thank you, Manny Ramirez!
Thank you for making Brett Favre an afterthought.
Thank you for causing the media to forget about A-Rod.
Thank you for eclipsing LeBron, Kobe and the rest of the NBA.
Thank you for introducing us to "HCG" — human chorionic gonadotropin.
Thank you for relieving Zack Greinke from the burden of being MLB's biggest story.
Thank you for shattering my naive but sincere notion that you were too stupid to use PEDs.
Thank you for disproving the conventional idea of "Who would try to sneak PEDs in THIS era?"
Thank you for bolstering the correct argument that stars from the Steroid Era should make the Hall.
Thank you for turning a typically ordinary Thursday in May into a rare "ZOMG!" news day for sports fans.
Now, as Will Leitch points out: Let's all move on.
Manny from Many Angles:
— In L.A., naturally, they are shocked, shocked to find out.
— Joe Torre protects his player: He'll wait for the book to rip him.
— Why do PEDs taint the player, but not the team championships?
— It is pretty simple: He is not juicing; he is a woman.
— Track what people are saying about Manny on Twitter.
A-Rod is back: Just in time for all the negative attention to be turned to ... Manny! (Actually, quite the opposite: With everyone tapped out on Manny hysteria yesterday — and Manny suspended — we can focus entirely on A-Rod's return tonight. Super!) That said: Compared to Manny's real-time cheating, A-Rod's cheating in 2003 — or before or even after — seems quaint.
The Yankees have weathered his absence. Yes, they are 13-15 (after last night's loss to the Rays) but only 5.5 GB in the division. How does that stack up to where they stood on May 8 over the last few seasons?
2008: 18-18 (4.5 GB)
2007: 15-16 (6 GB)*
2006: 18-11 (1st)*
2005: 13-19 (8 GB)*
* — Made playoffs. The biggest change, of course, is the insane competition in the division. The Yanks may only be 5.5 GB 1st place, but they are behind three other teams: The Red Sox, who own them; the Rays, who are the defending A.L. champs; and the Jays, who are above all of 'em right now.
MLB Talking Points: You mean besides Manny and A-Rod?
— Dodgers finally lose at home: Really? Are you surprised?
— The Anti-Mannys: Feel-good Royals win sixth straight!
— Milestones: Red Sox score 12 without making an out
— Hot Seat: Diamondbacks fire Melvin
— Fantasy Stud: Jered Weaver (CG, 3 H, 1 ER, 8 K)
NBA Playoffs: Speaking of LeBron James, this Cavs-Hawks series isn't even close. Will the Cavs even break a sweat before, say, Game 3 of the East finals?
(In the two series of any intrigue — Magic-Celtics and Lakers-Rockets — key players have been suspended stemming from Game 2 shenanigans: Orlando's Rafer Alston and L.A.'s Derek Fisher. Both absences will be enough to make the difference between winning and losing for their teams in Game 3s on the road.
Brett Favre Watch: Hey, looks like he's not unretiring after all! (Don't believe it! He's just waiting for the hubbub about Manny to subside so he can have the spotlight all to himself.)
Coyotes Watch: It sounds like the NHL doesn't like Jim Balsillie very much. I appreciate that the NHL doesn't want to see teams relocate — particularly without its consent — but does anyone really think that putting a team in southern Ontario isn't better than having one in Arizona?
Golf: Tiger wasn't making his putts, but the more intriguing news — especially yesterday, with all the Manny hoo-hah — is that Tiger has been tested twice by the PGA for PEDs. (He was clean, of course. But can you imagine if Tiger ever tested positive for PEDs? It would be the end of sports.)
The Last Word: "I'm sorry about this whole situation." — Manny. (Oh, I'll bet he is.)
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. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff.
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