Shanoff's W.U.C.: Buck, Favre, Lange & Buzz

Today's Calls: Joe Buck vs. Artie Lange, Hedo Turkoglu vs. Kobe Bryant, Luke Harangody vs. Tyler Hansbrough, Prince Fielder vs. Pablo Sandoval, Bryce Harper vs. Giuseppi Rossi and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Yesterday was a slow sports day. Joe Buck was counting on it. ↵

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↵The NBA Finals are over. The NHL Finals are over. There were only two MLB games. The U.S. Open hasn't started yet. The NFL offseason is in a lull. The NBA draft withdrawal deadline was of limited interest. ↵

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↵Joe Buck had to have intentionally scheduled his new live HBO show, knowing the lack of other things going on in sports would put more spotlight on him. It certainly had to be on the mind of Brett Favre, who is the biggest attention-mongering athlete in sports. ↵

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↵And so with the spotlight to himself, Favre went on the show and discussed the inevitable: He is considering coming back (shocker!) and is only thinking about the Vikings (shocker!) Not exactly breaking news — and only confirming what everyone knew already: He's coming back, to the Vikings, eventually. Stop the presses. ↵

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↵Then Artie Lange became the show's new lead story. Were his jokes tasteless? If your standard for talk-shows is Leno or Ellen or Rachael Ray, then yes. If you remember the show was on HBO and WHATDIDYOUEXPECTWHENYOUBOOKARTIELANGE?, then the context changes. ↵

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↵Let's put it this way: If it wasn't Buck's own show, I am sure he would be outraged. It was certainly more tasteless than a Randy Moss end-zone pantomime of a mooning. And, just like Bob Costas a year ago, Buck and his producers had to know what he was going to get: Buzz. ↵

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↵When you build up the hype for your own show, then put it on a night when everyone has nothing to do BUT pay attention, then book THE biggest athlete name of the moment, then follow it up with a risque comedian — Buck knew exactly what he was doing. ↵

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↵I actually respect him more for it, but he can't have it both ways: You can't say "Really, I'm not pure vanilla!" then feign "I'm shocked ... shocked!" when you book a guy like Lange and he goes off. The biggest result was that Buck lost his high-horse to espouse his brand of cranky morality in sports. ↵

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↵But more than having the moral high-ground, Buck wants desperately to have cred with the kids — but it's just not him. ↵

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↵NBA Finals Hangover: Bethlehem Shoals has the must-read on Kobe. ↵

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↵NBA Offseason: Hedo Turkoglu was the X-factor in Orlando's magic run to the NBA Finals. And now he has opted for free agency. If he comes back, make the Magic the team to beat in the East next season. If he goes elsewhere, install the Cavs as the favorites. (Sorry, Celtics fans: Your moment is over.) ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: ↵

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↵— What light schedule? 2 games, 42 combined runs. ↵

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↵— HR Derby: 13 HR hit (incl. GS by Fielder) ↵

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↵— Fantasy Stud: Pablo Sandoval (2 HR, 4 RBI ... and C/1B/3B eligible!) ↵

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↵— All-Star Voting Update: Manny drops to 6th (trust the fans!) ↵

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↵Bryce Harper Watch: As mentioned yesterday morning, he is doing Kevin Garnett, Brandon Jennings and Jeremy Tyler one better — skipping his final TWO years of high school in order to get to the pros next year, a year ahead of his traditional calendar. And it is definitely the right move. ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: Brandon Marshall wants out? Wow, Josh McDaniels is running quite a feel-good operation out there. Actually, say this for him: He is obviously installing his own philosophy, and if Marshall doesn't fit into it — no matter how good he is — the team is better off without him. Eventually. ↵

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↵NFL Must-Read: Mike Florio's Top 10 Rookies to Watch during training camp. ↵

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↵NBA Draft: More about who's dropping out than who's staying in. Namely, Luke Harangody who will be next year's Hansbrough — not good enough for the NBA, but good enough to make "stay-in-school" college hoops columnists swoon. First-team All-America, guaranteed. (Greivis Vazquez should be 2nd-team A-America.) ↵

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↵Staying In: Jodie Meeks, thus denying Meeks a chance to be a national champion alongside John Wall. (So Meeks could spend next year in the D-League or on a national-title team; he isn't making the NBA either way.) Aussie PG Patty Mills is also staying in, perhaps figuring he can be a poor man's Jameer Nelson. ↵

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↵CFB: Ole Miss is THE trendy pick to earn a BCS at-large bowl bid. Why? Partly it's because of last year's success (winning at Florida, beating Texas Tech on New Year's Day), partly because of QB Jevan Snead and partly because they have the easiest non-conference schedule in the SEC. ↵

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↵Must-Read: Spencer Hall on Florida? Nothing better. (And it is a great story: Is Urban Meyer abandoning the spread? Ha: Not quite. But when the nation's best team and defending national champ is tinkering with its offense, it is big news.) ↵

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↵Must-Know Name: Giuseppi Rossi. He is America's best soccer player ... and plays for Italy, though he has dual citizenship here. U.S. Soccer's lagging development program is on full display. (Hold on: We can't pay this guy to play for us?) ↵

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↵NHL: So maybe the Coyotes aren't moving from Phoenix to Ontario after all. ↵

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↵Media: Matt Millen will be on NFL Network, in addition to ESPN. Geez, talk about failing upwards. (Actually, Millen is great on TV; his problem was leaving the booth for the front office.) ↵

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↵The Last Word: Whoa. Remember when I said yesterday that Friday's NHL Stanley Cup Game 7 would be the most-watched NHL game since the '94 Game 7? Correction: It was the most-watched NHL game since 1973. Again: Whoa. ↵

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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. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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