Shanoff's W.U.C.: Strasburg, Magic, Favre

Today's Calls: Stephen Strasburg vs. Ben McDonald, Scott Boras vs. the Nationals, Lakers vs. Magic, Sean West vs. Randy Johnson, Bobby Cox vs. Ozzie Guillen, Jimmy Rollins vs. Hanley Ramirez, Brett Favre vs. Vikings, Stephen Curry vs. Knicks and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: The NFL draft is one of the biggest sports events of the year. Let's call it Top 5. The NBA draft is pretty big, too — especially in June. ↵

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↵The MLB draft? Well ... not quite. There is a built-in cynicism surrounding the inevitable clash between team owners and Scott Boras. You haven't heard of any of the players. There is a delayed gratification, because it often takes draftees years to finally make an impact. And it lasts, like, 100 rounds. ↵

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↵At least in the 2009 baseball draft, there is the super-stud you have been hearing about for months: Stephen Strasburg, the biggest can't-miss pitcher ever. Or, perhaps, the biggest can't-miss since Mark Prior. Or maybe since Ben McDonald. (20 years ago? God, I'm getting old.) ↵

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↵Strasburg is the presumptive No. 1 overall pick, by the lowly Nationals. The Nats will pay an absurd amount for Strasburg — at the least, a record bonus and/or guarantee that will probably clock in north of $20 million. (Boras wants him to get Dice-K money ... probably want to tone down that comp right now.) ↵

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↵Then again, what’s the price relevancy? The Nats will have that one precious commodity that has eluded them: Cachet. If they were smart, they would have Strasburg jerseys ready to sell tomorrow, Boras negotiations be damned. ↵

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↵After that, it is a whirlwind of prep players (just NOT like the NBA!) and collegians best described as not good enough to be drafted out of high school. The MLB draft HAS become a bigger event in the past few years, but — like most of its draftees' pro prospects — it is still a few years away, at least. ↵

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↵Maybe they should hire Mel Kiper. ↵

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↵NBA Finals Game 3: The series goes to Orlando tonight, and it feels like the Magic are resilient (nice way of saying "immature") enough to shake off the oh-so-close let-down from Game 2 and the 2-0 hole they find themselves in to understand they can leave Orlando next weekend up 3-2 if they focus. ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points ↵

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↵— Yankees roll along: HRs from Jeter, Tex, Swish, Damon ↵

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↵— Milestones: Bobby Cox wins 2,000th, wildly ↵

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↵— Big Unit misses 301: Sean West is the new Randy Johnson! ↵

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↵— Streaking: A's win 7th straight ↵

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↵— Injury Watch: Hamilton out 4-6 wks (abs) ↵

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↵— Jason Marquis has 8 wins: Jason Marquis? ↵

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↵— Ozzie being Ozzie: ChiSox "terrible." ↵

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↵— Fantasy Stud: Adam Lind (2 HR, 4 RBI) ↵

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↵MLB (NL) All-Star Voting Update: Phillies rule. Manny still 5th among OFs, but only 6K votes ahead of Shane Victorino. Victorino's teammate Raul Ibanez is the new leading vote-getter in the OF, topping Ryan Braun and Carlos Beltran. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, Jimmy Rollins vaulted over Hanley Ramirez at SS — come on, folks, you know I love the fan vote: Don't be dumb. Rollins is having an awful season offensively. Hanley leads all NL SS in OBP and SLG and is batting 108 points higher than the anemic Rollins. ↵

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↵Favre Watch: It makes no sense that the Vikings would set an artificial deadline to hear from Favre — let alone a week. Why hurry? Last year, Favre joined the Jets way later in the summer and it worked out (mostly) fine. I predict (1) he does come back, (2) with the Vikings, (3) four weeks or so from now. ↵

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↵(Want more circumstantial evidence? Apparently, Brett Favre's family booked two dozen hotel rooms in Green Bay ... the weekend the Vikings are coming to town to play the Packers. That's the "grassy knoll" evidence we needed!) ↵

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↵Stanley Cup: Can the Red Wings close it out tonight? The biggest winner: Marian Hossa. ↵

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↵TV Ratings: Game 4 was the most-watched show in Versus history (I know: low bar), so you figure that Game 5 would be even bigger, right? Wrong: Even Canadian fans tuned out this weekend. When you've lost the Canadians, it's over. ↵

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↵NBA Draft: As predicted here a month ago, Stephen Curry is rising into the Top 5 — I suspect the Wizards will draft him at No. 5, either to play him alongside Gilbert Arenas or to trade him to a team high on Curry's shooting ability (hmm ... see below); Curry has the most NBA-ready skill-set in the draft. ↵

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↵Speaking of Curry, he will work out for the Knicks today. Too bad he won't be around at No. 8, so either the Knicks are going to trade up — perhaps eating one or more of the Wizards' bad contracts to get to No. 5 — or they are thinking Curry may slip? (Not going to happen.) ↵

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↵More Knicks scuttlebutt: Is New York trying to trade for Blazers backup PG Sergio Rodriguez? Reports are mixed, but everyone likes a nice trade rumor. Would the Blazers want to move up to No. 8? Trying to get David Lee? The Knicks are making things exciting early this week. ↵

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↵CFB: I have an idea for a way for Tennessee to help the unemployment numbers. Hire someone to keep track of Lane Kiffin's endless NCAA violations. (Oh: They already have someone on that job? Maybe they should consider a replacement.) ↵

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↵Divorces: Barry Bonds' wife wants out. You could sort of see that coming, couldn't you? (But why now, rather than a few years ago when the heat was really on?) ↵

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↵College LAX: Don't discount how huge it is, as Princeton coach Bill Tierney is heading west to take over as coach the at University of Denver; he obviously recognizes that the growth of lacrosse — and an absurdly untapped talent pool — is West of the East Coast. Look what Northwestern did on the women's side. ↵

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↵Hollywood: Actually, Saints coach Sean Payton's screenplay idea isn't half-bad — basically, it's "Like Mike" meets "Madden Nation." I think some studio won't be able to resist attaching itself to an NFL coach ... but will the NFL let its marks and logos get used? If not, the idea of "kid controls NFL games through magic Xbox" sort of falls apart. No one wants to watch a movie where "kid controls CFL through magic Xbox." ↵

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↵The Last Word: My favorite Strasburg fun fact? He was recruited to play baseball at Harvard. Joke's on him: While he is getting ready for this draft, his would-be Harvard classmates are all teed up for sweet post-graduation jobs in finance and ... Hmm, what's this "economic calamity" you speak of? ↵

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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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