The Opening Pitch: Go back to last year's April Fool's Day and consider the reaction if you had claimed that Tiger Woods had been a sex addict cheating on his wife with a dozen or so women.
People would have said: Pfft! RIGHT. Try a little harder next year.
There is a huge anti-April Fool's backlash this year -- I'm all for it -- and I wonder if is coincidence or causality that it comes after months of a Tiger scandal that feels like one long prank (but, of course, is anything but).
The latest barely (but obviously) believable details, from Vanity Fair:
Tiger had sex with his menstruating mistress in the parking lot of a church, where they left the "evidence" behind, only to be scooped up by a tabloid reporter who later had the scoop scuttled by Tiger's agent in a backroom deal. Oh, and Michael Jordan enabled Tiger's whole lifestyle.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of very real story lines today that a year ago would be mocked as lame parodies: The NCAA Tournament is expanding to 96 teams! Mike Vick will be back with the Eagles! LeBron is NOT going to NYC! The Thunder are better than the Celtics!
With reality like this, who needs today's fakes?
Masters update: I can guarantee you that the honchos at Augusta National could not care less about "fan-friendliness" of scheduling Tiger to allow ESPN to show as much of his round as possible. It is the same essential insularity that got Tiger into trouble in the first place, and Tiger -- to the extent that even he has any sway over the club -- should be begging them to schedule him for maximum air time. He needs to change the subject.
Final Four: "Probable." That's not the status of Kalin Lucas' ankle. That's Big Ten commish Jim Delany on the chances the NCAA Tournament is expanded to 96 teams.
NFL Draft: Colt McCoy had his Pro Day, in which he was accurate but not showcasing a particularly strong arm. In other words: Nothing you wouldn't know if you watched him play all season long.
(Love this look back at the 2000 draft. Has it really been 10 years since Tom Brady wasn't drafted until the 6th round? It was the exception that proves the rule in taking the evaluations of draftniks with a grain of something.)
Sam Bradford: The next Eli Manning?
Tebow Watch: Before everyone gets in a hoo-hah, former Gators WR Andre Caldwell did not call out Tebow. He merely said that he will be a different QB in the NFL than a Peyton Manning or Carson Palmer. But still an NFL QB.
NFL preseason schedule: Does this really excite you? Can any other sport make it a national event to release their preseason schedule?
Eagles QB situation: So after all that, it looks like the Eagles are going to keep both Vick AND McNabb?
Prep Hoops: That was a fiesty McDonald's All-America game last night, won by the West on Brandon Knight's late 3. Knight is the best unsigned player in the country. But he is a PG and Kentucky is on his short list. Thus: He cannot possibly be going anywhere but Kentucky, the heir to Rose-Evans-Wall.
Business: LeBron re-ups with Nike. According to Rovell, there is no clause that would pay LeBron more in a bigger market like, say, New York. So let's put that myth to bed once and for all.
Speaking of LeBron: It shouldn't surprise you that he isn't going to play for Team USA this summer. The squad is better off developing the younger players, anyway.
NBA Talking Points: If you're looking for symbolism, check out the young-and-rising Thunder's win over the old-and-declining Celtics -- in Boston, no less.
MLB Spring Training: Unsurprsingly, Jose Reyes will start the season on the DL. The real question for Mets fans is how long he is going to stay there.
MLB Deals: Are the Red Sox about to lock up Josh Beckett in a big deal?
(If the Rays really join the Yankees and Red Sox as one of the top 4 teams in baseball, realignment -- or a salary cap -- is a must. It is simply unfair for a team to be that good, yet shut out of the playoffs because of financial disparity.)
Gimmicks: The NBA giving fans 1/125th of an MVP vote simply isn't meaningful; it's ceremonial ... even cynical. Let's have the NBA give the fans 50 percent of the MVP vote -- or make it equal parts influenced by fans, media and players.
The Last Word: "We stink right now. We're just so far from where we need to be as far as attention to detail. This was a step back for us today." -- Brian Kelly, on the state of Notre Dame football.
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.â†µ
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