Shanoff's WUC: Derby, Cuban, LeBron, D'backs

Today's Calls: Kentucky Derby vs. Seinfeld, Mark Cuban vs. Oblivion, Spurs vs. Suns, Lakers vs. Thunder, LeBron vs. Celtics, Evan Longoria vs. Albert Pujols (for MLB MVP of the Month), Joe Maddon vs. Jerry Manuel (for MLB Manager of the Month), Arizona Diamondbacks vs. SB1070, Tiger's 72 vs. Tiger's 120, Tim Tebow vs. Broncos Mini-Camp, Walter Jones vs. the Hall of Fame, Notre Dame vs. Randy Edsall, NCAA vs. One-and-Dones and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Something magical happened on the internet yesterday. Heading into the Kentucky Derby, someone decided to start a hashtag on Twitter: #SeinfeldDerbyHorseNames ↵

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↵The challenge: Come up with the best Kentucky Derby horse name using references from Seinfeld. Yesterday afternoon, it was a game of can-you-top-this for racing-related cleverness and sheer fanboy trivia. From the best, a selection of a dream field: ↵

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↵The Boca Breeze ↵
↵My Cousin Had Pony ↵
↵Serenity Now ↵
↵Mulva ↵
↵Giddyup ↵
↵Beefarino ↵
↵Yada Yada Yada ↵
↵Spare a Square ↵
↵I'm Keith Hernandez ↵
↵Shiksappeal ↵
↵Gold Jerry Gold ↵

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↵(There were enough repeats that I can't attribute credit appropriately, so I didn't credit anyone. Fair enough? I do want to offer a special shout-out to Matt Sebek of JoeSportsfan and Unsilent Maj from KSK, both particularly proud of their own efforts. If you go to the hashtag link above, my recommendation is to go back to yesterday afternoon, when the whole thing started.) ↵

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↵Feel free to add your own in the comments below. As for the real Derby tomorrow evening? It doesn't really matter who wins -- fans won yesterday with all the Seinfeld horses. ↵

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↵After the jump: Why the Mavs should be imploded, who should get 1st-half MLB awards, why the D'backs are in for a long season and why "120" is the new "20,000." ↵

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↵Here's my question for Mark Cuban: At this point, what's the point? What's the point of keeping this collection of All-Stars together if they can't even win a 1st-round series? ↵

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↵If the goal is a championship, they need to re-tool -- heck, they need to rebuild. Dirk isn't getting it done. Kidd, Marion, Butler. Anything less than a Western Conference title (and they aren't even close), they might as well be in the Lottery. ↵

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↵(Let's be sure to credit the Spurs, who become the first 7-seed to beat a 2-seed in a best-of-seven format.) ↵

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↵Stat That Feels Wrong Even Though It Isn't: This is Grant Hill's first time in the 2nd round of the NBA Playoffs. (Perhaps the idea of that is what inspired this sick blocked shot from him last night.) Everyone settle in to the new conventional wisdom that this Spurs team could definitely win the West. ↵

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↵NBA Playoffs Weekend: If I could ask for one thing, it is for the Thunder to bounce back, beat the Lakers in Game 6 in OKC and force an anything-can-happen Game 7. Meanwhile, the Bucks and Jazz can both close out upset series wins at home. ↵

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↵LeBron vs. the Celtics, Game 1: All eyes on LeBron's elbow on Saturday. ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: 1st-Month Awards! ↵
↵AL MVP: Evan Longoria ↵
↵AL Cy: Matt Garza ↵
↵AL Manager: Joe Maddon ↵
↵NL MVP: Albert Pujols ↵
↵NL Cy: Tim Lincecum ↵
↵NL Manager: Jerry Manuel ↵
↵Wee bit too early for ROY hand-outs. Earn it! ↵

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↵Politics: The D'backs didn't ask to be put in the middle of a national debate over Arizona's new immigration law, but they become the symbolism of the state that people will protest -- based on their reception outside of Wrigley, the team should expect that everywhere they go until the law is repealed. It is just too much of a media magnet. ↵

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↵Tiger Watch: "120" is the new "20,000." ↵

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↵(Meanwhile, wouldn't it be hilarious if he couldn't even make the cut at Quail Hollow?) ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: Walter Jones retires. 1st ballot Hall of Famer. 'Nuff said. ↵

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↵Kolb gets paid: It pays to be a starting QB for a marquee franchise. The Eagles gave Kevin Kolb a $10 million signing bonus to take over the starting job -- no pressure: Just win or else. ↵

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↵NFL Rookie Watch: Mini-camps start today, and all the attention will be on Dove Valley near Denver, where Tim Tebow takes the field as a Bronco for the first time. (Arguably bigger deal: OT Zane Beadles, who might have to fill in for injured Ryan Clady.) ↵

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↵NBA Awards Season: Tyreke Evans wins ROY, officially. The Brandon Jennings and Steph Curry people can make their cases, but it's hard to argue with Reke the Freak. But if draft slot or pre-draft perceptions counted -- and maybe they should -- then Jennings deserves something. At the very least, he earned everyone's respect -- and a 10-year career as a starting NBA PG. ↵

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↵NCAA Tournament Expansion: The best news about the new "Field of 68" is that the basketball committee will consider having the play-in games be between the last 8 bubble teams in, rather than a useless pairing of 16- and 17-seeds, the winner of which loses to the 1-seed. ↵

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↵NCAA Conference Expansion: Should Notre Dame football have to join the Big East because UConn coach Randy Edsall insists they should? (Or, at least, should be given an ultimatum?) Umm ... no. ↵

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↵Emmert Watch: The one-and-done rule is not the problem. The problem is the NBA age limit, so that 18-year-old players good enough to get taken in the NBA Draft -- or who would rather focus on their pro basketball career in the D-League than focus on everything else they are expected to do in college basketball -- can make that choice if they want to. ↵

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↵CFB Bowl Mess: I have no problem with a 5-7 team playing in a bowl game. What's the harm? And if the fans want to go -- or tune in -- bowl games (except the NCG) are a glorified exhibition anyway. ↵

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↵The Last Word: My real Derby pick? Super Saver (15-to-1) ↵

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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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