Shanoff's WUC: The Boss Was About The Ws

Today's Calls: George Steinbrenner vs. "The Boss," NL vs. Home-Field Advantage, Al Jefferson vs. David Kahn, John Wall vs. DeMarcus Cousins, Dan Gilbert vs. Cavs fans, Andrew Luck vs. Jake Locker, Tiger vs. St. Andrew's, Seth Meyers vs. The Decision and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: If only every sports team owner were more like George Steinbrenner. ↵

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↵For every episode of imperiousness or vitriol or hardball or Seinfeld, there was this fundamental truth: ↵

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↵The Boss wanted to win more than anything else. ↵

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↵To that end, he plowed as much money as possible back into the Yankees to make them winners. Some of those investments didn't pan out -- and many of them were offensive if you supported teams with less money to throw around. ↵

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↵But the point is that reinvestment into the team was a given, all in the pursuit of winning championships. With that kind of commitment from Steinbrenner, he had every right to demand a championship in return. ↵

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↵Plenty of owners don't have the cash-flow (or the league rules) to spend like Steinbrenner did. But plenty also seem happy just to own a team, like it’s a hobby. Or they are focused more on turning a profit than winning. ↵

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↵The legacy of Steinbrenner, for better and perhaps at times worse, is winning at all costs. ↵

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↵More on the Boss: Steinbrenner's competitiveness obviously created complicated consequences. The winning will overwhelm the other things, but his commitment to charity was also substantial. ↵

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↵Rush on the Boss: Really? Ugh. ↵

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↵MLB All-Star Game: NL wins! NL wins! After 13 straight losses, this qualifies as an upset worthy of exclamation points. Put it this way: Kids in college and younger have no real recollection of the NL ever winning an All-Star Game. ↵

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↵• The implication? The NL champ -- the Phillies or Rockies or Reds or whoever -- will get home-field advantage over the heavily favored AL champ (whoever, but presume it's the Yankees or Rays). It won't matter: The AL is that much better. ↵

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↵• The star? Brian McCann shows that those reserve choices, made (for better or worse) by the players and manager, matter. ↵

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↵• The real story? Those 5-o'clock shadows, like the game was sponsored by Gillette. It amplified the advantage already held by sick pitching corps on both sides. It shouldn't stop MLB from scheduling All-Star Games on the West Coast with 5:30 p.m. local start times, but it doesn't help if MLB wants to showcase its superstar bats. ↵

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↵• Looking ahead to 2011: West-coast shadows are the least of MLB's problems. If Arizona immigration law 1030 is still on the books, MLB could be looking at a substantial boycott from many of its stars. (And even if players don't feel personally connected to protesting the law, they will feel awkward going against their teammates by participating.) ↵

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↵NBA Offseason Mania: Bigs on the move. Al Jefferson to the Jazz, bolstering their offense. Tyson Chandler to the Mavs, bolstering their defense. ... ↵

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↵... And Zydrunas Ilgauskas to the Heat -- I mean, really: If Juwan Howard is joining in, why would AI and T-Mac not sign up and play for league minimum at this point? Even if they were the 11th and 12th guys. Why not? ↵

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↵(All kidding aside: All of a sudden, the Heat look way stronger than the Big Three, which now includes Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem and Big Z. That's in addition to Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony and Miami's rookies, who are in for the ride of their lives. Yes, and Juwan.) ↵

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↵Nuggets sign Al Harrington to 5-year deal: Isn't Harrington a poor man's Carmelo? Are they buffering against Carmelo bolting or oddly attepting to entice him to sign that mega-extension? ↵

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↵NBA Summer League: With John Wall having the night off, let's turn our attention to Kentucky's other superstar, DeMarcus Cousins. Boogie had 19 and 12 in a Kings win, coming off another double-double (14 and 10) the day before. He will be a double-double machine in the NBA regular season from Day 1. (But the T'wolves had no need for him -- uh-uh, not at all. ...) ↵

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↵LeBron, Cont'd: It isn't a surprise that (some) Cavs fans support Dan Gilbert -- his reaction the night of the Decision was instinctual (if ill-advised) and reflected the fans' own frustrations and sense of betrayal. It remains to be seen whether they will continue to support him when the team is a perennial 20-game winner. ↵

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↵NFL Camping Preview: Is this the year the 49ers finally break through and win the NFC West? Last year's D was solid (allowed 2nd-fewest points in NFC), but the offense had its problems. That makes Alex Smith and Michael Crabtree the X-factors. ↵

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↵CFB Countdown: No. 51 Stanford. QB Andrew Luck is reason enough to tune in for Stanford games. By the end of the season, Luck will not only be 1st-team All-America, but also will elevate himself to the No. 1 QB in the 2011 NFL Draft class. That should be quite some duel between Luck and fellow Pac-10 star QB Jake Locker. (Not to mention USC's bowl-ineligible super-soph Matt Barkley.) ↵

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↵Tiger at St. Andrew's: The European media isn't quite as subservient as U.S. media. ↵

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↵Award Shows: ESPN picked the ideal day of the sports year -- traditionally the slowest sports day of the year -- to have the live ESPY broadcast. I'm excited for host Seth Meyers (Will there be jokes about Tiger? What about LeBron?) I fully expect to see a Saints sweep in every major category they are entered in. ↵

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↵The Last Word: Seinfeld. From Calzones to "Cuhhh-STANza!" George Steinbrenner earned new pop culture goodwill and a softened image as the only-seen-from-behind Yankees owner (voiced by Larry David) and erstwhile employer of the other George. Too many classic moments to count ("Hire this man!"), but he was a tremendously good sport for going along with it. ↵

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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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