Wakeup Call: It was June in December for Heat and Thunder

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Wakeup Call: It was June in December for Heat and Thunder

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, December 26:

BASEBALL
Will Andruw Jones' early-Christmas-morning arrest on a battery charge in a domestic dispute jeopardize the contract he just signed to play in Japan next year? (AP)

In protest of the Hall of FamePED mess, one voter registered a protest by sending in an empty ballot. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Arizona wins the Diamond Head Classic. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
If early December is the time for college football teams to fire their coaches, late December is the time for them to suspend their naughty players from bowl games. Like Texas Tech. (AP via CSN Houston)

And Syracuse. (AP)

Jerry Sandusky just won't shut up. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
Quite the Finals rematch between the Heat and Thunder, wasn't it? (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

And Miami's win over Oklahoma City felt like it was played in "a different month" acorrding to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, referring to the springtime playoff intensity. (AP)

How intense was it? LeBron James even committed a foul. (AP)

Looks like something from Tom Thibodeau's time in Boston stuck to him when he went to Chicago: He invoked the Bill Belichick "Gotta play better, gotta coach better" line after the Bulls were routed by the Rockets. (CSN Chicago)

Can anyone stop the Clippers? (AP)

Across town, the Lakers are patting themselves on the back for reaching the .500 mark after their win over the Knicks. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Whenever Bill Belichick is asked a question about an injured Patriot, he invariably responds, "I'm not a doctor." Let us introduce you, then, to Mike McCarthy, M.D., of Green Bay. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Steve Mariucci gives a passionate non-denial denial to reports linking him to the soon-to-be-open Chargers job. (CSN Bay Area)

Broken finger? What broken finger? (Pro Football Talk)

The Seahawks -- perhaps with an eye towards a playoff matchup against the Falcons -- may sign ex-Atlanta defensive end Ray Edwards. (Pro Football Talk)

Looking for a reason for the Ravens to be optimistic heading into the playoffs? They're getting healthy. (CSN Baltimore)

Looking for a reason to be pessimistic? They're the most penalized team in the NFL, and they've no shown no sign of reversing that season-killing trend. (CSN Baltimore)

Michael Vick will be back at quarterback for the Eagles -- Nick Foles, you see, is hurt -- as they try to finish off the all-but-dead Giants. (AP)

No one who saw Mario Manningham crumble to the ground Sunday night will be surprised to hear that he's out for the season. (CSN Bay Area)

Also done for the year: Heath Miller. But, then, so are the Steelers. (AP)

Adrian Peterson's dealing with a sore abdominal muscle as he a) gears up for a run at a 208-yard performance that would enable him to break Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record and b) tries to help the Vikings earn a playoff spot with a win over the Packers. (AP)

If John Fox had an MVP vote, he'd cast it for Peyton Manning . . . but he admits, "Obviously, I'm going to be a little biased." (AP)

TENNIS
Now it's a stomach virus that's keeping Rafael Nadal off the courts. (AP)

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

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Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?