Wakeup Call: One computer didn't watch the BCS title game . . .

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Wakeup Call: One computer didn't watch the BCS title game . . .

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Friday, January 11:

AUTO RACING
Danica Patrick wants to focus her attention on her first full season in NASCAR, so she's skipping the Indy 500 this year. I wish she'd skip those insufferable godaddy.com Super Bowl ads, but that's just me. (AP)

BASEBALL
Justin Upton says thanks, but no thanks, to a trade from Arizona to Seattle. (AP)

Pete Rose may be banned from baseball and forbidden from being elected into the Hall of Fame and all, but that doesn't stop him from getting on the moral high horse about steroids use. (AP)

Kerry Wood believes everyone -- including himself -- who played in the Steroids Era is under suspicion, so he isn't the least bit surprised that former teammate Sammy Sosa didn't get elected into the Hall of Fame. (CSN Chicago)

Craig Biggio "cracked jokes and waxed philosophic" about falling 39 votes short of induction. (CSN Houston)

Most everybody takes to Twitter these days to get their message across. Not Mike Piazza; he's writing a book that will tell everyone he never took steroids. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

The Phillies insist Cole Hamels' shoulder soreness isn't "an issue at all". (CSN Philly)

Theo gives another chance to old friend Darnell McDonald. (Hardball Talk)

Kosuke Fukudome's heading home to Japan. (AP)

The Pirates' deal with Francisco Liriano is on hold because of an issue with his right -- i.e., non-throwing -- arm. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
You can take Arizona off your list of unbeatens, thanks to Oregon. (AP)

Remember the kid from Grinnell who scored 138 points in a game in November? He's out for the season after breaking his wrist. (AP)

Sign of the armageddon: Miami beating North Carolina in Chapel Hill. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Take heart, Notre Dame: At least one computer still thinks you're the best. (NBC's College Football Talk)

Brian Kelly's sudden interest in the NFL makes sense. (CSN Chicago)

So does the Bears' interest in him. (CSN Chicago)

In today's installmant of Declaring For the NFL Draft, we have Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins, Oklahoma State's Joseph Randle and Georgia's Kwame Geathers. (AP)

Johnny Football's learning about life in the spotlight. (AP)

Jerry Sandusky won't give up. (AP)

HOCKEY
At last, the Kings get to focus on defending the Stanley Cup. (AP)

Some unfinished business for Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk: Playing in the KHL All-Star Game on Sunday before returning to the NHL. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
We've been ragging -- and delightfully so -- on the Lakers, but Miami isn't doing so hot, either. (AP)

Take away 'Melo, and the Knicks stop scoring. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Rob who? (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

And that makes eight: The Jaguars finally fire Mike Mularkey, the eighth NFL coach dismissed since the end of the season. (Pro Football Talk)

Lovie Smith is a perfect fit for the Eagles. At least that's what Tony Dungy thinks. (CSN Philly)

Monte Kiffin may have been a big disappointment on his son Lane's staff at USC, but Jerry Jones still wants him in Dallas. (Pro Football Talk)

On Wednesday, Jay Gruden said he would remain an assistant at Cincinnati. On Thursday, he interviewed for the head job in Arizona. And next week, he may interview in Philadelphia. (AP)

The 49ers are sticking with David Akers. For now. (AP)

The Steelers release running back Chris Rainey after the latest in a series of off-field incidents. (AP)

TENNIS
Looking forward to a Victoria Azarenka-Serena Williams final in the Australian Open? Sorry; they're in the same draw. (AP)

McAdam: Amid the champagne flowing, a focus on Farrell’s fight

McAdam: Amid the champagne flowing, a focus on Farrell’s fight

NEW YORK - Scenes from a celebrating clubhouse, late Wednesday night:

*As champagne flowed and was sprayed to every virtually corner of the visitor's clubhouse, plots were being hatched.

Some mischevious players gathered to plot out their plan of attack and select a new victim.

Once all teammates had been targeted, the focus shifted to others -- preferably the nicer dressed visitors.

Principal owner John Henry, dressed in a suit, was spared - both out of decorum, and, one senses, self-preservation. In past years, someone like Kevin Millar might have entertained such a notion, but this group lacks that same sort of bold figure.

Then, finally, the group spied manager John Farrell being interviewed across the way. The group -- mostly pitchers -- assembled and then circled the manager before finally dumping bottle after bottle of champagne on Farrell's head.

But this display went beyond prank. There was a genuine affection for the manager as the surrounding players whooped and hollared and the the bubbly flowed.

"He's a fighter,'' remarked Mookie Betts. "He instilled that in us. You fight to win.''

Torey Lovullo, who managed the team in Farrell's absence last year and has been a close friend for years, was overcome with emotion.

"I told him I loved him,'' Lovullo said. "For what he's done, to come out on the other side health-wise....he's the leader of this team. It's very satisfying for all of us that have been behind him.''

Players messed his hair, patted him on the back, and Farrell, with a huge smile, stood and -- literally -- soaked it in.

For the past few days, Farrell had gone to great lengths to turn the focus away from his personal story -- one that saw him beat back cancer a year ago -- and turn it back to the players.

Hours before the clinching, Farrell had deflected a few questions about his own story, insisting he wasn't the centerpiece to what had taken place.

But for a few minutes Wednesday night, he was.

 

*While there were prominent veterans celebrating a division title — from 40-something David Ortiz and Koji Uehara to team greybeards such as Dustin Pedroia -- it was hard not to notice the number of young players under 26 who form the Red Sox’ foundation.

Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Rodriguez, Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada are all young and still improving.

With Ortiz headed to retirement, Uehara eligible for free agency and uncertainty surrounding others, it's clear that the young core will form the nucleus of Red Sox teams for years to come.

The organization's hope is that that same group will help ensure against the up-and-down trajectory of recent seasons -- last, first, last, last and now first again.

"I think the way baseball's going these days,'' Henry told the Boston Herald, "if you don't have good young players, you're in trouble.''

"Looking ahead,'' added Pedroia, "we've got a lot of young players who are just going to get better.''

 

Rex Ryan’s erratic act is his lone consistency

Rex Ryan’s erratic act is his lone consistency

With the Bills 0-2 and sinking slowly in a morass of dysfunction last week, Rex Ryan was anything but his corny, wise-cracking, false-bravado-bringing self. He was subdued before the Bills took on the Cardinals.

Now, with the Bills having spanked Arizona and the Patriots up next, Rex is back at it with the erratic, putting forth an eyebrow-raisingly bad Bill Belichick impersonation to start the week then parachuting into a conference call with Julian Edelman posing as a Buffalo News reporter.

He’s the guy at the house party knocking over the chips and drinks at 9 p.m. and wondering where the motherscratching karaoke machine is because he wants to SING!!

Asked to account for the behavior change from last week to this, Rex’ verbatim response was a look into his addled mind.

“I was still myself, I think just part of it. This week, look guys, we know who we’re playing. When you look at the ESPN deal, I think they’re ranked number one---I don’t know. Like I said, they’re number two, but I don’t think we’re ranked number one so---look, we know the task is going to be a big one. The quarterback thing, yeah you got to be prepared and you actually have to be prepared for three different guys. They’re no dummies, they’re leaving it out there, they can know who it is, I get it. They’re certainly not going to do us any favors.”

Give that a quick re-read.

My verbal syntax and wandering trains of thought aren’t evidence of an ordered mind either, so I do empathize with Rex. But neither am I the head coach of one of 32 entries in the NFL, a pretty high-profile league in which an ordered presentation from the guy in charge is usually a positive.

I spoke at length with Tim Graham – who really does work for the Buffalo News – during our Quick Slants Podcast this week.

Rex’ constant insistence on his own authenticity feels to me like a misdirection. He chooses who he’s going to be and how he’s going to be each week. That’s the only consistent thing about him, other than the fact that he is an eminently likable guy specifically because he is so vulnerable.

 For a guy that wants to projecting an image of a guy who just doesn’t give a s***, he spends a lot of time thinking about this stuff.  

“I learned a long time ago, you got to be yourself in this league and that [acting like Bill Belichick] wouldn’t have worked,” Ryan explained. “If I tried to be like Bill Belichick that would never work for me, just like, not that he ever would, but if he’s going to try to be like somebody else, that ain’t going to work for him. And so, at least one thing we have in common is the fact that we know you better be yourself in this league and look, I think it’s hilarious when he’s on there because that’s who he is but it’s great and he does it better than anybody else. Some guys that try to copy that style, they’re phonies. Belichick does it, that’s who he is. [Gregg] Popovich is probably the closest thing in the NBA. Like those guys are classics but that’s who they are and they’re fantastic and I think the record speaks for itself but you talk about a consistent guy, Bill Belichick is the most consistent guy there is and I try to be consistent, albeit in a much different way.”

Consistent in his inconsistency. Great fun at parties. No way to go through life as an NFL head coach.