Wakeup call: Replacement players?? Where will it all end, Bettman?


Wakeup call: Replacement players?? Where will it all end, Bettman?

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, October 3:
The Red Sox ruined our summer, Orioles, so why shouldn't they ruin yours? (CSN Baltimore)
They're ruining Joan Jett's, too. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Wait. Did I hear it agan? Yes! "We're not supposed to be here"! Baseball's SeptemberOctober mantra. (AP)

Tell you what: Nobody, but nobody, is ruining the A's summer. (AP)

And they're confident they can complete the deal. (CSN Bay Area)

Art imitates life: If Oakland pulls off the miracle and goes all the way, Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt want rings. (Hardball Talk)

Those clinching parties can be dangerous, right, Max Scherzer? (AP)

Good thing for the Nationals, then, that being 19 sort of stifled Bryce Harper's ability to partywhen they won the East. (Hardball Talk)

The Nats, by the way, are one win (or one Reds loss) away from clinching the best record in the National League. (CSN Washington)

At the other end of the success spectrum, the Astros and Cubs met last night in the first battle of 100-loss teams since 1962. (Hardball Talk) Who won, you ask? Does it matter?

Makes you wonder if Theo knew exactly what he was walking into. (CSN Chicago)

The Cardinals lose but make the playoffs anyway . . . (AP)

. . . because the Dodgers eliminated themselves. (AP)

And now that the field is set in both leagues, here are the postseason scenarios for tonight. (nbcsports.com)

King Felix may be demoted to Prince Felix -- or Pauper Felix -- after the Mariners dramatically pull in the fencesat Safeco Field next year. (Hardball Talk)

Move over, Yaz. Here comes Miguel. (AP)

A nice moment, as former prospect Adam Greenberg finally gets to the plate again in a major-league game after suffering a career-altering concussion when he was hit in the head in his first at-bat in 2005. (AP)

Yes, that was ex-Red Sox (and ex-plenty of other teams) outfielder Joey Gathright getting a 50-game suspension for the use of amphetamines. (Hardball Talk)

When these guys say "Roll Tide!" they mean it: Their small plane crashed on the way to Alabama's game at Ole Miss last week, but they got out, started hitchhiking, and arrived in time for the kickoff. (NBC's College Football Talk)

Mike McQueary files a defamation suit against Penn State. (AP)

Michigan State to Urban Meyer: Two can play at this game. (AP)

The NHL cries thatits lost 100 million during the canceled preseason. (AP) But since you a) conceived, b) planned, and c) executed the lockout, we're supposed to feel sorry for you?

And the league's bad -- make that, suicidal -- ideas just keep on coming: Now there are whispers of replacement players. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk) Why not? It worked so well in the NFL's spat with its referees.

Think its time for a federal mediator to step in? (Pro Hockey Talk)

Looking for a little good news? ESPN3 may televise some KHL games. (AP) Hey, we said a little good news.

Lamar Odom apologizes to Mark Cuban and the Mavs. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk) He's probably still not as sorry as they are for bringing him to Dallas.

Dwight Howard makes his Laker debut. (AP)

'Melo's talking the talk. Let's see if he walks the walk. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Spat with Mike Tice? What spat with Mike Tice? Maybe you had a spat with Mike Tice, but I didn't have a spat with Mike Tice. (AP)

Looks like Santonio Holmes is out for the year. (AP)

Darrius Heyward-Bey is back, and he says he won't "miss a beat". (CSN Bay Area)

Rafael Nadal will start playing again in December. (AP)

Not a lot of talk about Cannon this season, and that's a good thing for Patriots


Not a lot of talk about Cannon this season, and that's a good thing for Patriots

Marcus Cannon has had his run as a piñata. The Patriots offensive lineman is a frequent target when things go wrong up front and, usually, he’s deserved it.

A bit of anecdotal evidence? 

Sunday, I tweeted that every time I watched Cannon, he was making another good play.

On cue, about 10 tweets came back at me with variations of “Keep watching him!”

I asked Bill Belichick if he agreed with the layman’s assessment that Cannon’s playing well.

“I think Marcus [Cannon] has done a good job for us for quite a while,” Belichick began. “I mean he’s stepped in for Sebastian [Vollmer] and then last year when Nate [Solder] was out [and he substituted] for Nate. He has played a lot of good football for us.

“We extended our agreement with him off of his rookie contract which I think speaks to the fact that we want him on the team and we like what he’s doing and so forth and he’s continued to I’d say show with his performance [that he has] validated the confidence that we have in him.”

Cannon’s ending to 2015 – a poor performance (along with the rest of the line) against the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game was followed by a performance against the Cardinals that was marred by late-game holding calls.

But with Sebastian Vollmer injured (and still injured) it was sink or swim with Cannon which had plenty of people rolling their eyes.

But – as I said – every time I see Cannon, he’s either holding off a defensive end in pass protection, steamrolling downfield in the running game or making really athletic second-level or cut blocks in the screen game.

“Like every player, as they gain more experience they do get better,” said Belichick. “I think our offensive line’s certainly improved over the course of the year and playing with more consistency than we did last year. But there’s always room for improvement and the continuity that we’ve had there since (right guard) Shaq [Mason] has gotten in the last few weeks – we had Shaq over on the right side a little bit at the end of the season last year and then this year most all of the year except when Shaq was out for a few weeks there at the end of training camp and the start of the season – but our overall consistency and communication on the offensive line has been better because we’ve had more continuity there so that helps everybody.”

It can’t hurt that the lineman whisperer, Dante Scranecchia, has returned to coach the group. Cannon’s conditioning and physique looks better. He just appears more athletic and explosive. And he’s seemed more relaxed in the limited time the media’s in the locker room.

All off that added up equals nobody really talking about Marcus Cannon.
“Like any lineman, the less you call his name probably the better he’s doing,” said Belichick. “It’s probably a good thing when you guys don’t talk about him. Then that probably means they’re not doing something too noticeably wrong, right?”