Wakeup Call: U.S. plans on a Quick Olympic start

Wakeup Call: U.S. plans on a Quick Olympic start
February 12, 2014, 8:30 am
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Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy and/or interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, February 12:

BASEBALL

Maybe this Tracy McGrady-as-pitcher thing isn't so crazy, after all. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Welcome back, Nolan. (CSN Houston)

Once the Orioles started voiding contracts over issues in physicals, it gave Bronson Arroyo second thoughts about signing with Baltimore. Which is one of the reasons he's now in Arizona. (Hardball Talk)

The O's better hope Ervin Santana didn't pay attention to any of that. (Hardball Talk)

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's home-run record, the Braves will wear a uniform patch honoring Aaron this season. (CSN Washington)

Maybe the patch will help B.J. Upton rebound from an abysmal 2013. (AP)

Justin Verlander is confident he'll be ready for Opening Day. (Hardball Talk)

If you're not a subscriber of Bill James Online, as I am, you don't know that a study shows Roy Oswalt may be the greatest big-game pitcher of all time. That'll probably give Oswalt a nice warm glow as he heads into retirement. (Hardball Talk)

Matt Stairs and Jamie Moyer are heading to the Phillies' broadcast booth. (CSN Philly)

And old friend Brandon Lyon is headed to Anaheim. Or Los Angeles of Anaheim. Or somewhere. (AP)

Three minor-leaguers sue MLB, asserting that players in the minor leagues are underpaid and exploited, and that the Uniform Player Contract unfairly takes advantage of them. And former lawyer Craig Calcaterra notes "it strikes me that there are things to talk about here." (Hardball Talk) 

But it looks like most of the lawsuits that stemmed from L'Affaire A-Rod are going away. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Bad fan behavior -- never more evident than in the Marcus Smart incident at Texas Tech last Saturday -- is becoming an epidemic, and something needs to be done about it. (Yahoo! Sports)

At least one NBA general manager thinks Smart's draft stock will drop as the result of last weekend. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Don't think Oklahoma State doesn't need Smart. Not if last night's 87-68 loss to No. 19 Texas is any indication. (AP)

No. 3 Florida defeats Tennessee for its 16th consecutive victory. (AP)

Speaking of winning streaks, No. 4 Wichita State becomes the first team to start a season 26-0 since Memphis in 2008. (AP)

But No. 5 San Diego State's streak ends at 20. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

2013 was a banner year in college football, attendance-wise. (NBC's College Football Talk)

GOLF

Steve Stricker is likely to miss the Match Play Championship next week because his older brother is awaiting a liver transplant at home in Wisconsin. (AP)

HOCKEY

It'll be Jonathan Quick, and not Ryan Miller or Jimmy Howard, in net when the U.S. opens its quest for gold at Sochi against Slovakia tomorrow. (AP)

Which is kind of surprising, since everyone expected it'd be Miller. Coach Dan Bylsma, though, says the Americans are "dealing [from] a position of strength" when it comes to goaltending. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Coyotes goalie Mike Smith, a member of Team Canada, says anything less than gold for the Canadians will be "a failure." (Pro Hockey Talk)

Win or lose, it looks like Smith will be mostly a spectator behind Bobby Loo and Carey Price. (Pro Hockey Talk)

Bill Daly expects the NHL to make a decision on whether or not it will participate in the 2018 Winter Games in six months. (Pro Hockey Talk)

Edmonton's getting a new arena at last. (Pro Hockey Talk)

Erik Johnson's return to the Avs from the Olympic break will be two games later than everyone else's, thanks to his slash that broke the hand of the Islanders' Franks Nielsen. (Pro Hockey Talk) 

OLYMPICS

American snowboarder Arielle Gold separates her shoulder in a practice crash and is unable to compete in the women's halfpipe qualifier. (nbcolympics.com)

PRO BASKETBALL

As long as you have LeBron James, you can survive when Dwyane Wade skips a game. (AP)

Don't believe me? Just ask James himself. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Kevin Durant says that while the Thunder and Blazers respect each other, "we don't like them and they don't like us." And Durant shows his disdain with a 36-point effort that carries Oklahoma City to victory in Portland. (AP)

In their long history, the Lakers had never lost six games in a row at home . . . until now. (AP)

Fired? During the All-Star break? Au contraire, says Mike Woodson: "I'm going to be back." Why he wants to stay with the Knicks is another matter for another time. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Those Iman Shumpert-for-Kenneth Faried rumors are popping up again. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Andrew Bogut says his relationship with Mark Jackson is just fine. His shoulder, however, is another matter. (CSN Bay Area)

Jeff Van Gundy shows Tom Thibodeau some love. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Michael Jordan's wife gives birth to twin daughters. (AP)

The Timberwolves expect coach Rick Adelman, who missed Monday's game and Tuesday's practice for personal reasons, to be back on the bench tonight. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL

The Jets' Sheldon Richardson, the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013, was Michael Sam's roommate during his time at Missouri, and he says he the rest of the Tigers "knew" of Sam's sexual orientation. And it didn't matter. "He was a great teammate, a great person . . . He was my guy, my homeboy." (AP)

Based on the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin business, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel doesn't think the Dolphins would be a good fit for Sam. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Rick Welts, the openly gay president of the Golden State Warriors, thinks Sam is the "right guy" to become the first opening gay player in the NFL. (CSN Bay Area)

What Jonathan Vilma meant to say about Michael Sam was . . . (Yahoo! Sports)

Sam's father -- who, by all accounts, hasn't been much of a father -- apparently doesn't think the idea of a gay player in the NFL is a good one. (Yahoo! Sports)

Surprise, surprise: Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi are out in Cleveland after less than two years on the job . . . (Pro Football Talk)

. . . but if you think the Browns are dysfunctional, owner Jimmy Haslam thinks you're nuts. (Pro Football Talk)

Oh yeah, Jimmy? Then why did Gary Andersen turn you down? The University of Wisconsin is suddenly a more desirable gig than the NFL? (AP)

Brandon Weeden wishes he had the same get-out-of-here option as Andersen. (Pro Football Talk)

Don't take this personal, Jim, but lifelong Browns fan Joe Posnanski -- aghast at your reign of error -- thinks you, "like all dreadful owners, has no earthly idea what a winning organization looks like." (nbcsports.com)

Joey Porter, coach? You've got to be kidding. (AP)

Those in Seahawks Nation hoping Michael Bennett will accept a hometown discount to stay in Seattle won't be happy to hear that Bennett thinks there's "no such thing as [a] discount. This is not Costco, this is not Walmart — this is real life.” Hmm. The Costco Seahawks . . . (Pro Football Talk)

RGIII's former quarterbacks coach in Washington thinks he'll make a big leap forward in 2014 once his knee is fully healed. (Pro Football Talk)

Jim Schwartz is in Buffalo these days, but he has nothing but good things to say about his former players in Detroit. (Pro Football Talk)

Vince Young isn't giving up his NFL dream. (Pro Football Talk)

Former Bears GM Jerry Angelo doesn't have many nice things to say about Jay Cutler, the guy he traded for in 2009. (Pro Football Talk)

DeMarcus Ware is getting that pesky elbow operated on. (Pro Football Talk)

Broncos tackle Orlando Franklin, a native of Toronto, is honored by The World's Most Notorious Mayor. (Pro Football Talk)