Wakeup Call: Come join us, Ray

Wakeup Call: Come join us, Ray
August 7, 2014, 8:45 am
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(AP Photo)

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy and/or interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, August 7:

AUTO RACING

He may not be racing any more, but Richard Petty's hardly retired. (AP)

The National Guard -- for financial reasons, it says -- is ending its sponsorship of NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr. and IndyCar's Graham Rahal. (AP)

BASEBALL

Chris Capuano -- our Chris Capuano -- outpitching Justin Verlander?? To which alternate universe have we been transported? (AP)

Someone claimed Cole Hamels on revocable waivers the other day, and the Phillies -- if they're so inclined -- have 48 hours to work out a trade with the team that claimed him. Otherwise, they'll simply pull him back off waivers. Stay tuned. (CSN Philly)

Matt Williams gets a little testy in his pregame meeting with reporters when he's asked -- based on nebulous comments he made in a radio interview -- if the Nationals were mulling sending the slumping Bryce Harper to the minors. (CSN Washington)

The Braves' losing streak reaches eight. (AP)

Tony La Russa claims the Diamondbacks' eye-for-an-eye plunking of Andrew McCutcheon, which may force McCutcheon out of the Pirates' lineup for a month, was Pittsburgh's fault . . . which Craig Calcaterra calls "idiotic baloney." (NBC's Hardball Talk)

The Astros won't be getting George Springer back as quickly as they thought. (CSN Houston)

Jarred Cosart's Marlins career is getting off to a rocky start. (Hardball Talk)

More Miami news: Kevin Gregg needs season-ending elbow surgery . . . (Hardball Talk)

. . . and the Fish may bring Brad Penny back to the majors. (Hardball Talk)

This could be the end of the trail for Chone Figgins, although if Penny is still bouncing around, there's always hope for Figgins. (Hardball Talk)

The Padres are hiring A.J. Preller, assistant GM of the Rangers, as their new general manager. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Paul George, who played collegiately at Fresno State, gets a life-sized get-well card from the alma mater. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

College of Charleston players say they "forgive" Doug Wojcik for the verbal abuse he heaped upon them . . . but they're glad he's been fired as coach. (AP)

Chad Frazier, dismissed from the UAB program after being charged with third-degree domestic violence, is turning pro. (College Basketball Talk)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Bill Snyder, the 74-year-old coach at Kansas State, rips into big-time college athletics, saying schools have "sold out" for "dollars and cents" and decrying the focus on sports at the expense of education: "Our professors -- I have an office I could swim in. They're in a cubbyhole somewhere, yet they go out and teach and promote education every day, and I value that." (AP)

TCU defensive end Devonte Fields, suspended by the school after being arrested on a misdemeanor assault warrant, announces on Twitter that he plans to transfer to Stephen F. Austin, an FCS school where Fields -- the preseason choice as Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year -- could be eligible to play immediately. (AP)

The Big 12 is the only one of the big five power conferences that doesn't have a championship game, but it's also the only one where all the teams in the league play each other. And it feels that its "One True Champion" status will work in its favor when it comes to select teams for the first College Football Playoff. (AP)

UCLA defensive back Marcus Rios, who missed the 2013 season because of a fungus infection that required medical attention, is back with the Bruins. (NBC's College Football Talk)

Washington quarterback Cyler Miles apologizes for his involvement in an off-field incident after the Super Bowl that led to his suspension for the Huskies' season opener at Hawaii. (AP)

Darren Lewis, Texas A&M's all-time leading rusher, is likely headed to prison after pleading guilty to federal charges related to armed robberies. (AP)

Former Auburn football player Philip Lutzenkirchen and the driver involved in the June car crash that killed the two of them were both legally intoxicated at the time of the accident, according to the Georgia State Patrol's toxicology report. (AP)

GOLF

Why to know why Tiger Woods is attempting to play in the PGA Championships this weekend? Because, in the words of his caddy, he's "tough and stubborn." (Yahoo! Sports)

Like most of us, Jason Dufner says he needs to eat better, exercise more and lose a few pounds. Like none of us, he's the defending PGA champ and his lack of conditioning may hurt his chances of repeating. (AP)

Rehab? No, Dustin Johnson's playing golf with the Gretzkys these days. (golfchannel.com)

HOCKEY

The 49ers' new stadium in Santa Clara will host an outdoor game between the Sharks and Kings on Feb. 21. (CSN Bay Area)

They haven't even played the first one yet. But already folks are thinking about the next Bay Area outdoors game, which will probably be held at AT&T Park. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Aaron Ekblad, the top pick in this year's NHL draft, suffers a concussion in Canada's world junior exhibition game against the Czech Republic and will miss the rest of summer development camp. But the Panthers say he'll be ready to go when training camp opens. (AP)

Flyers GM Ron Hextall calls the loss of veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who may be forced to retire after being diagnosed with blood clots in his lower right leg and both lungs, "a setback, there’s no other way to explain it." (Pro Hockey Talk)

The Capitals' Brooks Laich thinks missing the playoffs last year is the best thing that could have happened to Washington because "it made us all take a look in the mirror and at our failures and why we are failing. If we would have made the playoffs and lost in the first or second round it would have been the same old story, but you wouldn’t have had that hard, brutally honest look at yourselves to realize why you are failing.” (Pro Hockey Talk)

OLYMPICS

We're about to get closing arguments in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial. (Yahoo! Sports) 

This week's U.S. Championships are a crucial point in Michael Phelps' comeback. (NBC's Olympic Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL

Two of the Heat-turned-Cavaliers, Mike Miller and James Jones, hope Ray Allen will join them - and LeBron James, of course -- in Cleveland. (AP)

Miller says "championship or bust" -- which is the Cavs' mantra, apparently -- "makes basketball not as fun as it should be, but [a championship] is our goal.” (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Fun or not, it looks like Shawn Marion is also ready to come on board in Cleveland. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Chauncey Billups, too, though it may be for a front-office job. (Pro Basketball Talk)

To paraphrase Robin Williams, putting up a billboard in Akron ragging on LeBron for going to the Heat to win championships is God's way of telling you that you have too much money. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Should the Clippers be worried about Blake Griffin? (Yahoo! Sports)

The Knicks are getting Travis Outlaw and Quincy Acy from the Kings, and in return they'll send Wayne Ellington and Jeremy Tyler to Sacramento. They'll also take the restrictions off a second-round pick they already traded to the Kings. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Old friend MarShawn Brooks may be headed overseas. (Pro Basketball Talk)

She's not the first woman to work on an NBA coaching staff -- Lisa Boyer was an unpaid assistant with the Cavaliers in 2001-02 -- but the Spurs make Becky Hammon the first full-time, paid  female assistant in league history. (AP) 

And she says her hiring "could be catastrophic" if she's not qualified. But she assures us she's qualified. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Dunking on your mom? Now that's Linsanity. (Yahoo! Sports)

PRO FOOTBALL

Remember Damien Woody, the ex-BC star who was a stalwart on the offensive line of the first two Patriots' Super Bowl champions? He now weighs 388 pounds and -- with former Lions QB Scott Mitchell, who's tipping the scales at 366 these days -- will be a contestant on NBC's The Biggest Loser this fall in attempt to drop some pounds. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

He may not win many more, but Brian Hoyer wins Round One against Johnny Football. (AP)

No one really knows how long either Hoyer or Manziel will be able to throw to Josh Gordon, who's facing a lengthy drug suspension, but Browns Hall of Famer Jim Brown doesn't think that should be on anyone's mind right now.  "As a human being," says Brown, "he's got to get his life together." (Yahoo! Sports)

The Browns, though, think they have an idea how long Gordon will be banned: Eight games. (Pro Football Talk)

David Wilson cries "tears of joy" at his retirement press conference. (Pro Football Talk)

Those weren't tears of joy being shed by the Giants when one of Wilson's potential replacements, Peyton Hills, sprained his ankle in practice. (Pro Football Talk)

This just isn't Jon Baldwin's year. (Pro Football Talk)

Tom Benson, the 87-year-old owner of the Saints, left the team's training camp on Tuesday after being hospitalized for difficulty breathing and dehydration twice in the past two weeks, but the team says he's feeling better and was back at work in the team's offices in New Orleans on Wednesday. (AP)

SOCCER

Landon Donovan strikes a blow for MLS by scoring the game-winning goal in the 70th minute and giving the league's All-Star team a 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich. (AP via Yahoo! Sports)

Neymar's back! (NBC's Pro Soccer Talk)