Wakeup call: Day of triumph for the A's, Nats . . . and Teddy

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Wakeup call: Day of triumph for the A's, Nats . . . and Teddy

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, October 4:

BASEBALL
Oakland A's, 2012 A.L. West Champions. Man, if you'd ever laid money on that last February . . . (CSN Bay Area)

How about if you laid money on the Nationals having the best record in baseball? (CSN Washington)

Maybe so, but count Jimmy Rollins among the unimpressed. (CSN Philly)

Will Oriole Magic continue now that the postseason is here? (CSN Baltimore)

It kind of sputtered out at the end there, didn't it? (AP)

Way to go, Teddy! (CSN Washington)

And way to go, Miggy! (AP)

You've still got a lot to learn about the way things are in Chicago, Youk. (CSN Chicago)

The memories flooded back after the Astros played their last game in the National League. (CSN Houston)

Sad news amidst Oakland's joy: The newborn son of A's reliever Pat Neshek died 23 hours after his birth. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
In an affidavit submitted in Debby Jennings' sex and age discrimination suit against the University of Tennessee, Pat Summitt says she initially felt she was being forced to step down as Lady Vols' coach by athletic director Dave Hart after she was diagnosed with early-onset dementia. She said Hart told her that she'd misinterpreted his comments. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Whoa, Nick. Comments like this will get you kicked off the Bill Belichick Coaching Tree. (NBC's College Football Talk)

Georgia will have to play its Southeastern Conference showdown against South Carolina without top receiver Michael Bennett, who's out for the year because of a knee injury. (AP)

Eight remains great for the ACC. (AP)

Wait a minute. Penn State was actually thinking about raising ticket prices?? (AP)

HOCKEY
No talks, but plenty of rhetoric, in the NHL labor tussle. (AP)

And they were so worked up about this season in Minnesota . . . (AP)

You know it's bad when the bookies are giving even odds that there'll be no Winter Classic. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Ilya Kovalchuk says the lockout can last forever as far as he's concerned. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
Those damn Russians. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Ray Allen gets a warm welcome in Miami. (AP) The welcome isn't quite as warm for two women in Celtics jerseys.

Pre-order your Bill Walton autobiography before it's too late. (AP)

Rasheed Wallace is the Knicks' headache now. (AP)

This is it for Adam Morrison: Either he makes the Blazers, or he quits. (Pro Basketball Talk)

The Grizzles' vice-president of basketball operations, Dana Davis, was found dead in his apartment at age 56. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Mario Williams says he's not a bust; he's hurt. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Teammate Kyle Williams is 15,000 lighter for a hit he made on Tom Brady Sunday, and he wants to know why. (AP)

Where Carlos Rogers sees lack of effort, Rex Ryan sees fatigue. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

One person Rex won't be seeing for the rest of the year: Santonio Holmes. (AP)

Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt will be allowed to attend the Saints' game Sunday night to watch Drew Brees try and set the NFL record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass. (AP)

Spat with Jay Cutler? What spat with Jay Cutler? Maybe you had a spat with Jay Cutler, but I didn't have a spat with Jay Cutler. (Pro Football Talk)

Maurice Jones-Drew, now he's having a spat with Jay Cutler. (Pro Football Talk)

Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

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Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

SAN FRANCISCO - An enraged Bryce Harper charged the mound, fired his helmet and traded punches to the head with San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland after getting hit by a fastball, setting off a wild brawl Monday during the Washington Nationals' 3-0 win over the Giants.

Drilled in the right hip by a 98 mph heater on Strickland's first pitch in the eighth inning with two outs, none on and Washington ahead 2-0, Harper didn't hesitate. The slugger pointed his bat at Strickland, yelled at him and took off.

No one got in Harper's way as he rushed the mound. His eyes were wide as he flung his helmet - it sailed way wide of Strickland, it might've slipped - and they started swinging away. The 6-foot-4 Strickland hit Harper in the face, then they broke apart for a moment before squaring off again. Harper punched Strickland in the head as the benches and bullpen emptied.

Giants teammates Michael Morse and Jeff Samardzija collided hard as they tried to get between the two fighters. Three Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the pack all the way into the dugout, while a teammate held back Harper.

Harper and Strickland were both ejected. They have some history between them - in the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland, and the All-Star outfielder glared at the reliever as he rounded the bases after the second shot in Game 4.

Drellich: After golden 2016, Red Sox remember what it's like to have things go wrong

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Drellich: After golden 2016, Red Sox remember what it's like to have things go wrong

CHICAGO — More than anything else, Monday’s 5-4 Red Sox loss was a reminder of how much the Red Sox had go right for them a year ago, and just how unrealistic it was to expect so much of it to carry over into 2017.

The Red Sox remain a very good team. But the success of last year’s 93-win team, of any 93-win team is, truly, difficult to replicate. Unlikely, even.

Baseball’s age of parity, the randomness of freak injuries, good old regression — the Sox were due for some elements to catch up to them after a season that was more or less golden in 2016.

Dustin Pedroia, who headed back to Boston on Monday for an MRI on his left wrist, was healthy enough to hit 15 home runs a year ago, his highest total since 2012. The way this year is going for him health-wise, just having him on the field and hitting close to .300 sounds like a worthwhile goal the rest of the way.

(Slides are Pedroia’s enemy, be it from an oncoming base runner, like Manny Machado, or an oncoming first baseman, like Jose Abreu.)

David Price wasn’t living David Price’s best baseball life a year ago. But you know what you can, and probably do, take for granted? He was healthy and devouring innings. He cleared more frames than anyone else in the regular season. Even when he wasn’t pitching well, he could pitch and pitch and pitch. 

Jackie Bradley Jr. had a 1.001 OPS at the end of play on May 29, 2016. His OPS after play May 29, 2017, was .670.

We know how special David Ortiz was. Let’s not go there, because it seems like no one can talk about Ortiz’s absence rationally. His exit did not suck every home run out of the Sox lineup, as many like to say is the case, but he is — of course — a big missing piece.

Not everything was perfect in 2016, lest we remember our ex-girlfriends too fondly. Carson Smith went for Tommy John surgery, for example. 

But look now: Smith still isn’t back, Tyler Thornburg is a mystery if not quiet yet an afterthought and Robbie Ross Jr. not only struggled to the point he was demoted, he’s going through elbow trouble.

Rick Porcello won the American League Cy Young, much to Kate Upton’s chagrin. Porcello will not win the Cy Young this year, if you hadn’t been paying attention, although Chris Sale might.

There’s something going well for the Sox right now: that Sale guy. The bullpen coughed up the game Monday, Matt Barnes in particular. Yet Sox relievers had the fifth best ERA of any team to start the day. 

Hey, Eduardo Rodriguez looks pretty good, doesn't he?

With some downward trends have come some positives. Craig Kimbrel's on another planet.

The Sox may still be a 90-win team. Again, they remain a very good club.

But the wins, the breaks aren’t coming as easily as they did a year ago. You should never have expected they would.