Wakeup Call: Kobe has A-Rod's back

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Wakeup Call: Kobe has A-Rod's back

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

BASEBALL
Are these A's a great story, or what? (CSN Bay Area)

They're even overshadowing the Giants, and that's not easy. (CSN Bay Area)

But this great story may be coming to an end. (CSN Washington)

This one, too. (CSN Baltimore)

So how about it, Joe Girardi? You're not still thinking of keeping A-Rod in the No. 3 spot, are you? (NBC's Hardball Talk)

You'd better, if you don't want Kobe Bryant mad at you. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

It may be the 167th -- and potentially final -- game, but NBC's Hardball Talk's Matthew Pouliot says it's time for the Tigers to change closers. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
The NCAA is knocking on Myck Kabongo's door down at Texas, and that's never a good thing. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Speaking of the NCAA, its standing by its sanctions against Boise State. (AP)

Jerry Sandusky's lawyer says the state of Pennsylvania has no legal grounds for revoking his client's pension, and he believes "they are just going through the motions to try to throw some red meat to the public". (AP)

GOLF
Tiger Woods channels his inner NHL skater and looks to play in Europe. (AP) He'd still stay on the PGA Tour, though.

HOCKEY
But it looks like some of the hockey players who went over -- or at least the Russians -- may stay there all year, even if the lockout ends. (CSN Washington)

Apparently, the NHLPA -- at the urging of the league -- is working on a new proposal. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk) What, so the owners can say "no" again and then cry the players are being unreasonable? Or put their own laughably one-sided offer back on the table and claim they made a "legitimate counteroffer"? Sorry to be so cynical; just can't get the phrase "past actions are the best indicator of future performance" out of my mind.

And why does the phrase "crocodile tears" leap into my head at this one? (Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
Looks like the Warriors are going to have to start the year without Andrew Bogut. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Judging by last night, the Lakers better hope they don't have to start it without Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard. (AP)

Cross David Stern at your peril. Just ask Stan Van Gundy. (Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
R.I.P., Alex Karras. (AP)

Using capital letters to make sure everyone gets the point, the done-for-the-year Brian Cushing assures his Facebook friends -- and Texans fans, I would imagine -- that "WE are STILL winning THIS year's Super Bowl". (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

The NFL is reviewing Matt Slauson's hit on Cushing, though nothing's expected to come of it. (Pro Football Talk)

Rex Ryan's support for Mark Sanchez is getting a little weaker. (AP)

The NFL says former Vikings defensive lineman Jimmy Kennedy was the original whistle-blower on BountyGate. Kennedy, ah, denies it. Strongly. (Pro Football Talk)

Don't invite Scott Fujita to a party with Roger Goodell. (AP)

Hasn't been much of a year for Ryan Kalil. First there was the Super Bowl guarantee, then the Panthers' 1-4 start, and now he's out for the season. (AP)

To paraphrase Gordon Gecko (sort of), Jim Harbaugh says paranoia is good. (CSN Bay Area)

Terry Bradshaw continues to audition for the lead role in Grumpy Old Men III. (Pro Football Talk)

Brady Quinn's getting ready, since it looks like Matt Cassel's a no-go for Sunday. (AP)

Old friend Mark Anderson's out indefinitely in Buffalo. (AP)

T.O. won't take 'no' for an answer from the Jets. (Pro Football Talk)

TENNIS
Roger Federer says he forgot all about those death threats once the match started. (AP)

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

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Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

BOSTON - Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon hit two-run homers and the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 on Friday to cap a night in which David Ortiz's number became the latest retired at Fenway Park.

It was the 250th career home run for Ramirez, a good friend of Ortiz who was also born in the Dominican Republic. Leon finished with three hits and four RBIs.

The homers helped provide a nice cushion for Rick Porcello (4-9), who gave up four runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory. It was the 13th straight start Porcello has gone at least six innings.

Alex Meyer (3-4) allowed five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Los Angeles scored three runs in the seventh, but cooled off after Porcello left.

Boston got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on an RBI double by Xander Bogaerts and then getting two more runs off wild pitches by Meyer.

Ramirez gave Porcello a 5-1 lead in the fourth with his two-run shot to right field.

This could serve as a needed confidence boost for Porcello, who had been 0-4 with a 7.92 ERA in his previous five starts, allowing 47 hits and 27 earned runs.

He had command of his pitches early, holding the Angels scoreless until the fourth, when a catching error by Leon at home allowed Albert Pujols to cross the plate.

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

BOSTON —  The Red Sox have become well known for their ceremonies, for their pull-out-all-the-stops approach to pomp. The retirement of David Ortiz’s No. 34 on Friday evening was in one way, then, typical.

A red banner covered up Ortiz’s No. 34 in right field, on the facade of the grandstand, until it was dropped down as Ortiz, his family, Red Sox ownership and others who have been immortalized in Fenway lore looked on. Carl Yazstremski and Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Pedro Martinez. 

The half-hour long tribute further guaranteed permanence to a baseball icon whose permanence in the city and the sport was never in doubt. But the moments that made Friday actually feel special, rather than expected, were stripped down and quick. 

Dustin Pedroia’s not one to belabor many points, never been the most effusive guy around. (He’d probably do well on a newspaper deadline.) The second baseman spoke right before Ortiz took to the podium behind the mound.

“We want to thank you for not the clutch hits, the 500 home runs, we want to thank you for how you made us feel and it’s love,” Pedroia said, with No. 34 painted into both on-deck circles and cut into the grass in center field. “And you’re not our teammate, you’re not our friend, you’re our family. … Thank you, we love you.”

Those words were enough for Ortiz to have tears in his eyes.

“Little guy made me cry,” Ortiz said, wiping his hands across his face. “I feel so grateful. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to have the career that I have. But I thank God even more for giving me the family and what I came from, who teach me how to try to do everything the right way. Nothing — not money — nothing is better than socializing with the people that are around you, get familiar with, show them love, every single day. It’s honor to get to see my number …. I remember hitting batting practice on this field, I always was trying to hit those numbers.”

Now that’s a poignant image for a left-handed slugger at Fenway Park.

He did it once, he said — hit the numbers. He wasn’t sure when. Somewhere in 2011-13, he estimated — but he said he hit Bobby Doerr’s No. 1.

“It was a good day to hit during batting practice,” Ortiz remembered afterward in a press conference. “But to be honest with you, I never thought I’d have a chance to hit the ball out there. It’s pretty far. My comment based on those numbers was, like, I started just getting behind the history of this organization. Those guys, those numbers have a lot of good baseball in them. It takes special people to do special things and at the end of the day have their number retired up there, so that happening to me today, it’s a super honor to be up there, hanging with those guys.”

The day was all about his number, ultimately, and his number took inspiration from the late Kirby Puckett. Ortiz’s major league career began with the Twins in 1997. Puckett passed away in 2006, but the Red Sox brought his children to Fenway Park. They did not speak at the podium or throw a ceremonial first pitch, but their presence likely meant more than, say, Jason Varitek’s or Tim Wakefield’s.

“Oh man, that was very emotional,” Ortiz said. “I’m not going to lie to you, like, when I saw them coming toward me, I thought about Kirby. A lot. That was my man, you know. It was super nice to see his kids. Because I remember, when they were little guys, little kids. Once I got to join the Minnesota Twins, Kirby was already working in the front office. So they were, they used to come in and out. I used to get to see them. But their dad was a very special person for me and that’s why you saw me carry the No. 34 when I got here. It was very special to get to see them, to get kind of connected with Kirby somehow someway.”

Ortiz’s place in the row of 11 retired numbers comes in between Boggs’ No. 26 and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42.