Wakeup Call: Lester loses showdown with King Felix

Wakeup Call: Lester loses showdown with King Felix
September 4, 2014, 8:00 am
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Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy and/or interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, September 4:

AUTO RACING

The mother ship signs a 10-year deal to sponsor NASCAR's second-tier racing series. (AP)

BASEBALL

Um, Jon? The A's traded for you in the expectation you'd win games like this. (AP)

When he pitched a no-hitter earlier this year, it looked like Josh Beckett was making a feel-good comeback for the Dodgers. But now he admits the torn hip labrum that landed him on the DL in August makes pitching any more this season "not very possible." (NBC's Hardball Talk)

It also looks like Starlin Castro's season is over. (CSN Chicago)

Everybody says the most important thing is playing well at the end, and the Cardinals are following that strategy to the letter. (AP)

Not the Brewers, though. (AP)

With a big lead in the A.L. East, Buck Showalter doesn't want to jinx anything. (CSN Baltimore)

Ah, don't worry, Buck. You guys are rolling. (AP)

Kris Bryant is young, so he can be forgiven for just now beginning to realize that baseball's a business. (Hardball Talk)

Vin Scully's concession to age: Starting next year, he's only going to broadcast Dodger home games and whatever interleague games they play in nearby Anaheim. (Hardball Talk)

Colby Rasmus insists he has "no hard feelings" about his benching by the Blue Jays. (Hardball Talk)

Craig Biggio, Astros manager? Maybe . . . (Hardball Talk)

BOXING

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has a clever response to 50 Cent's insult. (Yahoo! Sports)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

In the latest sign of the apocalypse, Geno Auriemma's congratulatory phone call to 13-year-old Mo'ne Davis -- the Little League star who says her dream is to play point guard for Connecticut -- is reported to the NCAA by a fellow American Athletic Conference school as a recruiting violation. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

Coach K may be 67, but he doesn't plan on retiring anytime soon. (College Basketball Talk)

From Williams to Michigan: Duncan Robinson's stepping up in the world. Basketball-wise, that is. (AP)

Dominic Artis, one of three players kicked off the Oregon team after being accused of sexual assault by a student at the school, will spend the 2014-15 school year at Diablo Valley College . . . but, while he'll practice with the team, he won't play in any games in an attempt to protect his remaining eligibility. (College Basketball Talk)

Texas A&M extends the contract of coach Billy Kennedy. (College Basketball Talk)

Seems like kind of a comedown, since the ACC tournament will be held there in 2016 and the Big Ten tournament in 2017, but Washington, D.C.'s Verizon Center reportedly will host the Atlantic 10 tournament in 2018. (AP)

Shameless plug: Here are the games you can watch this winter on the NBC Sports Network. (College Basketball Talk)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Will Muschamp rips critics -- like me -- who ridiculed the 10-second suspension of three of his players. (AP)

It was only 10 seconds because that's as long as the game between Florida and Idaho lasted before it was called because of unsafe field conditions caused by heavy rains. And the schools decided yesterday that they won't replay it. (AP)

Texas coach Charlie Strong suspends offensive linemen Desmond Harrison and Kennedy Estelle for Saturday's game against BYU because of unspecified violations of team rules. (AP)

Calling him "a good individual who has lost his way," Clemson coach Dabo Sweeney kicks freshman wide receiever Kyrin Priester -- whom he says has "no respect for authority" -- off the team. (AP)

UCLA running back Steven Manfro will miss the rest of the season because of a torn ACL. (AP)

Former Patriot Adrian Klemm is now the Bruins' offensive-line coach, and he's none too happy with his charges even though UCLA managed to beat Virginia, 28-20, last week. (Yahoo! Sports)

Three Eastern Michigan players are facing misdemeanor charges of aggravated assault after an incident last week. (NBC's College Football Talk)

HOCKEY

The Ottawa Sun has some 'splainin to do after posting a story -- since deleted -- on its Web site that Sid The Kid was arrested by Ottawa police. Because not only wasn't Crosby arrested, but he wasn't even in Ottawa. (Yahoo! Sports) 

The No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft, Aaron Ekblad, signs a three-year, entry-level contract with the Panthers. (AP)

Contract talks between the Blues and Jaden Schwartz aren't going nearly as smoothly. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Ex-NHL stars Eddie Olcyzk and Mike Grier will coach the two teams participating in USA Hockey's All-American Prospects game later this month. (AP)

Gary Bettman says that expansion rumor is untrue because the $1.4 billion the league would reportedly collect by adding four new teams "is way too low." (Pro Hockey Talk)

Is it true Jarome Iginla chose the Avalanche over the Lightning in free agency because Denver's youth hockey programs -- he has three children -- are better than the ones in Tampa? (Pro Hockey Talk)

 The financially troubled KHL finds the funds to get its season underway . . . minus its old franchise in Ukraine. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL

Steve Nash hasn't played very much for the Lakers since joining them two years ago -- injuries, don't you know -- but L.A. decides to bring him back anyway. (Yahoo! Sports)

Jared Dudley claims he's "happy" to go from the contending Clippers to the woeful Bucks. Whatever, Jared. (AP) 

In the meantime, Ekpe Udoh's taking the opposite trip. (Yahoo! Sports)

The Nets' Deron Williams says he still doesn't feel comfortable in New York. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

The Thunder have a two-word answer for Reggie Jackson when he tells them he wants to start: Russell Westbrook. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Speaking of Westbrook, he's now engaged to Nina Earl, who played women's basketball at UCLA while he was on the men's team. (Pro Basketball Talk)

The Chicago Sky are headed to the WNBA Finals after their three-game dispatch of the Indiana Fever. (AP)

And that ends the 42-year, Hall of Fame coaching career of the Fever's Lin Dunn. She's retiring now that the season is over. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL

If Brett Kollman of SB Nation is to be believed, the Texans absolutely snookered the Patriots in their recent trade. Why? Because in watching film of Ryan Mallett in exhibition games against the Redskins and Eagles, Kollman gushes that the "combined package of pure arm talent, pocket presence, and mental acuity  . . . was far beyond anything shown from any Texans quarterback this August. Some of Mallett’s throws were simply breathtaking . . . What excited me the most about Mallett’s preseason, however, was not physical.  It was cerebral . . .  [The] tape reveals an almost surgical approach to the game." And all that for just a seventh-round pick! (Yahoo! Sports)

Some familiar faces are helping Mallett's adjustment to his new team. (CSN Houston)

The family of former Pats linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide in 2012, has opted out of a proposed NFL legal settlement with former players over concussion-related injuries and will continue its wrongful death lawsuit against the league. (AP)

The league's crackdown on helmet-to-helmet hits in recent years may be working, as concussions during the 2013 season were down 13 percent from 2012. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Jason Garrett insists the Cowboys' signing of Michael Sam to their practice squad is "all about football." (Pro Football Talk)

How can there be coaches on the hot seat when the season hasn't even begun? (Yahoo! Sports)

RGIII disputes new coach Jay Gruden's notion that he wants to be loved by everyone. "Trust me," he says, "I'm not worried about anybody liking me." (AP)

That fractured rib he suffered against the Patriots two weeks ago kept Cam Newton on the sidelines during yesterday's practice. (Pro Football Talk)

The Browns assure Brian Hoyer that even if he struggles in the season opener against the Steelers, he won't be lifted in favor of Johnny Football. (AP)

The Saints bring back running back Robert Meachem, and extend the contract of linebacker Junior Galette. (AP)

The Raiders haven't won a game in the Eastern time zone since 2009, so they're flying to New York today to get acclimated prior to Sunday's meeting with the Jets. (Pro Football Talk)

Johnthan Banks knows he's lucky: He never missed a game for the Bucs despite contracting MRSA, which ended the careers of former teammates Carl Nicks and Lawrence Tynes. (Yahoo! Sports)

A member of the Jets' practice squad is arrested after an alleged fight at a New Jersey hotel. (AP)

SOCCER

Nick Rimando saves the day in the United States' 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic in yesterday's friendly. (NBC's Pro Soccer Talk)

Call it the first step toward earning a spot in the 2018 World Cup semifinals, which is Jurgen Klinsmann's goal. (Pro Soccer Talk)

Here are five ways the U.S. can get there. (Pro Soccer Talk)

TENNIS

Ekaterina Makarova reaches her first Grand Slam semifinal by beating Victoria Azarenka in straight sets at the U.S. Open. (AP)

And Serena Williams got there for the umpteenth time as she defeated Flavia Pannetta. (Yahoo! Sports)

Making it to the semifinals on the men's side are Kei Nishikori, the first Japanese player to reach the semis in any major tournament since 1933 . . . (AP)

. . . and Novak Djokovic, who eliminates Andy Murray in four sets. (AP)

The Americans' dismal performance in recent Grand Slam events costs Patrick McEnroe his job as the U.S. Tennis Association's general manager of player development, even though they're calling it a resignation. (AP)