Wakeup Call: A new national holiday?

Wakeup Call: A new national holiday?
February 26, 2014, 9:15 am

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy and/or interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, February 26:

AUTO RACING

Dale Earnhardt Jr. promised he'd join Twitter if he won the Daytona 500. And so he has. (AP)

He's got a ways to go to catch Danica Patrick, though: She has more than a million Twitter followers, the highest of any NASCAR driver, and among the highest of all female athletes in the world. (AP)

BASEBALL

Yeah, it's just a publicity stunt for Budweiser. Still, wouldn't it be cool if Opening Day were a national holiday? (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Buster Posey, whose horrific injuries in 2011 sparked MLB to consider legislation regarding home-plate collisions, likes the new rules. (AP)

John Jaso suffered his catching injury by being hit with a foul tip, not a collision. But now, for the first time since being hurt last July 24, he's back behind the plate. (AP)

Jameis Winston didn't pitch against the Yankees, after all. He played left field went 0-for-2 in the Seminoles' 8-3 loss. (AP)

Clear your calendar: Masahiro Tanaka will make his Yankee debut Saturday. (AP)

If it's the end of February, it must be time to name your Opening Day starter. The Rangers tab Yu Darvish . . . (AP)

. . . and the Giants are going with Madison Bumgarner. (AP)

Want to know why Johan Santana hasn't signed with anybody yet? He's barely topping 80 in workouts for MLB clubs. (Yahoo! Sports)

Just what MLB, trying to expand its global brand, wants to hear: Zack Greinke says he "can't think of one good reason to be excited" about the Dodgers' opening the season in Australia. (AP)

Hey, Zack. Maybe you can emulate Matt Kemp and try to get out of going by being injured. (AP)

The Cardinals send Jaime Garcia to see Dr. Andrews, and that's never good. (AP)

C.J. Wilson takes a comebacker off the noggin while throwing batting practice, but doesn't have a concussion and says he's fine. Angels teammate Josh Hamilton, however, is on crutches because of a strained calf. (Yahoo! Sports)

Ryan Howard says that now that his left leg is healthy again, he'll be better against left-handed pitching. Early returns are encouraging. (CSN Philly)

Mike Schmidt is joining the Phillies' broadcast team. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

For the first time in 23 years, we have a team starting a season at 30-0: No. 2 Wichita State. (AP)

One notch above them, No. 1 Florida struggles to get past Vanderbilt. (AP)

No. 6 Duke completes its 5-games-in-11-days span by easily stopping Virginia Tech. (AP)

Don't know how far No. 13 San Diego State will wind up going this year, but they're certainly the kings of California. (AP)

Earlier this week, coach Fran McCaffrey of No. 20 Iowa ordered his players off Twitter. Last night, they went out and lost to Minnesota. Concidence? I think not. (AP)

And the outcome keeps the Gophers' NCAA hopes alive. (Yahoo! Sports)

Some other other bubble teams -- Saint Joseph's and Xavier, specifically -- also had good nights. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

In the women's ranks, No. 1 UConn beats SMU by 33 . . . which is a squeaker compared to the Huskies' 61-point win over the Mustangs earlier this month. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Former Patriot running Craig James is suing Fox for religious discrimination, saying he was fired from his job as a college football analyst because of his opposition to same-sex marriage based on religious beliefs. (AP)

That Rose Bowl victory earned Mark Dantonio a nice little raise from Michigan State. (AP)

The feds are looking into how Michigan responded to a reported violation of the school's sexual misconduct policy by kicker Brendan Gibbons, who is no longer enrolled in school. (AP)

Utah redshirt freshman defensive lineman Moana Ofahengaue sustains a serious head injury in a motorized bike accident and is in critical condition. (AP)

GOLF

The clueess Steve Elkington really should follow Fran McCaffrey's advice and get off Twitter. Because he sure stepped into it with a Tweet about Michael Sam, coming only a few months he Tweeted a "joke" about the helicopter crash in Scotland that killed 10 people. (AP)

U.S. Open champion Justin Rose withdrawns from the Honda Classic to rest his right shoulder. (AP)

HOCKEY

The NHL is back! And Ryan Miller, in what may be one of his final games in Buffalo, backstops the Sabres to a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes. (AP)

Games like this may keep Ted Nolan behind the bench. (AP)

John Tavares says that, torn MCL or not, he loved the Olympic experience and would play for Team Canada again in a heartbeat. (AP)

Don't know why he wanted until he got back to the United States to do it, but Alex Ovechkin apologizes for Russia's disappointing performance in Sochi. (AP)

Dan Bylsma's not apologizing for the U.S.'s goose egg in its last two games. Instead, he's turning the page and focusing back on the Penguins. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL

Jason Collins wore No. 46 in his Nets debut, but that was because it was the only jersey Brooklyn had available on short notice. He'll now switch back to his normal No. 98 -- which he wears in honor of Matthew Shepherd, the student who was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime in 1998 -- and it's already the top seller among all NBA jerseys. (Yahoo! Sports)

The Suns, and the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, come out against proposed legislation in Arizona that would allow business owners to use their personal religious beliefs to refuse service . . . a way, the bill's detractors believe, that would allow legal discrimination against gays. (Yahoo! Sports)

A little thing like an arrest on a gun charge won't keep Raymond Felton out of the Knicks' lineup tomorrow. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Looks like Felton and his teammates will be facing LeBron James, whose broken nose is getting better and who may return to Heat lineup against New York. (AP)

James Harden ignores what are becoming nightly meltdowns by DeMarcus Cousins and scores 43 points in three quarters in leading the Rockets past the Kings. (AP)

Normally the best team in the East routing the worst team in the West wouldn't merit mention here. But it's the Lakers, so . . .  (AP)

The Sixers are trying to convince Danny Granger to hang around. (CSN Philly)

But if they can't, the Spurs are interested. (Pro Basketball Talk)

A 4-point line? Get serious. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL

More hate for Johnny Football: Ron Jaworski says he wouldn't take Manziel before the fourth round. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Remember when San Diego State running back Adam Muema left the Combine because, he says, God told him to? Well, his friends haven't been able to reach him since then and they're getting concerned. (Pro Football Talk)

The Dolphins are telling people they want Jonathan Martin back -- even though they probably don't, and even though Martin probably doesn't want to come back -- so they can trade him. (Pro Football Talk)

Another guy rumored to be on the trading block: Darrelle Revis. (Pro Football Talk)

Teams may be able to afford him, since it looks like the salary cap may go as high as $135 million. (Pro Football Talk)

Even with a higher cap, the Saints may have to bid farewell to Pierre Thomas. (Pro Football Talk)

The NFL's attempt to ban racial language may stem from the incident last November between Redskins tackle Trent Williams and referee Roy Ellison. (Pro Football Talk)

The Panthers' three-time Pro Bowl left tackle, Jordan Gross, is retiring. (AP)

The next Super Bowl is scheduled to be played in Arizona. But if that anti-gay bill becomes law, the NFL may switch it elsewhere. (Pro Football Talk)

SOCCER

Man U. loses to Olympiakos for the first time. Ever. (NBC's Pro Soccer Talk)