Wakeup Call: Why can't WE get players like that??

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Wakeup Call: Why can't WE get players like that??

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, October 23:

BASEBALL
Cue Russ Hodges: The Giants win the pennant!! The Giants win the pennant!! (AP)

And cue Bob Lobel: Why can't WE get players like that??!?! (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Marco Scutaro's MVP performance reminded Will Clark of . . . well, himself. (CSN Bay Area)

Hard to believe this was the first Game 7 victory in Giants history. (CSN Bay Area)

You know how the losers all vow "We'll be back" (and usually never are) after playoff elimination? In the Cardinals' case, that might be true. (Hardball Talk)

Enjoy it while you can, Giants, because nbcsports.com's Tony DeMarco says the party's over once you get into the ring against the Tigers.

Ever wonder how they pull Andre Dawson out of the Wrigley Field ivy in that commercial? Take a look behind the scenes at how it all happened. (CSN Chicago)

Tom Brunansky's back in the bigs. (AP)

How far has Curtis Granderson's star fallen in New York? Some in the media are calling for the Yankees to trade him to the Phillies for a positionless 26-year-old in Double-A. (www.beerleaguer.com)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Geno Auriemma wants to speed up the women's game, and he's got some ideas -- like lowering the rims -- to make it happen. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

Over in the men's game, Kentucky's favored to repeat as SEC champion. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Mack Brown isn't a fan of the Longhorn Network. (NBC's College Football Talk)

For the second straight year, Florida State's Chris Thompson has suffered a season-ending injury. (AP)

Oklahoma reinstates suspended defensive tackle Stacy McGee for its Saturday night showdown against Notre Dame. (AP)

That postgame snit of Wyoming coach Dave Christensen two weeks ago costs him 50,000 and a one-game suspension. (AP)

HOCKEY
CSN Washington's Chuck Gormley has an idea to break the stalemate in the NHL labor war.

And make no mistake: It is war. Right, Alex Ovechkin? (CSN Washington)

PRO BASKETBALL
Austin Rivers doesn't think his ankle sprain is "nothing too serious". (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Kobe Bryant's foot is hurting, too. (AP)

There's a lot of enthusiasm building in Philadelphia for the Sixers. But it isn't shared by the league's GMs. (the700level.com)

Now Kevin Durant . . . he's someone the GMs are excited about. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Not to mention LeBron and the Heat. (AP)

Kevin McHale's dumbing things down for the Rockets. (CSN Houston)

Jeff Van Gundy confirms it was David Stern and the NBA who had his brother Stan kicked off ESPN. (Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
They're the talk of the AFC, these Texans are. (CSN Houston)

Winning ugly doesn't bother the Bears, and they did just that Monday night against the Lions. (CSN Chicago)

The price of victory, however, was Jay Cutler's ribs. (CSN Chicago)

Brandon Marshall to Ndamukong Suh: "What u did to Jay wasn't cool." (CSN Chicago)

John Harbaugh says the egg the Ravens laid in Houston Sunday is on him. (CSN Baltimore)

If the Chargers did cheat, says Shaun Phillips, they aren't the first. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

That sideline spat Sunday between Tom Coughlin and Ahmad Bradshaw? No biggie, they insist. (CSN Philly)

The Panthers' 1-5 start cost GM Marty Hurney his job. (AP)

And the Chiefs' 1-5 start cost Matt Cassel his. (AP)

Bills defensive end Chris Kelsay says he has teammates who "aren't playing hard every snap, and that's unacceptable." (Pro Football Talk)

A broken collarbone will sideline the Packers' Charles Woodson for six weeks. (AP)

But there's no timetable on when Maurice Jones-Drew might return. (AP)

Nate Burleson? He's out for the year. (AP)

The Pro Bowl is still on Roger Goodell's chopping block, and it sounds like the players are going to have to put on quite a show this year to save it. (Pro Football Talk)

Perez's eighth-inning slam, after three walks, lifts Royals over Red Sox, 6-4

Perez's eighth-inning slam, after three walks, lifts Royals over Red Sox, 6-4

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Salvador Perez borrowed a Miguel Cabrera bat from Kansas City Royals teammate Drew Butera for the first time Wednesday.

"It's a magic stick," Butera said.

It was magic for Perez, who hit his first career grand slam, connecting in the eighth inning to rally the Royals over the Boston Red Sox 6-4.

"Miggy gave the bat to Butera when Detroit was playing here," Perez said. "Drew doesn't use it. It's too heavy for him. Today, coming into the clubhouse, I put it in my locker. I like the bat.

"Today was the first day I used it and I'll use it Friday, too, before you ask me. I don't want to break that one. I've got to call Miggy and say, `You've got to send me some more bats.'"

The Royals have won nine of 11 and moved within a game of .500.

Perez homered over the Kansas City bullpen in left field on the ninth pitch from Robby Scott (0-1). With Boston leading 4-2, reliever Matt Barnes started the inning by walking Jorge Bonifacio and Lorenzo Cain on 12 pitches.

"We uncharacteristically lost the strike zone," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "For a group that has been so good at not issuing too many walks over the course of the year, we had an inning that got away from us. Matt was up in the zone. He couldn't get the ball down.

"This one stings because that group has been so good, so consistent for the better part of the whole season."

Scott was summoned to face Eric Hosmer, but walked him on four pitches to load the bases for Perez. The All-Star catcher fouled off three full-count deliveries before hitting his 15th home run of the season.

"I was happy with where the pitch was, but it was too good," Scott said. "There's not much else to say about it."

According to ESPN Stats and Information, Perez was the first Kansas City player to hit a grand slam in the eighth inning or later with the Royals trailing since Frank White in 1986. Perez went 3 for 3 in the win.

Jorge Soria (3-2) worked a spotless eighth. Kelvin Herrera pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 19 chances.

Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts hit successive home runs in the Boston fourth off Ian Kennedy.

Benintendi's drive was estimated at 454 feet and landed in the right-center waterfall. The leadoff homer was Boston's first hit, and the 100th of Benintendi's career.

Five pitches later, Bogaerts went deep to left, tying the score at 2. It was the fourth time this season the Red Sox have hit back-to-back home runs.

"I tried to go inside and the ball just ran back over," Kennedy said of the homers.

Red Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz worked 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and six hits.

Kennedy was removed after 4 2/3 innings, giving up four runs, two earned, three hits and three walks. He has just one victory in his past 17 starts.

Errors by Kennedy and first baseman Cheslor Cuthbert helped Boston score twice in the fifth.

ORTIZ'S CEREMONY

The Red Sox will retire David Ortiz's No. 34 in a pregame ceremony Friday at Fenway Park. "When you consider the careers that are on that facade, the numbers that are up there and the fact that his being done so soon after retiring, I think speaks volumes," Farrell said. "What he's meant to the city, what he's meant to the organization. To see him at the ballpark, see the smile, to hear the booming voice, it will be a good day for us."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia missed his third straight game with rib soreness after being hit by a pitch Sunday. "When he went down to swing in the cage, there's still some restriction," Farrell said. "Hopefully he'll be back in the lineup Friday." ... LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (right knee subluxation) will throw a 30-pitch two-inning simulated game Saturday.

Royals: RHP Nathan Karns (forearm strain) threw off a flat surface, his first time tossing since having a setback 11 days ago. ... LHP Danny Duffy (oblique strain) will throw a bullpen session Friday and could begin a minor league rehab stint next week.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: After a day off Thursday, RHP Rick Porcello will start Friday against the Angels.

Royals: RHP Jakob Junis will start Friday against the Blue Jays.

Pedro's Players' Tribune story: How lobster led the Red Sox to David Ortiz

Pedro's Players' Tribune story: How lobster led the Red Sox to David Ortiz

As David Ortiz prepares to have his No. 34 retired Friday night at Fenway Park, Pedro Martinez, in a piece written for The Players' Tribune, recalls how it was a craving for lobster that led to his meeting with Ortiz and the signing that changed the fortunes of the Red Sox.

Martinez recalls how when he was out with the friends in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in December 2002 and wanted lobster. It led him to a restaurant where Ortiz also happened to be just after Big Papi had gotten the news that the Minnesota Twins had released him.

Martinez said he immediately began trying to reach the Red Sox brass.

"I pulled out my little flip phone right there and started calling everybody I could think of back in Boston," Martinez writes. "But nobody picked up, because they were all in the MLB Winter Meetings. Finally I got to the traveling secretary, Jack McCormick, and I said, “Hey, can you get a hold of Lucchino or Theo or somebody?”

“Listen, I’m in the Dominican and I ran into David Ortiz. He just got released by Minnesota. We need to sign him.”

The rest, three World Series championships later, is history. Culminating with No. 34 being unveiled on the right field facade in a pregame ceremony Friday night.

"I thank God that he made me hungry for lobster stew that night in Santo Domingo," Martinez writes. "Because it gave Boston a championship, and it gave me one of my best friends in the world."