Wakeup Call: New voices, new network, new problems

Wakeup Call: New voices, new network, new problems
February 6, 2014, 7:15 am
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Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy and/or interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, February 6:

AUTO RACING

After seeing some of the 72-year-olds on our roads, I'm not sure this is such a good idea. (AP)

BASEBALL

Forget the Polar Vortex. Pitchers and catchers have reported to the Diamondbacks, who are starting early because they're playing the Dodgers in regular-season games in Australia on March 22. Spring is here! (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Cory Luebke's first Tommy John surgery didn't work, so he'll have to try it again . . . which means he won't return to the Padres until 2015 at the earliest. (AP)

Troy Patton says his positive test for Adderall, which resulted in a 25-game suspension that starts on Opening Day, was a "stupid mistake" that he regrets. He's going to really regret it come spring training, since Buck Showalter -- who wants to evaluate pitchers who can actually pitch for the Orioles in April --made it clear he has no intention of giving Patton any meaningful innings during the exhibition season. (AP)

I wasn't surprised to read that Bryan LaHair has signed a minor-league deal with the Indians; I was surprised to read that he was a National League All-Star in 2012. Was I asleep or something? (AP)

Jerome Williams is now an Astro. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Remember all that talk about No. 4 Wichita State reaching the NCAA Tournament with an unbeaten record? It's still possible. (AP)

It's also possible that when all is said and done, the Shockers will be cutting down some nets in April. (Yahoo! Sports)

No. 5 San Diego State rallies from a 14-point deficit for a victory at Boise State, its 19th straight win. (AP)

No. 15 Saint Louis extends its winning streak to 15, a school record. (AP)

No. 10 Michigan rebounds from its loss at Indiana with a rout of Nebraska. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

National Signing Day is done, and rivals.com says that Alabama -- for the fourth straight year, and sixth in the last seven -- has the nation's top recruiting class. (AP)

But they were also happy with their haul at Florida State . . . (AP)

. . . and Auburn . . . (AP)

. . . and Florida, among many others, I'm sure. (AP)

Enough of the piecemeal approach: Here are your winners and losers. (NBC's College Football Talk)

At Texas, they were relieved to keep Mack Brown's recruiting class together despite the change of coaches. (AP)

And that new coach, James Strong, warmed the heart of Longhorn Nation with a few well-placed jabs at Texas A&M. (Yahoo! Sports)

Penn State is pleased with James Franklin's first class. (AP)

HOCKEY

The Blackhawks blank the Ducks in a battle of the teams with the NHL's best records. (CSN Chicago)

Patrick Kane played last night, but he'll miss the 'Hawks' game in Phoenix on Friday because of his grandfather's funeral. (CSN Chicago)

Today, Dan Bylsma is happy that Sidney Crosby scored on Ryan Miller last night to lead his Penguins over the Sabres. Next week, though, when Bylsma is coaching the U.S. Olympic Team with Miller as his goalie and Crosby is skating for Team Canada, he won't be so pleased if it happens again. (AP)

OLYMPICS

It was a nice dream, but Steven Stamkos won't be able to play in Sochi. His broken leg simply hasn't had enough time to heal. (AP)

Stamkos is one of the top stories to emerge on the eve of the opening ceremonies. (Yahoo! Sports)

Speaking of hockey, the NHL is sending its concussion expert to Russia to keep track of its players. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Alex Ovechkin has been the face of the Games, at least around here, and he admits it's been tough. (CSN Washington)

After all that controversy, Billie Jean King won't be part of the U.S. delegation to the Games after all. Her mother's sick, so she's staying home. (AP)

Who's carrying the U.S. flag in the opening ceremonies, you ask? Why, Todd Lodwick, of course! (Yahoo! Sports)

It was only a training run, but Bode Miller's off to a good start in Sochi. (AP via nbcolympics.com)

PRO BASKETBALL

So what happens when you're so depleted that you only have four players available at the end of a game? Ask the Lakers; it happened to them last night. Still, they won . . . so what does that tell you about the Cavaliers, whom they beat? (AP)

How can you hate LaMarcus Aldridge? First he hits a late jumper to put away the Knicks, and then he stares down Spike Lee. (Yahoo! Sports)

Old friend Ray Allen leads the Heat over old friend Doc Rivers' Clippers. (AP)

One of these days, the Wizards are going to beat the Spurs. But last night wasn't one of those days. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL

Step aside, Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock; Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are now your Thursday night voices as CBS partners with the NFL to televise 8 of next year's 14 Thursday Night Football games. Nantz and Simms will also announce the six Thursday games on the NFL Network, which will be produced by CBS. (AP)

This new arrangement, though, means that two teams will have to play two Thursday games because there are 17 total Thursday games counting the three on Thanksgiving. Up to now, the inconvenience had been spread evenly among all 32 teams, each of whom only had to play once on Thursday. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

700,000 show up for the victory parade in Seattle. (AP)

Old friend Matt Cassel's available, as he voids his 2014 contract option with the Vikings. (AP)

Richie Incognito will also soon be available, and the Raiders historically have been a landing spot for the great unwanted of the NFL. So . . . ? (CSN Bay Area)

Antonio Cromartie's trying -- unsuccessfully -- to distance himself from his "we're going to smoke pot" comments. (Pro Football Talk)