Wakeup Call: A sad -- and chilling -- tale

Wakeup Call: A sad -- and chilling -- tale
June 18, 2014, 8:45 am
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Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy and/or interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, June 18:

BASEBALL

Theo Epstein was a 21-year-old college graduate starting his first full-time job in San Diego in 1995. And the person who "made me most comfortable and most welcome was Tony Gwynn . . . Everything that everyone has said about him is true, and then some . . . He was remarkably open and positive and engaged and selfless and giving. He made everyone's day at the ballpark. He was an incredible guy and he'll be missed by everyone in baseball, especially in San Diego." (CSN Chicago)

Addison Reed played for Gwynn at San Diego State. And you have to think Gwynn -- who believed smokeless tobacco caused the cancer that ultimately killed him -- would be happy that Reed, who now pitches for the Diamondbacks, dumped all the tobacco in his locker into the garbage can on the day Gwynn died. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Another big-leaguer who played for Gwynn is the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg. And he can barely hold back the tears as he talks about his ex-coach. (CSN Washington)

Fourteen starts, 11-1 record, 1.99 ERA . . . for once, the hype -- about Masahiro Tanaka -- was justified. In fact, it may have been a little understated. (AP)

The Royals make it nine in a row, and are in first place this late in the season for the first time since 2003. (AP)

The A's have Yu Darvish's number, that's for sure. (AP)

The Diamondbacks get their revenge for a beaning of Chris Owings, as Arizona's Evan Marshall drills Ryan Bruan in the butt -- and gets himself ejected -- with runners at second and third and one out. Alas for the D'backs, the Brewers get the last laugh, as Jonathan Lucroy smashes a grand slam to give Milwaukee a 7-4 lead in a game they go on to win, 7-5. (Hardball Talk)

Lucroy is also at the center of a clever -- and funny -- ad that urges Brewer fans to vote him onto the All-Star team. (Hardball Talk)

I think it's time to start worrying about Justin Verlander, if you're inclined to worry about such things. (Hardball Talk)

But Justin Morneau has silenced the worriers who thought he was washed up. (Yahoo! Sports)

Honest to God, Carlos Pena has more lives than Garfield. (Hardball Talk)

It's long been assumed that the Cubs will dump Jeff Samardzija at the trade deadline. But now we hear otherwise. (Hardball Talk)

Even so, a trade is probably how this is going to end. (CSN Chicago)

Suspensions and fines are starting to come down in that baffling Rockies-Braves brawl the other day. (AP)

Looks like Bryce Harper is on track for an early July return. (Hardball Talk)

As is Cliff Lee. (CSN Philly)

No one ever ran the bases faster than Dee Gordon did Monday night. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Kansas is America's team. Literally. (AP)

In the O'Bannon trial, the NCAA puts forth the same argument that MLB owners used unsuccessfully when fighting against free agency 40 years ago (and, for that matter, that segregationalists used 70 years ago to fight against the integration of sports): That changing the system -- in this case, its refusal to pay players -- would "would tear apart the very foundation" that college athletics is built upon. It's never worked before, NCAA, but, hey, maybe the third time's a charm. (AP)

And now it's NCAA president Mark Emmert's turn to take the stand and defend the indefensible. (Yahoo! Sports)

In the meantime, the Power 5 conferences continue to prepare for the moment when they take over major college sports. (Yahoo! Sports)

After the Pistons pilfered their coach, Jeff Bower, to take over as GM in Detroit, Marist College has a new man on the bench: Mike Maker, who coached Williams College to the Division III national championship game last season for the second time in five years. (AP)

Wyoming's Larry Shyatt becomes the fifth Mountain West coach to get a new contract this offseason. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

Jeremiah Davis III left Cincinnati last December to be with his family after they were displaced by a house fire. He transferred to Ball State and the NCAA rules he'll be eligible to play there next year. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Dave Joyner, who got Penn State through the Jerry Sandusky scandal as acting AD, is stepping down. (AP)

Strange times at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys discover that incoming freshman Devon Thomas -- who they already knew is facing five felonies -- was arrested prior to his junior year in high school and charged with distributing child pornography . . . (NBC's College Football Talk)

. . . and also are told that one of their players, whom the police are not publicly identifying, was stabbed, robbed and abducted in an incident Monday night. Police did say, however, that the player was treated at, and released from, a local hospital. (College Football Talk)

GOLF

Slowly but surely, Tiger Woods is working his way back. (AP)

Yes, 11-year-old Lucy Li will participate in the U.S. Women's Open. (AP)

HOCKEY

The Stanley Cup takes a trip to Dodger Stadium. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

After 10 years of playoff failures, the Sharks declare themselves to be in rebuilding mode. Doesn't sound good for old friend Joe Thornton, or Patrick Marleau. (CSN Bay Area)

The Penguins expand their coaching search to include Ron Wilson and Marc Crawford. (Pro Hockey Talk)

They also want to talk to Kings assistant John Stevens, as do the Hurricanes. (Pro Hockey Talk)

As everyone expected, the Sabres buy out Ville Leino. (AP)

So do the Stars with Aaron Rome, whom they'd signed to a seven-year deal in 2012. (AP)

The Predators aren't impressed with this year's free-agent class, so they're willing to trade their No. 1 draft choice for a top-six forward. (Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL

LeBron James is going on vacationThen he'll think about his future. (AP)

With the 'Melo-to-the-Heat talk cooling off, rumors begin surfacing that Miami will make a run at Kyle Lowry. Provided that James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh opt out of their contracts and agree to discounted deals, of course. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Elsewhere, Dirk Nowitzki starts recruiting 'Melo to come to Dallas. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Dwight Howard won't recruit him for Houston, but he's "on the same page" with the Rockets as they try to get another star, any other star, to pair with him and James Harden. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Both Tony Parker and the Spurs' owner, Peter Holt, expect Tim Duncan to return next year. (Pro Basketball Talk)

As does Manu Ginobili. (AP)

Duncan has a big fan in none other than Bill Russell. (Pro Basketball Talk)

The Wizards? 2014-15 NBA champs? Why not? asks John Wall. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Andrew Wiggins and the Sixers are apparently batting their eyes at each other. (Pro Basketball Talk)

But their attempts to keep their courtship private ruffled some feathers in Philadelphia, forcing the Sixers to make a public apology for kicking media and fans out of the practice facility when Wiggins was working out. (CSN Philly)

It also appears Joel Embiid and the Cavs are headed to the altar. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Julius Randle would love to tie the knot with the Lakers. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Can't be good news for old friend Kevin McHale that the Rockets want to bring in Lionel Hollins -- i.e., a ready-made replacement should they decide to make a change -- as an assistant. (Pro Basketball Talk)

The Timberwolves' hiring of Sam Mitchell as an assistant would seem to put the same kind of pressure on their head coach . . . except that coach, Flip Saunders, doubles as team president. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL

Jim McMahon tells a chilling tale of his battle with early onset dementia and depression, which he believes are the result of his years in the NFL. (AP) 

Andre Johnson isn't the only NFLer boycotting mini-camp. (CSN Houston) In Dallas, Kyle Orton's a no-show. (AP)

As are Vernon Davis and Alex Boone in San Francisco. (CSN Bay Area)

Neither is Eric Wright, but he might retire. (CSN Bay Area)

Mike Goodson hasn't reported to Jets' camp, either. Not really a smart move, considering his injury history and off-the-field problems. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

But -- surprise, surprise! -- Marshawn Lynch shows up in Seattle. (Pro Football Talk)

Jim Harbaugh, by the way, isn't a happy camper about Davis' and Boone's absences. (Pro Football Talk)

Old friend Bill O'Brien has named former Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick as the Texans' starter. (CSN Houston)

And to drive home the point, O'Brien releases T.J. Yates. (CSN Houston)

Marcell Dareus is back with the Bills after taking a couple of weeks off in light of his two offseason arrests. (AP)

Earl Bennett's time with the Browns didn't last long. (Pro Football Talk)

Mean Joe Greene and Art Rooney II are among Chuck Noll's pallbearers. (Pro Football Talk)

SOCCER

Well, John Brooks, your 15 minutes of fame are up: Even though you scored the game-winning goal against Ghana, Jurgen Klinsmann is putting you back on the bench for Sunday's match against Portugal. (Yahoo! Sports)

Clint Dempsey's been told to wear a face mask to protect the nose he broke against Ghana. (Yahoo! Sports)

Hey, Jurgen: You were the one who told them they couldn't win. What do you mean you won't let the U.S. rest on its laurels? (Yahoo! Sports)

Guillermo Ochoa stands on his head in helping Mexico hold Brazil to a 0-0 tie, and for his efforts he's mentioned nearly 2,000,000 times on Twitter. (soccerly.com)

Oops. (Yahoo! Sports)

The real world intrudes into the joy and festivity of the World Cup in deadly fashion: At least 21 people are killed and at least 27 injured as a bomb rips through an area where people had gathered to watch the Brazil-Mexico game in an area of Nigeria plagued by attacks from Islamic terrorists. (bbc.com)

TENNIS

Being the defending champ doesn't impress those who do the seeding at Wimbledon: Andy Murray is seeded third in the men's draw, as Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams get the No. 1 positions. (AP)

Victoria Azarenka describes herself as "pretty pleased" after her first match in three months, a three-set loss to Camila Giorgi. (AP)