Wakeup Call: Time was they'd have been a perfect fit

Wakeup Call: Time was they'd have been a perfect fit
March 31, 2014, 9:00 am
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 Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy and/or interesting tidbits -- for Monday, March 31:


Jimmie Johnson isn't the "Martinsville master" this year, thanks to Kurt Busch. (AP)

But Brad Keselowski isn't leading the cheers for Busch. (Yahoo! Sports)


And we're off! The baseball season -- at least the North American version of it -- begins with the Padres rallying for a 3-1 win over the Dodgers. (AP)

Not to worry. L.A.'s laughing all the way to the bank. (AP)

Well, maybe not Brian Wilson. (Yahoo! Sports)

Old friend Josh Beckett's probably happy, but that's because he's beaten out Paul Maholm for the fifth spot in the Dodgers' rotation. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

It all begins for most everyone else today, but not these poor guys. Headed to the disabled list are Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison . . . (AP)

. . . Clayton Kershaw, for the first time in his career . . . (AP)

. . . Casey Janssen, leaving the Blue Jays without a closer temporarily . . . (AP)

. . . Jeremy Hellickson and two other members of the Rays . . . (AP)

. . . Gordon Beckham and Jeff Keppinger of the White Sox . . . (AP)

. . . and eight members of the Reds, including Aroldis Chapman, Mat Latos and Devin Mesoraco. (AP)

The Tigers are shuffling their lineup, putting Ian Kinsler in the leadoff spot and dropping Austin Jackson to fifth. (Hardball Talk)

If I'm the Angels, I'm a little concerned that Mike Trout chose to celebrate his six-year, $144.5 million contract like this. (Hardball Talk)

The team hasn't played its first game yet, and already the countdown to the trade deadline is underway in Cubs Nation regarding Jeff Samardzija. (CSN Chicago)

Sounds like the Astros plan to sit out this trade season. (Hardball Talk)

Speaking of the Cubs, Theo Epstein's not surprised that -- after two desultory seasons, and a third looming -- the honeymoon is over. But he's convinced things are on the right track, and "We all feel really [bleeping] good about where we’re going.” (CSN Chicago)

Old friend George Kottaras, having been cut loose by Theo and crew in Chicago, reconnects with Tito in Cleveland. (Hardball Talk)

The Barry Bonds Redemption Tour hits Pittsburgh today. (Yahoo! Sports)

And the Derek Jeter Farewell Tour has its first stop in Tampa. (Hardball Talk)


Starting in 1976, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan took his father Butch to the Final Four every year; it was a 37-year family tradition that came to an end when Butch Ryan died last August at age 89. Bo Ryan's going back this year, but this time he's working: The Badgers made it to the Final Four, Bo Ryan's first trip ever as a coach.  And he's dedicating it to his father. (Yahoo! Sports)

Academic purgatory, a freezeout in conference realignment, and a string of transfers and defections isn't normally a path to the Final Four. But Connecticut's no ordinary team, and Kevin Ollie's no ordinary coach. (Yahoo! Sports)

After its victory over Michigan State, UConn sends out a Tweet apologizing to President Obama for busting his bracket. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

At last, Tom Izzo has a senior class that never made it to the Final Four. (Yahoo! Sports)

From Dysfunction Junction to Dallas: That was quite the ride there, Coach Cal. (Yahoo! Sports)

They sure are a bunch of sore losers in Tucson. (AP)

Think that's one of the reasons that, "barring a stunning change of mind," Arizona freshman forward Aaron Gordon is heading to the NBA? (College Basketball Talk)

Andrew Wiggins has called a press conference for this afternoon, and it's highly unlikely he'll say he's returning to Kansas. (AP)

Cal coach Mike Montgomery will tell his athletic director today whether or not he plans to retire. (AP)

One year after his horrific leg injury became a rallying point in Louisville's drive to the national championship, Kevin Ware -- who only was able to play in nine games this year before taking a medical redshirt, and hasn't been seen with the Cardinals for the last several weeks -- is transferring, though there's no word as to where he's going. Rick Pitino says he wishes Ware "Godspeed." (AP)

Also transferring: Temple big man Anthony Lee to Ohio State . . . (AP)

. . . and North Carolina State guard Tyler Lewis, though he also hasn't announced a destination. (AP)

Looks like Marquette has set its sights on Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski for its coaching position. (Yahoo! Sports)

Over on the women's side, Maryland upsets top-seeded Tennessee. (AP via CSN Baltimore)


Steven Bowditch -- who attempted suicide in 2006 and has battled depression throughout his career -- is "over the moon" about his victory in the Texas Open, his first PGA win and one that qualifies him for the Masters. (AP)

As for Anna Nordqvist, she's just "very excited" about winning the Kia Classic. (AP)

Laura Diaz finishes tied for 32nd, but sets herself apart with holes-in-one on consecutive days. (AP)


Tough times in Blackhawks Nation. They lose to the struggling Penguins . . . (AP)

. . . and Jonathan Toews suffers an apparent left-arm injury, though coach Joel Quenneville doesn't think it's serious. (CSN Chicago)

The Rangers are getting hot at the right time. (AP)

Not the Capitals, though. (AP)

The Red Wings are struggling to extend their streak of qualifying for the playoffs -- currently the longest in all of North American professional sports -- to 23 years, so last night's 3-1 win over the Lightning gives them a boost. (AP)

If the Devils don't want him, Martin Brodeur is prepared to pack up his pads and play elsewhere next season. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)


Say what you will about LeBron James, but his kindness towards Ebony Nettles-Bey -- a 16-year-old high school basketball player from Wisconsin battling Stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of cancer in the soft tissues of her body -- deserves nothing but praise. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

The Pacers lose again, and are losing their grip on the top seed in the Eastern Conference. (AP)

That being the case, you might not want to be so haughty, David West. (CSN Washington)

Happy days in Nets Nation. They beat the Timberwolves for their franchise-record-tying 13th straight home win . . . (AP)

. . . and they may soon get KG and Andrei Kirilenko back. (AP)

Kevin Durant extends his streak of 25-or-more-point games to 38, two short of Michael Jordan's modern-day -- i.e., post-1976 merger -- record, in the Thunder's win over the Jazz. (AP)

What a difference one player -- i.e., LaMarcus Aldridge -- makes. (AP)

The Knicks continue their playoff surge. (AP)

In case you missed it, Doc and Big Baby had a little blowup on Saturday, though Rivers tried to downplay it after the game. (AP)

Doc has bigger problems than Baby's temper tantrums. Like Blake Griffin's bad back. (Pro Basketball Talk)

And in case you missed this, the Sixers snapped their 26-game losing streak Saturday -- rather emphatically, too -- and thus don't set the NBA record for consecutive defeats. (CSN Philly)

Dante Exum's doing everything he can to scare off the other NBA teams so he can be drafted by the Lakers. Good luck with that, Dante. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Old friend Jermaine O'Neal comes to the defense of his embattled coach, Mark Jackson. (Pro Basketball Talk)


The Raiders reportedly are doing "background work" on DeSean Jackson. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

And why not? Back in the "just win, baby" days, wouldn't Jackson have been welcomed with open arms by Al Davis? (Pro Football Talk)

Jackson is also on the Bills' radar. (Pro Football Talk)

But they may all lose out to the Redskins. (CSN Washington)

People from Jackson's past are pushing back on the gang talk. (Pro Football Talk)

That Chris Johnson-to-the-Falcons rumor was nothing but hot air. (Pro Football Talk)

Jay Gruden's sure pumping RGIII's tires. (Pro Football Talk)


Novak Djokovic keeps Rafael Nadal winless at the Sony Open. (AP)

Been a long time since Martina Hingis has been in the winners' circle, but she got there yesterday as she and her doubles partner, Sabine Lisicki, win at Key Biscayne. (AP)