Wakeup Call: Many questions for a no-questions-asked pick

Wakeup Call: Many questions for a no-questions-asked pick
April 25, 2014, 9:15 am
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Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy and/or interesting tidbits -- for Friday, April 25:


If you ever wanted to walk on a NASCAR track several hours before a race, here's your chance. (AP)


First the Mets actually said they thought Dice-K could be their closer, which I thought was insanity enough. And then Matsuzaka actually goes in and gets the save in the Mets' 4-1 win over the Cardinals. What alternate universe have I been transported to? (First story NBC's Hardball Talk, second story AP)

So you think pine tar doesn't help alter the flight of pitches? Let Dwight Gooden set you straight. (Hardball Talk)

Astros reliever Paul Clemens has now thrown at old friend Jed Lowrie three times in the span of a week, but he insists it's nothing personal. And he absolutely insists it has nothing to do with Lowrie trying to bunt for a hit with the A's holding a 7-0 lead when the teams played last week in Oakland. If you believe all that, Clemens has a bridge in Brooklyn he'd like to sell you. (CSN Houston)

I refuse to comment on the symbolism of a five-foot tall, 400-pound cake created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field being tossed into a dumpster. (CSN Chicago)

If you saw Justin Ruggiano take that pratfall while chasing the DIamondbacks' game-winning hit in the anniversary game on Wednesday, you might stop laughing when you learn he fell because his hamstring popped and he'll be sidelined about four weeks. (Hardball Talk)

Adam Wainwright insists his knee is all right, and here's proof: He plans to make his scheduled start Sunday. (AP)

Chase Headley's walk year really isn't getting off to a very good start. (Hardball Talk)

Darren Oliver finally retired? Really? (Hardball Talk)

Reds pitcher Alfredo Simon is being sued for $15 million by a woman who says he sexually assaulted her in a Washington hotel last year. The incident is still under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office in D.C. (AP)


In today's version of Declaring For The NBA Draft, we have Colorado guard Spencer Dinwiddie . . . (AP)

. . . and UNLV forward Khem Birch. (NBC's College Basketball Talk) 

Duke's Jabari Parker, of course, has already declared. He also took time yesterday to call the proposal to force players to stay in school for two years "ridiculous." (College Basketball Talk)

UConn center Amida Brimah is undergoing shoulder surgery, but should be ready to go when the team begins practice in October. (AP)

Maryland swingman Dez Wells, expelled from Xavier in 2012 over what he says was a false rape allegation, has settled his lawsuit against the school. The alleged victim never pressed charges and a Hamilton County, Ohio, grand jury declined to prosecute after hearing evidence in the case. (AP)

Mike D'Antoni is still coaching the Lakers, but his older brother Dan -- on his brother's staff at L.A. for the last two years -- is leaving to become head coach at Marshall. (AP) 

New Tennessee coach Donnie Tyndall, who'd already knew he'd have to replace four of this season's top five scorers, has lost two members of the incoming four-player freshman class . . . and may lose the other two, as well. All signed letters of intent to play for former coach Cuonzo Martin, and became far less interested in staying with the Vols after Martin left for Cal. (AP)

Diamond Deshields, the ACC Freshman of the Year who announced last week she would transfer from North Carolina, says she won't even start talking to other schools until the end of the semester. The daughter of ex-big leaguer Delino Deshields still won't say what prompted her to transfer, except to insist she and coach Kathy Hatchell are parting on good terms. (AP)


The NCAA endorses a plan that gives more autonomy to the five biggest conferences --  the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC -- regarding issues such as scholarships and health care, and which will also allow them to decide other increasingly hot-button issues involving their athletes. (AP)

Upon further reflection, Texas linebacker Steve Edmond has decided Baylor isn't "trash" after all. (AP)

Cal defensive lineman Ted Agu, who was fatally stricken during an offseason workout earlier this spring, died of a heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. (NBC's College Football Talk)

Utah plans to bring the lyrics of its fight song into the 21st century. (College Football Talk)


Here's the way to start a tournament: Ben Martin shoots a course-record 62 in the first round of the Zurich Classic. And, no, it's not it Switzerland; it's in Louisiana. (AP)

Karine Icher has the first-round lead in the LPGA Swinging Skirts, which sounds like it got its name from the guys who wrote the Utah fight song. (AP)


If you watched the Blue Jackets' overtime win over the Penguins in Game 4, you might think the ghastly miscues of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury were the reason Pittsburgh lost. But coach Dan Bylsma is calling out his stars, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. (AP) 

Steve Mason will be back in goal when the Flyers host the Rangers tonight in the fourth game of their series. (AP)

The Kings warned the Sharks they weren't going to go quietly, and they were right. (AP)

And now L.A. coach Darryl Sutter is looking forward to "going into the cage" that is the SAP Center in San Jose for Game 5. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

The Wild aren't going quietly, either, as they tie their series with the Avs at 2-2. (AP)

Matt Cooke, suspended by the NHL for seven games, apologizes for injuring Tyson Barrie but also insists he's not the filthy headhunter he used to be in a 90-second statement to reporters in which he takes no questions "out of respect for the process." Process? What process? (AP)

If it was up to Jon Cooper, Ryan Callahan would be staying with Tampa Bay. Cooper, however, doesn't sign the checks. (Pro Hockey Talk)

The Canadiens' sweep of the Lightning means they'll get a 10- or 11-day layoff before facing the winner of the Bruins-Red Wings series, but coach Michel Therrien prefers to think his team will benefit from the rest rather than grow rusty from inaction. (AP)


Michael Phelps loses to Ryan Lochte in his first competitive swim meet since the 2012 Summer Games. (AP via Yahoo! Sports)


Jason Collins makes Time Magazine's list of the world's most 100 influential people. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

So who's in more trouble? The second seed in the West, the Thunder, who lose to the Grizzles in overtime and now trail their series 2-1 . . . (AP)

. . . or the top seed in the East, the Pacers, who get whipped by the Hawks and now trail their series 2-1? Me, I say Indiana. (AP)

But Larry Bird says that, contrary to rumor, Frank Vogel's job is safe. We shall see. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Doc Rivers says "winning ugly is beautiful," so his Clippers' Game 3 victory at Golden State was a true thing of beauty. (AP)

What's ugly for the Warriors: With Andrew Bogut sidelined, Golden State has no answers for Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan. (CSN Bay Area)

That elbow to LeBron James' throat is going to cost Josh McRoberts $20,000. (AP)

The Wizards are begging the normally late-arriving Washington crowd to fill the seats before tipoff for their first home playoff game in six years. (AP)

Oscar Robertson's advice to 'Melo: Get out of New York as fast as you can. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Pau Gasol may follow the same advice concerning Los Angeles, though he admits Kobe Bryant might convince him stay with the Lakers. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Why are we even thinking about a potential lockout in 2017? (AP)


Jadeveon Clowney's talent should make him the no-questions-asked top overall pick in this year's draft. But concerns about his work ethic and makeup have raised plenty of questions. (Yahoo! Sports)

The Falcons -- who reportedly are thinking of trading up to take Clowney - hope to answer some of those questions with a biomedical assessment test and an aptitude test, which they'll administer today. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

There are also red flags being waved about Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater, but they're strictly on-field worries. (Yahoo! Sports)

There's good timing, and then there's bad timing: With the draft two weeks ago, potential first-round pick Bradley Roby -- an ex-cornerback at The Ohio State University -- is facing a charge of operating a vehicle under the influence. (Pro Football Talk)

Benched? Who was benched last year? Not RGIII! (CSN Washington)

The NFL decides to experiment with 32-yard extra points for the first two games of the exhibition season, and may decide to expand the playoffs by two teams as early as this year. (AP)

Bernie Kosar thinks he's been fired from his job as color commentator on the Browns' exhibition TV broadcasts because of slurred speech stemming from concussions he suffered as a player. The TV station says that's not true, that they're simply looking to "rebuild" their programming just as the Browns are rebuilding their team. (AP)

The Buffalo Jills, the Bills' cheerleading squad, announces it is suspending operations for this season, and maybe beyond, after five former cheerleaders sue the independent company that runs the outfit. The ex-cheerleaders say they were forced to work hundreds of hours for free, and were also subject to groping and sexual comments from fans. The Bills outsourced management of the cheerleaders to private companies in 1986 and aren't involved in the suit, or the decision to suspend operations. (AP)

Somehow, 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith won't face felony charges for telling TSA agents he had a bomb at LAX. (Pro Football Talk)