Today's Names to Know: Tiger Woods, Erin Barry, Brent Barry, Eva Longoria, Tony Parker, Derek Jeter, Chris Bosh, Cam Newton, Felix Hernandez, Ron Gardenhire and Bud Black, Greg Oden, Reggie Bush, Bill Curry and More.
Tiger Woods vs. the Public: His PR campaign launched in a big way yesterday, with Tiger taking to Twitter (not quite "hello, world") and Tiger "writing" a Newsweek essay (which read like a well-edited college admissions essay). This morning, he is on Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio -- simulcast on ESPN2.
It's a big swing at rehabbing his image. I'll maintain that this isn't Lebron: People WANT to like Tiger... they will simply never be able to get it out of their heads the jaw-dropping extent of his philandering. It wasn't the cheating; it was the excess, the lack of self-control that he had built his brand on.
(But just like LeBron -- even moreso, actually -- Tiger more than anything needs to just WIN. That he had such a terrible 2010 season compounded his problems by taking the fallibility of his personal life and making it professional.)
Tony Parker vs. Eva Longoria: TP is getting divorced by Eva. Who didn't see this coming when they first got together? (He had a Spurs-leading 21 points last night in a win over D-Rose and the Bulls.)
The "other woman" whose texts Eva found on Tony's phone were apparently Erin Barry, wife of Brent Barry. Erin Barry is currently the No. 1-trending topic on the Web and about to enter the celebuclysm gossip-grinder. Erin has NO chance against Eva; the "other" woman never does.
Guess that means Jon Barry won't be calling any Spurs games for ESPN. I would pay at least $100 for a live interview between Brent Barry and Tony Parker.
Chris Bosh vs. the World: Apparently Bosh wanted to make a statement that he was, in fact, not a bust, as previously reported: 35 points in a Heat rout of PHX. Then again, it's the Suns -- hardly the Celtics.
(That's the best part about this: If you love Bosh, you can use this game to bolster him; if you dislike him, you can say "Eh, talk to me when he plays big in a big game against a good team.")
Derek Jeter vs. the Yankees: He wants a 4+ year deal (or more!); they want to give him 3. Absurdly, we are still talking about an annual salary of $20 million -- which might seem reasonable in 2011... but in 2013? (Or 2014 or 2015, when Jeter wants the contract to run through?)
I'm with the anonymous source in this story: Tell him to take-it-or-leave-it. The Yankees need to be more aggressive and stop worrying about alienating fans. In the same way they can say "Like Jeter is going to want to play elsewhere?" they can say "Like Yankees fans are going to dump the team for not bending to Jeter's demands?"
(Actually, that someone within the Yankees is using ESPNNewYork.com as a platform shows that the team is moving in the direction of backing Jeter into a corner.)
Cam Newton vs. the NCAA: So another booster says a guy saying he represented Cam Newton's dad presented him with a payment demand -- via text, no less. Virtual paper trail! (Of course, the text message is lost in an old cell phone that was "damaged.") Feels like a lot of the same as two weeks ago. (Now: This FBI interest in Auburn? Much more intriguing.)
Felix Hernandez vs. CC Sabathia: Mystifyingly, I keep getting the date of the AL Cy announcement wrong. It's TODAY. One thing remains consistent: Let's hope it is King Felix who wins.
MLB Managers of the Year: Ron Gardenhire of the Twins and Bud Black of the Padres (in a close one over the Reds' Dusty Baker).
Greg Oden's season is over: Again. (Or, should I say: Again again again.) I hope he can rehab the rest of the year, get signed by a new team and have a mildly productive career.
More NBA: Yet another huge, validating win for the Hornets: This time over the Mavs.
CBB Last Night: Highly touted Tennessee frosh Tobias Harris had 15 in the Vols' near-miss against Missouri State.
NFL Midweek: Reggie Bush will apparently play this weekend. Meh: How's Mike Vick looking??? (Because, of course, Vick is -- by far -- the most must-see player in the NFL right now.)
MLB Quarterly Meetings of GMs and Owners: The expanded playoff field seems to be fairly contentious, but balancing the schedule so the Orioles, Rays and Jays don't have to play the Red Sox and Yankees so many more times in a season than the rest of the AL seems to have some traction; the key is that GMs on those teams seem ready to forego revenue in exchange for a better chance to have a playoff-contending record. (We'll see what their owners have to say.)
CFB Tonight: Alabama in prime time -- but it's not quite the season they thought they would be having, not just out of the national-title picture, but out of the SEC West picture, too. Their lone remaining challenge is ruining Auburn's season next weekend. Tonight, they get to give 1-AA expansion franchise Georgia State a huge level of national promotion. GSU has aspirations of joining 1-A (and the potential to do it).