Today in sports: The Jeremy Lin show moves on to D.C. tonight, Duke and North Carolina are playing their least overhyped game in years, and the richest man in Los Angeles has decided he'd also like to buy the Dodgers.
Linmania is poised to take D.C. tonight when the New York Knicks, led by former Harvard point guard Jeremy Lin, come to town to play the Wizards. The Knicks were off Tuesday, but Lin's fanclub, which at this point is starting to look more like a loosely organized religious cult, has continued to grow. Today, he's the subject of a lengthy, thoughtful piece in The New York Times. If you prefer seeing Lin in bombastic YouTube montages -- and we know we do -- feel free to revel in the epic grandeur of his performance Saturday night against a dispirited New Jersey Nets club. (Fun is fun, but we know of at least three people in The Atlantic's D.C. office who are planning to duck out early in the hope of snagging tickets for tonight's game.) [The New York Times]
Ho boy: New York Giants backup running back and master diplomat Brandon Jacobs says Tom Brady's wife Gisele Bündchen should "stay cute and shut up" and refrain from talking about all those easy passes New England's receivers dropped during the Super Bowl. It will be fascinating to watch how this plays in Boston, where fans are already hanging by a very thin thread. A reserve running back telling the wife of the greatest player in franchise history to shut up would gin up most NFL fanbases, but Boston's weird, and the story is almost inevitably going to become how Brady reacts. If he takes offense, his poise and composure are suddenly in doubt. If he says nothing or brushes it off, he looks aloof and distant. The latter has been a problem for Brady in Boston over the last few years, so he'd probably be better served by going conspicuously bonkers. [ESPN]
Tonight is the first Duke/North Carolina men's basketball game of the season. We will confess, we did not realize this was happening until early Wednesday afternoon. We blame ESPN for not continuing their wildly excessive "Full Circle" coverage of the 2006 game, which put viewers in the student section to see the Cameron Crazies repeatedly misunderstand what constitutes a three-second violation. And now we've already made plans to check out this Linmania business. [SI.com]
The New York Mets are closing a deal with billionaire hedge-fund manager Steven Cohen to buy a $20 million stake in the team. To mark the occasion, the club has revoked the press credentials of freelance writer Howard Megdal, who has written about the team for The New York Times, New York magazine, and ESPN.com, and in December published Wilpon's Folly, a blistering account of owner Fred Wilpon's various legal and financial difficulties. Megdal, at least, is taking the jab in stride -- which he should, because he's dealing with the New York Mets. "What the Mets manage to do by keeping me out of the clubhouse is deny me the chance to give you a better sense of the Mets players as people, thus giving the fans a greater stake in the success and failure of the team," Megdal writes. "Why they think that is somehow to their advantage, I couldn’t possibly say." We can: because they're the Mets. [The Lo Hud Mets Blog]
The Oakland Athletics have extended general manager Billy Beane's contract through the 2019 season. 2019! That was supposed to be the year the moon finally got an expansion team. We still enjoy watching Beane's teams, even if he does not, but we can't stand the thought of him spending another eight years puttering around Alameda County in the hopes of hitting on the game's next great market inefficiency. Moneyball was already an uneven movie: it's too important to too many people to become a musical revue in Branson. (Which, incidentally, is the kind of event Beane would be happy to attend for a small upfront fee.) [AP]
If Jared Kushner wants to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers, he'll have to outspend "the richest man in Los Angeles." That would be Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the biotech investor with the $7 billion net worth. Soon-Shiong owns a stake in the Los Angeles Lakers (he bought it from Magic Johnson), but had been non-committal when asked if he planned on submitting a bid for the bankrupt baseball club. That changed yesterday, when a spokesman said Soon-Shiong would "absolutely participate" in the next round of bidding. It's unclear if he entered one of the nine bids currently under consideration. Either way, expect him to eventually align with one of the other bidding groups with local ties. According to the Los Angeles Times, he's already taken a meeting with the group led by former Dodgers manager Joe Torre and developer Rick Caruso. [The Los Angeles Times]
And finally, some good news out of Dodgerland: Vin Scully is definitely returning for his 63rd season in the broadcast booth. In an interview for the March issue of Golf Digest -- which regrettably hasn't been posted online yet -- he explains that the decision to return was an easy one. "I keep working," Scully says, "because I don't want to lose my friends." So there you go. Pitchers and catchers report in 10 days. [Golf Digest]