Happy Wednesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for February 16, 2011 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com
1. Quick Hits
* Bernie Madoff tells the New York Times that the Mets owners didn't know he was running a Ponzi scheme.
* Cardinals manager Tony La Russa really stirred things up by claiming the players union is pressuring Albert Pujols to go after a huge contract. He didn't cite any evidence to back up his claims.
* Now Yankee fans have two pitching questions to ponder all season. Will CC Sabathia opt out of his contract? And will Andy Pettitte return from retirement at some point as suggested yesterday by Jorge Posada?
* The NFL has yet again upped its offer for the 400 fans who had tickets but no seats at the Super Bowl. If the NFL had handled this correctly in the first place, they wouldn't have to sweeten the pot every few days.
* Lance Armstrong says he's really retiring this time. But the federal investigation into his alleged doping continues.
2. The Donald
Donald Trump said Mets owner Fred Wilpon reached out to him about a possible ownership stake in the team. It's a sexy story that's going nowhere. For one thing, Trump owns casinos, so baseball won't approve him as an owner. For another, the Mets only want to sell a portion of the team, and Donald isn't a minority owner kind of guy. But Trump owning a team would be a lot of fun. When he owned the USFL New Jersey Generals, he went on national TV and said "I beat (Raiders owner) Al Davis like a drum." Can't wait to hear what he'd say about the Steinbrenners.
3. Welcome Back
I was always sorry that the Yankees muzzled Hank Steinbrenner. He was great at channeling his father. Well apparently the "gloves are off." The other day in Tampa, Hank told the media, "We're gonna be in it every year, every single year. You can't say that about any other team, except maybe the Red Sox. We're gonna be a major contender to win the championship every year."
Somewhere George Steinbrenner is smiling... or Rex Ryan.
4. Opposing Viewpoints
When I mentioned that Bill Russell could be rough with the media, some of you recalled his distaste for signing autographs. Many of you had personal stories about Russell. A former CBS Sports employee wrote that in the early 80's Bill worked NBA games with Gary Bender and Rick Barry, and it was tough to get Russell to do media interviews. He said "it got worse after a picture of Russell's USF 1956 NCAA championship team was shown during a telecast. As I recall, Rick Barry asked on air (he later said quite innocently) 'Who's the guy with the watermelon grin?' Russ didn't say another word for the rest of the game."
Then there's R.V. who writes, "In the '60's my friend and I spotted him in the stands at a track meet at Randall's Island -- he not only signed our programs, he tried (unsuccessfully) to get the guy next to him to do the same -- it was Wilt."
Interesting stuff guys.
5. Let's Go to the Videotape
The "offensive" video has surfaced. Here's what got Tiger Woods fined in Dubai.
I mentioned on Facebook yesterday at "Len Berman's Top 5" that if baseball had a spitting rule, "those big salaries would disappear lickety spit."
A Top 5 subscriber writes from Singapore, "The Tiger story about spitting is interesting, considering here, any citizen caught spitting is subject to a $500 fine, and the officials do have quotas to meet each month. This is tough when I'm running so I always look around before I do a quick spit."
I have a bunch of renegades reading the Top 5!
Happy Birthday: Johnny Mac. Tennis great (and announcing great too) John McEnroe. 52.
Bonus Birthday: Rapper and actor Ice-T. 53.
Today in Sports: Wilt Chamberlain becomes the first NBA player to eclipse 30,000 points. 1972.
Bonus Event: Fidel Castro takes over in Cuba, and he's been there ever since. 1959.
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