TGIF everyone, here's my Top 5 for March 11, 2011 from Len Berman at ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* The NFL labor deadline is today at 5pm. Both sides took shots at each other yesterday. Way to engender sympathy from the fans, guys.
* The Heat win, the Heat win. Miami breaks its 5 game losing streak and clinches a playoff spot by beating the Lakers 94-88.
* The three officials who botched the end of the Rutgers/St. John's game have "voluntarily withdrawn" from the Big East Tournament.
* President Obama will welcome the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks to the White House today.
* 85-year old Yogi Berra was rushed to the hospital and later released after falling in the Yankee clubhouse.
* There must be something in the air. First Rachel Alexandra, and now Zenyatta. Is every famous filly and mare pregnant?
2. In the Crosshairs
It's an ageless NHL debate. Those who run the sport are hesitant to tone things down because either "it's part of the game," or "that's what the fans want. But now even higher authorities are weighing in. When Boston's Zdeno Chara slammed Montreal's Max Pacioretty into the boards the other night, Pacioretty suffered a severe concussion and a cracked vertebra. Chara was thrown out of the game, but the NHL said he wouldn't be further penalized.
Montreal police have other ideas. They've opened an investigation. But something more chilling for the NHL. Air Canada, a major sponsor, said they may take flight from the NHL if they don't tighten their rules. The police action is threatening for sure, but money talks.
Earlier this week we talked about the policy of not showing controversial plays on scoreboards to protect the umps. Top 5 subscriber Mark M., a Giants football fan, makes a great point. "I gave them my PSL money, and pay for my 7 tickets, and don't ever see a good play made by the opposition. Shouldn't I have seen the punt return by De Sean Jackson, when the Giants blew their season against Philly? It's wrong that I pay to watch the game in person, yet see only half of what the home viewers get to see."
I totally agree. Lots of teams emphasize only the positive. I was at Citi Field when Carlos Beltran couldn't make a play in center as he crashed into the wall. We couldn't tell in the stands what had happened. They never showed it on the scoreboard. Subscriber Mark puts it best, "Treat me like a grownup, and show me the play !"
4. Friday eMailbag
As for what's the "next thing" in sports telecasts, C.L. suggests, "The theme song from "JAWS" as a football team enters the red zone will be next....you heard it here first."
Editor's Note: FOX has already experimented with music under the action. So you heard it "there" first!
A.F. had a response hen I talked about a poll of pro golfers, 20% picked Barack Obama in 2012. 49% said Sarah Palin. She wrote, "Is that why they call hitting the golf ball 'putz"'?
And when I mused about other athletes getting the "A-Rod" treatment with their names, I suggested when Carmelo Anthony misses a big shot he could be "C-ant." D.P. wrote, "I was always a fan of Irina Slutskaya's. (I-Slut)" And from R.F. "You can add former Yankee pitcher Sterling Hitchcock to the list." (Figure it out yourself.)
Editor's Note: Thanks everybody, drive home safely.
5. Spanning The World
This week's Spanning The World highlight comes from a Belgian soccer game. Talk about a goalie oops!
Don't they have the "tuck rule" in soccer?
*Thanks to Richard Sandomir of the New York Times for his article about the sportscasting breakfast the other morning involving Warner Wolf, Sal Marchiano, Scott Clark and me.
Happy Birthday: Braves second baseman Dan Uggla. 31.
Bonus Birthday: Media mogul Rupert Murdoch. 80.
Today in Sports: The birth of large men standing around freezing while a zebra watches TV. The NFL adopts instant replay. 1986.
Bonus Event: Just call him Sir. Paul McCartney is knighted by the Queen of England. 1997.
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