TGIF everyone, here's my Top 5 for April Fools' Day, 2011 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* The Final Four will be played tomorrow in Houston.
VCU vs. Butler 6:09pm Eastern CBS
Kentucky vs. U-Conn 8:49pm Eastern CBS
* Opening day winners yesterday included the Dodgers (Don Mattingly's managerial debut), the Yankees, Braves and the Reds. Look out for Cincinnati. They scored four in the bottom of the 9th to beat Milwaukee 7-6.
* A memorial tribute was held in Cleveland for Hall of Famer Bob Feller who passed away in December at the age of 92. Indians players, past and present, were in attendance at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
* Hall of Fame boxing trainer and commentator Gil Glancy is dead at the age of 88.
* Free agent quarterback Chad Pennington, who was with Miami last season, tore up his knee playing basketball.
* The Vancouver Canucks sew up their first ever President's Cup for the best record in the NHL.
* The hottest ticket in sports? Today's Cricket World Cup final in Mumbai between India and Sri Lanka. $10,000 on the black market.
2. Commissioner V.
I hope you caught yesterday's New York Times op-ed piece by Bobby Valentine. Bobby makes an intelligent and coherent case to ban chewing tobacco in the majors. As I read it, I thought wouldn't this guy make a great baseball commissioner? Absolutely he would, for everyone except the owners. He would meet the same fate as Fay Vincent, when Vincent actually tried to do things in the best interests of baseball.
3. Pick a Winner
U-Conn is going to win the NCAA championship. Who says? Those who entered my Top 5 mini-contest. Kentucky is the second choice. But more importantly, Patrick Lindsey picks the Huskies. He's a fourth grader in Ms. Cantey's class at Camden South Carolina Elementary. He correctly picked all four teams in the Final Four. OK, he picked them when there were only eight teams left, but he still went four for four. His reasoning on VCU? He liked their inside game. I think the kid has a future in this business.
4. Friday eMailbag
Subscriber M.B. is really ticked. "Has everyone (including the Internet) forgotten that there is ALSO a women's NCAA championship tournament being held??? And that the women basketball players are just as good (if not better in many cases) as the men???"
Editor's Note: The old "three question mark" approach. Nice.
When I asked on Facebook at Len Berman's Top 5 what Mets fans are expecting from their team this season? S.C. posted, "I'm looking forward to pitchers and catchers, 2012."
Editor's Note: Ouch.
As for the former Auburn football players reportedly receiving cash when they played in college, L.H. writes, "What are the odds that this income wasn't reported to the IRS?"
Editor's Note: Spoken like a CPA during tax season. Don't you have more important things to do?
5. Spanning the World
This week's Spanning the World highlight is a U.K. cheese roll. Nobody ever gets the cheese, but lots of people make fools of themselves not to mention the bumps and bruises along the way. Organizers in Brockworth wanted to charge an entry fee of 20 pounds to help defray the cost of running the event. Not so fast. Organizers claim they've been spit at, had bricks thrown through their windows not to mention arson attacks at their homes. Alas, the event has been called off. Proving in England, you can't mess with people's free cheese... or else somebody gets hurt!
Happy Birthday: Le Grand Orange. The popular former major leaguer Rusty Staub. 67.
Bonus Birthday: She was married to Eddie Fisher before he divorced her to marry Elizabeth Taylor. Actress/singer Debbie Reynolds. 79.
Today in Sports: No April Fools' joke. Cubs catcher Gabby Hartnett catches a baseball dropped from the Goodyear Blimp. 1930.
Bonus Event: Now you can actually refer to someone as a yo yo. Louis Marx introduces the toy. 1929.
Second chance! Here's my Top 5 mini contest for the Final Four. Predict the winner of the championship game, and the school they will beat. And for the tiebreaker, the final score. (Yes, the 2011 men's tournament and Division I for all you nitpickers, and you know who you are.) Enter here.
To sign up for Len's free daily Top 5 email click here.
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