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Len Berman

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Top 5 Sports Stories

Posted: 05/05/11 11:59 AM ET

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone, here's my Top Cinco for Cinco de Mayo, 2011 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

* In the NBA Playoffs, the champion Lakers are now down 2-0 to Dallas. Chicago and Atlanta are tied one game apiece.
* Blake Griffin of the L.A. Clippers is the unanimous NBA rookie of the year.
* In the NHL Playoffs, Tampa Bay swept away Washington in four straight games. Boston leads Philadelphia three games to zero. Ditto San Jose over Detroit.
* There are 20 horses in Saturday's Kentucky Derby. Dialed In, the early favorite, will break from the #8 post.
* Phil Simms' son, Tennessee Titans backup quarterback Chris Simms, was acquitted of driving under the influence of marijuana in New York City.


2. Tweet Tweet

As expected, the Twitter comments of Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall brought a torrent of reaction. If you missed it, he Tweeted, "What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side..." (He apologized for his comments yesterday, saying he was just trying to generate conversation.)

Here's a sampling, much of it from Facebook at "Len Berman's Top 5."

*Scott P. "I've never heard Hitler or Stalin speak either..."

*Cheryl K. "The stupidity of this man is staggering! Besides, we did hear him speak... with his actions, and with all his tapes."

*Steve S. "Why is it a great idea to use athletes as role models? Very scary."

*Dan F. "I refuse to draft him next year on my fantasy football team!"
Editor's Note: Now you're talking!

3. All the News That's Fit to Print

So what was on the front page of the New York Times yesterday along with stories about the killing of Osama bin Laden and world population? Right. An analysis of Derek Jeter's first 100 at bats of the season. He's slumping, he turns 37 next month, and there's really not too much else going on in the world these days, right? I'm thinking when he finally hits his first homer and breaks out of his slump, they'll print a whole special newspaper section. Hey, these are the hometown Yankees. We're talking world domination here.


4. Market Pressure

You would think that rabid Cubbies fans wouldn't have trouble filling up Wrigley. But times are tough everywhere. So they've come up with some weekday promotions like cheap beer, $1 hot dogs and free T-shirts to lure customers to the bleachers. Better incentives might be free gasoline or actually having a winning team.


5. The Say Hey Kid


Here's a wake-up call sports fans. Willie Mays turns 80 tomorrow. I was one of those New York kids during the days of the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants. I always thought those arguments were silly over who was the best center fielder in New York. With all due respect to Duke Snider, for me, the sun rose and set with Mickey Mantle. He was my hero. But even I knew that Willie Mays was better. So did the Mick. In fact Willie was the best all-around baseball player I ever saw. Willie Mays might be on the cusp of becoming an octogenarian, but in my mind's eye, he'll always be the Say Hey Kid going from first to third in a flash, with his cap flying off his head. Happy birthday, and keep on running Willie!

Happy Birthday: One of America's greatest mile runners. Steve Scott. 55.
Bonus Birthday: NBC news guy Brian Williams. 52.


Today in Sports: Who threw the first perfect game in modern baseball history? Cy Young, of course. 1904.
Bonus Event: 50 years ago today. Alan Shepard, aboard Freedom 7, becomes the first American in space. 1961.


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