Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for September 20, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* George Steinbrenner's monument will be unveiled tonight during ceremonies at Yankee Stadium. Then the Yankees and Tampa Bay will begin a battle for first place.
* After Michigan State's thrilling win over Notre Dame Saturday night, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio suffered a heart attack. He's expected to be OK.
* In the 2nd "Manning Bowl," Peyton and the Colts blitzed the Giants 38-14.
* Texas two-step. The Houston Texans are 2-0. The Dallas Cowboys are 0-2.
2. Mending Fences
Joe Torre and Don Mattingly will be attending tonight's ceremonies honoring George Steinbrenner, their first return since leaving the Yankees after the 2007 season. It's the classic case argued by fans. What's a manager worth? As kids we gave Casey Stengel zero credit for all those Yankee championships. In the latest dynasty, Torre felt he didn't get enough credit for their success, the organization felt he got too much credit. Whatever side you're on, Torre's appearance tonight is another indication that he's not riding into the sunset. It signals to teams around baseball that he'll listen to what they have to say.
3. Donnie Baseball
I'm often asked what teams I root for? My response is that I don't root for teams, I root for individuals. Don Mattingly was one of those players. I always admired his professionalism on and off the field. If more athletes conducted themselves like Donnie, there would be less of a disconnect with the fans. And now Mattingly will replace Joe Torre in L.A. Great players rarely become managers. Ted Williams was one of the exceptions. They probably lack patience when it comes to players with lesser skills than they possessed. But players have raved about Mattingly's work habits as a hitting coach. He doesn't act like a "star player" as a coach. I understand that Mattingly isn't the popular choice among Dodger fans. I personally hope he's the right one.
4. Saturday Specials
Aside from the games, a couple of items of note. They honored the White Sox's longtime organist Nancy Faust Saturday night. She's retiring after 40 years. It was Nancy Faust Bobblehead Night. A bobblehead doll for an organist. Very cool.
In St. Louis, a large group of gay fans went to the Cardinals game. The event was called "Out at St. Louis." Everyone waited with bated breath to see if they would turn up on Kiss Cam? To the strains of Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe," the cameras panned the crowd and landed on couples kissing. The "Out at St. Louis" crowd had struck out. Heterosexuals only.
5. A Fish Tale
Did you know that the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga has a fishing team? Yup. And PETA is pissed. (What else is new?) They've written the school asking that they sink the team. They wrote, "numerous studies show that fish are intelligent animals who feel pain. Fishing is a blood sport that causes immense physical and psychological suffering."
You really gotta see those little fish-couches in the psychiatrist's office. I'm guessing the PETA people might have had their knickers in a twist over live pigeon shooting at the Paris Olympics in 1900.
Happy Birthday: Canadiens hockey great Guy Lafleur. 59.
Bonus Birthday: Oscar winning actress Sophia Loren. 76.
Today in Sports: Billy Jean King routs Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes" in the Astrodome. 1973.
Bonus Event: The Cosby Show debuts on NBC. 1984.
I'll be at Barnes and Noble in Manhattan tomorrow morning at 11am (150 E. 86th Street). I'll be signing copies of my new book, The 25 Greatest Baseball Players Of All Time.
Thanks to all of you who entered the lottery for my books by sending me the email addresses of new Top 5 subscribers. The winners will be announced later this week.
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