12/09/2011 11:32 am ET Updated Feb 08, 2012

Top 5 Sports Stories

TGIF everyone, here's my Top 5 for December 9, 2011 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • Albert Pujols jumps to the Angels. 10 years, $254 million.
  • Texas pitcher C.J. Wilson also heads to Anaheim, five years, $77.5 million.
  • Jerry Sandusky posts bail and will wear an electronic monitor. His wife says he is innocent of all charges.
  • The NBA killed a blockbuster three-team trade involving the Lakers, New Orleans and Houston, where Chris Paul would have gone to the Lakers. Reportedly other owners complained about the deal, and the league owns New Orleans.
  • NBA training camps open today.
  • Thursday night football: Pittsburgh beat Cleveland 14-3.
  • They'll award the Heisman Trophy tomorrow night.

2. Follow the Money

Next time you hear sportscasters and sportswriters wax poetic about what a great baseball town St. Louis is, ask them why then did Albert Pujols feel compelled to leave town? One might have thought he'd be the latter-day Stan Musial. A one-franchise home-town hero. But apparently money IS everything. Sorry about that St. Louis. You're just an ordinary sports town now.

3. Pre Season Picks

Write it down, when the spring training predictions come out, the Angels will be everyone's choice. A word of caution. It's one thing to win the off season, it's quite another to win the real one. Just ask the Phillies who won last year's baseball off season, not to mention the Philadelphia "Dream Team" Eagles. And oh yeah, the Miami Heat.

4. Friday eMailbag

After Jerry Sandusky's latest interview with the New York Times, I wondered if Sandusky was digging his own grave? K.F. writes, "I wonder if his lawyer is deliberately trying to poison the jury pool, so he can argue that it's impossible for his client to get a fair trial?"

With the Mets not offering Jose Reyes a new contract, H.B. writes, "As a Mets fan it is really sad to see how the organization has fallen into the second/third tier of baseball organizations. Reyes was the one player who ignited the team. And not to even try to sign him is inexcusable."

When I suggested the new NHL conferences be named after Hall of Famers like Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr, J.B suggested, "Don't forget Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe. Anyone who plays five decades has my vote."

And P.D. writes, "How do you leave off Bobby Hull?"
Editor's Note: So there you have it, the four new NHL conferences, if the Top 5 ran the world, Gretzky, Orr, Howe, Hull.

5. Spanning the World

This week's Spanning the World highlight comes from college football. If you're going to down a kick in the end zone, remember to take a knee. Oops!

Spanning the World airs monthly on NBC's Today Show. Next up, "Spanning the Year" Thursday December 29th in the 8:30am half hour.

Happy Birthday: America's top ranked tennis player Mardy Fish. 30.
Bonus Birthday: Actor Kirk Douglas. 95.

Today in Sports: The famed "Sneakers Game" as the New York Giants don sneakers in the third quarter at the Polo Grounds and beat the Chicago Bears in the NFL Championship game 30-13. 1934.
Bonus Event: In one of the worst trades in baseball history the Cincinnati Reds trade Frank Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles. 1965. The next season Robinson won the Triple Crown and the World Series MVP as the Orioles swept the Dodgers.