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Top 5 Sports Stories

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Happy Leap Year everyone, here's my Top 5 for February 29, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.


1. Quick Hits

  • The Giants will open the NFL season on a rare Wednesday night September 5th so as not to conflict with President Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention the next night.
  • Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine stirs the pot. He salutes the retiring Jason Varitek for "beating up" Alex Rodriguez in a 2004 brawl, and he says Derek Jeter was out of position and didn't need to cut the ball off in his famed "flip play" against Oakland in 2001. This is going to be fun.
  • Tennis great Martina Navratilova and Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver are joining Dancing With the Stars on ABC.


2. Return Fire

Dino Laurenzi, Jr. isn't going away quietly. He's the test collector who handled Ryan Braun's urine sample. Even though Braun got off on a "chain of command" technicality, Laurenzi says he followed protocol and didn't tamper with the sample. And he said Braun's innuendo has "caused great emotional distress for me and my family." He's retained a lawyer. Can you say lawsuit boys and girls?


3. Dropping the Gloves

What, ban fighting from hockey? What a concept. A front page story, no less, in yesterday's New York Times suggests that junior hockey in the U.S. and Canada will banish fighting from the sport. It has taken the concussion and head trauma issues to get us to this point. I've been railing against fighting in hockey for over 40 years. But the customers love it and ownership feels attendance will suffer without hooliganism. So answer this, hockey establishment, how come there's no fighting in the Olympics or the NHL playoffs and both of those tournaments are great? And isn't it embarrassing to the NHL that minor leagues, and not you, are the ones trying to clean up the sport?


4. Mets Musings

As expected you had lots to say about Fred Wilpon's "State of the Mets" address:

G.A. Usually I love talking baseball and love talking about the Mets. But there is nothing I want to hear from anyone about whether they will be better than expected, as expected, or worse than expected. No talk will matter. None of it.

R.F. on Facebook at "Len Berman's Top 5." It will take the Wilpons a long time to overcome the anger and ill-will they've earned these last few years. And they may be hard-pressed to spend their way out of their problems this time. A change in ownership might be the most positive course of action for all parties.

J.C. As a Phillies fan I want the Mets to field a good, competitive team so we can crush them fair and square. It's not nearly as much fun when they can't compete. I hope they get this resolved for the good of baseball. You can throw the Dodgers into that last statement as well.

W.C. Since the 2000 World Series; the Mets have gone through 5 managers, made 1 playoff appearance, have an avg winning percentage of 0.492 and have spent $1.253B in payroll. A change in ownership is the least they could do for long suffering Mets fans.

L. Q. Just remember it's always been the "amazing Mets!"


5. Leap Year

In honor of Leap Year, my Top 5 favorite leaps of all time.

1. Bob Beamon's astounding long jump at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City.
2. Bobby Orr after scoring the winning Stanley Cup goal for the Bruins in 1970.
3. Yogi Berra jumping into Don Larsen's arms after Larsen's World Series perfect game in 1956.
4. Fordham's Brian Kownacki dives over the catcher to score a run.
5. What Superman is able to do over tall buildings in a simple bound.


Happy Birthday: Montreal Canadiens great Henri "The Pocket-Rocket" Richard. 76.
Bonus Birthday: Self-help guru Tony Robbins. 52.

Today in Sports: Gordie Howe, playing for the Hartford Whalers, becomes the first to score 800 goals. 1980.
Bonus Event: Scotland came up with a law that women could propose to men during leap year. If the men said no, they'd have to pay a fine. 1288.

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