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Top 5 Sports Stories

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TGIF everyone here's my Top 5 for April 13, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

  • The Saints name Assistant Coach Joe Vitt the interim head coach filling in for the suspended Sean Payton. Vitt himself will be serving a six-game suspension for his role in the club's bounty system. So there will be an interim to the interim.
  • Lotsa extra hockey last night in series openers. Boston and Phoenix won in overtime while San Jose beat St. Louis in two overtimes. The Rangers beat Ottawa in regulation.
  • Retired catcher Jorge Posada throws out the first ball today at the Yankees home opener.

2. Stirring the Pot

The head of the baseball players union, Michael Weiner says he thinks that Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. But wait, there's more. He thinks steroid cheats should be there too. He says, just put something on their plaque about drug use. I guess we should expect the player's chief to stick up for his troops. And I happen to agree with him, up to a point. In my view, what happens on the field should determine one's Hall worthiness. And for Pete's sake, he's the #1 hit maker of all time. Drugs are different. How do you separate the real numbers from the enhanced stats? Sportswriters do the voting, and despite what Weiner or you or I think, I don't think any of them, Rose included, is getting in any time soon. Of course the writers can't even vote on Rose until baseball unbans him.

3. Triskaidekaphobia

There is no reason to fear today, Friday the 13th, in sports.

Babe Ruth hit his 700th homer on Friday July 13, 1934.

Pete Rose got his 4,000th hit on Friday April 13, 1984.

The Red Sox won their first American League pennant since 1918 on Friday September 13, 1946.

Dorothy Hamill won the gold medal in figure skating at the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria on Friday February 13, 1976.

And of course some pretty fair athletes have worn #13 including Dan Marino, A-Rod and Wilt Chamberlain. And one of my personal faves, Ralph Branca.

4. Friday eMailbag

From Top 5 subscriber R.P. "Ozzie (Guillen) just got suspended for five games. Are you kidding me? Just because the guy is a moron and said something absolutely stupid (regarding his admiration of Fidel Castro), it's his opinion and he's entitled to it. To suspend the guy for speaking his mind is akin to communism, which ironically is what Castro supports."

L.A. has this perspective. "Being of Cuban decent, I'm not happy with Guillen's remarks. There's this romantic notion of Castro that is very repulsive to those that experienced his cruelty first hand. I'm hoping Guillen learned a lesson and that he is truly remorseful and can turn this towards a positive light. I was looking forward to seeing him manage the Marlins this season. I still hope that's possible."

With the Kansas City Royals holding "Pine Tar Day" to commemorate George Brett's 1983 "pine tar homer," Y.F. suggests, "The Yankees should have 'Splintered Bat Segment Day' to commemorate Roger Clemens' ridiculous attempt to throw a broken bat at Mike Piazza in the 2000 Subway Series."

And when I wrote yesterday, "A bad day for dentists. Somebody used a catcher's mask in a baseball game for the first time. 1877." R.Y., obviously a dental fan, tweeted @LenBermanSports "Thank God hockey came along."

5. Spanning the World

This week's Spanning the World highlight comes from last night's hockey game in Boston. Look out for falling glass! And nobody got hurt!

Spanning the World airs monthly on NBC's Today Show. Next up: Thursday April 26 in the 8:30 a.m. half hour.

Happy Birthday: Knicks guard Baron Davis. 33.

Bonus Birthday: Beaver Cleaver's older brother Wally, Tony Dow. 67.

Today in Sports: Tiger Woods becomes the youngest golfer to win the Masters, 15 years ago today. A lot's happened since, huh? 1997.

Bonus Event: Hey this is gonna be big. The first known elephant arrives in the U.S. from India. 1796.

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