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Top 5 Sports Stories

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Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for April 24, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com. 1. Quick Hits
  • New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis is accused of listening in on opposing coaches during games.
  • NHL playoffs: The Rangers forced a seventh game against Ottawa. Phoenix eliminated Chicago in six games.
  • The Philadelphia 76ers nailed down the final playoff spot in the East.
  • Catcher Pudge Rodriguez retired after 21 seasons with six teams. Nobody caught more games. He was a 13-time Gold Glove winner.
  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie isn't all broken up over the Nets leaving his state. He said, "They want to leave here and go to Brooklyn? Good riddance."
2. Listen Up

ESPN has come up with a doozy of a report. New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, who's already been suspended eight games in the bounty scandal, reportedly would listen to opposing coaches during games. He supposedly had a special gizmo in his box to he could eavesdrop for three seasons beginning in 2002. The Saints deny it "1,000 per cent." But haven't you always wondered about the communications systems during football games? Didn't you sometimes speculate that there were "wiretaps?" And if it's true about the Saints, between "bountygate" and this latest scheme, what were they running down there a football franchise or a drunken version of Mardi Gras?

3. Step Right Up

So here's how it works in sports. You let a popular player leave because you can't afford him. (That would be the Mets and Jose Reyes.) And then when that player comes back to play in your building for the first time (that would be tonight), you promote his homecoming like crazy to sell tickets. (That's what the Mets have been dong.) So to summarize. The guy you didn't want, you want your fans to come see play. Got it?

4. Jersey Bounce

After 35 seasons (plus an earlier season as the New Jersey Americans) the Nets played their final game in New Jersey last night. (Fittingly they lost.) Nets fans will tell you the franchise has been cursed since they sold Dr. J down the turnpike. Oh they did make the finals a couple of times with Jason Kidd, but the years have been marked by any number of more memorable moments. From the serious, Jayson Williams (one of my personal favorites) killing a limo driver and trying to cover it up, to the sublimely ridiculous, pumping in fake crowd noise to make it sound as if there were more people in the house. Maybe Derrick Coleman inadvertently summed up the Nets existence in New Jersey when he uttered the immortal "Whoop-de-damn-do."

5. Calendar Watching

I'll save several of you the time and effort of pointing out that when Wilt Chamberlain won his championship in 1967, the final game after three rounds of playoffs was played on April 24. Forty five years later, the NBA playoffs with its four rounds, won't begin until four days later. Is more better?

Happy Birthday: Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran. 35.

Bonus Birthday: Babs hits the big 7-0. Barbra Streisand. 70.

Today in Sports: Wilt Chamberlain wins the first of his two NBA championships when the Philadelphia 76ers beat San Francisco 4 games to 2. 1967.

Bonus Event: Maybe we should keep tabs on the guy who lives there. William Price of the Washington Star becomes the first reporter assigned to cover the White House. 1897.

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