Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for June 11, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
- Rafael Nadal won his record seventh French Open this morning beating Novak Djokovic in four sets as they concluded the match which was halted by rain yesterday. Djokovic is thus denied holding all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously.
- The NBA Finals are set. Game 1 is tomorrow night in Oklahoma City, with the Thunder hosting Miami.
- Building up those frequent flyer miles. The Stanley Cup Finals switch back to L.A. tonight for Game 6 with the Kings leading the Devils three games to two.
- The child sex abuse trial of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky begins today. He faces 52 counts and a lifetime in prison.
2. Weekend Viewing
Where do I begin? Even without I'll Have Another, the Belmont Stakes was terrific. Great finish. The "big three" of Miami played like a big three, so you have another whole series to root against LeBron James if that's your bent. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing him win a ring so we can channel our energies elsewhere. He's clearly a giant among men. The Devils refused to die. Then there's boxer Manny Pacquiao who lost for the first time in seven years to somebody named Timothy Bradley. It was a controversial decision and promoter Bob Arum had the chutzpah to say ''I've never been as ashamed of the sport of boxing as I am tonight.'' Then again he promotes both fighters and has already announced the rematch for November. In fact Bradley tweeted out a poster of the rematch 10 days before the fight! But of course Pacquiao/Mayweather is the fight everyone wants to see. Mayweather is currently sitting in jail for domestic abuse. Hey, that's boxing.
3. No More Thanks
What a letdown Friday when news spread that I'll Have Another was out of the Belmont and retiring from racing. So the longest Triple Crown drought will now last at least 35 years. The conspiracy theorists are having a field day over this one. As you know the horse's trainer has a spotty reputation when it comes to drugs. Was I'll Have Another pulled because he just couldn't race clean? Or is it more likely that the brutal stretch of three major races in five weeks simply claimed another victim? It gives you added appreciation for the likes of Secretariat and it makes you wonder if we'll ever see another Triple Crown winner?
4. Out of Control
When a black former English soccer player urged minorities not to travel to Euro 2012 in Ukraine and Poland some wondered if there was REALLY anything to worry about? Well when the Dutch team took to the practice field in Krakow, Poland, black players heard "monkey chants." Of course the football poobahs, even though they have a zero tolerance policy, said they won't investigate. And after one game this weekend stadium, Russian fans attacked stadium personnel, and the Russians had won the game. Are they going to have to play these games in empty stadiums?
5. Meteorologically Speaking
So we've got the all-weather NBA Finals with the Heat and the Thunder. Since you didn't ask, the Suns didn't qualify for the playoffs, and the Lightning and the Hurricanes both play in the NHL. The Storm are in the WNBA, the Cyclones play minor league baseball and the Avalanche and Earthquakes fall under the heading of disasters, not weather. And since you weren't wondering, J.T. Snow is one of a number of Snows who have played major league baseball. Baseball-reference.com lists former minor leaguers named Jack Blizzard and Dolph Wind. And in the '30s into the 40s the Indians had a center fielder named Mike Weatherly. His nickname was Stormy. You can look it up, unless by now you're feeling under the weather.
Happy Birthday: Miami Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes. 29.
Bonus Birthday: Joe Cool. Football great Joe Montana. 56.
Today in Sports: Ben Hogan returns from his near fatal car accident and wins the U.S. Open. 1950.
Bonus Event: Phone home! E.T. opened. 30 years ago today. 1982.
***You say you're stuck for books to send to camp with your kids and grandkids? Oh, they're not going to camp and need some fine summer reading anyway? You've come to the right place. Here ya go!
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