Happy Wednesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for June 13, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
- Oklahoma City, led by Kevin Durant's 36 points, beat Miami 105-94 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
- Alex Rodriguez tied Lou Gehrig's record when he hit his 23rd grand slam homer last night in the Yankees 6-4 win in Atlanta.
- In soccer the U.S. had a disappointing 1-1 tie with Guatemala in World Cup qualifying. The U.S. is still on top of its group.
- The U.S. Open begins tomorrow at Olympic in San Francisco.
2. One Less for the Road
Just what we need, another issue to squabble over between leagues and players. In light of several recent DUI incidents involving NFL players, the league reportedly wants to ramp up the discipline for such offenses. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the NFL has wanted to do it for years but the players union has resisted. It's a complicated issue. Everybody can agree that DUI is wrong, but the union of course is resistant to giving the NFL Commissioner more power over off the field transgressions. And the league certainly has its hands full with the head injury issue not to mention HGH testing. But the truth is the current penalty of docking a player a pay check for the first DUI offense comes off as just a slap on the wrist. Again the question needs to be asked, shouldn't the union be more interested in protecting its players rather than its turf?
3. Crime and Punishment
As the Jerry Sandusky trial gets rolling, the testimony in the Roger Clemens trial is mercifully over. Quite a contrast. The initial testimony against Sandusky by the victims is sickening. The Clemens trial has been an utter bore, with jurors falling asleep. As the Seattle Times put it a couple of weeks ago, "The Roger Clemens perjury trial is entering its fifth week, for those of you snoring at home." You can't predict what juries will do if you're not sitting in the courtroom hearing evidence every day, but from a long-distance perspective how can Sandusky be found not guilty? And by the same token, how can the Clemens jury possibly sort through all that garbage, literally and figuratively, and come up with a guilty verdict? And if he's found "not guilty," remember not guilty is not the same as innocent.
4. Eagles Anyone?
If somebody has an eagle putt on 16 starting tomorrow at the U.S. Open that's big news, whether or not he comes close to making it. Let's say a golfer bombs his drive on 16, oh 350 yards or so. And suppose he nails his second shot to the tune of 250 yards. That'll still leave him 70 yards shy. We're talking a 670 yard par 5, the longest hole in U.S. Open history. Most pros view par 5s as an opportunity to pick up birdies or better. This one, the goal might be to save par. As opposed to us amateurs who would be happy with a double bogey and not losing the ball.
5. The Nerve!
A Canadian junior hockey coach has been suspended for a year because his team didn't attend the opening ceremony for a hockey tournament. What was the coach's excuse? His players had to study for their university exams. Can you imagine that? Putting academics ahead of sports? He should have been fired outright.
Happy Birthday: Knicks outside shooter Steve Novak. 29.
Bonus Birthdays: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. 26.
Today in Sports: Michael Jordan's last shot (at the time) wins the NBA championship against Utah. 1997.
Bonus Event: Babe Ruth's #3 is retired. This iconic photo that day won the Pulitzer Prize. 1948.
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