Happy Wednesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for June 20, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
- Miami won Game 4 of the NBA Finals 104-98 to take a commanding 3-1 lead over Oklahoma City.
- And you think more replay is needed in American sports? Ukraine lost to England 1-0 yesterday in soccer but clearly scored a goal. FIFA president Sepp Blatter says goal-line technology is now a "necessity." Duh.
- Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova are named the top seeds for Wimbledon which gets underway Monday.
- Secretariat just broke the record for the 1973 Preakness. They've electronically timed the race from 39 years ago and he picked up 1 2/5 seconds. Congrats.
2. Heroes and Goats
So what will you remember from last night's Heat/Thunder game, Russell Westbrook torching the Heat for 43 points or committing a dumb foul with :14 left? I'll go with the 43 points. Even if he doesn't foul, there's no guarantee that Oklahoma City wins the game. Just like Mookie's ground ball. The score was tied at the time. The Red Sox would have probably figured out a different way to lose. I remember a World Series back in the '70s with Joe Garagiola announcing for NBC. When it was over he said he was glad that there were no "goats." The winning team had simply "won." I like that approach.
3. Another Pine Tar Game
In the ninth inning last night, Joel Peralta came in to relieve for Tampa Bay against Washington. He was ejected before he threw a pitch. Nationals manager Davey Johnson told the umps to check Peralta's glove. They found gobs of pine tar and gave him the heave-ho. Why did Davey suspect it? He said Peralta used to pitch for Washington. Cool. Makes you wonder what other forms of cheating are "kept under wraps." But Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon didn't think it was cool. Even though he won the game anyway he called it "insider trading." I'll go with "gamesmanship."
Who said boxing is dead? Forbes is out with the top 100 paid athletes in the world and boxers are 1-2, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. ($85 million in earnings) and Manny Pacquiao ($62 million). Some other tidbits if you're scoring at home. After an 11-year reign at #1, Tiger Woods drops to third at 59.4 million. You have to go all the way down to 18th to find a baseball player, Alex Rodriguez ($33 million) and 26th to find a woman, Maria Sharapova ($27.9 million). If you're looking for a hockey player in the top 100 forget it, but you will find one track star (Usain Bolt) and two cricket players.
5. Funny, You Don't Look Jewish
It might be time to update the movie Airplane. A lady requests some light reading and the stewardess offers a leaflet, "Famous Jewish Sports Legends." I think we might to be able to now upgrade to a full brochure. From Sarah Hughes to Kerry Strug, and that's just for starters. There were eight Jewish ballplayers on opening day rosters this year including all-stars Ryan Braun, Ian Kinsler and Kevin Youkilis. And if that's not enough, just look what's happening in the NFL. There's Browns tackle Mitchell Schwartz and Vikings tackle Geoff Schwartz. They are the first Jewish brothers to play in the NFL in eons. And before you scoff that there are none in the NBA. Not so fast. There's Jordan Farmar of the Brooklyn Nets, and Cleveland's Omri Casspi. But back to football, the Bears also have a Jewish lineman, Gabe Carimi. As Gregg Rosenthal points out at NFL.com, football recruiters may have a new hot spot... Hebrew School!
Happy Birthday: Super Bowl IV MVP, Kansas City quarterback Len Dawson. 77.
Bonus Birthday: Actress Nicole Kidman. 45.
Today in Sports: Floyd Patterson becomes the first to regain the heavyweight championship when he knocks out Ingemar Johansson in the 5th round. 1960.
Bonus Event: Willie Mays graduated from high school and immediately signed with the New York Giants for a bonus of $6,000. 1950.
To sign up for Len's free daily Top 5 email click here.