Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for July 10, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
- The 83rd All-Star Game will be played tonight in Kansas City. Justin Verlander of Detroit and Matt Cain of the Giants are the starting pitchers. It would have been nice to see knuckleballer R.A. Dickey of the Mets get the nod.
- Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers won his second Home Run Derby,
- The Knicks reacquire 38-year old Marcus Camby. By the way, if you wonder what his tattoos mean, apparently in Chinese they make no sense.
2. Starry Starry Night?
Was everything really better when we were kids, or does it just seem that way. I couldn't wait for the All-Star game. Mays, Mantle, Williams, Aaron all on the same field and that was just for starters. They played most of the game and we actually cared who won. Why? Because they didn't have interleague play? Because every game wasn't on TV? Because it might have been our only chance to see certain stars play? Nowadays, I look at the All-Star roster and find myself asking "who does he play for?" Somehow that never came up with Stan Musial and Al Kaline. It you get a chance, check out the box score for the 1956 All-Star game. Count the Hall of Famers. Homers were hit in that game by Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Willie Mays and Stan Musial. I rest my case.
3. Reg-gie, Reg-gie
When I hosted an hour on WFAN on its 25th anniversary July 1st a caller asked me about my most memorable interviews. I told him Reggie Jackson stands out because you never knew which way the wind would blow. Sometimes he'd be great, other times he'd blow you off. But I like his quotes about the Hall of Fame the other day. "I didn't see Kirby Puckett as a Hall of Famer. I didn't see Gary Carter as a Hall of Famer. I didn't see Don Sutton as a Hall of Famer. I didn't see Phil Niekro as a Hall of Famer. As much as I like Jim Rice, I'm not so sure he's a Hall of Famer." As for Bert Blyleven, Reggie says "No, no, no, no, no." Jackson might have resisted throwing in the name of Gary Carter so soon after his death, but Reggie seems to subscribe to my theory. Halls of Fame are for all-time greats. Do the players he listed fall into that category or are they all-time very very goods? By the way, I loved it when Reggie in that same Sports Illustrated interview said that some of A-Rod's records are tainted by steroid use. And I hated it when Reggie who's on the Yankee payroll, felt compelled to apologize to both A-Rod and the Yanks. Why? He spoke the truth. Apparently that's a no-no in the Bronx. Reggie has reportedly been told to make himself scarce around the team.
4. Don Zimmer
So if I mention Don Zimmer what do you think of, Pedro Martinez throwing him down? Wearing a combat helmet in the dugout after getting hit by a foul ball? How about a Zim Bear? The Tampa Bay Rays handed out 10,000 of the cute, or creepy little guys depending on your point of view, and fans ate them up. It's even got its own Twitter page. Not bad for an 81-year-old who hasn't played in the bigs for nearly half a century, and sports a career .235 average. But with the fans, he's batting more like a thousand.
5. Name Game
The Pitt Panthers have recruited a kicker named Chris Blewitt. What, he couldn't be a relief pitcher?
Happy Birthday: The last Brit to win a singles title at Wimbledon: Virginia Wade, 67.
Bonus Birthday: Modern Family Actress Sofia Vergara. 40.
Today in Sports: 50 years ago today in Washington, J.F.K becomes the first president to throw out the first pitch at an All Star Game. 1962.
Bonus Event: By "popular demand" Coke brings back Coca-Cola Classic. 1985.
To sign up for Len's free daily Top 5 email click here.