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Top 5 Sports Stories

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Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for April 9, 2013 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

  • Louisville, the top overall seed in the tournament, wins the NCAA basketball championship beating Michigan 82-76.
  • The injured Louisville Cardinal Kevin Ware helped cut down the net after last night's win.
  • Want to see a bad call? This Joe Nathan pitch was ruled strike three to end the game as Texas beat Tampa Bay 5-4. Home plate ump Marty Foster later admitted he blew the call.
  • Banner night. Fans protesting the sorry state of the Miami Marlins are ejected from the stadium.
  • One week into the baseball season, if the playoffs began today, the Red Sox and Mets would both be in.


2. What Now?

So now that Louisville has kept the NCAA title in the state of Kentucky, what now? For one thing we know that Louisville won't defend its Big East title, they're no longer in the Big East. And of course there's the annual college question "which players go pro?" Last year Kentucky won it all and didn't even make the tournament this year. What's Louisville's fate? Maybe it's too soon to ponder. That was a highly entertaining championship game last night. Maybe we should enjoy it for at least 24 to 36 hours.


3. Fallout

More on the Rutgers fiasco. The school now says they'll check out the tapes of practices in all sports to see if there's more abuse out there. Does that come under the heading of double-locking the barn door after the horses have escaped? And the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, has come to the defense of Rutgers President Robert Barchi. The governor says yes Barchi should have looked at the tapes earlier, but not doing so is not a fireable offense. That amounts to a major reprieve from the governor. I'm not sure it's warranted.


4. 42

Next Monday marks the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier. On Friday, the movie 42 opens nationwide. I had a chance to screen it last week and was blown away with the look of the film. The old ballparks, the uniforms and the players all look authentic. That's not easy. Especially finding an actor like Chadwick Boseman who could capture Jackie's intensity and actually look like a ballplayer in the baseball scenes. The movie serves as a great history lesson for young people who never experienced segregation. The hate mail that the Dodgers received is eye-opening. But a generation later, Hank Aaron received the same vitriol as he chased Babe Ruth's record. Jackie's arrival didn't end racism in America, but it did open doors all over the world. You can nitpick some of the historical and baseball accuracy in 42 if you want, but it's a story that needs retelling, and 42 does it well.


5. More Words From Our Sponsor

Yesterday I wrote about the proliferation of sponsor tie-ins on the radio in baseball. It seems nothing can happen without a sponsorship. I tweeted @LenBermanSports "Heard on radio: 'He painted the corner, brought to you buy (paint)' What's next, 'This player scratch sponsored by flea and tick collar?'"

*That prompted @95Sports to tweet, The legal disclaimer (...without the express written consent of the Yankees) was sponsored by Johnnie Cochran.

*From Top 5 subscriber R.K. That ball was hit foul... Be prepared for foul weather, get Everlast batteries.

*E.G. He hits one out to center, and Gardner makes the catch, easy as a can of corn. And that can of corn was brought to you by Green Giant, makers of canned corn and other delicious vegetables.

*R.B. And the name of the first player suspended this year for using PEDs is... brought to you by Pfizer.

Happy Birthday: Former NHL player and coach Rick Tocchet. 49.

Bonus Birthday: Mr. Playboy himself, Hugh Hefner. 87.

Today in Sports: 100 years ago today, Ebbets field opens in Brooklyn. The Phillies beat the Dodgers 1-0. 1913.

Bonus Event: Robert E. Lee surrenders at Appomattox. 1865.

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