TGIF everyone here's my Top 5 for April 12, 2013 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
- Sergio Garcia and Marc Leishman are the first round co-leaders of the Masters at six-under-par. Dustin Johnson is one shot back. Freddy Couples, Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler are among those two behind and Tiger Woods trails by four. 14-year-old Tianlang Guan of China shot a remarkable one-over-73. A third of the field broke par.
- The Dodgers $147 million pitcher Zack Greinke suffered a separated shoulder in a bench clearing brawl with San Diego. The melee erupted when Greinke plunked Carlos Quentin on the shoulder with a sixth inning pitch.
- Early returns. It was thought the Angels and Dodgers would outspend each other to success. The two L.A. teams are a combined 8-10. The two Bay Area teams, both in first place, are a combined 15-5. A reprise of the 1989 Earthquake Series?
- Yale and Quinnipiac have advanced to the finals of college hockey's Frozen Four tomorrow night in Pittsburgh, an all-Connecticut final (the schools are 10 miles apart).
The Jackie Robinson movie, 42, opens nationwide today. As I mentioned the other day it's well worth seeing. It's not a documentary so baseball nuts will spend their energy sorting out truth from fiction. For example there's a scene towards the end involving Jackie and his Brooklyn teammate Ralph Branca. It was a fun scene, but Ralph told me it didn't happen. Ralph lived the Jackie Robinson "story," so I was interested what his take was on the movie. He told me, "The picture was very good. I wasn't privy to Jackie and Branch Rickey's conversations during 1947, but I don't believe they talked that often. Not in the dugout or clubhouse/locker room anyway. I liked it and thought the public will like it." Thanks Ralphie!
Flyers are being passed out at Washington Nationals games to "Stop the Wave." The flyers urge fans to cut it out for reasons which include, "distracting the players," "annoying many fans around you" and "looking like a doofus." I've long felt that the wave has outlived its cuteness. Anything else you want "stopped" in sports?
4. Friday eMailbag
With Rick Pitino and Louisville winning the National Championship Monday night, D.N. remarks, "A great one for your subscribers: name an athlete or coach who has had a comparable week to Pitino (Hall of Fame, championship, offspring's coaching job). Is there anything close?"
Editor's Note: Don't forget about Pitino's horse Goldencents winning last week's Santa Anita Derby.
And do I detect some cynicism from M.T. about the Louisville Cardinals winning the championship? "Now, comes the hard part for the Louisville NCAA champs. They have to go back to class as students."
Not everyone believes that Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice was in the wrong. Top 5 subscriber P.C. writes, "How many years have coaches been screaming at players in all sports? Bobby Knight, Bear Bryant to name a few. We have gotten so politically correct that a coach can't yell at a player anymore."
On the subject of whether or not Mike Rice will land another coaching job, J.L. writes, "Rice might turn up on Celebrity Apprentice or maybe get a reality show of his own."
And when I mentioned that the 2016 Olympics are considering three-on-three basketball and freestyle BMX bicycle, C.P. wrote, "Here's an Olympic event to consider... human cannonball. Who can get shot the furthest and survive?"
5. Spanning the World
This week's Spanning the World highlight comes from a cricket match in India. Australia's Ricky Ponting makes a great catch. Or so we're told.
Spanning the World airs monthly on NBC's Today Show. Next up: Friday April 26.
Happy Birthday: The 1994 Stanley Cup Rangers leading scorer, Adam Graves. 45.
Bonus Birthday: David Letterman. 66.
Today in Sports: Arnold Palmer wins his fourth and final Masters. 1964.
Bonus Event: The Soviet Union launches the first man into space orbit, Yuri Gagarin. 1961.
Thursday scorecard: The Top 5 was read in 48 states yesterday but not Vermont or New Mexico. Still striving for a perfect 50!
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