Top 5 Sports Stories

12/09/2010 12:24 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for December 9, 2010 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

* The Red Sox are winning the off season. They pull a stunner by signing Tampa Bay's star left fielder Carl Crawford for 7 years, $142 million. So they've now added big studs in left and at first (Adrian Gonzalez.)
* Florida football coach Urban Meyer is resigning after his bowl game against Penn State.
* Talk about a turnaround. Michael Vick is the leading vote-getter among the fans for the Pro Bowl. 18 months ago he was in prison.
* Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel underwent an appendectomy yesterday. He's listed as questionable for Sunday. Questionable? Who do they think he is, a hockey player?

2. Now You're Talking

Whether or not you agree with Derek Jeter, Tuesday may have been the first time he actually sounded human. I used to think that my early interviews with Jeter were awful, and that it was my fault. Then I realized we shared the blame. He never said anything interesting. But the other day he showed real emotion. He was pissed. He was defensive. I liked that. Just think about that during the season when he's all banged up and a reporter asks "how are you feeling?" I'll bet you a million bucks he says "fine."

3. Moneyball

More than a few of you have commented about the numbers being bandied about for baseball players. Seven years, $142 million for Carl Crawford. Maybe six years, $140 million when speculating about Cliff Lee. This chafes the average fan more than ever, especially in these tough economic times. And now they're talking about seven years for Lee, a pitcher who will turn 40 in the seventh year. Sounds like a bad investment, yet teams are willing to take the chance. That can't augur well for ticket prices and roster flexibility in the city that's "lucky enough" to land him.

4. Priorities

You have to love the Keith Fitzhugh story. The Jets need an emergency safety and they gave him a shout. It's everyone's dream to play in the NFL right? But Fitzhugh said, "no thanks." He's a train conductor for the Norfolk Southern Railroad. His dad is disabled, and Keith needs to care for his parents, so he decided a train conductor has more job security than a journeyman football player. Good for him. When Time magazine was fishing around for a Person of the Year in the sports world and came up with LeBron James, maybe they should have given a little thought to Keith Fitzhugh?

5. Can Of Worms

I've started something. When I wrote yesterday that if Sylvester Stallone made the Boxing Hall of Fame for Rocky, how about electing Ronald Reagan to the Football Hall of Fame for playing the Gipper? Many of you chimed in.

*M.G. wrote on Twitter, @LenBermanSports "And how about Charlie Sheen for the Baseball Hall of Fame?"
Editor's note: I'm kind of partial to Robert Redford for The Natural, but Kevin Costner wasn't bad in Field of Dreams.

*R.B. Suggests Robert DeNiro (Raging Bull) for the Boxing Hall.

*E.W. on Twitter likes Mickey Rourke, (The Wrestler) for the WWE Hall of Fame.
Editor's note: They got a Hall of Fame?

*And R.L. likes the horse that played Secretariat for the Racing Hall of Fame.
Editor's note: I think they used some stunt doubles in that one. And I think the induction speech would be kind of dull.

My conclusion, if we did all of this, Halls of Fame would become watered down. No wait... they already are!

Happy Birthday: Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus. 68.
Bonus Birthday: Actor Kirk Douglas (Michael's dad.) 94.

Today In Sports: The famed "Sneakers Game" at the Polo Grounds as the Giants ditched their cleats at halftime in favor of sneakers and beat the Chicago Bears for the NFL Championship. 1934.
Bonus Event: Noah Webster publishes the first daily newspaper in New York City, called The American Minerva. The first back page featured Derek Jeter's contract situation. 1793.

Don't forget that my kids books make perfect stocking-stuffers. You can get personally autographed copies of The Greatest Moments in Sports, and The 25 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time, by calling the Dolphin Book Shop at (516) 767-2650.

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