Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for November 19, 2009 from
Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
Mike Scioscia is named the American League manager of the year. Jim
Tracy of Colorado wins the NL award. The Rockies immediately announce
a new 3 year contract for Tracy.
LeBron James says (he says a lot of things) that he could make it in
the NFL. Browns Coach Eric Mangini says "C'mon down." Why not, nothing
else has worked in Cleveland.
South African runner Caster Semenya will be allowed to keep her
800-meter gold medal from the world track and field championships, and
her gender test will be kept confidential by South African officials.
The incredible shrinking golf tour. The LPGA will stage only 24
events next year, only 13 of them in the U.S. Down from 34 in 2008. It
will be cold turkey on lots of weekends for fans of ladies golf.
2. Yeah, but can he Score?
When the Kansas City Chiefs cut running back Larry Johnson, a K.C.
radio station asked me if I thought anyone would pick him up? I
immediately answered "yes." And Cincinnati has. That despite all of
Johnson's baggage. Assaults on women, disparaging comments about gays.
Personal problems? Who cares if you can score touchdowns. Reminds me
of Jim Bouton's line, "Hey Charlie Manson, sure you've had a few bumps
in the road, but you batted .327 last year....."
3. Performance Enhancers
As if sports isn't complicated enough. Drugs, gender testing, how
about artificial limbs? Double amputee Oscar Pistorius runs on metal
legs. They call him the "Blade Runner." He's been ruled eligible to
compete with able bodied runners, but he failed to qualify for the
Beijing Olympics. Now, a new study claims Pistorius has an unfair
advantage, as much as 10 seconds in a 400 meter race. The findings are
being published today in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
Pistorius is aiming for the 2012 London Olympics. I can see it now.
Lawsuits, restraining orders. A feel good story about overcoming
handicaps turning into an Olympic-sized headache.
4. Bad News Good News
The Wall Street Journal took a hard look at all the drug policies in
sports. Of the 4 major sports leagues, Major League baseball came out
the worst, and that seems to be the league everyone talks about the
most. (It's all about home runs.) The good news for Major League
Baseball is they rank better than bowling. The Professional Bowlers
Association doesn't test for drugs, but drinking and bowling is not
allowed. If that applied to amateur bowling, bowling would have to
close up shop.
5. The Final Words
As we continue the debate on PC or Un-PC sports names. Subscriber
D.R. writes: "Concerning the item about the St. John's Redmen
(changed to Red Storm), I am always puzzled that the critics avoid the
Fighting Irish, or the Penn Quakers. Why are those names not a
problem, but Redmen is?" Subscriber A.V. is fed up, he wonders "Will
all super tall individuals now go after the NY Giants?"
Happy Birthday: That little gymnast who helped the U.S. women win the
Olympic gold in Atlanta in 1996 on a bad ankle, Kerri Strug. 32.
Bonus Birthday: The king of talk, Larry King. 76.
Today in Sports: Dodger great Sandy Koufax hangs 'em up. He was just
Bonus Event: Abe started out by saying at Gettysburg "Four score and
7 years ago...." 1863.
I'll be appearing on NBC's Today Show tomorrow morning to talk about
my new kids book, The Greatest Moments in Sports.
You can vote for your greatest sports moment at my web site