Happy Wednesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for December 9, 2009 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* The Yankees pick up all star center fielder Curtis Granderson from Detroit. It's a 3 team deal among the Yanks, Tigers and Diamondbacks. The Yankees give up pitchers Ian Kennedy and Phil Coke plus an outfield prospect Austin Jackson.
* Gatorade says it is dropping its Tiger Woods drink, but they say the decision was made before "all this."
* Driver Danica Patrick will take her star appeal to NASCAR, racing a car co-owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
* No props! Chad Ochocinco of Cincinnati is fined $30,000 for putting on a poncho and sombrero after scoring a touchdown.
* Snow day! Alabama cancels classes from January 6th through the 8th. On January 7th, the Alabama plays Texas for the college football national championship.
2. The Circling Vultures
I happened to be driving into Manhattan when the story was breaking yesterday about a woman being taken by ambulance from Tiger Woods' home. The speculation was rampant on the radio. Was it his wife? Her sister? Her mom? Turns out it was Tiger's mother-in-law who had stomach pain. But you could just hear the tabloids springing into action. When will it all stop? How will it all end? I'm starting to wonder if it's at all possible for Tiger's life to ever return to some sense of normalcy. But of course, he's the one who started all this.
3. Passing the Bucs
When I mentioned yesterday that the Pittsburgh Pirates aren't raising ticket prices for the 8th straight year, I got to thinking. When was the last time the Yankees or Red Sox held the line? I then I wondered what the Pirates top ticket costs? $160 as opposed to $2,500 for the Yankees and $328 for Boston. This season marks the 50th anniversary of the classic Yankees/Pirates World Series which ended of Bill Mazeroski's home run for Pittsburgh. The last time Boston and Pittsburgh faced off was the first World Series in 1903. Cy Young was pitching for Boston for goodness sakes. Thanks to baseball's hoary disparity we will never see a Yankees/Pirates or Red Sox/Pirates World Series again.
4. Bryant Gumbel
Bryant revealed yesterday that he's had surgery for lung cancer, and his battle isn't over. Bryant was gracious to me when I succeeded him as host of the NBC's NFL pre-game show in 1982, and he was the perfect host when we introduced Spanning the World on the Today Show in 1989. The first morning he yelled across the studio to Jane Pauley "Hey Janie, you gotta see this." Godspeed Bryant.
5. Nice Job
So how do you earn $45,000 a year without working? According to the New York Times you sift through the discarded tickets at OTB parlors. That's what Jesus Leonardo does. He spends 10 hours a day feeding thrown away tickets through a scanner, and voila! He gets to feed his family. He once cashed a Pick 4 ticket from a Texas track worth $9,500! And he pays taxes on his winnings. Hey it's a career. And you thought the old saying was just poppycock? "One man's trash is another man's treasure."
Happy Birthday: Former Bears linebacker Dick Butkus. 67.
Bonus Birthday: Actor Kirk Douglas. 93.
Today in Sports: The famed "Sneakers Game." Because of snowy conditions at the Polo Grounds the Giants cleverly switched to sneakers at halftime and beat the Bears 30-13 to win the NFL Championship. 1934.
Bonus Event: What was on Page 6? Noah Webster starts the first daily newspaper in New York City called American Minerva. 1793.