Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for December 14, 2009 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* Lucky 13. The Saints and Colts remain perfect in the NFL at 13-0.
* Gillette decides to dump Tiger Woods as a spokesman, but they try to be kind by saying "they'll limit his marketing role." Accenture, a consulting firm, is more blunt. He gets the boot for "not being the right representative." Whom did they consult to figure that out?
* He may have won 19 games each in 2007 and 2008, but he was injured and won just once in 2009 so the Yankees say sayonara to Chien-Ming Wang (sorry about the "mixed language-phor.")
2. A Break in the Action
Finally, Tiger did the right thing. Or maybe his advisers finally woke up. Woods is leaving the game "indefinitely" In my cynical world, that means until the Masters. When Michael Phelps got sanctioned for his bong picture, he wasn't going to miss any meaningful swim meets during his suspension. And it's not exactly as if folf fans are glued to the tube before the Masters in April anyway. Clearly golf, TV, and the ratings will all suffer with his absence. I remember my conversation with Phil Mickelson's caddy Bones Mackay at the old Yankee Stadium. He said during this recession, golf was doing just fine "thanks to Tiger." He raised everyone's salary. Well now for Bones, and the rest of the PGA tour, welcome to the real world.
3. Off the Mark
I'm glad my vote for Alabama running back Mark Ingram didn't decide the Heisman Trophy all by itself. But it was the closest vote ever. You may recall that Mark's dad, also named Mark, was a hero in the Giants Super Bowl XXV win over Buffalo. (Wide right!) On a critical 3rd and 13, Ingram caught a pass and made a dazzling run for a first down. Ingram is now behind bars for money laundering and bank fraud. Father and son. Simultaneously reaching the heights and falling into the abyss. Your basic recap of any number of sports stories these days.
4. The "P" Word
Don't look now, but here come the New York Knicks. After their impressive win in New Orleans Friday night they have now won 4 straight. And suddenly they're talking playoffs. Playoffs? Did I just say playoffs? With a mediocre 8-15 record? Hey, this is the NBA. At 8-15 the Knicks are only 1 1/2 games out of a playoff spot. Of course there's another gazillion months until the playoffs, but in a town where baseball makes the back page all year long it's nice to evoke the memory of when the Knicks actually owned a piece of the city.
5. Wishful Thinking
Michael Weiner, the new head of the baseball players union, says he'll use the same principles with the players that he uses in teaching Hebrew school students on Sundays. He tells the kids to think about what it means to be Jewish. So he'll tell his players to think about what it means to be in the union. I wish that when I was in Hebrew school they would have taught us how to become baseball players.
Happy Birthday: Former major leaguer Bill Buckner. 60.
Bonus Birthday: Actress Patty Duke. 63.
Today in Sports: The Brooklyn Dodgers sign bonus baby Sandy Koufax for a whopping $20,000. 1955.
Bonus Event: The end of an era. Howard Cosell retires from Monday Night Football. 1984.