TGIF everyone, here's my Top 5 for January 15, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* Gilbert Arenas of the Washington Wizards is due in court today after being charged with felony gun possession. He had guns in the Wizards locker room. He faces 5 years max.
* The NFL Playoffs resume this weekend with two games tomorrow, and two more on Sunday. Three of the 4 games will be played in domes, the other in San Diego. So no "cold weather" football. Too bad.
* Are you ready for some tennis? The first major, the Australian Open, gets underway Sunday (U.S. time). The top seeds are Roger Federer and Serena Williams.
2. Meet the Mess
Mets fans have been burning up the Top 5 "reply" button. They are livid about the Carlos Beltran situation. He will miss the start of the season with knee surgery. The Mets medical staff resembled the Keystone Kops last year, and now this. The Mets and Beltran are even arguing over protocol. The Mets wanted Beltran to wait. But who can blame Beltran for plowing ahead? So 2010 will start, the way 2009 ended. With the Mets star outfielder on the shelf. But thank you to subscriber Steve C. for this: "I really should be amazed and furious about Carlos Beltran, but thinking about Haiti puts it all into perspective."
Amen to that!
3. Stepping up to the Plate
We always chronicle when "athletes go bad." But the truth is, when tragedy strikes, they're often the first to react. So too with Haiti. Not only did the Yankees immediately pledge $500,000, Major League Baseball gave $1 million. And throughout the sports world individual athletes and teams are stepping up. They're using Twitter, Facebook and anything else at their disposal to "rally the troops."
So too, the Top 5. Through the White House web site, I linked to the Red Cross and made a donation. There are other options as well at www.whitehouse.gov.
4. Friday Mailbag
Clearly Mark McGwire was topic "A" this week. R.D. says it's simple. Baseball should declare Roger Maris and Hank Aaron the true home run champions and "banish the cheats from the Hall of Fame."
K.R. wasn't buying McGwire's TV act. He wrote, "I'm running out of tissues crying for 'Big Muck' McGwire. I haven't been so sad since Mickey Rooney left Boys Town."
J.G. doesn't agree with Goose Gossage that the Hall of Fame should ban steroid cheaters. He asks what about guys who took amphetamines? Or doctored baseballs? Corked bats? J.G. says cheating is cheating, and "after you're done kicking these people out, who would be left in the Hall of Fame?"
As for a true World Series between Japan and Major League Baseball, R.B. writes: "Just what MLB needs...starting times for the games in Japan at 5 A.M when the rest of the world is still sleeping."
Editor's Note: Well, everyone has been clamoring for earlier starting times.
And B.P. thinks another name change is in order. He writes, "After the two nonproductive games against the Jets, Ochocinco should change his name to Osostinco."
5. It Figures
Here's the stat of the week, courtesy of Top 5 subscriber Tex N. In light of Lane Kiffin jumping from Tennessee to USC. John Heisman (yes the award was named after him) coached at 8 different colleges!
I guess he was just trying to spread his name around.
Happy Birthday: The ball handling wizard from Providence, Ernie DiGregorio. 59.
Bonus Birthday: Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on this date in 1929.
Today in Sports: The first Super Bowl is played in L.A. with the Packers beating the Chiefs 35-10. The game isn't called the Super Bowl, but rather the much more catchy First AFL-NFL World Championship Game. 1967.
Bonus Event: It was so last year. Cpt. Sully couldn't find a better place to land? He ditches his plane in the Hudson, and nobody got hurt! 2009.
Follow Len Berman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lenbermansports