TGIF everyone, here's my Top 5 for February 12, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* The Opening Ceremony for the Vancouver Winter Olympics is tonight. It's the first ever indoor Opening Ceremony.
* The NBA All Star Game is Sunday night at Dallas Cowboys Stadium. David Lee of the Knicks was chosen yesterday, the first Knick in 9 years.
* There are denials all around that Louisville coach Rick Pitino is interested in coaching the Nets.
* The Great American Race is Sunday -- the Daytona 500.
* Break up the team. The Giants release star linebacker Antonio Pierce.
* Ladies day. The two great horses Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra will meet at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas April 9th. The purse is $5-million.
2. Let the "Games" Begin
Well here we go again. The flame hasn't even been lit in Vancouver and the German skeleton racers have been accused of using illegal sleds. Over 30 athletes have already been barred for failed drug tests, and the first judging controversy is probably right around the corner. Hey, these are the Olympics, and there's been cheating and controversy forever. There was a Russian fencer in 1976 who kept winning without even touching his opponent with his "weapon." A light goes on when you make a touch. That's how you score points. This guy had an illegal button in his hand, and every time he pushed it, his opponent's light would go on. That's the Olympic spirit!
3. Root Root Root for the Home Team
This is the third Olympics held in Canada. The others were the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal and the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary. How many gold medals have the Canadians won in Olympics they've hosted? None. I'm guessing they'll be taking this little hockey thing kind of seriously in Vancouver, eh?
By the way, subscriber Len F. suggests I hold a contest for Top 5 subscribers to guess who lights the flame tonight. Wayne Gretzky is a possibility. If I ran a contest, I would have to spring for a prize. (That's not going to happen.) But if you guess correctly you'll have "Top 5 bragging rights!"
4. Friday Mailbag
Many of you responded to the removal of water fountains at Cleveland Cavaliers games. Was it to insure fans would buy water at the concession stands? V.I. wrote that Dodger Stadium originally had no water fountains, "Walter O'Malley was ahead of his time."
And J.M. emailed, "I think it's time to change the Star Spangled Banner to O'er the land of the endless charges for everything that used to be free and the home of the brave."
Editor's Note: My subscribers are very creative.
As for having a holiday the day after the Super Bowl, D.M. suggests they could call that holiday "Sunday." Just move the game to Saturday.
Editor's Note: My subscribers are clever too!
D.P. has a product placement suggestion that he tweeted me @LenBermanSports "If halftime shows are going to feature geezer rock bands, shouldn't they be sponsored by AARP, Depends, BenGay, or Metamucil?"
A.V. asks, "Len, do you believe after the cure, Tiger will be able to keep his rocket in his pocket?"
Editor's Note: What am I, Dear Abby? Ask his wife.
5. Skiing and Alcohol Don't Mix
If you needed final proof that skiing and alcohol are not compatible, an inebriated guy stole an ambulance from a Wisconsin ski resort. There were a couple of slight problems with that. A patient was still in the ambulance and so were the paramedics. Not to mention, the emergency break was on. The guy obviously didn't get very far, but let's give him the gold medal for stupidity nonetheless.
Happy Birthday: Celtics great Bill Russell. 76.
Bonus Birthday: Actor/Talk show host Arsenio Hall. 55.
Today in Sports: Be still my heart. The National Croquet League is formed in Philadelphia. 1880.
Bonus Event: Abe Lincoln was born on this date in 1809. When we were kids this was a school holiday. Then they combined it with George Washington's to create President's Day. Bummer.
The Top 5 is going on winter break. I'll return Monday February 22nd.
Enjoy the Olympics everyone.