Happy April Fools' Day everyone, here's my Top 5 for April 1, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* Big 10 Commissioner Jim Delany says it's "probable" that the NCAA Basketball Tournament will be expanded to 96 teams. Yeah, this year's tourney sucked.
* What sex scandal? Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino signs a 4 year extension through 2017. Just win baby!
* Half the Mets infield will not start the season on the disabled list. I'm choosing to look at the bright side.
* The Giants will play the Jets this August in the first ever game at the new Meadowlands Stadium. It's a preseason game. The Jets will be the home team. (Probably decided by a super secret coin toss.)
* Fans will be able to vote for the NBA MVP this year. It won't carry much weight. It will count as one vote out of 125.
2. April 1st
It's been a fun date in sports. You probably recall the faux Sports Illustrated article written by George Plimpton. It heralded Mets pitching phenom Sidd Finch and his 168 mile per hour fastball. I remember back in the 70's when the Buffalo Sabres sent out a press release about buying a decommissioned missile cruiser and using it for a training facility. Some idiot Boston sportscaster read the story on the air. Me. Then I saw the date of the release. Oy. Just another example of why you shouldn't believe anything you read or hear. No matter what the date.
3. Cubs Win, Cubs Win
Actually, they didn't. But they did announce that they'll erect a statue to Cubs great Billy Williams this summer. It'll be the third statue at Wrigley Field. The others honor Ernie "Mr. Cub" Banks, and broadcasting legend Haray Caray, he of "The Cubs Win, The Cubs Win." I'm sheepishly writing this item because in September, my new kids book, The 25 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time, features zero Cubs. (No White Sox either, for that matter.) Don't blame me, Chicagoland, I had a "blue ribbon" panel make the call. Unfortunately, Cubs Lose, Cubs Lose...and so do the White Sox.
4. Non PC
Now that St. John's basketball seems to be whipping itself into shape, I have to agree with Gene S. on my Facebook page, "Len Berman's Top 5." He says, "It's a good time to bring back The REDMEN stressing that the nickname relates to the team's colors and not any ethnic group. The Red Storm has to go."
I never liked Red Storm, and I think that would be a great compromise. Call them the Redmen, but don't use Native American logos or mascots.
5. Where's Don Pardo When You Need Him?
Ever since Denard Span joined the Minnesota Twins, I was hoping for a blooper from him. Then we really could go "Span-ning the World." Well, yesterday in Tampa he lined a foul ball right off his mother's chest. He ran to her, as paramedics checked her out. Happy to report that both of them stayed in the game. And nobody got hurt!
Happy Birthday: Former St. John's and NBA guard, and current broadcaster Mark Jackson. 45.
Bonus Birthday: Goodbye, Columbus actress Ali MacGraw. 72.
Today in Sports: In one of the greatest upsets, featured in my kids book The Greatest Moments in Sports, Villanova shocks Georgetown 66-64. 1985.
Bonus Event: Nobody knows for sure the origin of April Fools' Day. One theory is, it began when the Gregorian Calendar changed New Year's Day to January 1. The New Year had been celebrated during the week between March 15 and April 1. 1582.
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