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Top 5 Sports Stories

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TGIF everyone, here's my Top 5 for April 2, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

* The Final Four is tomorrow night in Indianapolis.

--Butler vs. Michigan State. 6:07pm ET
--West Virginia vs. Duke. 8:47pm ET

* Dayton beat North Carolina 79-68 to win the NIT. What will become of the NIT if the NCAA tournament goes to 96 teams?
* A sign of things to come? A trotter named Butler Bulldog won the first race at Hoosier Park Racing and Casino the other night.
* Baseball's opening night is Sunday at Fenway Park, the Yankees and the Red Sox.
* Ace Bandages and Braces have signed on as a sponsor for Mets radio broadcasts. Honest. What took 'em so long?

2. Carbo Loading

Former Red Sox outfielder Bernie Carbo told the Boston Globe that he never played a game between 1973 and 1980 without pills, dope or cocaine. He said he even played high during the 1975 World Series, when he hit his dramatic game-tying homer in game 6. When he was in the outfield, he said, it sometimes looked like the stars were falling down. Carbo wasn't alone. The late Doc Ellis said he pitched a no-hitter on LSD. And we know what drugs did to the careers of Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. Baseball fans are addicted to their teams. How many of those fans were unknowingly shortchanged because their heroes were addicted to something else?

3. Locking the Barn Door

Twins center fielder Denard Span will always be known as the guy who hit his own mother with a foul ball. But now I think he might be heralded for something better. Span says the netting that's behind home plate should be extended down the baselines. Good idea. It took the tragic death of a teenage girl in Columbus in 2002 to get hockey teams to put up protective netting behind the goals. Lets not wait for a similar tragedy in baseball.

4. Friday eMailbag

As for the moribund New York pro basketball teams, J.L. writes, "If you checked the New York Times the other day, the stories on the Knicks and Nets are both on the same page as the obituaries!"
Editor's Note: Stop it J.L., you're killing me!

Subscriber R.B. gets "punster of the week." "Given its comedy of errors in finally selecting a coach, let's hope that St. John's will no longer be a "Lavin-stock" in the Big East."

And in the spirit of the season, and in recognition of the recession, M.F. jokes, "ABC, in a season of hundreds of cuts, says its traditional showing of The Ten Commandments runs too long and will cut it to the top five."
Editor's Note: Hmm. I like the way that sounds. Honor thy Top 5.

5. Silence is Golden

I read an obituary for Harry Carpenter in Britain the other day. He was a popular BBC sportscaster who died at the age of 84. He thought that his fellow television broadcasters often talked too much. In the NY Times obit he was quoted as saying, "You're there to help people, and you must only speak when you feel you can help them. It's pointless telling them what they can patently see for themselves."
Amen Harry, RIP.

Happy Birthday: Carmen Basilio, who beat Sugar Ray Robinson for the middleweight title in 1957, but lost the rematch. 83.
Bonus Birthday: Horshack. Actor Ron Palillo on Welcome Back, Kotter. 61.

Today in Sports: The birth of the shot clock in college basketball. A :45 clock is voted in, so Villanova's huge upset of Georgetown the day before was the last college game ever played without a shot clock. 1985.
Bonus Event: Actor Burt Reynolds appeared in the buff in Cosmopolitan. 1972.