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Top 5 Sports Stories

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TGIF everyone, here's my Top 5 for April 9, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

* Tiger Woods returned to golf with a 4 under par 68 in round one of the Masters. He is two shots back of first round leader Fred Couples.
* In the Frozen Four of college hockey, Wisconsin and Boston College advance to tomorrow night's final in Detroit.
* Winning pays big dividends. Butler coach Brad Stevens signs a 12 year contract through 2022. By then he'll be 45 years old.

2. Tiger's Return

Tiger Woods returned to golf yesterday at the Masters, and the world continued to spin on its axis. He was cheered on the ground, but overhead an airplane towed a sign reading "Tiger, did you mean bootyism?" A shot at Woods' claim that he's returning to his Buddhist roots. As for his golf, after an eagle on 8, I thought his birdie on 9 was just ridiculous. After all that's happened, the best golfer on the planet successfully returned to his real roots, golf. When all is said and done that's all he is. A great golfer.

3. Play Ball!

Umpire Joe West ripped the Yankees and Red Sox for how long it takes for them to play games. He reportedly called the snail-like pace pathetic, embarrassing and a disgrace. The truth is, umpires don't enforce the rules. Make pitchers pitch. Keep batters in the box. Then again, maybe just enforce the rules when the Yanks and Red Sox play other teams. Not too many people complain when they play each other.

4. Friday eMailbag

I bemoaned the loss of the tradition of the Cincinnati Reds opening the baseball season with a quaint parade. It's now a money-related Sunday late night game. Subscriber R.V. emailed, "I am pretty sure the reason baseball opened for over 100 years in Cincy was to honor the fact that they were the first professional team. That makes it even worse that the practice has been abandoned for commercial reasons."
Editor's Note: Terrific point.

When I mentioned the passing of BBC announcer Harry Carpenter, who chided TV announcers who talked too much, subscriber W.M. recalled NBC's 1980 experiment with an announcerless NFL game.
Editor's Note: I remember that broadcast. It was rather dull. There has to be a happy medium... so to speak.

And when the Twins' Denard Span fouled off a pitch and hit his mother in the stands, a couple of Top 5 subscribers mentioned Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller. In 1939 a batter fouled one of his pitches and hit Feller's mom above the eye. It broke her glasses and required 7 stitches. And it happened on Mother's Day!

5. Since You Asked

Tiger Woods dead father posed 3 questions in that tasteless Nike ad.
* "I want to find out what your thinking was?"
* "What your feelings are?"
* "Did you learn anything?"

I have the answers.
* "I was thinking with my small head."
* "It felt great."
* "I learned that I'm a creep."

Any other questions?

Happy Birthday: Golfer Seve Ballesteros (who continues to recover from a brain tumor). 53.
Bonus Birthday: Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon. 44.

Today in Sports: Picky picky. The NFL demands that all players wear socks during games. 1945.
Bonus Event: Just slightly more important, the end of the Civil War. General Robert E. Lee surrenders at Appomattox. 1865.