Happy Wednesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for Cinco de Mayo, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* The great Hall of Fame Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell is dead at the age of 92.
* The Phoenix Suns will wear "Los Suns" on their jerseys this Cinco de Mayo "to honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the state of Arizona and our nation." Another shot fired at Arizona's controversial immigration law.
* The Cincinnati Bengals continue to lead the league in arrests. Wide receiver Maurice Purify was collared in Newport for disorderly conduct after a bar fight. He is well prepared for what lies ahead. In college, he majored in criminal justice.
* And word is the Bengals will sign the troubled Pacman Jones. How did they ever beat out the Raiders?
2. Ernie Harwell, 1918-2010
For a living, my dad published a magazine for songwriters. Ernie Harwell was one of his long time subscribers. So in 1970, I called Ernie to see if I could observe him in the broadcast booth. Of course he said yes, and he treated this kid broadcaster as if he were a seasoned pro. But Ernie treated everyone that way. When I had my Sports Fantasy show on NBC in the 80's a Dodger fan wanted to "strike out" Bobby Thompson. So we re-created that 1951 homer. We needed an announcer. Turns out Ernie called the historic home run on TV that day in the Polo Grounds. He again said yes to me, without blinking an eye. And so on Sports Fantasy, thanks to Ernie, "the Giants lose the pennant, the Giants lose the pennant." Great announcer, better person. I join millions of other fans in missing one of the last of the great ones, Ernie Harwell.
3. Buyer Beware
I own a baseball signed by the 1975 American League champion Boston Red Sox. One slight problem, it looks like all the signatures are forged by the same person. So it comes as no surprise that the golf clubs being offered on eBay may also have a problem. The seller is asking $250-thousand for the clubs used when Tiger Woods won 4 straight majors in 2000-1. It even comes with a "certificate of authenticity." Woods said yesterday that the actual clubs he used to win those tournaments are in his garage. I'm guessing that "certificate of authenticity" was signed by the same guy who signed my Red Sox ball.
4. Fan Fare
OK, I had a little fun with the moron who ran on the field in Philadelphia the other night. He was felled by a Taser gun. I mused, what, they didn't have a crossbow available? Talk about monkey see, monkey do, another fan ran on the field last night in Philly, they were able to stop him minus the Taser. Top 5 subscribers have little sympathy for these idiots. One subscriber asked "where was Mike Curtis when we needed him?" He was the Baltimore Colt who tackled a fan who ran onto the field. Curtis fended off criticism by saying "he shouldn't have been there." There's also been some flak over the treatment of the "poor fan" in Philly. Tough.
5. Deer Gone Wild
The Milwaukee Bucks rally cry this year was "Fear the Deer." It became real at a Menomonie, Wisconsin restaurant during game 7 of the Bucks series against Atlanta. Two deer smashed into the eatery while patrons were watching the game and they had to be wrestled to the floor. The Bucks lost game 7 to Atlanta. No wonder the deer got upset, they probably bet a lot of doe on the game.
Happy Birthday: Former Islander, King and Penguin Ziggy Palffy (I just love saying the name Ziggy.) 38.
Bonus Birthday: Mr. NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams. 51.
Today in Sports: The great Secretariat wins the Kentucky Derby in a record time of 1:59:40. 1973.
Bonus Event: It seems that Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more in the U.S. than Mexico. It commemorates an unlikely Mexican victory over France which coincidentally took place on the 5th of May. 1862.