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Top 5 Sports Stories

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Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for May 17, 2010 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

* When LeBron and Cleveland lost, you get the feeling Boston didn't get enough credit for winning. That may change now after their game 1 win in Orlando, 92-88.
* In hockey, Philadelphia and Chicago won the first games of their conference finals.
* The sky is falling. The incomparable Yankee reliever Mariano Rivera yields a game losing grand slam homer for the first time in 8 years.
* The death watch is back on for manager Jerry Manuel as the Mets sink into last place.
* The Triple Crown drought continues. Lookin at Lucky wins the Preakness. Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver finished a disappointing 8th.

2. Triple Frown

I used to love covering the Belmont Stakes. I was there in 1979 when everyone expected Spectacular Bid to make it 3 straight Triple Crown winners before he got spectacularly upset by Coastal. There hasn't been a Triple Crown winner since. Some thought the Belmont Stakes would bite the dust this year with the financial problems of the New York Racing Association. And now another death knell. Neither the Kentucky Derby winner nor the Preakness winner will race at this years Belmont. No showdown means no interest. Horse racing, like boxing, continues to drop in popularity. At one time they were huge sports in America. Too bad. One of the most beautiful settings in all of sport, Belmont Park, deserves better.

3. Come and Get it!

Normally tonight's matchups would be juicy. Yankees/Red Sox, Mets/Braves. I wonder if the telecast openings will sound like this?
"Welcome to Yankee Stadium, where the Red Sox will try not to fall one game below .500."
or, "Welcome to Turner Field, it's the Mets and the Braves, the 'battle for the basement.'"
By the way, 3 of the smallest 12 payrolls are on top of the standings today. Tampa Bay, San Diego, and your first place Cincinnati Reds. That sound you hear is the big-spending owners of the Mets, Cubs and Red Sox all getting sick. (Not to mention their fans.)

4. Free Pass

The Bernie Carbo/Keith Hernandez dust-up sheds light on a fascinating dichotomy. Carbo says he wanted to "break Hernandez's arms" for throwing him under the bus in the 80's. Hernandez testified that he was introduced to cocaine by Carbo. It's interesting that steroid users are treated as pariahs, but cocaine abusers aren't. Keith has successfully re-invented himself as a talented broadcaster. Would he have gotten that chance if he were embroiled in a steroids scandal?

5. Pitch-men

Everybody wants LeBron James... somewhere. The President wants him in Chicago. Mayor Bloomberg wants him in New York. And then there's Cleveland. Lots of celebrities gathered to sing "We are LeBron," to the tune of "We Are the World." Here it is.
One problem. Cleveland isn't overrun by celebs. So you've got local radio and TV types, City Councilmen, and even a "furniture TV pitchman" in the chorus. Then there are the lyrics. A sampling:

New York's overcrowded.
Those people are unbearable.
Don't forget the Knicks and Nets are terrible.

With creativity like that, it's hard to imagine why Madison Avenue hasn't relocated to the Mistake by the Lake.

Happy Birthday: Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard. 54,
Bonus Birthday: Separated at birth. Comedian, actor, TV host Bob Saget. Same day, same year. 54.

Today in Sports: 15 horses raced in the very first Kentucky Derby. Aristides was the winner. 1875.
Bonus Event: How do you make a million dollars in the stock market? Start with 2 million. It all began today with the formation of the New York Stock Exchange. 1792.