Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for June 17, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* Game 7 is tonight in L.A. The Lakers and Celtics for the NBA championship. Boston center Kendrick Perkins will miss the game with torn knee ligaments.
* The U.S. Open gets underway today at Pebble Beach. Tiger Woods tees off at 4:36pm Eastern.
* When 47-year old Jamie Moyer of the Phillies beat the Yankees last night, he became the oldest pitcher to ever do it.
* Here's how big Switzerland's 1-0 win over Spain is. Spain is the favorite to win the World Cup at 4-1. The U.S. is 80-1. Switzerland is 250-1. I'm thinking they're not too happy today in Spain.
* The New Orleans Saints received their Super Bowl rings last night. Each ring has XLIV diamonds.
2. Game 7
The home team has to be favored in any Game 7, so the Lakers have the edge tonight over the Celtics. You have to go back to the 70's to find road teams winning a 7th game in the Finals. I covered one of them in 1974. Boston beat Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Bucks in Milwaukee. It was an afternoon game. I filmed post game interviews. Jumped on a plane, changed planes in Chicago. Got police help in getting to my Boston TV station. The film had to be processed, and edited. The end result, interviews from an afternoon game barely made it to air at the end of the 11pm news in Boston. I tell this story to youngsters just starting in television and they look at me crosseyed.
3. Blown Away
They've got a list of banned items for spectators when Wimbledon begins on Monday. Things like guns, large flags and anything, including clothing, with political statements or "ambush advertising." You can now add to the list vuvuzelas. Wimbledon officials will not allow the noisy horns onto their grounds. Wow, wouldn't that have been fun? As the server did his ball toss, fans could have tooted their horns. Good times. Don't the Brits have a sense of humour?
Former major league pitcher and current announcer Jim Kaat is some athlete. During his great career which stretched over parts of 4 decades, he won 16 Gold Gloves. Obviously he's got great hands. At the age of 71 he has a 5 handicap in golf. Many years ago he told me he golfed righty, even though he was a lefty pitcher. He was also a single digit handicap back then. He told me one year he switched to golfing lefty. I asked him how it affected his handicap? He said it didn't. Still single digit. And despite his age, that probably won't change soon. He recently married the woman pro at his club in Florida!
5. Crying Foul
The New York Daily News had a story the other day about baseballs. Roughly 900,000 are used in a Major League season, with most of the balls given away to fans for free. It wasn't always that way. A New York Giants fan, a kid named Reuben Berman (no relation), caught a foul ball in 1921 and refused to give it back. The Giants refunded his ticket and kicked him out of the Polo Grounds. Of course he sued. After that, the Giants let fans keep the balls. Bermans are such trouble makers!
Happy Birthday: Tennis star Venus Williams 30.
Bonus Birthday: Mr. Copacabana himself, singer Barry Manilow. 67.
Today in Sports: What a relief. Cubs reliever George "Zip" Zabel enters the game against the Dodgers in the first inning. He pitches until the 19th as the Cubs win it 4-3. Yes, that's a record. 1915.
Bonus Event: The white Bronco chase featuring O.J. Simpson. 1994.