Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for July 8, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* LeBron James announces which team he'll play for tonight on ESPN. The program will come from the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich, Conn., which gives Knicks fans hope. But "sources" say Miami may be the big winner.
* Free agent Dwyane Wade stays in Miami. He's joined on the Heat by Chris Bosh from Toronto.
* Spain knocks off Germany 1-0, so Sunday's World Cup final will feature Spain against Netherlands.
2. Show Time
So a zillionaire will commandeer an hour of prime time tonight to tell the world which team he will grace with his presence. Today is also the deadline for fans to vote for the final all stars in each league. Videos have been produced. U.S. Senators have gotten in on the act. All this while scoreboards blare at stadiums, you need a mortgage to buy tickets and players can drive directly into ballparks so that they don't have to come in contact with the riff raff. When exactly did we stop using words like "quaint," or "low key" in the same sentence with "sports world?"
3. Let's Go to the Videotape
It's been a whole week since we've had some kind of replay controversy. Don't get too comfortable. Here's one from the other day you might have missed. The ump certainly did!
Just call it, "Tag you're not it."
4. The Naked Truth
Running naked through the streets seems to be a big thing in South America. Argentina coach Diego Maradona had promised to run naked through Buenos Aires if Argentina had won the World Cup. I'm sure even some Argentinians are glad the team lost. Paraguay is a different story. A certain lingerie model named Larissa Riquelme, had promised to doff her clothes and run through Asuncion, Paraguay's capital, if her team won it all. But all is not lost Paraguayans. She says as a present to the players and the people she will do it anyway. I'm sure you're not interested, but just in case, here's what she looks like.
5. I See a Goal in Your Future
It turns out World Cup soccer results aren't left to chance, they're controlled by dead people. Here's how it works. A South African fortune-teller has a 9-foot python who communicates with human ancestors and asks them to intercede in the soccer matches. Hmmm. That may explain some of the phantom calls. Anyway, people pay the fortune teller (of course) and his python does the rest. But it turns out the working conditions for the snake ain't so hot. The python was being kept in a shack and he developed pneumonia. Animal welfare inspectors stepped in and seized the animal. Damn. Now soccer teams will have to fend for themselves.
Happy Birthday: Steelers hall of fame linebacker Jack Lambert. 58.
Bonus Birthday: Six degrees of separation. Actor Kevin Bacon. 52.
Today in Sports: They're printing money. Major League Baseball agrees to a minimum player salary of $5,000. 1946.
Bonus Event: John L. Sullivan wins the last bare-knuckle championship fight when Jake Kilrain's corner throws in the towel after the 75th round. 1889.
My fall appearance schedule for my new kids book, The 25 Greatest Baseball Players of All-Time, is starting to take shape. You can check it out at www.ThatsSports.com.