THE BLOG
03/22/2011 12:02 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for March 22, 2011 from Len Berman at ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

* Tennessee fires basketball coach Bruce Pearl.
* Opening statements will be heard today in the Barry Bonds perjury trial.
* How's that trade working out? The Knicks are 7-9 since acquiring Carmelo Anthony. (Another meltdown last night against the Celtics.) Denver is 10-4 since trading their superstar.
* If you haven't noticed, Richmond, Virginia is the basketball capital of the world. They've got two teams in the Sweet 16. Richmond and VCU.

2. Pearls of Wisdom

So Tennessee has whacked basketball coach Bruce Pearl amidst an investigation into his lying to the NCAA. OK, let's take it at face value. Is Tennessee the last bastion of collegiate ethical behavior? More so than Ohio State which retained football coach Jim Tressel. Or Louisville which did the same with Rick Pitino after his morality problems? Could it be that Tennessee's embarrassing loss to Michigan in the NCAA tournament had a wee bit to do with it? If the Vols had won the NCAA title, would Tennessee be just as ethical? Is my cynicism showing?

3. Your Couch Awaits

"Doctor, I have a problem. Fans are booing me and I don't like it. I think it negatively affects my performance." So went an imaginary conversation between former Mets pitcher Oliver Perez and a sports psychologist. Perez said he had really visited the guy to help his mental outlook. I'm thinking if he has a problem with booing, he might be in the wrong business. Then again Mets fans have been saying that for years.

4. Head Cases

The NHL has suspended Matt Cooke of Pittsburgh through the first round of the playoffs for his cheap shot against Ryan McDonagh of the Rangers on Sunday.

The NHL clearly has a problem. The Pittsburgh Penguins, led by owner Mario Lemieux, have been quite vocal in wanting harsher justice for head shots. Their star Sidney Crosby has been out since early January with a concussion. There's a big difference between accidental injury and premeditated head hunting which Cooke's clearly was. On top of that, Cooke's a repeat offender. This is is 5th suspension. He should have been banned for the rest of the season period. That would have sent a message that the NHL is serious about dealing with head injuries.

5. Willie Mickey and the Duke

Back in 1981 a song arrived at the Channel 2 studios in New York. It was called "Willie Mickey and the Duke," (now known as Talkin' Baseball.)

We flipped. We scurried around as fast as we could looking for footage to put with the Terry Cashman song. My late producer, the great Carmine Cincotta, figured out what scenes to use with the refrain "Talkin' baseball." Players arguing with umps. The video we made was a winner. Terry Cashman called to say how much he loved it. Brent Musburger played it one weekend on the CBS network. And now 30 years later, Cashman and his song will be honored in Cooperstown at the Baseball Hall of Fame. There have been tons of video versions of his tune, but the song's the thing. It recalls a simpler time in baseball that never fails to bring a smile. Congrats Terry. Home run!

Happy Birthday: NBA center Marcus Camby, currently with Portland. 37.
Bonus Birthday: Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon. 35.

Today in Sports: The first Masters golf tournament began. It was won my Horton Smith, but they didn't award him a green jacket. That tradition didn't start for another 15 years. 1934.
Bonus Event: Killjoys. Massachusetts outlaws gambling. 1630.


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