Happy Wednesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for September 29, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* Jay Bruce's 9th inning homer wins the NL Central for Cincinnati. The Reds are in the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.
* The Yankees and Tampa Bay clinch playoff spots.
* Rocktober is dead this year. The Colorado Rockies are eliminated from the playoffs.
* Closing arguments will be heard today in the McCourt divorce trial. It could decide ownership of the Dodgers.
* 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra retires. Probably not her choice.
2. Bay Watch
Something is rotten in sports crazy Tampa. The old axiom that all the fans want is a winner doesn't wash. The Tampa Bay Rays had a chance to clinch a playoff spot the other night and hardly anyone showed up. Star third baseman Evan Longoria ripped the fans, calling it "embarrassing." As for their football team, the Bucs may be tied for first, but their two preseason and two regular season games haven't sold out, so they've been blacked out on local TV. All their home games this season could suffer the same fate. Clearly fans are speaking with their wallets. Is it an aberration or the tip of the iceberg?
3. Three Sides To Every Story
Is there a more polarizing figure than Michael Vick? When I suggested he's earned his second chance by serving time, "the fur flew" on my Facebook page. On the one side you had comments like "Vick needs to rot in a cell then hell for the torture, cruelty, and total disregard for defenseless creatures." On the flip side, "I am a huge dog lover. But I think Vick served his time and should now be allowed to get on with his life." I liked the measured tone of Mary N. "I work in dog rescue, and seeing how some cruel jerks treat animals breaks my heart. Nevertheless, he served his prison time and has made some effort to rehabilitate himself....More critically, the longer he stays in the spotlight, the more good he can do to counsel others against following his prior path."
4. Tweet Tweet
Did they really have to say it? Kind of like the beginning of the movie when they tell you to silence your cell phones. The Ryder Cup captains have ruled no tweeting, no Facebook during the tournament, which starts Friday. Too bad. I'd really like to know what they're thinking while their opponent is lining up a critical putt. "Please miss, you wanker," or something to that effect. Then again maybe this twitter stuff isn't good for athletes. Ian Poulter of the European team had to apologize after an anti-Semitic tweet involving a soccer game. A little (Internet) knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
5. Let's Play Two
Thanks to subscriber Arn B. for tipping us off to the wacky world of Australian Rules Football. Last weekend, the Grand Finals in Melbourne between Collingwood and St. Kilda wound up in a 68-68 tie. So what to do? Overtime? Penalty kicks? Flip a coin? Wrong. it may be called Australian Rules, but they've got no rules to cover ties, so they'll replay the game. Not great for the 100,000 fans who went to great expense to see the Finals. But great for the owners who get to charge admission all over again. Why didn't American sports owners think of that... yet?
Happy Birthday: Oklahoma City NBA star Kevin Durant. 22.
Bonus Birthday: Actress Anita "La Dolce Vita" Ekberg. 79.
Today In Sports: The New York Giants bid adieu to Coogan's Bluff. Their last game at the Polo Grounds before moving to San Francisco. 1957.
Bonus Event: "I Love Mickey," Teresa Brewer's song about Mickey Mantle, peaks at #87 on the charts. 1956.
I'll be on the Howard Stern Show tomorrow morning at 7am and the Mad Dog Russo show at 4pm. Both on Sirius.