11/22/2011 11:19 am ET Updated Jan 22, 2012

Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for November 22, 2011 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander adds the American League MVP award to his trophy case. He also won the Cy Young this season.
  • Jets coach Rex Ryan is fined $75,000 for cursing at a fan.
  • Monday Night Football: New England beat Kansas City 34-3.
  • Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby made his long awaited return from a concussion and scored two goals and two assists in the Penguins 5-0 shutout of the Islanders.
  • Penn State appoints former FBI director Louis Freeh to run its investigation into the child sex-abuse case.
  • The University of Arizona has hired former Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez.

2. Awards Season

Now that Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander has walked away with both the Cy Young and the MVP awards you can expect the usual carping that pitchers who don't work every day shouldn't be eligible for the MVP. I think it's fine. Where would the Tigers have been without Verlander? OK, maybe you can say that about every team's ace, but Verlander was truly extraordinary this season.

And on the subject, trivia fans love to ask, who was the last switch-hitter to win the American League MVP award? The answer, of course, Oakland pitcher Vida Blue in 1971 who also won the Cy Young award 40 years ago. (Pre-DH days.)

3. Play Ball!

Top 5 subscriber Brian M. asks a good question about the baseball labor agreement. I'm wondering if they are taking this opportunity to have labor peace to be in stark contrast to basketball and football?"

You might be giving them too much credit, Brian. If would be nice if that were so, but all parties in sports do what's best for "me." I'm not sure they care about anyone else, let alone another sport.

4. Fallout

Franco Harris continues to be in a firestorm. The Steelers great and former Penn State star lost one gig at a race track and casino because of his support of Joe Paterno. Then the mayor of Pittsburgh, Luke Ravenstahl, got in on the act. He demanded the removal of Harris' association with the Pittsburgh Promise, a charity that helps kids. Harris stepped down as chairman, but refuses to leave the board. Some feel the mayor is just acting all political by going after a big name. Apparently most Pittsburghers agree. In a Post-Gazette poll, 77% voted that Harris should stay on as chairman.

5. Crazy

Travel + Leisure magazine has announced the most sports-crazed cities as chosen by its readers. Philadelphia tops the list with Boston and Chicago coming in second and third. So what about New York City you ask? 17th. Ouch. Both San Juan and Providence were in the top 10. Fans in those cities have gone bonkers over tons of World Series and world class marathons staged in their towns, right?

Happy Birthday: The great Billie Jean King. 68.
Bonus Birthday: Actress Scarlett Johansson. 27.

Today in Sports: 25 years ago today, 20-year old Mike Tyson becomes the youngest heavyweight champion when he knocks out Trevor Berbick. 1986.
Bonus Event: JFK is shot. 1963.

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