Happy Presidents' Day everyone, here's my Top 5 for February 20, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
- The beat goes on. After finally losing a game, Jeremy Lin bounces back with 28 points and 14 assists as the Knicks beat the champion Dallas Mavericks 104-97.
- The Detroit Red Wings have now won a record 23 straight home games.
- Carl Edwards won the pole for Sunday's Daytona 500. Danica Patrick qualified 30th out of 49.
- Bill Haas won the Northern Trust Open on the second extra hole in a 3-way playoff with Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley. Mickelson was denied his second straight win.
- Welcome to the post-fight fight. After Vitali Klitschko's defended his WBC heavyweight title in Munich against Dereck Chisora, WBA champ David Haye called Chisora a "loser." All hell broke loose. Punches thrown, reporters diving for cover. Chisora was detained by police for questioning. He could be charged with assault. Police couldn't locate Haye for questioning.
OK, some of the stuff surrounding Jeremy Lin is truly insane. First a fan showed up with a sign that included a fortune cookie. It wound up being shown on television. Then after the Knicks winning streak ended Friday night ESPN mobile briefly ran the headline "Chink in The Armor." The network apologized and fired the employee responsible. The calendar says it's 2012. Some people are truly stuck in the Dark Ages. To his credit, Lin said, "You have to learn to forgive, and I don't even think that was intentional."
3. Side Effects
Stripping away all the silliness, there are some tangible side effects to Lin-Sanity. For one, a cable blackout was probably lifted because of Jeremy Lin. MSG and Time Warner finally settled their differences so Knicks and Rangers games are back on the air. How crazy is that? A "throwaway" player brought two sports media giants to their knees. Pretty cool. And you wonder if the "Lin effect" will extend to other sports. Sure the gaudy contract that brought A.J. Burnett to the Yankees helped secure a World Series title in 2009, but now Burnett is expendable so he winds up in Pittsburgh. Don't you think sports teams all over the world are desperately seeking the next Jeremy Lin? Again. Pretty cool. By the way, A.J. Burnett tweeted, Now that I am part of the Pittsburgh Pirates, I would just like to say how grateful I am to the Yankees organization and the fans. A classy tweet considering how Yankee fans turned on him.
4. Here's to Kid
Clearly Gary Carter's death touched a great many of you. Some of your thoughts:
*C.B. We will miss you Gary Carter and your great smile.
*J.V. Always a smile, always a Champion. Rest in Peace Kid.
*B.A. I can think of no current pro athlete that compares. Perhaps Jeter comes closest.
*S.R. If there were more guys like him in sports it would make the whole industry far better.
By the way, how perfect. The Empire State Building was bathed in Orange and Blue light Friday night in memory of Gary.
And the Montreal Canadiens paid tribute to Gary in the city where he began his Major League career.
5. Since You Didn't Ask
Here's an All-Presidents baseball team.
Outfield: Reggie Jackson, Trot Nixon, Randy Bush
Infield: Adam Kennedy, Howard and Nick Johnson (yup, there were two Presidents named Johnson), Jackie Roosevelt Robinson.
Lefty Pitcher: Whitey Ford
Righty Pitcher: Walter Johnson (OK, we're now over the term limits for Johnsons)
Catcher: (Of course) Gary Carter
Honorable mention: Pitcher Dennis "El Presidente" Martinez
Former minor league pitcher Larry President
Happy Birthday: Hockey great, and a former TV co-host of mine, Phil Esposito. 70.
Bonus Birthday: Model Cindy Crawford. 46.
Today in Sports: Willie Mays signs a $100,000 contract with the San Francisco Giants making him the highest paid player. 1963.
Bonus Event: 50 years ago today, John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth. 1962.
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