Happy Wednesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for February 13, 2013 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
- "King" Felix Hernandez is now the salary king. The Seattle Mariners have locked up their star pitcher for seven years for $175 million, the largest pitching contract in baseball.
- Another "King," LeBron James, became the first player in NBA history to score 30 points and shoot at least 60 percent in six straight games, as Miami beat Portland 117-104.
- According to Sports Business Journal, the NFL's contingency plan for next year's outdoor Super Bowl in New Jersey includes moving the game up to Saturday if the forecast is ominous.
- Detente! Russia joins the U.S. in protesting the dumping of wrestling from the Olympics.
- Are dog shows sports events? If so, Banana Joe won best in show at the Westminster Dog Show. He's an affenpinscher whose owner says he speaks four languages. I have no idea what any of this means.
2. The Last Wave
Pitchers and catchers have arrived and so has the last steroid talk of spring. The Yankees announced Alex Rodriguez won't show up at spring training, so that story is put on ice. Washington pitcher Gio Gonzalez reported for duty and pronounced his innocence so that's that. And former Met Mike Piazza, on his book tour, dodged reporters so he won't have to deal with the issue over and over. That's the update. Now, "Play Ball!" Until the next positive test shows up or if Major League Baseball takes action based on the Miami Biogenesis investigation.
Yesterday I mentioned the IOC is dumping wrestling from the Olympics but keeping that wildly popular exercise known as modern pentathlon. At the 2000 Olympics in Sidney I was assigned by NBC at the last minute to cover wrestling. So I walked into a Greco-Roman wrestling match knowing zip about the sport. But I figured it might be a big deal since Henry Kissinger was sitting in the front row. It turns out when Rulon Gardner beat Alexander Karelin that night it was arguably the greatest upset in U.S. Olympics history (OK, then at least in the top two along with the Miracle on Ice). Karelin hadn't lost a match in 13 years. So the IOC is dumping a sport with a great history and a large following around the world. What other sport had so many Iranian and American wrestling fans peacefully sitting side by side in the stands? I'm sure this little missive will upset the modern pentathlon fans out there. All two of them.
4. Papal Wisdom
I'm rooting for Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York to become the next pope. Then I can say "I met the future pope at a Yankees game." The affable Dolan is indeed a baseball fan. By the way, if you're looking for papal insight, look no further than Jose Canseco on Twitter. Among his tweets, "What all does a Pope do." "Why are all the Popes old men? They need younger strong men or women to be popes with energy that can last a while and get stuff done." And, "If old cardinals pick the Pope it will never change. Let the people vote."
I'd like to see how a world-wide popular vote for Pope would work exactly. As they say at the Vatican, "Oy."
5. Harlem Shake
Since I want my Top 5 subscribers to be up on all things digital, apparently the "Harlem Shake" is the new "Gangnam Style." If you haven't caught up with "Gangnam" yet, not to worry. But you might enjoy the "Harlem Shake" as performed by the St. Leo University baseball team in Florida.
Happy Birthday: The "greatest wide receiver of all-time" San Francisco's Randy Moss. 36.
Bonus Birthday: Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. 66.
Today in Sports: The NFL's Boston Redskins pack up and move to Washington. 1937.
Bonus Event: Michael Jackson buys a ranch in Santa Ynez, California and calls it Neverland. 1988.
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