Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for April 2, 2013 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
- Twenty-year-old Bryce Harper becomes the youngest Major Leaguer to homer twice on opening day as the Washington Nationals shutout Miami 2-0.
- L.A. Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw hit his first career homer and four-hit the S.F. Giants 4-0.
- The Yankees set the all time payroll record: $230.4 million.
- Musical quarterback chairs: The Oakland Raiders pick up Matt Flynn from Seattle. As a result, Carson Palmer is expected to head to Arizona. Colt McCoy goes from Cleveland to San Francisco.
- That didn't take long. Andy Enfield, the basketball coach at Florida Gulf Coast University this year's NCAA surprise, is the new coach at U.S.C.
- The Cubs, Mets, Astros and Red Sox are all in first place today.
2. Opening Day
As openers go, the NFL has it right. The Super Bowl champ begins the following season on a Thursday night. Baseball used to have it right. An opener, with a parade, in Cincinnati and a second presidential opener in Washington, D.C. Would it be so difficult to shine the spotlight on one special game to open the new baseball season? Houston playing Texas on a Sunday night just didn't cut it. Then again, with so many games in a season, it's not as easy to make one game stand out, as in football.
How embarrassing. The Yankees had a couple of their injured starters in uniform yesterday for their home opening loss to Boston. Mark Teixeira was introduced to the home crowd, Alex Rodriguez wasn't. It speaks volumes that the highest paid player in baseball can't take a bow for fear of a negative reaction from the fans. The Yankees say it was his decision, but the team didn't want A-Rod speaking to the media in front of a Yankees logo. You really think he's going to finish out his contract in Pinstripes?
4. Stat Freak
They've come up with so many new baseball stats, but here's one they should consider. WAP. Wins against payroll. They should rank the teams based on how they succeed against salary. For example, on opening night Houston with the lowest payroll in baseball beat Texas a team that outspent them by over $100 million. So Houston would not only be in the first place in the real standings, but would have an overwhelming lead in the WAP standings. Now we can graphically chart baseball smarts, not just the teams with the deepest pockets.
5. Hooray for Hollywood
Maybe a first. A relief pitcher is brought in to deliver the ceremonial first pitch. Dodgers part owner Magic Johnson was all set to throw yesterday when manager Don Mattingly came to the mound and signaled for the lefty. Not just any lefty. The team's new special assistant, Sandy Koufax. OK, Sandy didn't deliver a strike but it's one of the coolest opening day moments I've seen.
Happy Birthday: His #19 is retired by the Chicago White Sox, pitching great Billy Pierce. 86.
Bonus Birthday: Law and Order actor Christopher Meloni. 52.
Today in Sports: No more four-corner offense. The NCAA adopts a 45-second shot clock for college basketball. (It's now 35.) 1985.
Bonus Event: Actor Burt Reynolds appears au naturel in Cosmopolitan. 1972.
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