Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for April 16, 2013 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
- Explosions mar the Boston Marathon. Three are dead over 140 injured.
- As for the Marathon, Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa Benti won the men's race. Since 1991, 19 Kenyans have won three Ethiopians and one South Korean. Rita Jeptoo of Kenya won the women's race for the second time.
- The Oklahoma Thunder clinch the top seed in the NBA's Western Conference.
- Kentucky star Nerlens Noel will enter the NBA draft. His freshman season was cut short by a torn knee ligament.
2. Patriot's Day
Some of my favorite sports memories involve covering the Boston Marathon. I used to love the start of the race in bucolic Hopkinton where you could walk right up to the runners and talk to them at the start line. Try doing that with the players right before the kickoff of the Super Bowl. I've covered sports events all over the world where the security was intense. Super Bowl XXV in Tampa was the first one to utilize metal detectors. At the 1996 Olympics, after the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, they erected metal detectors for a Jerry Seinfeld concert. At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, we couldn't enter our hotels without going through "airport-type" security. Are marathons now an endangered species? Is it impossible to safeguard 26-miles and millions of spectators? Are these the times in which we live?
3. A United Sports World
Yesterday was supposed to be all about Jackie Robinson. And yes the sports world was united, but their thoughts and prayers were with the great people of Boston. Baseball and NBA games began with a moment of silence. Last night's Boston Bruins game in Boston was canceled as was tonight's Celtics game. Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola had this tweet: "I will DONATE $100 for EVERY pass I catch next season to whatever 'Boston Marathon Relief Fund' there is. And $200 for any dropped pass." Boston and New York may have the most storied and heated rivalry in sports. It will be renewed this weekend in the NBA playoffs, but the Brooklyn Academy of Music summed it up best with this sign last night.
4. Dress Code
So you go to a ballgame wearing team colors and you're told to change your clothes. Huh? It happened in Arizona. Some fans right behind home plate splurged for three grand to buy a bunch of tickets. They showed up wearing Dodgers gear. That means why were highly visible on TV. So the owner of the D-Backs offered them different seats or Arizona gear if they stayed. He also gave them a free round of drinks. The fans put on the enemy gear and went skoal! Everyone has a price.
5. Making Change
When I wrote about the flyers being handed out in Washington to "Stop the Wave" at Nationals games, you guys couldn't wait to join the party. Here's what you'd like to see change.
*The most common complaint as voiced by D.S. Stop the deafening cacophonic music that fans are forced to sit through during timeouts and between innings.
*D.C. Stop the Atlanta "Chop!"
*S.N. All posing and celebrating in football for things you're expected to do.
*M.F. I am so over "get in the hole!"
*B.L. Time to "stop" the "We're number one" foam fingers.
*J.B. Another thing I would like to see stopped in baseball is when a player steps out of the box and re-velcros his batting glove(s). What a waste of time.
*D.L. The use of "your," as in, "Here are your 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates." They're THE Pirates, and unless I'm the owner, they are not MY Pirates.
*L.Q. (A female sports fan) Stopped in sports? That's easy: Overly large males with their bare quivering beer-bellies painted in their teams colors... ugh! I hope I never have to sit next to one.
*R.N. They should stop the hand slapping after making or missing a foul shot.
Editor's Note: I never understood why a free throw shooter would shoot an air ball and then slap fives with all his teammates.
*And T.S. doesn't buy the premise. Anything else you want to do to make baseball even less family friendly? Kids LOVE the wave. I started taking my daughters to baseball games when they were 3 years old, and they were absolutely fascinated when the stadium erupted in the wave. They're young adults now, and still attend MLB games. I'm not sure what they think about the wave now, but I know it helped hook them on baseball.
Happy Birthday: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. 66.
Bonus Birthday: Actor Jon Cryer. 48.
Today in Sports: Cleveland pitcher Bob Feller throws the only Opening Day no-hitter in baseball history. 1940.
Bonus Event: Uncle Walter. Walter Cronkite begins anchoring The CBS Evening News. 1962.
To sign up for Len's free daily Top 5 email click here.