THE BLOG
11/23/2010 10:40 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for November 23, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

* The Minnesota Vikings fired coach Brad Childress. They retained Brett Favre.
* The National League MVP is Reds first baseman Joey Votto, and he only made $525,000 last season. Now that's a bargain.
* So how's this LeBron thing working out in Miami? They lost at home to Indiana last night, 93-77. They are 8-6, a worse record than Miami had last year after 14 games.
* Police are investigating the death of a 2-year-old boy who fell three stories from a Staples Center luxury box during a Lakers game.
* Tough choice on April 29th. The Royal Wedding, or a first round NHL playoff game. Hey c'mon, Columbus could be playing Vancouver.

2. Legalese

I have to admit, I don't always understand the rules. In Sunday night's NFL game one "helmet to helmet" hit was a 15 yard penalty. Another, which looked much more serious, was ruled "perfectly legal." Since we're so aware of head injuries in football, shouldn't all helmet hits be considered equal? And while you're answering that, can you explain baseball's balk rule to me again?

3. Flavor of the Month

Remember when NASCAR was hot? The only sport gaining in popularity? That is ancient history. TV ratings have plummeted, attendance is way down, and sponsors are hard to come by. Subscriber Kenny F. a die-hard NASCAR fan, attributes some of that to the success of Jimmie Johnson, the 5-time driving champion. Kenny say, "Johnson is the antithesis of the "good ol' boy" (Dale Earnhardt, Darryl Waltrip, Junior Johnson) who was the heart and soul of NASCAR. He's from -- shudder! -- California! He speaks in perfect sentences. But what's even worse, he's the best example of the new NASCAR driver: well-groomed, sponsor's dream who is carefully coached to avoid embarrassing his team. Guys like him, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon (lives in MANHATTAN!), are the tsunami that's taking over NASCAR. (The lousy TV coverage with a huge commercial overload has something to do with it too.) Then there's the economic downturn; attending a race is expensive unless it's in your backyard."

Interesting take, Kenny. Regular fans want to relate to regular folks. Imagine that.

4. Pat Burns, 1952-2010

Longtime NHL coach Pat Burns lost his battle with cancer the other day at the age of 58. What a resume. 501 wins. The only coach to be named "Coach of the Year" 3 times, with Montreal, Toronto and Boston. A Stanley Cup winner with the Devils. And yet, even while he was dying, he was denied entry into the Hockey Hall of Fame. My thanks to subscriber Peter D. for the following rant, "If I'm his family, when the time comes for him to be enshrined, I'd flip them the bird and say no thanks... if you couldn't get him in while he was alive to see it, then forget it. The voters should be ashamed of themselves."

5. Truth In Advertising

While the Islanders were losing their 13th straight, good guy TV announcer Howie Rose thought he wasn't on the air when he said, "Is it spring training yet? Let me know how this game turns out. Not that I particularly care.'' I hope the Islanders let him skate. Last week they refused to issue a credential to a blogger. They should have paid the guy for actually showing up to cover this franchise. Howie is also the Mets radio play-by-play man. I'm guessing at some point during the baseball season he must have wondered, "when do goalies and skaters report?" It's just that he never said it on the air.


Happy Birthday: One of my faves, El Tiante, pitcher Luis Tiant. 70.
Bonus Birthday: Hannah Montana is legal! Singer/actress Miley Cyrus. 18.

Today In Sports: Doug Flutie's miracle pass, as Boston College beats Miami 47-45. 1984.
Bonus Event: Put a nickel in....the first jukebox makes its appearance in San Francisco. 1889.