11/16/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Wednesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for September 16, 2009 from

1. Quick Hits

The Yankees and Blue Jays brawl at Yankee Stadium. It's not real
bright to risk injury when you harbor championship aspirations.

The Red Sox and Yankees will open and close the 2010 season at
Fenway. Why don't they just play each other every day?

Might we actually have a pennant race? The Giants close to within 2
1/2 games of Colorado in the Wild Card race.

Michael Vick is activated by the Philadelphia Eagles. He can
practice this week with the team, but isn't eligible to play until
week three.

2. Contraction

Have we reached the long overdue moment of contraction is pro sports?
According to the SportsBusiness Journal the New Jersey Nets lost
$25-million in the first half of fiscal 2009. Pat Riley has given all
the non-players on the Miami Heat pay cuts. The Islanders are awash in
red ink. Some NFL teams aren't selling out. Baseball and football
ticket prices and personal seat licenses are turning off fans by the
thousands. The Yankees announced yesterday that they are reducing the
price of their most expensive seats next season. They used to say
owning a TV station was a "license to print money." For some teams,
owning a sports franchise is a license to burn it. How much longer can
this go on?

3. All the News

Now we're talking. A New York Times editorial yesterday dealt with
the hoary issue of "sports clichés." They did so in the context of
Serena Williams' comments following her on court explosion. Such
beauties as "It was what it was." "I'm moving on." "I was in the
moment." I've never liked sports cliches and I've strived to avoid
them. But for athletes who have something to hide, or don't wish to
communicate, clichés are the perfect crutch. By the way, I'm taking
The Top 5 one day at a time.

4. Mr. Detroit

Legendary Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell will address the fans at
tonight's game. He will thank them for their support. Ernie has
cancer. I first met him nearly 40 years ago. My father published a
songwriting magazine, and Ernie was a subscriber. When Hank Aaron was
chasing Babe Ruth's home run record, Ernie penned the song, "Move over
Babe (Here comes Henry)." In the 1980's when my Sports Fantasy show was
on NBC a viewer, an old Dodger fan, wanted to "strike out" Bobby
Thomson. Ernie had called the "Shot heard 'round the world" in 1951 on
TV. So he recorded the fantasy call for me. Ernie cried "The Giants
lose the pennant, the Giants lose the pennant." In "Move over Babe,"
Ernie wrote how Hank Aaron was "swingin' mean." Take those same cuts
at cancer, Ernie.

5. Coupling

The Yankees are all about tradition and they've taken Joe DiMaggio
and Marilyn to the extreme. A-Rod, Derek Jeter, and Nick Swisher all
have girlfriends who are actresses. According to the New York Post,
Swisher was seen hanging with Joanna Garcia of Gossip Girls. They
were with Jerry Ferrara (Turtle from Entourage) and actress Jamie-Lynn
Sigler. Not only is Turtle unemployed in Entourage, he gets to wear
his baseball cap backwards all day, and drive the car. And now he has
Jamie-Lynn as his girlfriend on and off the screen. My hero.

Happy Birthday: 2-time Yankee world champ Tim "Rock" Raines. 50.
Bonus Birthday: Columbo. Actor Peter Falk (Syracuse alum). 82.

Today in Sports: Mayhem at Ebbets Field. When the Dodgers lose to the
Reds 4-3, a fan jumps onto the field and starts pummeling the umpire.
Leo Durocher is suspended for "inciting a riot." 1940.
Bonus Event: There goes the neighborhood. The Pilgrims set sail on
the Mayflower. 1620.