Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for March 18, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com
1. Quick Hits
Let's get ready to screw up your bracket. The NCAA basketball tournament is underway today with 16 games. President Obama picks Kansas to win it all. Last year he accurately predicted North Carolina. Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine. The team is standing by him. Seattle pitcher Cliff Lee is suspended for the first 5 games of the season for head-hunting in an exhibition game.
2. Coaching Change
Well that was fast. Seton Hall lost in the NIT and the next day fired coach Bobby Gonzalez. It wasn't that they lost to Texas Tech 87-69, it's how they lost. Forward Herb Pope was ejected for punching a player in the groin, and along the way Gonzalez received his 7th technical foul of the season. On top of that, a player he released Sunday, Robert Mitchell, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with robbing eight people at gunpoint. It all looked and smelled like a coach who had lost control of his players as well as himself. Seton Hall had just signed Gonzalez to a contract extension through 2015. But they pulled the plug anyway. Good for Seton Hall. Principal trumped money.
3. Not so Sudden Death
Has the NFL finally come to its senses? Owners will vote next week whether or not to change the overtime rule for the playoffs. The new rule would allow both teams to get the ball on offense, if the team that wins the toss kicks a field goal. Excellent idea. Of course knowing the NFL, they might make their decision with a secret coin toss.
4. Equal Justice?
From the very first Top 5, in August of 2008, I included Today in Sports. The first one, 8/7/08 had Ted Williams being fined $5,000 for spitting at fans in 1956. The subject of "sports justice" comes up quite a bit. For example the other day I mentioned that in 1964, Paul Hornung and Alex Karras were reinstated by the NFL after 11 months, for gambling on football. Many of you had the same reaction. If they got 11 months, how come Pete Rose got life? For one, Hornung and Karras were active players. It cost them both the 1963 season. In a short career, that was huge. For another, it's never the crime...it's the cover-up.
5. Book It
We interrupt the NCAA tournament for this commercial message. Opening day is right around the corner. And If you're thinking baseball, you can now pre-order my newest kids book "The 25 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time" at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. The book is due out in September and guaranteed you won't agree with the choices. "What, no Sandy Koufax?" "Are you nuts?" Many other favorites didn't make the cut either. But don't blame me. I had a blue ribbon panel decide, which included two ballplayers from different eras, Bernie Williams and Ralph Branca. This is gonna be one fun debate.
Now back to the tournament, did you really pick Siena to reach the sweet sixteen?
Happy Birthday: U.S. speed skating great (5 gold medals) Bonnie Blair. 46.
Bonus Birthday: Queen Latifah. 40.
Today in Sports: Montreal's Maurice Richard becomes the first to score 50 goals in a season. He does it in the 50th and final game of the season. 1945.
Bonus Event: A big day for 50, a nice round number. Hawaii becomes the 50th state. 1959.