TGIF everyone, here's my Top 5 for May 14, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* As Celtics fans chanted "New York Knicks" at LeBron James, Boston ousted Cleveland in game 6, 94-85.
* Jets owner Woody Johnson admits there are thousands of unsold PSL's at his new stadium. He vows no TV blackouts. Hey Woody, lower the onerous prices. Problem solved.
* Baseball commissioner Bud Selig will not move the 2011 All Star Game from Phoenix because of Arizona's controversial immigration law.
* There were 41 arrests of rioting fans in Montreal after the Canadiens ousted Pittsburgh. You would think that a city with a rich hockey history would know how to celebrate.
2. Judge for Yourself
I know this is a sports newsletter, but I'm bemused by all the hoohah over Elena Kagan, the President's nominee for the Supreme Court. Does it really matter if she's gay? The White House had to issue background statements saying she's not. Reminds me of Mike Piazza having to hold a mini news conference to talk about his sexual orientation. Who cares? Just because a picture shows Ms. Kagan playing softball, she's supposedly a lesbian? The good news for her, is that she's a lifelong Mets fan. So every time she votes in the majority, she'll be on the winning team. A new experience.
3. The 500 Club
Many years ago a technician at Channel 4 asked me if I would like to have the original video tape of Mickey Mantle's 500th home run? He used to work at Channel 11, and in the days of king-sized video tapes, rarely did anything get saved. But he just snipped the tape off the machine after the telecast and put it in his locker. Of course I wanted the tape, and it's one of my favorites. My hero, the Mick, hits it out to right. He runs around the bases, and that's it. In the short clip there are about 100 things that jump out at you. Announcer Jerry Coleman is touting the upcoming Memorial Day doubleheader. Mickey didn't wear wristbands, or eye black. There was no video replay. No fireworks, no loud music. And there weren't a whole lot of fans in the stands either. After he reached the dugout, he just stayed there. No curtain call. That game against Baltimore took 2 hours and 38 minutes to play. That's around 6 or 7 innings today. It was 43 years ago today, or in baseball terms, light-years ago.
4. Friday eMailbag
Subscriber R.R. has the source of Tiger Woods' disc injury, "His ego is so big that his neck can't support it."
As for Brian Cushing, who had his NFL rookie award rescinded for drugs, but won it back in a re-vote, subscriber B.K. writes, "I went to High School with Brian at Bergen Catholic and it all started the summer after junior year. He came back as a senior looking like the Incredible Hulk. I'm sure it continued all through his 4 years at USC as well. Just goes to show how good USC can cover things up."
Editor's Note: There's been quite a bit of finger pointing at USC.
As for the Tasing of unruly fans, B.R. writes on Facebook at Len Berman's Top 5, "How about if they had to Taser fans who booed at Mets games? They'd have to do the whole crowd when Oliver Perez pitches!"
This week's "high brow" discussion has focused on names of race horses, such as Bodacious Tatas. J.G. writes. "Don't think you can print this one in the column, but (track announcer) Tom Durkin often told me the trickiest call he ever had to make is of a horse named Cunning Stunt."
Editor's Note: You're right, we can't print that. We have standards on the Top 5.
5. Spanning The World
Maybe my memory has failed, or I just didn't care, but I don't remember my baseball heroes stopping to admire their home run swings before leaving the batter's box. Now it happens all the time. The height of "look at me," occurred the other night in Pittsburgh. Lastings Milledge "hit a grand slam homer." He trotted around the bases as fireworks were shot off. But his "home run" never left the park. He was tagged out between second and third. Here it is.
On Spanning the World, I used to call that "premature exhilaration."
Happy Birthday: The Goose. Former NFL star and current broadcaster Tony Siragusa. 43.
Bonus Birthday: Oscar winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter, Apple. 6.
Today in Sports:The Mick hits career home run number 500 (see above.) 1967.
Bonus Event: For the first time the Olympics are held on U.S. soil, in St. Louis. Then again it was only the 3rd Olympiad. 1904.