Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for July 12, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* Spain, as correctly predicted by Paul the Octopus, wins its first ever World Cup, 1-0 over Netherlands.
* We've reached the All Star break in Major League Baseball. The Home Run Derby is tonight in Anaheim.
* Lance Armstrong says his chances of winning an 8th Tour de France are cooked. But he'll continue in the race anyway.
* I Wonder who Paul the Octopus likes in the National League East?
2. The Voice of God
Bob Sheppard passed away yesterday just 3 months shy of his 100th birthday. In his first day as Yankees public address announcer in 1951, he called out the names Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams. Through 6 decades at Yankee Stadium, as well as Giants football, two things never wavered. That wonderful voice and his penchant for accuracy. He often had a roster in hand and would approach players asking them how to pronounce their names. He always wanted to get it right. His voice will live on, in the taped introduction of Derek "Jee-tuh," starting tomorrow night at the All Star Game. And I will never hear a public address announcer intone "your attention please ladies and gentlemen," and not think of Bob. What a wonderful gentle man who is as much part of Yankee lore as the players. I defy you to watch this video and not get goosebumps.
Here's a story I've told before. I was once at a Bar Mitzvah where Bob was a guest. During the kid's candle lighting ceremony, Bob stood by the boy and his cake making the announcements. "Ladies and gentlemen your attention please. Will Grandma Tessie and Grandpa Max please come up to light the next candle." Priceless.
3. Topsy Turvy
What's this world coming to? The Yankees thought they had acquired star pitcher Cliff Lee from Seattle, and then Texas swooped in and stole him away. The Yankees feel used. Doesn't Seattle know that the Yankees, historically, are supposed to get everything they want? How else do you amass 27 World Championships? Of course, having the ability to spend more money than several small countries doesn't hurt. But what kind of lesson is this to pass on to young New Yorkers? First LeBron, and now Lee. Before you know it New Yorkers will develop inferiority complexes. Nah!
4. Vox Populi
You all had lots to say about LeBron James heading to Miami.
Mark M. didn't care for the TV show. "How he could have held that dog and pony show they called a 'Special' is just outrageous. He said that he hadn't notified the other teams that he was signing with Miami, and that was classless."
On the flip side, Ann H. was impressed by James on his show. "I thought I would be completely disgusted by the LeBron announcement spectacle. I was pleasantly surprised at how decent a guy LeBron is. He seemed actually humble. That, and proceeds from the show will go to charity."
Michael F. is critical of Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert and his open letter to Cavalier fans. He says, "Doesn't he demonstrate a far worse model of poor sportsmanship and conduct than he is accusing King James of?"
And Bruce B. makes a great point. "Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor - no championships during the two full seasons they played together, in 1968-69, and 1969-70."
By the way, all three of their numbers are retired by the Lakers.
5. The New York Nix
Is it truly possible, that despite all he's done to cripple this franchise, Isiah Thomas is still in the good graces of Knicks ownership? Could he really someday make a return to the front office? Maybe pigs really can fly.
Happy Birthday: A terrific rebounder and good guy for the Boston Celtics, Paul Silas. 67.
Bonus Birthday: The Cos. Bill Cosby. 73.
Today in Sports: Babe Ruth makes his major league debut, pitching for the Boston Red Sox. He gets the win over Cleveland, 4-3. 1914.
Bonus Event: Shake it up baby. The first Etch-a-Sketch went on sale, 50 years ago today. 1960.