BY LEN BERMAN
TOP 5 FOR DEC. 5, 2012
1. Quick Hits
There was some optimism after a long negotiating session as several NHL players and owners met face to face. They'll resume talking today.
The Red Sox are doling out the cash this off season. First catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli, and now outfielder Shane Victorino. Marco Scutaro re-upped with San Francisco.
Fellow golfers voted Rory McIlroy 2012 PGA Tour Player of the Year.
Name game. According to Yahoo! Sports, the New Orleans Hornets will change their name next year to Pelicans. Charlotte then could reacquire the Hornets nickname. Now about the Utah Jazz....
So the Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema up and left to coach at Arkansas. Didn't matter that he signed a contract extension at Wisconsin through 2016.
Doesn't matter that if Wisconsin's football players want to go play for Arkansas they'd have to sit out a year. Bielema wasn't alone yesterday. Arkansas State Coach Gus Malzahn is going to Auburn after coaching one year of his 5 year contract. And Temple football coach Steve Addazio is jumping to Boston College despite having 3 years left on his Temple deal. Do coaches owe it to recruits to actually stick around since the players are stuck at the school? Do you think coaches set a fine example for their student athletes? Do you think NCAA rules are arbitrary? (Those are all rhetorical questions).
3. Elementary, Watson
I liked what golfing great Tom Watson had to say the other day. First he opined that golf really doesn't belong in the Olympics. It returns in Rio in 2016. He said, "I still think of the Olympics as track and field and not golf to be honest with you." He argues that golf has 4 major international championships every year. Bingo. And he made a good point about long anchored putters which could be outlawed in a couple of years. He favors the ban, but he says the long putter makes it fun for many golfers. Do you really want to take that away? Great point. Golf is tough enough. We need more fun!
4. Vin Scully
I have a confession to make. On the occasion of his 85th birthday last week, when I wrote "I've never ever heard a discouraging word about Vin Scully." I had an ulterior motive. I wanted to see what you guys would come up with. Some of you like to disagree with me about everything, the day of the week, my favorite color, anything. But guess what? Not a peep about Vin, confirming my belief in the unanimity of his appeal. Here's what you guys wrote.
*J.D. I lived in LA for 7 months, 9 days, 8 hours and 15 minutes in 1981. I listened to the Dodger games on the radio when I was there. Not because I was a fan, but just to hear Vin.
*R.R. I agree emphatically. Without Vin Scully, the Dodgers would really be a so-so team. I enjoy listening and watching even when the Boys in Blue lose.
*M.B. Having been born and raised in San Francisco, I've always, er, disliked the (Effing) Dodgers except for Vin Scully, who simply is a class act and truly great broadcaster!
You think it's easy being the manager of the Chicago Cubs? In his first season with the Cubbies, Dale Sveum finished 40 games under .500. And it turns out that might have been the best part of his year. He was out quail hunting with his former Brewers teammate Robin Yount, when Yount shot him. A pellet nailed Sveum in the ear. Sveum said he now calls Yount "Dick Cheney" in honor of the former Vice President's shooting prowess. Sveum said of the incident "It's not that big a deal." Oh yeah? Try telling that to the bird which got nailed by Yount at the same time.
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Happy Birthday: 2-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Jim Plunkett. 65.
Bonus Birthday: Good Golly Miss Molly. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Little Richard is 80.
Today in Sports: 65 years ago today. Joe Louis knocked down twice, defeats Jersey Joe Walcott to defend his heavyweight title. (Many thought Walcott won the fight). 1947.
Bonus Event: Skoal! Prohibition is repealed. 1933.
Fun fact: The Top 5 was read in India and Pakistan this week but not South Dakota.
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Looking for a holiday gift for that young sports fan in your life? If you'd like to purchase a personally autographed copy of my new book The Greatest Moments in Sports: Upsets and Underdogs, please contact the Dolphin Bookshop in Port Washington, New York at (516) 767-2650.
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To receive Len's free Top-5 email go to www.ThatsSports.com.
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About Len Berman:
Len is an Emmy-Award winning sportscaster and New York Times Best Selling Author who has covered just about every major sports event including multiple Super Bowls, World Series, and Olympics during his 40-year career in broadcasting.