Top 5 Sports Stories

TGIF everyone here's my Top 5 for March 8, 2013 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • The greatest reliever in baseball history, Mariano Rivera of the Yankees, is expected to announce tomorrow that he's retiring after the season.
  • St. Louis shortstop Rafael Furcal will be lost for the season to "Tommy John surgery."
  • Burning bridges. Former Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford, now with the Dodgers, calls the Boston media "The worst thing I've ever experienced in my life."
  • Logjam. Five golfers are tied for the lead at 6-under 66 after one round at Doral: Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell and Freddie Jacobson.
  • There's no freedom of speech among NASCAR drivers. Denny Hamlin was fined25-thousand for disparaging comments about the new cars they're using. Hamlin says he won't pay up.
  • Make up your mind already. The NCAA says it will now be OK for Boise State football players to wear all-blue uniforms on their blue field.
  • And in world news, the U.N. voted to expand punishment against North Korea. I wonder if sending Dennis Rodman back to visit is part of the new sanctions?

2. No Mo Mo

It was inevitable. Mariano Rivera one day wouldn't be the Yankees closer. It's the end of an era on so many levels. He was clearly the best at what he did. You can mark down July of 2018 for his induction in Cooperstown. The #42 will also be officially retired all over baseball after this season. It already is for every team in honor of Jackie Robinson. Mo was the last. Baseball will also miss Rivera's class. They don't come any better than Mo. I only wish he could go out on top one more time as he and the Yankees close out a World Series. But that's not going to happen.

3. The Glass Ceiling

Now comes word that the "first African-American driver in NASCAR history," isn't really. As the New York Times reported yesterday, Tia Norfleet isn't really a NASCAR driver and she has a criminal record to boot. This comes on the heels of Lauren Silberman's charade of being the "first woman to try out for the NFL." Does this put a black mark on women athletes? Absolutely not. It just seems that some women will do anything to make a name for themselves, just like some men. There you have it. Today is International Women's Day, and it should be duly noted that when it comes to being a fraud in sports it's now a level playing field.

4. Friday eMailbag

With Dennis Rodman visiting the North Korean leader, R.B. suggests the following diplomatic initiative: "Metta World Peace has been invited to sit at courtside with Russian President Vladimir Putin."

As for #1 golfer Rory McIlroy quitting in the middle of a round, G.R. asks, "Does Rory's flight now lend a whole new definition to 'walk off?'"

R.P. thinks the NHL points system for wins and losses is askew, he writes "I think getting a point for losing a game is stupid. (The losing team in overtime or a shootout gets one point, the winning team 2.) But if they want to keep that, then make a regulation win worth 3 points. A team can theoretically lose EVERY game in OT (0-0-82 = 82 points) and finish ahead of a team that wins 40 games (40-42-0 = 80 points)."
Editor's Note: R.P. is an accountant.

And the thought of the week comes from female sports fan, M.H. When I wrote that the World Cup in Brazil will have extra-large seats for obese fans (at double the cost) she writes "One can hope, that buying that larger seat comes with a 'leave your shirt on' policy."

5. Spanning the World

This week's Spanning the World highlight comes from the North American Hockey League. Do you like ice dancing? It's either the best or worst hockey fight you will ever see depending on your point of view.

Spanning the World airs monthly on NBC's Today Show. Next up: Friday March 29th.

Happy Birthday: Hall of Fame Red Sox outfielder Jim Rice. 60.

Bonus Birthday: Micky Dolenz of the Monkees. 68.

Today in Sports: The Fight of the Century, Ali-Frazier I, with Joe Frazier winning a unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden. 1971.

Bonus Event: Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio? The Yankee Clipper passes away. 1999.

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