BY LEN BERMAN
TOP 5 FOR DEC. 17, 2012
1. Quick Hits
Green Bay and Houston clinched NFL division titles yesterday while San Francisco secured a playoff spot.
The Giants, Dallas and Washington are all tied for first place in the NFC East.
The Mets agree on a deal to ship Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey to Toronto. It's contingent on Dickey signing a contract extension with the Blue Jays.
No words or actions can adequately describe Friday's tragedy. The sports world responded in many ways. Moments of silence were held before games. The Giants yesterday and the Jets tonight sporting helmets with the initials S.H.E.S. for Sandy Hook Elementary School.
And it's not limited to the U.S. In England, several top soccer teams wore black armbands in memory of the victims. The single worst day in America since 9/11.
3. A League of Their Own
Ah, the innocent days of 1979. The Big East gave birth that year when midweek college games on TV were a rarity. I was their first TV voice. And to show you the growing pains, the first Monday night telecast was on a Wednesday and Seton Hall hosted Princeton a decidedly non-Big East team. ESPN was then born and the rest is sort of history, just like the glory days of the Big East. Now the 7 basketball schools are breaking away leaving the Big East basically in shambles. Often times when he wax poetic about the "good old days" they really weren't all that good. But in the case of the Big East with the likes of Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin and Pearl Washington you can say it and mean it.
4. Bye Bye R.A.
R.A. Dickey was about the only thing Mets fans had to cheer about last year and now he's gone to Toronto if he can work out a new contract. On the one hand you have to ask how a team can trade a Cy Young winner? On the other hand you have to ask how can they not trade this particular Cy Young Winner. Presumably they'll get lots in return to build on. In Dickey you had a 38-year old with a specialty pitch. Was last season a fluke? Was it worth a pricey gamble? The Mets played it safe. And you really can't blame them, until Dickey wins another Cy Young and leads the Blue Jays to the championship.
5. Tis the Season
Top 5 subscriber Joe G. asks, "What are your top 5 sports moments of the year? I have only one, Johan Santana's (The first Mets) no-hitter. That moment is just as big as the Red Sox winning the series or Susan Lucci finally winning an Emmy." Well actually it's not, well maybe as big as Susan's Emmy. So now I leave it to my esteemed Top 5 readers. What are the Top 5 sports stories of the year? I'll spot you one. The Giants trifecta: The Giants winning the Super Bowl, the World Series and the Japanese World Series. Your turn.
*** *** ***
Happy Birthday: Boxer Manny Pacquiao. 34.
Bonus Birthday: Actor Eugene Levy. 66.
Today in Sports: Going, going gone. The Yankees fire their long time announcer Mel Allen. 1964.
Bonus Event: But officer, I'm only going one-way. The first one-way street opens in New York City. 1791.
*** *** ***
Final shopping days! If you are looking for a holiday gift for that young sports fan in your life you can 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.
*** *** ***
To receive Len's free Top-5 email go to www.ThatsSports.com.
*** *** ***
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.