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Len Berman

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Top 5 Sports Stories

Posted: 09/14/11 03:32 PM ET

Happy Wednesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for September 14, 2011 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com

1. Quick Hits

  • Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera earns his 600th career save, one shy of Trevor Hoffman's record.
  • A deep sigh of relief in Red Sox nation. Boston now has a 4 game lead for the wild card as knuckleballer Tim Wakefield wins his 200th career game.
  • Justin Verlander wins his 23rd game as the first place Detroit Tigers roll on.
  • The opening of the NBA season is in jeopardy as talks appear to be going nowhere. Training camps are due to open in less than three weeks.

2. 600

Mariano Rivera is arguably the best closer ever, but nothing in sports is clear-cut. The save itself is a bit controversial. A pitcher can earn one if he enters the game with a 3 run lead and gets at least one out. He doesn't even have to pitch. He could pick off a base-runner and still earn the save. And the stat didn't even exist until 1960. Old time pitchers scoff at the current guys. Goose Gossage, for example, would come into the game in the 7th or 8th with the bases loaded and pitch two or 3 innings. Rivera normally starts the 9th with nobody on base. When Jose Canseco became the first member of the 40-40 club in 1988, 40 homers and 40 stolen bases in a single season, Mickey Mantle famously said, "If I knew 40-40 was a big deal, I would have done it every year."

3. Say What?

Sometimes I just don't get it. Plaxico Burress did a dumb thing, really dumb. But he paid his time and met success with a lucrative contract from the Jets. End of story, right? Not with Burress. He had to take shots at his former Giants coach and quarterback, Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning, in a magazine interview. He said they weren't compassionate towards him. Here's a guy who ruined an entire season for a franchise his teammates and his fans, not to mention putting lives in danger. And he takes umbrage at how others reacted? If he doesn't pan out this season I can't wait to hear who he blames it on.

4. In-security

Thought I'd share this email from a Top 5 subscriber. The name has been withheld to protect the guilty.

"With the high cost of beer, I always sneak 2 beers in for Jets games. I went thru the entrance Sunday; this guard practically made love to me. Sure enough, he found my beer. OK, it's high security; I half expected it. Plus, I'm still way ahead of them. BUT, if they got my beer, how in heck can they miss a Taser?"

Hey priorities. But this is what sports has come to? Sneaking beer into stadiums? Candy into movies is one thing, but...

5. What are the Odds?

Sunday, at Belmont Park in New York, they held a special ceremony prior to the start of racing on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. When the racing began, the winners of the first three races were Say Toba Sandy, Wishful Tomcat and Hay's Boy. The 9 horse won the first race. The 1 horse won the next two. 9-1-1. There's no truth to the rumor that the jockeys were forbidden from wearing NYPD and FDNY caps by Major League Baseball.

Happy Birthday: Former Yankees second baseman and current San Diego Padres broadcaster Jerry Coleman. 87.
Bonus Birthday: Bowzer from Sha Na Na, Jon Bauman. 64.

Today in Sports: The first recorded hole-in-one, Tom Morris at the British Open. 1868.
Bonus Event: The TV debut of Entertainment Tonight, 30 years ago today. 1981.

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