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Top 5 Sports Stories

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Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for June 30, 2011 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • Roger Federer loses for the first time at a Grand Slam event when leading two sets to none. Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won the last three sets to win in five.
  • The men's semis tomorrow, shape up like this. Rafael Nadal vs. Andy Murray. Novak Djokovic vs. Tsonga. The ladies semis are today.
  • And then there were none. When Nadal beat Mardy Fish it meant that no Americans were left standing at Wimbledon.
  • A sign of progress? Both NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and players chief DeMaurice Smith jointly addressed NFL rookies. Togetherness?

2. Last Chance

Today's the last hope for NBA players to avoid a lockout. It's expected that tomorrow, basketball players will join football players on the outside looking in. The last "labor double" was in 1994, when baseball and hockey were both shut down, but that was during their seasons. In this case, no games are being played, except for the public posturing.

3. Juicing

Well, there you have it. We've been focusing way too hard on sluggers when it comes to steroids. The players that steroids helped the most, were pitchers. They were the ones who had to heal and then pitch again in four or five days. Perhaps final proof of the theory comes from none other than Charlie Sheen. He has admitted to taking steroids for the filming of Major League. He claims his fastball jumped from 79 to 85 mph. So if it helped him, doesn't it stand to reason that it aided real major leaguers? And didn't it help them bounce back more quickly between starts? We're too focused on the home run records. The truth is, all the pitching marks are probably out of whack as well.

4. Play Along

As the annual hot dog eating contest draws near, once again six-time champ Takeru Kobayashi won't be on hand. They won't let him eat since he won't sign an exclusive deal with Major League Eating. Last year he stormed the stage in protest. This July 4th he'll be at a midtown restaurant and will compete at the same time. Kind of like Sing Along With Mitch, for old time TV fans. Now about Major League Eating throwing its weight around...

5. Name Dropping

Hey, who doesn't like to drop a name now and then? When I was on the Today Show yesterday for the return of Spanning the World, I chatted for a moment with Tom Hanks. The first time I met Tom, he asked me "are you still doing that caca thing?" The answer, was "yes." He was referring to the rooster call at the top of Spanning. How cool was it to run into Tom again, when "that caca thing" was making its national TV return? If you missed it, Spanning is next on the Today Show August 4th, rooster and all.

Happy Birthday: Gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps. 26.
Bonus Birthday: Boxer Mike Tyson. 45.

Today in Sports: Fans vote to call a hockey team in New Jersey the Devils. Much better than one of the runner-ups, Meadowlanders. 1982.
Bonus Event: A bus depot in Brooklyn is renamed the Jackie Gleason Depot, in honor of the Brooklyn native who portrayed bus driver Ralph Kramden on The Honeymooners. 1988.

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