Top 5 Sports Stories

07/14/2011 11:26 am ET | Updated Sep 13, 2011

Bon Jour everyone, here's my Top 5 for Bastille Day, July 14, 2011 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • The U.S. women will play for the World Cup Sunday against Japan after beating France 3-1.
  • The British Open is underway at Royal St. George's in Sandwich England. The early first round leader was Thomas Bjorn of Denmark who shot a five-under 65.
  • Break over, baseball gets back to work today.
  • The All Star Game sets a new low for TV ratings.
  • Things are looking up for Christian Lopez, the kid who returned Derek Jeter's 3000th hit ball. Miller High Life said they'll cover his tax bill. Sporting goods exec Mitchell Modell and memorabilia king Brandon Steiner have each pledged $25,000 to help pay off his student loans. And Topps says that Christian will be featured on a baseball card.

2. O Captain! My Captain!

You had no shortage of opinions concerning Derek Jeter skipping the All Star Game.

*Bill T. "Jeter received a $500,000 bonus (for making the All Star Game) thanks to fans voting. Nice way to say thank you, Mr. Jeter."

*Brooks S. "As he has just come off the DL, does he 'owe' America 'face time?' He plays for the Yanks. He does not 'play' for the pleasure of disgruntled fans who feel they 'own' his time because they rightfully voted for him."

*Robert P. "Poor Jeter had to recover from the pressure of breaking a major Yankee record at his mansion in Florida. Recover from what? Being paid millions of dollars? From incredible accolades and fan adoration?"

*Martin R. "I like Willie Mays' comment on players not showing up for the game. Mays said 'I was voted to 24 All Star Games and I showed up for 24 All Star games, come on fellas, It's not jury duty'!"

3. Offensive Offense

As baseball starts its "second half," where has the offense gone? At the break, scoring is way down, and batting averages have shrunk to their lowest level since 1985. Are the pitchers better? Is it drug testing? The banning of amphetamines? After a pitching-dominated season in 1968, they lowered the pitcher's mound to help the batters. A few years later, attendance was down, so they dreamed up the designated hitter to pump up the offense. So are we now in store for more "tinkering?" I wonder what they'll dream up next. For it's one, two, three, four strikes you're out at the old ball game?

4. And the Oscar Goes To

Hmm. Who knew men faked it more than women? The New York Times reported that a Wake Forest survey proves that women are much more honest... when it comes to soccer. The men are always diving trying to pick up penalties. The women not as much. That doesn't mean the women don't try, as a Brazilian player did against the U.S. Do women have more integrity? Maybe. It's also been suggested that the men have much more at stake in financial terms and that the men have been playing soccer longer than the women. So give the women some time. When there's real money on the line they may prove to be just as phony.

5. Exposure

It's an age old problem. How do you put more fannies in the seats? Well, a Russian women's soccer team has the answer. Show more fannies. They're going to wear bikinis for their games. I'm sure women's groups are thrilled, just as they were when the badminton people ruled that women should wear skirts to make their sport more attractive. Well, I guess it's worked for the Lingerie Football League. What's next, they remove all pretense? Strip club soccer? Tip the players with singles?

Happy Birthday: Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. 26.
Bonus Birthday: Actor Vincent Pastore from The Sopranos. He played Big P_ssy. When I mentioned his role last year, my email was flagged by several mail servers as obscene. Go figure. 65.

Today in Sports: CBS televised the first sports event in color, a horse race in New Jersey. I'm guessing few people actually watched it in color, since color TV sets were a 60s thing. 1951.
Bonus Event: Coincidentally on Bastille Day, citizens of Paris storm the Bastille, as part of the French Revolution. 1789.

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