Top 5 Sports Stories

08/18/2011 10:53 am ET | Updated Oct 18, 2011

Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for August 18, 2011 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • The NCAA says yes they're investigating the claims of a convicted Ponzi schemer. He says he plied University of Miami athletes with all sorts of gifts, including cars and sex parties.
  • Let the protection of quarterbacks begin. Detroit's Ndamukong Suh was fined $20,000 for throwing Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton to the ground after he had released the ball.
  • Word is that Danica Patrick will be a full-time NASCAR driver in 2012.
  • The Yankees did not protest a ruling on the field in last night's loss to the Royals. It's possible the umps got the rule wrong concerning a home run. Ironically, 28 years ago today the Royals completed a victory after a "loss" to the Yankees in the infamous George Brett pine tar incident.

2. Confidence Game

You have to admire Giants quarterback Eli Manning's confidence. He says he's in the same class as Patriots star Tom Brady. He may be the only one who thinks so. Eli is a curious case. He led the Giants to one of the most clutch wins in the history of sports and yet if you polled Giants fans and asked them about Manning's "greatness," they might be lukewarm. The truth is I want my quarterback to be positive. Let him think he's the second coming of Johnny Unitas. Or maybe it's something in the Meadowlands water. Is Eli drinking from the same trough as Rex?

3. Ko-be Ko-be

You need a basketball fix? Check out Kobe Bryant showing up at the Drew League in L.A. The score is tied at 137 with time running out. You can guess the rest.

4. Play Ball

The Little League World Series is back, starting today, in South Williamsport, PA. I was there last year, and learned that tickets to the games, as well as parking, is free. I didn't know that. Very cool. And this year, something that hasn't happened in four decades. There's a local team from Pennsylvania in the tournament. They're from Clinton County, right next door to Williamsport. How much does home field advantage count in Little League baseball? We're about to find out.

5. The Natural

In honor of the bonus birthday boy, let's start our semi-annual argument. I'll go with The Natural for best sports film. Does the last scene get any better than this? Cue the music.

Happy Birthday: 1960 Decathlon champ Rafer Johnson. 76.
Bonus Birthday: Robert Redford. 75.

Today in Sports: Hank Aaron should have hit at least 756 homers. He went deep in St. Louis but was called out because he hit the homer while he was outside the batter's box. 1965.
Bonus Event: Next thing you know they'll be running for president. The 19th Amendment is ratified. Women can now vote. 1920.

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