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Top 5 Sports Stories

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TGIF everyone, here's my Top 5 for August 26, 2011 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

  • The Yankees become the first team to hit three grand slam homers in the same game (Robinson Cano, Russell Martin, Curtis Granderson) in a 22-9 pasting of Oakland.
  • Sad. The death of former Orioles star pitcher Mike Flanagan has officially been ruled a suicide.
  • The newest member of the 600 home run club, Jim Thome, is heading back to the Cleveland Indians.
  • Hurricane Irene has forced the rescheduling of lots of sports events.
  • Reports say eight University of Miami football players have been declared ineligible by the school in the illegal benefits scandal.
  • More trouble for former Met and Philly Lenny Dykstra. He's been charged with indecent exposure in L.A. for allegedly showing himself to women who answered a help wanted ad.
  • Captain Fred Couples picks Tiger Woods for the U.S. Presidents Cup team in November.
  • No joy in Mudville. Derek Jeter and Minka Kelly have struck out.


2. Tennis Anyone?

This promises to be a fascinating U.S. Open starting Monday. Is anyone healthy? Will somebody come out of nowhere to make the finals?

My money's on SNL's Andy Samberg. Check out this Sunday's New York Times Magazine. He's BOTH John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg.

3. A Modest Proposal

I'm going to quote Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Does anyone ever quote him? He treats press conferences like the plague. But on his weekly radio spot he came up with an interesting concept. Stop making the extra point so easy. Kickers succeed 99% of the time. He suggests moving the ball back to the 15 or 20 yard line. He says plays that are "non plays" shouldn't be in the game. I like his theory. They should try it in baseball. We start with the intentional walk, then get rid of mound visits. Then stepping out of the batter's box to adjust everything. Before you know it, the game might be 20 minutes long. See what chatty Bill started?

4. Friday eMailbag

When I mentioned the anniversary of Pete Rose's lifetime ban from baseball, N.H. wrote on Facebook at "Len Berman's Top 5," "His stats don't lie. He played with tons of grit. I remember his belly flops and his almost killing Roy Fosse in an All Star Game. He deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame. Put a sentence on his plaque that says he admitted to gambling."
Editor's Note: I can't argue with that.

As for the Giants and Jets selling the naming rights to their stadium to MetLife, D.P. doesn't like it. He suggests, "The stadium should've been named Mara-Werblin or Mara-Werblin-Hess Stadium in honor of the three men who planted the seeds for these two great organizations to share a stadium in New Jersey!"

J.I. asks why limit corporate sponsorships to sports? He writes, with budget shortfalls, "How about the American Express George Washington Bridge?"


5. Spanning the World

This week's Spanning the World highlight comes from the Washington Nationals Presidents race. Teddy Roosevelt has never won and was on the verge of his first ever victory, when you guessed it, tragedy befell him in the form of a guy in a monkey suit.

Spanning the World airs monthly on NBC's Today Show. Next up, Wednesday September 28th in the 8:30am half hour.

Happy Birthday: Celtics great and a former broadcast partner of mine on college basketball, Tommy Heinsohn. 77.
Bonus Birthday: That Home Alone kid, Macaulay Caulkin is now 31.

Today in Sports: And so it begins. NBC televises the first Major League baseball game from Ebbets Field. 1939.
Bonus Event: Hey buddy, you wanna carve a statue? Michaelango is commissioned to sculpt the Pieta. 1498.

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