Top 5 Sports Stories

09/15/2011 11:45 am ET | Updated Nov 15, 2011
  • Len Berman Emmy Award winning sportscaster and New York Times Bestselling Author

Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for September 15, 2011 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • The Phillies become the first team to clinch a playoff spot.
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates, despite their promising start, have clinched their 19th consecutive losing season. Yes that's a pro sports record.
  • Colorado Rockies catcher Eliezer Alfonzo becomes the first player to be suspended 100 games because of a second failed drug test. Manny Ramirez would have been the first but he retired instead. A third strike and Alfonzo is "out."
  • The 2012 baseball season will begin Wednesday April 4th with the Miami Marlins hosting St. Louis in their new ballpark.
  • The Golden State Warriors will retire Hall of Famer Chris Mullin's #17 next January, if there's an NBA season.
  • Make up your minds already. According to Us Weekly, A-Rod and Cameron are kaput... once again.

2. Last Call

It was a rare Tom Brady fumble. The Patriots quarterback urged fans to "start drinking early" before Sunday's home opener, a 4:15 game with San Diego. Since it's a late game he said the fans, "Have a lot of time to get lubed up, come out here and cheer for the home team." Tom can be forgiven. He doesn't remember October of 1976 when the Patriots hosted the Jets. It was a rare Monday night game in Foxboro. Fans came drunk to the late game. There were fights, arrests, injuries, fans running on the field, disgusting stuff in the stands. Two fans died from heart attacks. The worst I've ever seen. That was 35 years ago, just before Brady was born. Ironically the Patriots Stadium at that time was named after a beer, Schaefer. Someone in the Pats organization remembers. Perhaps that's why they issued a release after Brady's comments. The team said, Brady merely "wants everyone to drink a lot of water, stay hydrated. Drink responsibly." Nice.

3. U-$ Open

With another U.S. Open now history, let's reflect for a moment. As the defending U.S. Open champ Rafael Nadal was forced to take the court in wet conditions last week he grumbled that all they care about is the money. Shocker. Play was stopped after just 20 minutes and then the real games began. Nadal, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray marched into the tournament ref's office to speak their mind. Normally in tennis, or golf, you can accuse the inmates of running the asylum. But in this case, the players are absolutely right. And it's not just the players. Half of the world's best umpires didn't show up this year to protest their pay. They get about 250 bucks a day, or about the cost of lunch for the fans. It's the lowest of any of the grand slams. Maybe the Open needs to take all their millions and construct a roof? Wimbledon did it. Australia did. France is planning it. Instead of making it all about the money, how about making it all about the best tennis, from the best players, in the best conditions with the best umps officiating?

4. College Kids

It's fun watching college kids play football. Alan Moore kicked an extra point in last week's win for Faulkner University in Montgomery Alabama. The kid is a grandpa, 5 times over. He was playing college ball back in the 60's, when the Vietnam War got in the way. So he never finished school, and he never used up his eligibility. So here he is at age 61. His kiddie teammates call him gramps.

But Alan is a mere pup when compared with Ken Mink. At the age of 73 he played for Roane State Community College in Tennessee. When he calmly sunk a couple of foul shots, he was the oldest guy in world history to score... college sports division of course.

5. You Betcha

This is a high class newsletter. So I choose not to believe the claims in a new book that when Sarah Palin was a sportscaster in Anchorage she had a one-night stand with Michigan basketball star Glen Rice. It supposedly happened less than a year before she was married. I refuse to believe that a sportscaster would do such a thing.

Happy Birthday: Dolphins quarterbacking great Dan Marino. 50.
Bonus Birthday: Separated at birth? A conspiracy theory? Actor Tommy Lee Jones and director Oliver Stone were both born on this date. 65.

Today in Sports: Alous in the outfield, three of them. Matty, Felipe and Jesus all play in the same game for the San Francisco Giants. 1963.
Bonus Event: Good times. The NHL locks out its players. An entire season is lost. 2004.

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