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Top 5 Sports Stories

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Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for September 27, 2011 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • The Red Sox collapse is complete. They are now tied with Tampa Bay for the wild card with two games left. The Angels were eliminated. Atlanta and St. Louis both lost, so the Braves still lead by one game for the National League wild card.
  • Colorful White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is out. He'll become the Miami Marlins manager next season.
  • Get out your slide rules. The Mets Jose Reyes leads Milwaukee's Ryan Braun for the National League batting title, .33396 to .33393. No Mets player has ever won the title.
  • Monday Night Football: Dallas beat Washington 18-16.
  • News or not news? When the New Jersey Nets move to Brooklyn they will be called the Brooklyn Nets.

2. T-I-M-B-E-R

How can one describe what the Red Sox have done? Epic seems to fit. No team has ever blown a nine-game September lead before now. Sure Boston can still make it, but if history serves as a lesson, two previous teams that had major collapses, the 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers and the 1995 California Angels, both lost in the playoffs. And that's the issue. Even if the Red Sox survive the next two days, can they suddenly turn things around in the postseason? Maybe Sox fans are clinging to 2004 when they got off the mat against the Yankees. With their off-season moves, they were anointed the favorites to win the American League pennant this year. But now they've made an entirely different sort of history.

3. Back Tracking

Remember Eagles quarterback Michael Vick's broken hand? Now it's not broken. Remember his Sunday criticism of the officials for letting him take a pounding? Never mind. He now says he loves the refs and won't be attacking them anymore. Vick with the rare next-day execution of a double reverse.

4. Color Me Crimson

How often do you hear athlete and Harvard in the same sentence? Well the quarterback of the only undefeated AFC team, the Bills' Ryan Fitzpatrick, is Harvard class of '05. (Thanks to subscriber Jim H. for reminding us.) It had me scurrying all over the Internet to find some famous Harvard sports grads. Well there is a Buffalo connection. Long time Bills coach Marv Levy earned a master's degree in English in the '50s. And there were a couple of Jones of note. Golf legend Bobby Jones, class of '24. And actor Tommy Lee Jones who played offensive tackle on Harvard's undefeated 1968 football team. Amaze your friends and neighbors with that one.

5. Pay Day

When golfer Bill Haas carted home $11.44 million the other day, I wondered about the biggest paydays in sports. It turns out, he's right up there. Heck, Yankee pitcher CC Sabathia makes a paltry $142 thousand per game. Kobe Bryant of the Lakers more than double that, but he plays a lot more games. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady seems to have the best gig. Few games, lotsa moolah. Over a million bucks a game. But the champ just may be the boxer everyone loves to hate. Floyd Mayweather's take for a night of boxing was $25 million. That could swell to $40 million when they count all the pay-per-view buys. Bill Haas' $11.44 million by comparison? Chump change.

Happy Birthday: Who else has a foul pole named after him? Red Sox icon Johnny Pesky. 92.
Bonus Birthday: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow. 39.

Today in Sports: A quick career. Walter Alston of St. Louis strikes out in his only Major League at bat. (He went on to become the Hall of Fame manager for the Dodgers for 23 years.) 1936.
Bonus Event: The Tonight Show made its NBC debut with Steve Allen as host. 1954.

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