Top 5 Sports Stories

10/31/2011 11:15 am ET | Updated Dec 31, 2011

Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for October 31, 2011 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • And that is why you shouldn't bet on sports. The winless St. Louis Rams, 14 point underdogs, whip the New Orleans Saints 31-21.
  • Reports say an NBA deal is closer than anyone is letting on.
  • Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia will reportedly opt out of his contract today and become a free agent.
  • Yesterday was parade day in St. Louis for the champion Cardinals.
  • 84-year-old Penn State coach Joe Paterno stands alone after winning his 409th career game.

2. Labels

Funny how one fly ball can change everything. Cards manager Tony La Russa is back to being a genius. If David Freese's fly ball to right in the 9th inning of game 6 is caught by Nelson Cruz, then La Russa is labeled anything but. We'd still be talking about the bullpen phone fiasco. If the National League doesn't win the All Star game, then the Cards don't get home field for game 7. And who knows how things might have been different with a DH in games 6 and 7. If game 6 doesn't get rained out, then Chris Carpenter isn't available to pitch game 7. So spare the labels. Just call La Russa a three-time World Series champion. That's the way the ball bounces.

3. You Betcha

When the Cardinals were five games out with 15 to play, a man walked into the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and plunked down $250 on the Cardinals making the World Series at 500/1. He won $125,000. He also wagered another $250 on them winning the World Series at 999/1. Total haul: $375,000. So far, his identity is unknown.

4. Let's Go Mets

Under the heading of cruel and usual punishment: a Queens law student, Ilan Grapel, not only spent five months in an Egyptian prison, but when he was released Rep. Gary Ackerman told him the Mets had won the World Series. So that's why all those people are camped out downtown. They're waiting for the Mets victory parade.

5. Update

I promised you an update, so here goes. The other day I joked that you probably weren't interested in seeing the picture of New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski with porn star BiBi Jones. Here's the picture in question. A full half of you who read the Top 5 clicked to see the picture. In the world of "Internet marketing" that is a huge percentage of clicks. So that's what you guys want to read about, eh? I couldn't be prouder.

Happy Birthday: 1972 Olympic marathon gold medal winner Frank Shorter. 64.
Bonus Birthday: News guy Dan Rather. 80.

Today in Sports: Slingin' Sammy Baugh of the Redskins throws six touchdown passes as Washington beats the Brooklyn Dodgers 48-10. The following month Sid Luckman of the Bears passed for seven. 1943.
Bonus Event: What a set of rocks. Mount Rushmore is completed. 1941.

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