Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for October 4, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* The San Francisco Giants win the NL West. Atlanta clinches the wild card.
* Tampa Bay wins the AL East, the Yankees are the wild card. The playoffs begin Wednesday.
* Jacksonville stuns Indianapolis on a 59-yard field goal by Josh Scobee with no time on the clock.
* The European team rolled to a commanding 9 1/2 to 6 1/2 lead yesterday. The Ryder Cup concludes today with the first ever Monday finish.
* Longtime sportswriter and good guy Maury Allen is dead at the age of 78.
2. Pennant Races
Remember the gold old days when they had actual pennant races? Now it's replaced by "playoff positioning." The Yankees and Rays didn't exactly duke it out to see who would win the AL East. They basically played a game of "lets not tax ourselves too much" as they limped to the finish line. Of course the answer is to severely punish the wild card winner. Say for example, no home games in the first round or adding another wild card and making them play just one game to see who moves on. Winning the division should mean something. Now, in some cases, it almost feels like a consolation prize.
3. Conflicted Fans
What's a fan to do? He hates a player on his favorite team's rival, and then that player gets traded to his team. Yankee fans had no choice but to cheer for Roger Clemens and Wade Boggs. And what happens when one of yours gets traded and becomes one of them? How refreshing to see that nice ovation for Donovan McNabb on his return to Philly yesterday. Philadelphia fans are notorious, but they "ruined" their reputation by showing their decent side. Philadelphia fans are also forced to embrace a player in Michael Vick who is one of America's favorite villains. Vick injured his ribs yesterday as Washington beat the Eagles 17-12. Blindly cheering for your team is sometimes referred to as "rooting for the laundry." Whoever wears your team's colors becomes a "good guy." But these days, it's just so complicated.
4. A Baker's Dozen
Did you catch the end of the LSU/Tennessee game? Tennessee was jumping around celebrating their last second win, but oops. They had too many men on the field. They didn't have 12 on defense, they had 13! So of course LSU got one more chance to score and won the game. Here it is.
Just another case of premature exhilaration.
The announcer called it a "Miracle in Baton Rouge." I call it just another lack of collegiate math skills.
5. Lions and Tigers and Bears
It's such a simple concept. Mascots race in England. Good times. Not quite. Yesterday's Mascot Grand National was hit by a boycott. Real mascots are upset that ringers enter the race. It seems a big time mascot from a major soccer team hasn't won since Chaddy the Owl 7 years ago. Since then, according to the boycotters, part-time mascots in and out of sports have been dominating the race. And the boycotters claim they're not "real mascots" with full costumes. More likely track suits and running shoes. So they have an advantage. According to one of the boycotters, a mascot named Captain Blade, "You have got to tell these people to stop ruining it for us and get it back to what it was before - a load of blokes going down and earning money for charity, having a laugh and entertaining people."
What's the matter with Captain Blade? If he thinks sports should be fun and entertaining, he's in the wrong business.
And since you're dying to know, Mr. Bumble, was yesterday's winner. He's a mascot from a minor league soccer team.
Happy Birthday: The former bruising linebacker for the Giants and Redskins, Sam Huff. 76.
Bonus Birthday: Clueless (one of my favorite movies of all time) actress Alicia Silverstone. 34.
Today In Sports: Da Bums win their one and only World Series, as Brooklyn beats the Yankees in 7 games. 1955.
Bonus Event: The birth of the Cleavers and Eddie Haskell too! Leave it to Beaver debuts on CBS-TV. 1957.
If you would like me to autograph your copy of my new kids book, The 25 Greatest Baseball Players Of All Time, let me know.