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Top 5 Sports Stories

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TGIF everyone here's my Top 5 for April 20, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

  • With both teams wearing throwback uniforms, the Red Sox will host the Yankees today to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.
  • No surprise. Word is that Indianapolis will draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first pick in next week's NFL draft.
  • Orlando's Dwight Howard will undergo back surgery today and is done for the season.
  • In the NHL playoffs, St. Louis and Phoenix go up 3-1 in their respective series.
  • President Obama is awarding retiring University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It's the nation's highest civilian honor.

2. History

What that must have been like 100 years ago today. Fans stood in the outfield behind ropes, forcing a special ground rule for the game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Highlanders. If a ball wound up amongst the fans, it would count for two bases. Wrote the Boston Globe: "This ruling was a big disadvantage to the home team, for the Highland laddies never hit for more than a single, while three of Boston's hits went into the crowd, whereas with a clear field they would have gone for three-base drives and possibly home runs." Looking forward to tomorrow's Globe story to see how those Yankees laddies fared.

3. Time 100

It's official, sports rocks! According to Time Magazine, six of the 100 Most Influential people in the world are sports people. And none of them are team owners, commissioners, broadcasters or people named Tiger. They are Jeremy Lin, Tim Tebow, Novak Djokovich, Lionel Messi and golfer Yani Tseng. A big improvement from last year. The only holdover is Messi. Tennis star Kim Clijsters made it last year but got dropped. But so did Oprah. By the way, is one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World going to earn his living by holding a clipboard on the sideline of Jets games next season as the backup quarterback? Just a thought.

4. Friday eMailbag

When I asked on Facebook at "Len Berman's Top 5" if the government should be spending time and money prosecuting Roger Clemens, J.G. wrote, "Clemens should be in jail for what he did to Piazza."

Editor's Note: Yeah, lets clog up the criminal justice system with on field violence.

As for why there's more fighting this year in the NHL playoffs, J.M. theorizes, "Our society as a whole just seems less civil these days. So the fighting in the NHL would seem to be just an extension of society as a whole."

In response to all the talk this week about possibly airing a baseball game on TV without announcers, R.K. writes, "I watch ballgames games without announcers all the time. I buy tickets and go. For Hofstra games, you don't even need tickets."

Editor's Note: Imagine that. Getting off the couch and actually going somewhere.

5. Spanning the World

This week's Spanning the World highlight come from a Washington Nationals game. A fan somehow screws up the simple task of putting drops in his eyes.

Spanning the World airs monthly on NBC's Today Show. Next up: Thursday April 26 in the 8:30 a.m. half hour.

Happy Birthday: Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and current coach at South Carolina, Steve Spurrier. 67.

Bonus Birthday: Actress Jessica Lange. 63.

Today in Sports: Fenway Park opened 100 years ago today with the Red Sox beating the New York Highlanders 7-6 in 11 innings. 1912.

Bonus Event: How come nobody mentions us? Tiger Stadium opened in Detroit. Same day. 1912.