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Top 5 Sports Stories

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Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for May 8, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

  • The Rangers tied the game with just 6.6 seconds remaining, and won in overtime (both on the same power play) to take a three games to two lead over Washington in dramatic fashion. Phoenix ousted Nashville in five games to reach its first Western Conference Final.
  • San Antonio swept Utah out of the playoffs. The Clippers lead Memphis three games one after winning 101-97 in overtime.
  • Giants reliever Guillermo Mota was suspended 100 games for a second positive drug test.
  • The Big East Conference isn't only losing teams, it's losing commissioners. John Marinatto has resigned.
  • Phil Mickelson leads a group of five inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

2. Endangered Species

Is this the end of football as we know it? Former quarterback Kurt Warner says he doesn't want his kids playing football... too dangerous. OK, he's retired. But how about Bernard Pollard, the hard-hitting Baltimore Ravens safety? He voiced the same thing and took it even further. He said the very existence of the NFL is in jeopardy. "I just truly believe, another 20, 30 years -- I don't even think football will even be in existence anymore... We all know what this game is about. We know and understand that it's a violent sport." Heavy stuff. But is that where the head-injury issue will wind up? Will the NFL die out for health reasons or just turn into flag football? Or will coaches at all levels stamp warning labels on their playbooks like cigarettes? "SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Football can cause brain disease."

3. Truth in Advertising

Well here's a cliche that's being severely tested. "Honesty pays." Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels admitted he intentionally plunked Washington rookie Bryce Harper. It was Hamels' way of saying "Welcome to the big leagues." So what price will Hamels have to pay for his transgression? A five game suspension. He might not even miss a start. To Hamels' credit, he hit the kid in the backside, he didn't go head hunting. And give him credit for honesty. If only more athletes were as forthcoming. Just don't try telling that to Washington General Manager Mike Rizzo. He said, "I've never seen a more classless, gutless chicken [bleep] act in my 30 years in baseball." Honesty only goes so far.

4. Survey Says

Top 5 subscriber Mark P. passed along an interesting survey from a website called Fangraphs. It asks "Who's the most respected athlete of all-time?" They give 10 choices, but as subscriber Mark points out, he would have put Jackie Robinson and Pat Tillman on the list. Interesting to note that Roberto Clemente, and "Others" both beat out Muhammad Ali is leading in the early balloting. Your thoughts?

5. The Joint is Jumping

Australia's major sports organizations have called for marijuana to be removed from the list of performance-enhancing drugs. They say it's an illicit substance, but doesn't enhance performance. And you wonder why all the Aussies go around saying "No worries."

Happy Birthday: Former jockey Angel Cordero, Jr. 70.

Bonus Birthday: Comedy legend Don Rickels was born on this date you hockey puck. 86.

Today in Sports: Willis Reed limps out of the tunnel and the Knicks win the NBA Championship. 1970.

Bonus Event: You go girl, Regret becomes the first of three fillies to win the Kentucky Derby. 1915.

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