Top 5 Sports Stories

10/18/2010 10:58 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for October 18, 2010 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

* The Phillies beat the Giants 6-1 to even the National League Championship Series at one game apiece.
* Game 3 Texas @ Yankees, 8pm Eastern on TBS.
* Brett Favre will meet with NFL security officials tomorrow to discuss his alleged "junk email."
* Thanks to a huge pass interference call against Denver, the Jets, at 5-1, have the best record in the NFL.
* With Ohio State losing, Oregon takes over as #1 in college football for the first time in its history. But Oklahoma tops the BCS Standings. Looks like we'll have two months of arguing about this stuff.

2. Déjà Vu

I thought I was watching game 1 of the 1998 World Series the other night in game 1 between the Yankees and Texas. Back in '98, the underdog Padres led the Yankees 5-2 in the 7th. Yankee Stadium was dead. And bingo, Chuck Knoblauch hit a 3 run homer and Tino Martinez hit a grand slam. I asked Joe Torre a month later if he ever thought the Yankees would sweep the Padres? He said yes, he knew it in that 7th inning. But no sweep for the Yankees this time. And if Texas had half a bullpen Friday, the Yankees would be down two games to none facing Cliff Lee tonight. And with A.J. Burnett pitching game 4, what looked like a slam dunk for the Yanks after game 1 is now looking pretty iffy.

3. Blackout

Somebody tweeted me and asked which sports event I was looking forward to watching over the weekend? I responded the Giants/Phillies pitching matchup Saturday night. But the Cablevision/FOX dustup KO'd that. It got me to thinking. My dad told me that growing up in New Jersey, he would get the World Series score by standing outside the newspaper office in town, where they had a manual scoreboard and posted the linescore as it happened. Those were pre-radio days. And when the Lions/Giants were blacked out yesterday I listened on the radio. Just like the 50's and 60's when all home games were blacked out, even championship games. Nowadays, we all feel that watching TV sports is a God-given right.

4. Cause For Concern

Saturday, at the New Meadowlands Stanium, Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand ran head first into an Army player on a kickoff return. He suffered a spinal chord injury, and is paralyzed from the neck down. The next day, in the same stadium, Detroit linebacker Zach Follet was carted off the field after a helmet to helmet tackle, also on a kickoff return. He wasn't moving, but at the hospital he was able to move his arms and legs. In the Eagles/Falcons game, DeSean Jackson of Philadelphia, and Dunta Robinson of Atlanta were both injured after a brutal helmet to helmet hit. Cleveland wide receiver Josh Cribbs was also done for the day after another helmet to helmet hit. The NFL is taking a harder stance on concussions, but you have to wonder if football players are being educated early enough, and often enough, on the perils of using their heads as weapons?

5. Broadcast 101

You're taught early as an announcer to always assume the microphone is live, even when it's not. It helps you avoid embarrassing moments. Same goes for the camera. Unfortunately a BBC weatherman this summer got caught making an untimely gesture.

Last week he was moved off camera in a "cost cutting move." I think he was just testing the wind direction.

Happy Birthday: Winner of an astounding 59 Grand Slam singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles, Martina Navratilova. 54.
Bonus Birthday: High School Musical actor/singer Zac Efron. 23.

Today In Sports: Reggie-Reggie-Reggie. Reggie Jackson belts 3 homers against the Dodgers in game 6 of the World Series. 1977.
Bonus Event: In what led to the eventual creation of Sarah Palin, the U.S. takes possession of Alaska after purchasing it from Russia for $7.2 million. 1867.