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Top 5 Sports Stories

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Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for June 14, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

  • Matt Cain tosses the first perfect game in Giants history, 10-0 over Houston.
  • Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey comes within an infield single of throwing the second no-hitter this month for the Mets after none were thrown in half a century.
  • The U.S. Open begins today in San Francisco.
  • It's Game 2 tonight in Oklahoma City for the Heat and Thunder. Oklahoma City looking to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
  • It's parade day today in Los Angeles for the Stanley Cup champion Kings.
  • Recount! The WBO has assigned five judges to re-score the Manny Pacquiao/Timothy Bradley fight from Saturday night. Bradley won a controversial decision.

2. Pitching, Pitching and More Pitching

Here we go again, another perfect game. The rarest of the rare ain't so rare this year, Matt Cain's is the second after Philip Humber of the White Sox. As noted baseball historian Keith Olbermann tweeted "A perfect game is just that + I yearn to attend one. But 5 (should've been 6:Galarraga) in 34 months indicates change of Degree of Difficulty." Is it easier to throw perfect games, ahem, in the "clean era?" Maybe it's the defense. There always seems to be a sparkler. Last night's was turned in by Giants right fielder Gregor Blanco.

Then there's Mets pitcher R.A Dickey and his one hitter. The only thing separating him from a no-no was this. The Mets are appealing to change the scoring to an error on David Wright. They should leave well enough alone. The Johan Santana no-hitter was in essence a one-hitter because of a bad umpiring call. So they broke even.

3. Jack Fleck

With the U.S. Open returning to The Olympic Club in San Francisco today, the Jack Fleck story has resonated. He was the unknown golfer who shocked Ben Hogan in an 18 hole playoff to win the 1955 U.S. Open at Olympic. At the age of 90, Fleck is the oldest living U.S. Open champ. His story will be in my upcoming book The Greatest Moments in Sports: Upsets and Underdogs coming out in September. Here's the part of Fleck's story I liked the best. On the final Sunday in 1955, NBC had one hour of live TV coverage. That's it, 60 minutes. They went off the air declaring Ben Hogan the winner of his record 5th Open. One problem, Fleck was still on the course and he birdied 18 to force the Monday playoff. For his monumental achievement in 1955, Fleck walked off with $6,000. When Rory McIlroy won last year's Open, his check was worth $1,440,000.

4. Where There's Smoke?

Here he go again, the government dropped its case against Lance Armstrong, but now the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is bringing drug charges against him which threaten his seven Tour de France wins. The Agency is accusing him of "blood manipulation" either with supplements and/or blood transfusions. Armstrong responded on his website saying, "I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one." You have to wonder if Armstrong will ever have his name cleared or will it always be guilty in the court of public opinion?

5. A-Fraud?

I guess you guys aren't as impressed as I am with Alex Rodriguez tying Lou Gehrig's record of 23 grand slams.

From Top 5 subscriber B.G. Very disheartening to see Lou Gehrig's name in the same sentence as Alex "P.E.D. user" Rodriquez.

And here are some of your responses on Facebook at "Len Berman's Top 5."

G.A. Equal parts impressive and nauseating.

L.N. About 10 of them are legitimate. He still never gets into the Hall of Fame without a ticket.

W.C. Congratulations A-Roid.

J.V. Give Alex a break. He apologized; let's move on. The baseball "gods" will determine his HOF entry/no-entry.

Editor's Note: Actually it's the sportswriters, although at times some of them think they are god-like.

Happy Birthday: Newk! Dodgers pitching great Don Newcombe. 86.

Bonus Birthday: The Donald, Trump. 66.

Today in Sports: The New York Rangers win their first Stanley Cup in 54 years. 1994.
Bonus Event: Today is Flag Day. The Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as our national flag. 1777.

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