THE BLOG
08/07/2012 12:08 pm ET | Updated Oct 07, 2012

Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for August 7, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

  • The U.S. women beat Canada 4-3 in a thriller to advance to the gold medal soccer game against Japan on Thursday.
  • Wide receiver Terrell Owens signs a one-year deal with Seattle.
  • For the first time a woman will officiate an NFL game. Shannon Eastin will work Thursday's Green Bay/San Diego exhibition game. The regular NFL refs are currently locked out.
  • Bobby Valentine gets a vote of confidence. Red Sox owner John Henry emails reporters that "we are not making a change in manager."
  • A group headed by former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley that includes pro golfer Phil Mickelson has reached agreement to buy the San Diego Padres.
  • The streak is over. The Phillies did not sellout last night's game against Atlanta, thus ends the longest National League sellout streak in history at 257 games.


2. If You're Scoring at Home

Are you a "medals table" kind of guy? Do you pay attention to who is leading in the medals count during the Olympics? Let's say you casually watched TV and didn't know who won the most. You'd say hands down the U.S. Not on Chinese TV. They lead the medals count, the U.S. is in second. Here's what I find interesting. Seventy different countries have won medals so far in London, which means 135 countries have been shutout. I'm guessing in those countries it may be difficult to fill up hours of "home grown" prime time TV coverage, assuming they have coverage.

3. Intrepid Reporting

I received an interesting email from Top 5 subscriber J.M. in the U.K. regarding the drunk who threw the bottle before the start of the 100 meter dash. J.M. writes, "I got woken up this morning by a reporter from the Daily Mail (one of the U.K. tabloids) asking if I knew the guy who'd thrown the bottle. The police haven't released his name yet, and the press is desperate to find out who he is. Apparently he was wearing a T-Shirt with the words "Queen O'Towd Thatch" written on it. This is the pub in our village and is the only pub in the country to carry this name. They were tracking down anybody they could to try and find out who he is -- nobody seems to know him... yet!" You see, that's how the media works. The tedious tracking down of leads. A real Woodward and Bernstein moment. Follow the booze. By the way, in the interest of journalism, the perp has now been identified as 34-year-old Ashley Gill-Webb of Leeds.

4. Piling On

I asked on Facebook at "Len Berman's Top 5" "Is the U.S. beating Nigeria 156-73 in basketball in the Olympic Spirit?" Your spirited responses:

B.H. I don't think "opening a can of whoop-a**" is one of the Olympic core values...

S.H. I don't like it, but what's left of the "Olympic spirit" anyway? More oddball "sports" with subjective scoring? I'm waiting for the introduction of synchronized rhythmic javelin catching.

S.F. It's a great win for the Americans. You don't apologize for winning. When the Dream Team beat Angola 110-48 and Charles Barkley threw an elbow at an Angola player, did we hear the 'Olympic spirit' talk?

A.B. Gotta side with S.F. on this, if you recall the only reason we started sending NBA players was because the rest of the world was using their pros vs. our college kids... the minute you ease up on an opponent it cheapens your victory, I am sure Bolt is not gonna slow down in his race because he's winning by a large margin... this is the Olympics, not little league.

L.D. I hate having pro athletes in the Olympics! When you see Gabby Douglas and Missy Franklin win gold medals, that's awesome. I am not the slightest bit interested in watching a multi-millionaire professional athlete like Kobe Bryant play on a team that so clearly has an unfair advantage over other countries. My dream Olympic moment would be to see the pro athletes and teams not earn medals at all.

E.G. Might be time for a "mercy rule."

5. And Now This Message

In four weeks my newest book for young readers will be released, Greatest Moments in Sports: Upsets and Underdogs. From a sports perspective, you can argue whether or not my "upsets" are truly the greatest. The book begins with the great race horse Man o'War. He only lost once. The horse that beat him was named Upset. Every story in the book is a sports story, yet I maintain it's not a "sports book." It's a book about overcoming the odds... of succeeding... no matter what your height, weight, sex or ethnicity. In the end I believe every young person needs to read this book. After they do, they might believe that "I can too!" I'm very excited about this project. It's available for pre-order. And when it is released in September, I'll let Top 5 subscribers know how they can obtain personally autographed copies.

Happy Birthday: World Series perfect game pitcher Don Larsen. 83.

Bonus Birthday: Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron. 37.

Today in Sports: How's this for a Hall of Fame class? The induction ceremony 40-years ago today included Sandy Koufax, Yogi Berra, Early Wynn and Lefty Gomez. 1972.

Bonus Event: Barry Bonds becomes baseball's all-time home run champion when he surpasses Hank Aaron. 2007*

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