THE BLOG
08/14/2012 10:34 am ET Updated Oct 14, 2012

Top 5 Sports Stories

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

1. Quick Hits

  • Red Sox icon Johnny Pesky dies at the age of 92. The Yankees show their respect with a moment of silence before last night's game at the Stadium.
  • Are the Washington Nationals for real? After knocking off San Francisco 14-2 last night they have the best record in baseball, the only team with over 70 wins and over .600 winning percentage. But there's always a but. See #3 below.
  • You go to watch preseason football and a soccer game breaks out. Dallas beats the Raiders 3-0.

2. Olympics Hangover

So do you have "Olympics Hangover?" For two weeks you watched and actually cared about events that you don't even give a glance for another four years. After 17 days you now have to go back to paying attention to NFL exhibition games and a baseball season that began eons ago. By the way, you've sent me tons of emails of Olympics stuff you liked and stuff you didn't care for. And now that it's all over I thought that Top 5 subscriber M.F. had a great idea. He wrote, "That line on the bottom of our tax returns that asks if we'd like to contribute $1 to political campaigns... it should be changed to contributing $1 to a fund for U.S. Olympic hopefuls." I like that.

3. Pitch Counts

Time was a pitcher would pitch until his arm fell off. Maybe around 1933, the last time a team from Washington made it to post season play. Fast forward to 2011 and the Washington Nationals could be headed for the promised land. But they'll do it without star pitcher Stephen Strasburg. After undergoing Tommy John surgery, he's on a "pitch count." He won't make it through the regular season and he is definitely out of the playoffs. What does Tommy John himself say about this? He understands, but says if he were Strasburg he'd be lobbying to pitch. I guess this all gives new meaning to the phrase "meaningless regular season." If the Nats don't have their best pitcher available for October, other than selling a bunch of tickets, what was the point of the regular campaign? Should I point out the one and only time Washington won the World Series was 1924 with a guy named Walter Johnson on the mound?

4. Upon Further Review

It hasn't been a good stretch for Chad Johnson (the former Chad Ochocinco) of the Miami Dolphins. First, he was arrested for allegedly head-butting his new wife Evelyn Lozada. And now VH1 has canceled his reality show, Ev and Ocho. The show followed the couple around leading up to their wedding on July 4. Happily wedded bliss lasted a little over a month. At least it lasted that long. The TV show is being canceled before it even airs.

5. Johnny Pesky
1919-2012


When I worked in Boston, one of the joys of covering the Red Sox was running into the old-timers. From Ted Williams who was an absolutely terrific interview, with his spell-binding thoughts on hitting, to Jumping Joe Dugan who on his 79th birthday told me "They named a street after me in New York for the occasion... they called it 79th street!" But my absolute favorite was Johnny Pesky. He was just a delight. I once dared to ask him about Game 7 of the 1946 World Series. Read any history book and it'll say that Pesky held the ball too long at short allowing Enos Slaughter to score the series clinching run for the Cardinals on Harry Walker's double. Pesky denied the story. He said to me in no uncertain terms "I did not hesitate throwing home." He also didn't hesitate poking some fun at himself. He said he attended a sloppy football game where the players kept fumbling. He said one of the fans yelled out "Give the ball to Pesky, he'll hold onto it!" His Pesky Pole down the right field line will live forever in Fenway Park. Unfortunately Johnny won't, a truly delightful man who represented the best that baseball has to offer.

Happy Birthdays: Magic Johnson. 53. Tim Tebow. 25.

Bonus Birthday: Actress Mila Kunis. 29.

Today in Sports: A gold medal for basketball was awarded at the Olympics for the first time with the U.S. beating Canada 19-8. 1936.

Bonus Event: The start of memorizing nine digits. Social Security is born. 1935.

Calling all interns: Since the inception of the Top 5 we've had some terrific college kids interning with us on the Top 5 and www.ThatsSports.com. If you know a college student who might be interested in gaining valuable experience as our intern in the world of digital sports media starting this September, let me know.

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