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Top 5 Sports Stories

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Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for September 4, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

  • #1 Roger Federer walks into the quarters at the U.S. Open after Mardy Fish withdrew for health reasons.
  • The chase is on. The Baltimore Orioles trail the Yankees by just one game. Tampa Bay is 2 1/2 behind.
  • Red Sox brass swoops into Seattle to visit the team. Manager Bobby Valentine is still standing. The team isn't, having lost seven straight.
  • The team with the best record in baseball, the Washington Nationals, wins their 82nd game clinching their first winning season.
  • Bad news. The NFL season begins tomorrow and no talks are scheduled with locked out officials.
  • Rory McIlroy wins the Deutsche Bank Championship by one stroke over Luis Oosthuizen and two over Tiger Woods who topped the $100 million mark in career earnings.

2. Illegal Motion

The NFL is courting disaster. They will start the season tomorrow with replacement refs. A huge mistake. At the very least games will be won and lost on official blunders. They've proven their incompetence during the preseason. So when bettors around the country lose their bets on official mistakes, the outcry will be deafening. OK, the league likes to pretend that betting isn't a big factor in their sport. But there's a much bigger issue at stake. Player safety. We're at a tipping point when it comes to head injuries. They're known to produce serious cognitive problems in later life. Player suicides are linked to this issue. Rules have been changed. Without regular officials, there could be mayhem on the field. This is no way to run a railroad.

3. Pinball

Here we go again. College football season is here and it's time to roll up the score. Ohio State trounced Miami of Ohio 56-10, Florida State blasted Murray State 69-3 and Oklahoma State edged Savannah St. 84-0. In OSU's defense, they used all the scrubs as early as possible, but they still threw for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma State was happy to get an easy win, and Savannah St. was happy to pocket the $385,000 for playing the patsy. Hey, it's a great lesson for economic majors. Take the money and fumble.

4. Vin Scully

A tip of the cap to the best in the business. Dodgers announcer Vin Scully will stick around for the 2013 season, his 64th, when he'll be 85. The other night at Dodger Stadium they had Vin Scully bobblehead night. And he got to throw out the first ball which he did in true "family style." Talk about a living legend, there will never be another one like him.

5. Gallows Humor

The best email I received during my vacation comes from Top 5 subscriber C.L. It's a variation of an old joke, but still pretty funny. New York Jets practice was delayed two hours today after a player reported finding an unknown white powdery substance on the practice field. Practice was immediately suspended so police and federal investigators could investigate. After a complete analysis, forensic experts determined the unknown substance was the goal line. Practice resumed after special agents decided the team was unlikely to encounter the substance again.

Happy Birthday: Mike Piazza. 44.

Bonus Birthday: Beyonce. 31.

Today in Sports: A panel of baseball experts votes to drop the * next to Roger Maris's 1961 home run record. 1991.

Bonus Event: 40 years ago today. Mark Spitz wins his record 7th gold medal in Munich. His record was broken in 2008 by Michael Phelps. 1972.

I'll be on the Today Show with Hoda and Kathie Lee tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. with NFL trivia.

I'm happy to report my newest book for young readers, The Greatest Moments in Sports: Upsets and Underdogs, is now in stock.

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