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Top 5 Sports Stories

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Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for September 24, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

  • Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith scored two touchdowns less than 24 hours after his younger brother was killed in a motorcycle accident.
  • Baltimore beat the Patriots last night on a last second field goal 31-30. Patriots coach Bill Belichick grabbed the arm of a replacement official as the game ended. Belichick will get fined.
  • Yesterday's biggest winner, golfer Brandt Snedeker. He's ranked 18th in the world, and he won the Tour Championship in Atlanta as well as the FedEx Cup. He pockets 11.44 million. Heck, some Yankees have to work an entire season to make that much.
  • The Giants clinched the NL West, the Reds the NL Central.

2. Random Thoughts

Some Monday randomness. You go to an NFL game and a Red Sox/Yankees game breaks out. The Jets and Dolphins played for over four hours. I'm sure someone put a stopwatch to it, was there 20 minutes of action? And talk about a field goal fake, the Dolphins called time out just as the defense was blocking the winning field goal in overtime. So we were maybe robbed of another good 20 minutes of "action," and perhaps even more meaningless plays involving Tim Tebow. And the Jets are now tied for first place. Really? I thought you are what your record says you are? And by the way, I was talking about those NFL power rankings last week, how did that work out with the 49ers being #1? They were favored to win by seven and lost outright in Minnesota. The bookies must love the power rankings as just another tool to suck in gamblers.

3. At Least He's Consistent

So what did Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano do after all the criticism for attacking the Giants during their kneeldown? He did it again yesterday against Dallas, three times, to no avail. It seems that when he was coaching Rutgers his tactic led to a couple of fumbles, but he's now playing with the big boys. When a team is giving themselves up and the defense is blasting the center, that's not good in this injury-conscious league.

4. Revisionist History

So Melky Cabrera can't win the batting title even though he has the numbers to do so. Melky himself got the ball rolling by asking to have his name withdrawn from consideration since he is currently banned for drugs. Quite noble. But baseball's quick acceptance of his offer is quite misguided. He hit what he hit. The pitchers who gave up those hits still have them count against their records. The runs that scored haven't been rescinded. All the other drug users stats still count for the batters, pitchers and scoreboard. It's not as simple as what happened 24 years ago today (see Today in Sports). A drug test got failed, someone else won the gold medal. That's an individual thing. When teams, in fact two teams not to mention an entire league are affected by bogus results, where does it end? As that noted sportswriter Sir Walter Scott once wrote, "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!"

5. Crystal Balling

There you have it. The president predicts a White Sox/Nationals World Series. Nothing provincial there. Chicago and Washington are his main hangouts. I'm guessing if they had a team in Hawaii he might pick them to win the wild card. By the way the president correctly predicted North Carolina would win the 2009 National Championship in college basketball. Putting politics aside, I'm glad sports gets discussed at the White House every now and then. Then there's Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. Two years ago he predicted the Nets would win the NBA championship in five years. Two years later, as they opened the Nets new arena in Brooklyn the other day, Prokhorov said the Nets are on track, two years down just three to go. All I can say is check back with me in three years.

Happy Birthday: Pittsburgh Steeler great Mean Joe Greene. 66.

Bonus Birthday: Actress Nia (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) Vardalos. 50.

Today in Sports: Ben Johnson won the gold medal at the Seoul Olympics, only to be stripped for failing a drug test. Carl Lewis then got the gold. 1988.

Bonus Event: No joy in Mudville. The Brooklyn Dodgers play their final game at Ebbets Field. 1957.

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