Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for October 2, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
- Moneyball! The Oakland A's are back in the playoffs. One playoff spot remains as St. Louis leads the Dodgers by two games for the wild card spot with two games to go.
- As the Detroit Tigers clinched the AL Central, Miguel Cabrera took the lead in all three categories seeking to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1967.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates are now assured of their record-extending 20th straight losing season.
- Monday Night Football: The Chicago Bears beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-18 as they intercept Tony Romo five times.
- Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano has been diagnosed with leukemia. He isn't expected to return to the sidelines this season.
2. Another Chance
Tonight in Miami should be one of the feel good moments on the year. Adam Greenberg will step to the plate for the Miami Marlins against the Mets. It's been seven years between trips to the plate for Adam. He's the player who got beaned with the first pitch he ever saw in the Majors as a member of the Cubs in 2005. And now, thanks to a campaign to get him one official at bat, he'll see his second pitch tonight after receiving a one-day contract from Miami. The cynic will call it a gimmick. I choose to call it perseverance. And a nice job by the Marlins for making it happen. That's the team he was facing was he got struck by that pitch. I'd like to see Adam get a couple of hits and a Major League contract, but hey I also like chick flicks.
3. Flip Flop
The NBA is finalizing plans to get rid of the scourge of basketball, flopping. The NBA has had enough and they want to come down hard on the league's biggest actors. They won't call it during a game, as they do in hockey and soccer. Instead they'll hand out fines after the fact. There's the possibility that serial floppers will get escalating penalties. I think it's admirable. There's nothing as silly as the sight of a 250-pound power forward hurtling backwards into the stands when somebody blows on him. I just think it might be hard to determine intent. But it's certainly worth a try.
4. Sinking Your Teeth Into Rugby
Top 5 subscriber Paul K. tipped us off to the big controversy Down Under. James Graham of Canterbury is accused of biting the ear of Melbourne star Billy Slater during a big match over the weekend. Here's a picture of the chomp. The Melbourne team was livid that Graham was permitted to stay in the game, but he could be disciplined by the league for "dangerous conduct." Somewhere, Mike Tyson is saying "So?"
5. And the Winner Is...
I asked you on Facebook (and allowed all entries emailed to the Top 5 for non-Facebookers) "What do you think is the greatest upset or underdog story in the history of American sports?" Everyone who entered had an equal chance in the lottery, and the winner of a personalized autographed copy on my newest book is Jason M. from Newfane, New York. Now to your answers. The overwhelming winner is the "Miracle on Ice." Can't argue with that. Runner-ups were Buster Douglas beating Mike Tyson, Cassius Clay beating Sonny Liston and the Miracle Mets of 1969. I loved that fact that the vast majority of your choices are stories in my book, such as one-armed pitcher Jim Abbott and even Upset beating Man o'War for the only loss of his glorious career (now that's an upset). My favorite entry came from Top 5 subscriber Peter A. "Mine has to be my father taking me to my very first Major League Baseball game at Yankee Stadium and introducing me to 'America's Pastime.' He's been gone 4+ years now, and I still can't think about baseball without thinking about how much I loved him. That, to me, was a great moment! (And one I love reliving!)" Nice, Pete.
Happy Birthday: Dodgers base-stealing great Maury Wills. 80.
Bonus Birthday: Sting (Gordon Sumner). 61.
Today in Sports: Sandy Koufax struck out a World Series record 15 batters as the Dodgers beat the Yankees 5-2 in game one. The Dodgers went on to sweep the Yankees. 1963.
Bonus Event: Let's play three! The only modern day tripleheader is played as the Reds take two out of three from the Pirates in Pittsburgh. 1920.
I'll be on MSNBC Morning Joe tomorrow morning to talk about my new book at 8:30 a.m.
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