Top 5 Sports Stories

01/19/2011 10:17 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Happy Wednesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for January 19, 2011 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

* Sports Illustrated reports that the evidence is mounting against Lance Armstrong. He's the focus of an LA federal grand jury inquiry into doping allegations.
* Disgraced 2006 Tour de France "winner" Floyd Landis retires from bicycle racing.
* Taking no prisoners. #3 seed Kim Clijsters bagels Dinara Safina 6-0, 6-0 at the Australian Open. It's the worst loss ever suffered by a former #1 player. Roger Federer needed 5 sets to get past Gilles Simon in the second round.
* Card shark Annie Duke is the commissioner of a new professional poker league. Can I be commish of a pro Scrabble league?

2. The Tour de Farce

You can't escape the feeling that they're going to "get" Lance Armstrong. He is one of America's greatest sports heroes. His story of nothing short of amazing. He overcame testicular cancer which spread to his brain and lungs, and won the grueling Tour de France a record 7 consecutive times. It's an incredible physical feat to win a 3-week bicycle race that climbs through the Pyrenees Mountains. And now you have to wonder if those wins were as genuine as the home run records of Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds? Armstong said yesterday he's not worried. That's what sports has come to. Guilty until proven innocent.

3. Dollars and Sense?

Yesterday was the deadline for baseball players to reach agreement with their teams before arbitration sets in. As a result there were a flurry of deals. The most notable was Milwaukee first baseman Prince Fielder. One year, $15.5 million. It makes him the highest paid Brewer in team history. Just for the hell of it, I looked up Hank Aaron's salary when he signed with the Brewers in 1974. It was a cool $240,000. Just a tad better than when he signed with the 1954 Milwaukee Braves for 5,000 buckeroos. Of course there are Top 5 subscribers (and you know who you are), who will let me know that Hank's 1974 pay is worth over $1.1 million dollars today. Which means Prince Fielder is only being paid fifteen times more than Hammer' Hank. Hey, timing is everything.

4. Guarantees

I asked on Facebook at "Len Berman's Top 5" for the all time guarantee. I figure Ben Franklin's "death and taxes" ranks #1. Then Joe Namath and Mark Messier. Colby F. suggested "Babe Ruth's home run." Not bad. Whether or not he really "called his shot" at Wrigley Field in the 1932 World Series, we'll never know. But that's not bad company to be in. The Babe, Ben, Broadway Joe and the Captain. Now that's a Fab Four!

5. The Fourth Estate

So if you were a reporter, what would you ask tennis star Maria Sharapova? A guy named James McOnie from New Zealand asked at a news conference in his country if Sharapova had a personal shopper since she has impeccable taste? When she got to the Australian Open he asked her if she frequents clubs for "hot Russians" with fellow tennis looker Anna Kournikova? To that she answered. "Oh God, you're stalking me." So he showed up with a sign the other day saying, "I AM NOT A STALKER." Here he is. It turns out the guy is from a spoof TV show in New Zealand. You could tell he wasn't a real journalist. He was too well dressed.

Happy Birthday: Giants Super Bowl XXV MVP O.J. Anderson. 54.
Bonus Birthday: Singer D-Dolly Parton. 65.

Today in Sports: Let's get ready to cheat! The Tour de France is created. 1903.
Bonus Event: Pay Raise! The President of the U.S. gets bumped from $75-thousand to $100-thousand. 1949.

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