09/20/2011 11:26 am ET Updated Nov 20, 2011

Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for September 20, 2011 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • Mariano Rivera notches his record 602nd career save.
  • Boston's wild card lead over Tampa Bay is now just one in the loss column. In the NL wild card, Atlanta's lead over St. Louis is two in the loss column.
  • Monday night football: the Giants beat St. Louis 28-16.
  • Lady Gaga attends the Giants game and pours champagne out of a luxury box. Nice.
  • If Oklahoma and Texas leave the Big 12, the remaining schools could merge with the Big East. Yup, I always envisioned Iowa State and Connecticut in the same conference.

2. Red Sox Nation

What's that sound coming out of Boston? It couldn't be the Red Sox spitting the bit, could it? The Rays are just one game back in the loss column. Just a minute ago they were nine games out. Of course Boston has had a unique history of failure. Their 2004 and 2007 World Championships have helped to clear the air. But remember this was the franchise where generations of fans had always known nothing but failure. You can't mention Bucky Dent in 1978 or Aaron Boone in 2003 without causing palpitations in New England. But now that the team has finally tasted success, this can't be happening again, can it? Sox fans have suddenly turned into Yankees fans since the Yanks are playing Tampa Bay four times starting tonight. And if that's not revolting enough for Red Sox fans, here's a final thought. This is the 25th anniversary of Bill Buckner. Enjoy the rest of the week Sox fans, if you can bear to watch.

3. 602

It's not one of those numbers that rolls off the tongue. Not like 714, Babe Ruth's home run total. Or .406, Ted Williams' batting average 70 years ago this season. Still, 602 saves is stunning. And clearly most baseball observers feel that Mariano Rivera is the greatest reliever of all time. But will his record ever be eclipsed? Ruth's was, Williams' looks unapproachable. Maybe Rivera's too. The next on the active save list is Detroit's Francisco Cordero. He's 36 years old and he has 323 saves. For someone to amass so many saves he not only needs longevity, he needs to play on winning teams for a great number of years. That's why all saves aren't created equal. You can hit homers, or have a high batting average against anyone. But to get saves, you really do need a "little help from your friends."

4. Ratings Game

I have to admit I'm somewhat surprised how easily Sunday Night Football blasted the Emmy Awards in the ratings. It wasn't close. SNF garnered a 15.7, The Emmys a 9.4. Especially surprising since all the football guys wore the same clothes and none of them wore jewelry.

5. Score!

The new London Olympic stadium will be handed over to the West Ham soccer club after the games. The stadium could be renamed the "Ann Summers Stadium." Who's that? Well, West Ham is run by the owner of the Ann Summers Adult Stores. The stores feature lingerie and other "items." Is that really appropriate for a soccer stadium? Last year, Ann Summers' Halloween ads were banned from radio in the U.K. Just listen for a sec and you'll hear why. (Warning, don't listen at work!) Although when you hear some soccer announcers scream "G-O-O-A-A-L" is it really that much different?

Happy Birthday: The great Montreal Canadien Guy LaFleur. 60.
Bonus Birthday: She won TV's $64,000 Question in 1955 as a boxing expert, psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers. 84.

Today in Sports: Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in the battle of the sexes, featured in my New York Times bestselling kids book, The Greatest Moments in Sports. 1973.
Bonus Event: Have you heard the news today? Oh boy. 90 years ago today the first broadcast news on KDKA radio. 1921.

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