09/30/2010 11:33 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for September 30, 2010 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

* Is anybody clean? The Tour de France takes yet another huge hit. Champion Alberto Contador tested positive for a banned substance during this year's race and has been suspended from racing.
* In the last remaining division race, the Giants lead the Padres by 2 games with 4 to play. The two teams finish the season with 3 against each other in San Francisco.
* The Ryder Cup begins tomorrow in Wales.
* The Saints bring back 46-year old place kicker John Carney.

2. The Hunt For Red October

I never thought I'd see the Reds in the playoffs again. I'm partial to Cincinnati. My first TV job was in Dayton, Ohio. I was a newscaster, but they sent me to cover game 6 of the 1972 World Series. The Reds won the game forcing a 7th game against Oakland, which they lost. I have a picture in my office where I'm interviewing Reds manager Sparky Anderson on the field after game 6. That wouldn't happen today. With tons of cameras and media outlets there wouldn't be any one on one interviews. News conferences only. But that's not all that's changed. The Reds no longer open the season before anyone else. And with the "great baseball divide," I always believed the Reds would be a "have not." So, welcome back to the playoffs, Cincinnati. 15 years was much too long to wait for a great baseball town. Now, what can we do about Pittsburgh?

3. Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

The other night the Yankees popped champagne after they qualified for the playoffs. I seem to remember they wouldn't do that. They'd save the bubbly for clinching the division. Maybe the Yankees don't plan on clinching that? Should they go all the way, that adds up to 4 champagne celebrations. Isn't that a tad overdone, like just about everything else in sports these days? Steve H. wrote on Facebook at "Len Berman's Top 5," "The thing that got me was those 'Playoffs' hats. Next they'll be donning hats and tee shirts when they win a 3 game series during the season." I think you're on to something, Steve.

4. Freebies

The other day Evan Longoria blasted Tampa Bay fans for not showing up for a potential clinching game. So for the Rays final home game last night, the team gave away free 20,000 tickets. And guess what, they "sold out" the game. So throw away the argument that Tampa fans don't like baseball. They do, if the "price is right!"

5. Mascot Fever

Got an idea for the mascot for the Sochi Russia winter games of 2014? You can email it to
The ideas have been pouring in. Lotsa bears, munchkins and even a ski-jumping dolphin. I'm guessing Baba-Yaga won't be picked, although she's been suggested. (Quite fetching, don't you think?)
Seems she's a witch who kidnaps and eats small children. Sounds like a new Olympic sport to me.

Happy Birthday: 5-time Grand Slam winner in singles, Martina Hingis. She won all except the French. 30.
Bonus Birthday: Chances Are that singer Johnny Mathis is 75 today.

Today in Sports: The Babe (featured in my new kids book, The 25 Greatest Baseball Players Of All Time, hits his 60th homer of the season. 1927.
Bonus Event: L'Chaim. Cheers debuts on NBC. 1982.