08/24/2012 11:01 am ET Updated Oct 24, 2012

Top 5 Sports Stories

TGIF everyone here's my Top 5 for August 24, 2012 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • Lance Armstrong says although he is innocent he will no longer fight charges brought by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that he used performance-enhancing drugs. He will receive a lifetime ban and be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
  • Padraig Harrington is the first round leader at the Barclays at Bethpage Black with a 7-under 64. Sergio Garcia is two back, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are four behind, Rory McIlvoy is five.
  • The Yankees, who led by 10 games last month, now lead by just 2 1/2.
  • Only four Red Sox players attended Johnny Pesky's funeral. When legendary Yankees announcer Bob Sheppard died in 2010, no active Yankees attended.

2. Another One Bites the Dust

Scratch those seven Tour de France wins. Lance Armstrong was a wonderful story, overcoming cancer, a genuine hero to millions. By giving up the fight he appears to become yet another drug cheat who has something to hide. He claims he's innocent having never failed a drug test. He says he's weary of fighting and that the USADA doesn't have the right to strip his titles. But that's his choice to cave. Giving him a permanent place in the asterisk hall of shame is our choice.

3. Knuckleball, the Movie

Talk about exclusive clubs. There's one knuckleball pitcher in the Majors, R.A. Dickey of the Mets, who is having a breakout season. And now the movie coming next month, Knuckleball! It recounts the story of Dickey and the recently retired Tim Wakefield. The producers say "Together with just four other living knuckleballers, they shine a light on their remarkable brotherhood and the shared pursuit of honor and craftsmanship." This isn't Moneyball, an excellent Hollywood version of a book. This is more of a documentary. But knowing Dickey's story I'm looking forward to seeing it just as much.

4. Friday eMailbag

When I mentioned the Bay area connection with Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon both getting suspended for drugs, M.D. points out, " Melky and Bartolo getting suspended? Notice a pinstripe alumni trend here? Not much has changed since the Mitchell report, huh?"

When I asked if Derek Jeter closing in on Willie Mays on the all-time hit list will finally "stifle his critics?" top 5 subscriber P.G. wrote, "Not this critic. Not so long as there are legions of Yankee fans -- and there are -- who insist that Jeter was a better player than BABE RUTH. For most of Jeter's career he wasn't the best SS in baseball, or the best player on his own team."

But from J.S. "Jeter's the best all-around player to step on a diamond since the glory days of the game (Mays, Aaron, Killebrew)... and I'm a Red Sox fan."

In response to Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown showboating by doing a forward flip into the end zone, F.G. writes, "As a Steeler fan, I cringed watching Brown do that flip. Don't ever want to see someone get hurt, but would almost have served him right (and his new $42 million contract) if he landed on his noggin & knocked himself out."

And J.B. writes, "I always thought that being a weatherman was a cushy job. You don't have to be too accurate. But if you're not accurate at all you can always be a Jets quarterback."
Editor's Note: Ouch.

5. Spanning the World

This week's Spanning the World highlight comes from a baseball game in Houston. Shame on you lady!

Spanning the World airs monthly on NBC's Today Show. Next up: Wednesday, August 29 in the 8:30 a.m. half hour.

Happy Birthday: Knicks killer Reggie Miller. 47.

Bonus Birthday: Mr. Let's Make a Deal himself, Monty Hall. 91.

Today in Sports: Pete Rose is suspended from baseball for life for betting on games. 1989.

Bonus Event: Mt. Vesuvius erupts. 79.

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