09/21/2012 11:11 am ET Updated Nov 21, 2012

Top 5 Sports Stories

TGIF everyone here's my Top 5 for September 21, 2012 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • The Washington Nationals clinch the first Washington baseball postseason appearance since 1933. The Cincinnati Reds also clinch a postseason berth.
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates bidding for their first winning season since 1992 drop one game below .500.
  • The Giants easily beat Carolina 36-7 in Thursday night football.
  • Tiger Woods and Justin Rose are tied for the lead at four-under-66 after the first round of the PGA Tour Championship in Atlanta.

2. Guilty Until Proven Innocent

So you like this Twitter age we live in right? I'm actually a fan of twitter, it's the fastest news service around. Except for one minor detail. The truth. Yesterday's hot Twitter story had Robinson Cano of the Yankees flunking a drug test. It made perfect sense since that's what his good buddy Melky Cabrera did on the Giants. Except it wasn't true. So again class, journalism 101. Read everything on the web, newspapers, magazines with a jaundiced eye. And that includes the Top 5. There's something wrong when an athlete like Cano has to go around defending himself against a Twitter post.

3. You Betcha

Well maybe the pressure in building to get the regular NFL officials back. The point spread may be affected for goodness sake. Now it's getting serious. Vegas oddsmakers are quoted as saying that the way the replacements are calling the games, the home field edge may be worth an extra half a point. One oddsmaker said "It's starting to concern us a bit." Thank goodness somebody seems concerned about something.

4. Friday eMailbag

From Top 5 subscriber L.L. "How pathetic are the replacement officials in the NFL. The games are nearly four hours old. They must be getting paid by the hour."

With the passing of NFL Films President Steve Sabol, M.S. writes, "I read in Wikipedia that Ed Sabol refused the opportunity of swimming in the 1936 Olympics because of the games' connections to Nazi Germany. Another Jewish hero of the time alongside Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller. (Who were dropped from the relay team in essence because they were Jewish.) "

When Dallas Owner Jerry Jones suggested outlawing "taking a knee" I asked on Facebook at "Len Berman's Top 5" what other "wastes of time" should be eliminated, J.F. wrote, "Free throws, pickoff attempts, and the Houston Astros."

And when I talked about the "overstatification" in sports, and that I'm still trying to figure out what WHIP means in baseball R.N. wrote, "I am fairly certain that 'WHIP' in baseball refers to any team playing the Mets."

Editor's Note: Ouch

5. Spanning the World

This week's Spanning the World highlight comes from a soccer game in Iran. A player picks up a loose object, which happens to be a live grenade which explodes moments later. And thank God nobody got hurt!

Spanning the World airs monthly on NBC's Today Show. Next up: Friday, September 28 in the 8:30 a.m. half hour.

Happy Birthday: Former baseball slugger Cecil Fielder. 49.

Bonus Birthday: Bill Murray. 62.

Today in Sports: Archie Moore knocked down heavyweight champ Rocky Marciano, but the champ got off the mat to remain undefeated. 1955.

Bonus Event: In a memorable game, the New York Jets beat the Miami Dolphins 51-45 in overtime despite 6 touchdown passes from the Dolphins Dan Marino. The game featured a then record 884 passing yards. 1986.

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