10/03/2012 11:45 am ET Updated Dec 03, 2012

Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Wednesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for October 3, 2012 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • St. Louis clinched the final playoff spot. Oakland and Texas are tied for first place in the AL West with one game to play. They face each other today in Oakland. The Yankees lead Baltimore by one game.
  • Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona will reportedly meet with the Cleveland Indians tomorrow about their managerial vacancy.
  • Adam Greenberg got back to the plate seven years after being beaned by a pitch. Pinch hitting for Miami he struck out on three pitches from the Mets R.A. Dickey to a standing ovation.
  • NHL talks go nowhere as the season openers a week from tomorrow appear in jeopardy.

2. Moneyball

So does money buy you success in baseball? Flip a coin. Of the top 10 payrolls, five of them made the postseason. The team that spent the least per win of course is the Oakland A's, the smallest spenders in baseball, a payroll about a fourth of the Yankees. Teams in the bottom half of the payroll parade who also made the playoffs: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Washington. And the city that leads the way in wasted spending? Of course Los Angeles with the Dodgers and Angels both winding up on the sidelines. Hooray for Hollywood!

3. Bountygate

According to the Orange County Register the New Orleans Saints aren't the only team involved in a "bountygate." But the players that the newspapers are reporting about play Pop Warner football! How crazy is that? The story goes that 10 and 11-year-old players were paid by a coach to knock kids on the other team out of the game. One of the opposing players reportedly suffered a concussion. There are plenty of denials from the head coach of the team and Pop Warner officials, but an assistant coach, parents and a couple of the kids swear it's true. The coach claims the parents are disgruntled and they forced their kids to lie. Despite the denials, the coach and league president have been suspended pending an investigation. By the way the team went undefeated that year. Was it the added incentive?

4. Going... Going...

Can one home run be considered the greatest or most dramatic in the history of baseball? I think so. 1951 is ancient history to today's sports fans, and they have little grasp of what the Giants/Dodgers rivalry was like. Think Yankees/Red Sox at the height and multiply it by 10. Two teams, shared the same city with the Giants coming from 13 1/2 games back on August 11 to catch the Dodgers. You probably heard what happened in the bottom of the ninth inning of the third and deciding playoff game that ensued. If you haven't you can catch it in my new book (see below). The Russ Hodges call is included on the free audio CD that accompanies the book. Yes, this is another blatant plug for my book and also a little history lesson. The single most dramatic homer was accompanied by the single most famous play-by-play call and it happened 61 years ago today.

5. Crime Prevention

This has nothing whatsoever to do with sports, but I found it funny. In Manchester England, a local supermarket has a 6-foot cardboard cutout of a policeman. It deters shoplifting. Actually the supermarket used to have it. Somebody stole it.

Happy Birthday: Hall of Famer Dave Winfield born on the day that Bobby Thomson went deep (see below). 61.

Bonus Birthday: Chubby "Let's Do the Twist" Checker. 71.

Today in Sports: The Giants win the Pennant! The Giants win the Pennant! 1951.

Bonus Event: President Lincoln with another famous proclamation: the last Thursday of each November will be Thanksgiving. 1863.

Hey Brooklyn! I'll be at Boulevard Books and Cafe tomorrow evening at 6:30pm signing copies of my new book. They're located at 7518 13th Avenue.

Hey early risers in the Bay Area, I'll be on with Murph and Mac tomorrow morning at 6:35 a.m. on KNBR.

In case you missed my CNN appearance yesterday, here it is.

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