10/12/2012 10:37 am ET Updated Dec 12, 2012

Top 5 Sports Stories

TGIF everyone here's my Top 5 for October 12, 2012 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • The San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers both advance in the baseball playoffs. Cincinnati and Oakland are out.
  • Going the distance: For the first time, all four series go the maximum five games. The Orioles and Yankees play game 5 today in New York at 5:07 p.m. The Cards and Nats play game 5 in Washington at 8:37 p.m.
  • Yankees manager Joe Girardi has been managing the team after the death of his 81-year-old father Jerry last Saturday. His dad had battled Alzheimer's for years.
  • Thursday night football Tennessee beat Pittsburgh 26-23 on a last second field goal.

2. Stuff Happens

You can't blame Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain for wondering, "What next?" Last night in the 12th inning when Matt Wieters singled for Baltimore, his bat broke and the barrel nailed Chamberlain in the elbow forcing him out of the game. Five years ago in Cleveland the midges attacked during a game and Chamberlain threw a critical wild pitch. Chamberlain has also undergone "Tommy John" surgery and he dislocated his ankle in a trampoline accident with his son. Said Joba last night, "I don't know if I'd hang out with me very much. I might need a bubble." Then there's Alex Rodriguez. For the second straight night he was pinch-hit for. In addition, a horse named A Rod was scratched from a race at Belmont yesterday. Tough week for the "A-Rod" family.

3. Beano Cook

When I was a student sportscaster at Syracuse in the '60s, we broadcast a basketball game from Pittsburgh. The sports information director for Pitt was a character who used phrases like "we missed a bunch of bunnies." I had never heard that phrase before. He was referring to the easy layups that his team missed that night. That colorful guy turned out to be Beano Cook. He went on to have a fabulous career as a college football guru. Knowledgeable, friendly and always entertaining, he will be missed. One of his most famous quotes was when the returning Iranian hostages were offered lifetime baseball passes he quipped "Haven't they suffered enough?" The sports world glows a little dimmer today.

4. Friday eMailbag

Concerning the evidence against Lance Armstrong, M.W. writes, "I was one of those guys who always defended him, but now I'm just disgusted with him."

And from R.W. "Anyone who continues to subscribe to the notion that Armstrong is the victim of a witch hunt is delusional and living in an alternate reality. The guy was the architect (with lots of help from coaches and business managers) of a criminal enterprise. If he was French, Italian or Spanish he'd be facing jail time."

In regards to the Ohio State football player who tweeted that classes are meaningless, he came to school to play football, J.S. writes. "Shame on THE Ohio State University for allowing him admission, taking that spot from some poor person who's worked hard their whole academic careers to get into a school like Ohio State so they could have a better chance at success in the professional world."

With the Oakland A's upset with Detroit pitcher Al Alburquerque for kissing the baseball on a comebacker before throwing it to first, T.N. writes, "Did fans -- even in the Motor City -- forget about another 'goofy pitcher?' The late Mark 'Bird' Fidrych; who would talk to the ball!"

And when I pointed out all the 6's in Mark Sanchez's stats, such as his quarterback rating of 66.6 after the 666th Monday night football game, I suggested that he might better be suited playing for the Devils, M.T. replied "Or Sanchez can play for the 'Sixers' if you are devil-avoiding."

5. Spanning the World

This week's Spanning the World highlight comes from a road rally in France. One car takes a wrong turn and despite the mayhem, nobody got hurt!

Spanning the World airs monthly on NBC's Today Show. Next up: Thursday, October 25 in the 8:30 a.m. half hour.

Happy Birthday: Former Heisman Trophy winner and New York Knick Charlie Ward. 42.

Bonus Birthday: Hugh Jackman. 44.

Today in Sports: The historic Mexico City Olympics open. 1968.

Bonus Event: In fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue, blah blah blah. 1492.