Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for October 18, 2012 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
- St. Louis beat the Giants 3-1 in Game 3 of the NLCS. The game included a 3 1/2 hour rain delay. The Cards lead two games to one. Game 4 is tonight in St. Louis.
- The Yankees and Tigers were rained out last night, Detroit goes for the sweep this afternoon.
- Derek Jeter will undergo ankle surgery. There's no guarantee he'll be ready for Opening Day.
- San Francisco hosts Seattle tonight in Thursday night football.
- Former Major League player and coach Eddie Yost, known as the "walking man" because of his propensity to draw bases on balls has died at the age of 86. He was the third base coach for the 1969 Miracle Mets.
2. Bigger Than the Game
Years from now, this Yankees/Tigers ALCS will be known as the "A-Rod" series. Kids will think Alex Rodriguez dominated with his bat instead of his bench-time. Last night's postponement didn't help. What should we talk about? The altered pitching rotation? Something really important? Nah, A-Rod. Speculation ran wild. His benching had to be due to trying to pick up girls in the stands. Keith Olbermann reported that the Yanks and Marlins are trying to work out a trade for Rodriguez. The notion is growing that A-Rod is not long for pinstripes, but his imprint will be felt for years to come. He may be going away, but the effect of all that money he's owed will be stick around, like an unwanted guest who refuses to leave.
3. All NFL All the Time
I'm sure American sports fans aren't celebrating, but the NFL has added a second game to the London schedule for next season. The Vikings and Steelers will play in September followed by the 49ers and Jaguars in October. The NFL had the usual blather about "growing the brand," but there was another interesting wrinkle. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hinted that because of the time difference, the game could start at 10:30am in the States, so a tripleheader, not counting the Sunday night game so it's actually a quadrupleheader. Why stop there? Remember in 2000 when we saw them ringing-in the new century from every time zone? We could stage games all around the globe. NFL 24/7. Now we're talking.
4. Losing Support
And the hits just keep on coming. Lance Armstrong stepped down yesterday as chairman of his Livestrong cancer-fighting organization. Anheuser-Busch announced they're parting ways with Armstrong. So is RadioShack, Trek Bicycle and Giro helmets. And Nike issued this withering statement, "Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him. Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner." Some cynics blasted Nike for taking so long and not dropping other troubled athletes. Nike said they'd continue to support Livestrong. Good move. Despite it all, Livestrong is well worth saving.
5. On the Clock
The NBA sure loves to tinker. First players got in trouble for reacting too harshly to ref's calls. This season they'll be penalized for flopping. And now comes the pregame "speedup." Apparently, once the players are introduced, 90 seconds later they're tossing-up the ball, ready or not. For many players it'll be not, so it'll be delay of game. Players go through all sorts of little handshake and pregame rituals before they're ready to play ball. Check out what Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City likes to do. I'm not sure the NBA needs to crack down on this, but if they could get their baseball friends to cut down on the "stepping out of the batter's box-adjusting the batting gloves routine" after every pitch, you've got my vote.
Happy Birthday: Olympic downhill skiing gold medalist Lindsey Vonn. 28.
Bonus Birthday: Actor Zac Efron. 25.
Today in Sports: Reggie, Reggie Reggie. Reggie Jackson hits three homers on three consecutive pitches in Game 6 against the Dodgers as the Yankees won the World Series. 1977.
Bonus Event: The U.S. Olympic Committee suspends John Carlos and Tommie Smith for giving a black power salute on the medals stand at the Mexico City Olympics. 1968.
To sign up for Len's free daily Top 5 email click here.