Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Wednesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for August 10, 2011 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • Braves second baseman Dan Uggla has now hit safely in 30 straight games. Not bad for a .220 hitter.
  • The NFL will perform random game-day testing for performance-enhancing drugs.
  • Another baby step? The L.A. City Council approves the financial aspects of a deal for a new stadium that they hope will house an NFL team some day.
  • The final golf major of the year, the PGA Championship, gets underway tomorrow at the Atlanta Athletic Club.
  • 84-year-old Penn State football coach Joe Paterno is released from the hospital two days after being run over by one of his players. Paterno returns to practice today.
  • Forget about becoming a football hero, try to become a coach. Jim Tressel, that noted NCAA rules breaker, earned $21.7 million during his 10-year tenure at Ohio State.

2. Comparatively Speaking

Sean Avery was accused of using racial slurs by a former teammate who later denied saying it. Avery was also arrested for shoving an L.A. cop. Avery plays for the New York Rangers.

Sean Avery was the longest shot in the field at Saratoga the other day. He paid $36.20 in a photo finish. Sean Avery is a horse. If you're scoring at home, Sean Avery the horse is having a much better month than Sean Avery the human. And he yaps a whole lot less.

3. Gotcha

With runners on first and third, a pitcher sometimes fakes a pickoff throw to third, while trying to catch the runner at first. How many times in that situation have you heard the announcer say, "That never works!" Well it worked last night. Angels pitcher Jordan Walden nailed the Yankees' Curtis Granderson with the ploy. And what a spot. Two outs in the 9th, with the tying runs on base. When's the last time you saw a game end on a successful pickoff? Probably never. Not as dramatic as the last out of the 1926 World Series between St. Louis and the Yankees. Game 7, bottom of the 9th, two outs, Babe Ruth is caught stealing at second base to end the World Series. It's the only time a World Series has ended with a caught stealing. Just something to think about the next time you hear the announcer say, "That never works."

4. What's in a Name?

You guys love wordplay. When I mentioned yesterday the Cubs draft pick Garrett Schlecht, I pointed out that schlecht means bad or lousy in German. Then there's Lucas Duda for the Mets. Duda, in Spanish, means doubt. Jose Veras of the Pittsburgh Pirates: Veras, in Spanish, means really. Here's what you came up with.

* Karen V. Chuck Knoblauch: "Knoblauch in German means garlic."
*Eric G. Vinny Testaverde: "In Italian testa means head; verde means green. So it was appropriate when Vinny Testaverde was wearing a green helmet while playing for the Jets."
* C.L. "I'm pretty sure that (Dodgers owner Frank) McCourt is Latin meaning 'impoverished.'"
*And from Rhoda, "How about J.J. Putz?"

5. Everyone's a Comedian

The New York Times asked its readers to come up with a David Letterman-style Top 10 reasons to keep going to Citi Field to watch the Mets. I thought this was the best line. "Because when you call up to order tickets and ask them what time the game starts, the clerk says, 'What time can you be here?'" (Ed, Westchester). Nicely done.

Of course if the Mets keep coming from behind to win dramatic games, as they've done the last two nights against the Padres, the start times may actually be accurate.

Note: I'll be on the Today Show tomorrow morning in the 8:30 half hour, Spanning the World!

Happy Birthday: Baseball great Rocky Colavito. 78.
Bonus Birthday: Actor Antonio Banderas, Mr. Melanie Griffith. 51.

Today in Sports: For the first time in his career, Arnold Palmer failed to make the cut at the PGA Championship. It's the only major tournament that he never won. 1973.
Bonus Event: The infamous "Son of Sam," David Berkowitz, was arrested. 1977.

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