Top 5 Sports Stories

TGIF everyone, here's my Top 5 for September 23, 2011 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was back at practice yesterday four days after suffering a concussion. He's expected to play Sunday against the Giants.
  • The clock is ticking. Nothing is doing on the NBA labor front. The NBA is expected to cancel training camps and some exhibition games today.
  • Manny can't be Manny in the Dominican Republic. He was expected to play winter ball, but MLB has blocked it since he hasn't served or appealed his 100-game drug suspension. Upon hearing that, Manny said he'll apply for reinstatement.
  • Giants fan Bryan Stow, who was beaten in the Dodger Stadium parking lot in March, has spoken his first words since the attack.
  • Carl Lewis has now been ruled off the ballot for State Senate in New Jersey because he hasn't met the residency requirement.

2. Three-Ways

Three-ways are always complicated. Especially so in Major League Baseball. What happens if there's a three-way tie for the American League Wild Card? Glad you didn't ask. First, those three teams would have a playoff and then jump right into the Division Series. So in the worst case scenario, the Angels would have to play back to back on both coasts, and then fly from California to New York to play two more games. And then fly back to California for two more. All with no off days. Of course Major League Baseball could have left some breathing room with a shorter season or with natural doubleheaders, but you know that ain't happening. Now, what if there are three-ways in both leagues?

3. Grand Finale

So are you stoked up about the climax to golf's FedEx Cup? Somebody will win 10 million bucks this weekend in Atlanta at the Tour Championship. That's huge right? Quick, name the guy in first place. OK, then name the guy in 30th. Either of them could walk away with the jackpot. Of course the odds are greater for the guys higher up on the list. Sounds like the NBA lottery. The whole idea of the FedEx Cup is to build interest in golf after the summer and all the major tournaments are done. Funny, I haven't heard one sports fan say to me, "Hey, who do you like in the FedEx?" Oh, #1 is Webb Simpson and Bo Van Pelt is 30th. For Van Pelt to win the cash, he must win the Tour Championship AND Simpson must finish 29th or 30th, AND five other golfers have to finish somewhere down the list. By the way, PGA champ Keegan Bradley, 20th in the standings, has a two-stroke lead after the first round. Hey, they decide World Cups with shootouts. Maybe a putt-off would be better here?

4. Friday eMailbag

Is Mariano Rivera's saves record unreachable? No, says Top 5 subscriber E.G. "Francisco Rodriguez is 29 years old with 291 saves. If he is healthy and gets back to closing next year, he needs to average 31 saves a year for the next 10 years to get to 600."

When I wrote of the passing of Dave Gavitt, the founder of the Big East Conference, J.D. wrote, "Nice kudos to Dave Gavitt, a truly good man in a world of scoundrels."

Boston sports fan D.L. would be OK with a Red Sox collapse this year. He wrote on Facebook at "Len Berman's Top 5," "The most popular team the Bruins won the hockey title and the Celts and Pats have also won recently as well as the Sox in 2004 & 2007."

As for the Mets changing the dimensions of Citi Field to make it more hitter friendly, G.S. writes "They'll need to bring left field behind third base to salvage Jason Bay's contract."
Editor's note: Ouch.

5. Spanning the World

This week's Spanning the World highlight comes from Yankee Stadium. Remember Christian Lopez, the kid who caught Derek Jeter's home run which was his 3.000th career hit? Well, check out his dad the other night. Good hands obviously run in the family.

Spanning the World airs monthly on NBC's Today Show. Next up, Wednesday, September 28th in the 8:30am half hour.

Happy Birthday: Dodgers star center fielder Matt Kemp. 27.
Bonus Birthday: The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. 62.

Today in Sports: Merkle's Boner. The infamous Giants play which helped the Cubs win the pennant. That year was the last time the Cubbies won the World Series. 1908
Bonus Event: Richard Nixon makes his famed Checkers speech. 1952.

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