Top 5 Sports Stories

TGIF everyone here's my Top 5 for May 10, 2013 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • MLB admits that the umps blew a home run call in Cleveland Wednesday night despite the use of a video review. But even though the call was wrong it stands.
  • In the NHL Playoffs Ottawa eliminated Montreal in four, ditto Chicago over Minnesota. Pittsburgh leads the Islanders 3-2.
  • The first round leader of the Players Championship is Roberto Castro who tied the course record with a 9-under 63. Rory McIlroy and Zach Johnson are 3 back, Tiger Woods 4.
  • British gold medalist Andrew Simpson died when his yacht capsized training for the America's Cup off the California coast.
  • Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder says "we'll never change the name" from Redskins.
  • The famed Hollywood Park racetrack will close by the end of the year in favor of housing and retail.

2. Equipment Change

After Toronto pitcher J.A. Happ got beaned by a line drive the other night, sending him on a stretcher to the hospital, I found it surprising how many pitchers came out against pitchers wearing helmets. You would think that would be a no-brainer, so to speak. Top 5 subscriber and terrific ESPN producer Willie Weinbaum is probably the foremost authority on the subject. He says the reaction time for a pitcher is about 1/3 of a second. He reports that MLB has considered a padded cap that would give the pitcher about 40 percent protection but they haven't approved any of the stereotypes. Here's the important part. Willie found video of 10 incidents over the past five seasons, and he thinks a padded cap might have helped half of them. Maybe MLB should speed up the process on padded caps before it's too late.

3. Fan Jail

We're also dumping on athletes who can't stay out of trouble, but should we be just as harsh on fans? Take this Miami Heat fan who must have violated some "code of getting too close" when she gestured at the Bulls Joakim Noah. Give Noah points for self-restraint, and ban this woman for the rest of the playoffs. Apparently she's the widow of a former hedge fund operator. The couple was known to engage in public screaming matches. Well, that explains it.

4. Friday eMailbag

As for the terrific video of Matt Kemp of the Dodgers giving his gear to a terminally ill young man, C.O. writes, "Nice to see that despite the negative headlines around inflated egos and enormous salaries, we do have some athletes that truly exemplify the human spirit. As a Mets fan, I have a newfound respect for Kemp."

In regards to bad stats in baseball, I.T. has another: "I always hated that if a pitcher makes an error and the guy scores, the run is unearned. Why should it be unearned? The pitcher did it to himself! Why should his ERA benefit from his inability to catch and throw?"

With a sports memorabilia auction featuring a Mickey Mantle bat that might have been corked, P.B. writes: "The Mick using a corked bat! Tell me that Bill Gates uses coupons at Walmart."

And I knew you could out-pun me when it came to the new 49ers stadium being named after Levi's the jeans people.

*H.K. suggests this sponsor tie-in, "Colin Kaepernick rolled out of the pocket and zipped the ball to the tight end on a button-hook route."

*J.W. a running back or wide receiver "has found the seam in the defense."

*J.G. "That play was tailor-made."

*R.B. "The defense will have to 'buckle down' and get another win under their 'belt.'"

*K.F. They'll call the stadium the "Field of Jeans."

*J.B. "Win one for the zipper."

5. Spanning the World

This week's Spanning the World highlight is for golfers. Must you use a putter on the green? Just ask Sergio Garcia. Does this count in his putting stats?

Spanning the World airs monthly on NBC's Today Show. Next up: Thursday May 16th.

So while you wait to find out who wins the Top 5 NBA contest, it's time for another subscription contest. Just send me the emails of 3 new subscribers and you'll be eligible for a drawing to win one of several prizes. You can win one of three of my autographed books or one of five That's Sports baseball/golf caps. And just think how your friends will thank you for enlisting them in the Top 5 family. So get cracking!

Happy Birthday: Olympic swimming star Missy Franklin. 18.

Bonus Birthday: Sportscaster Chris (no relation) Berman. 58.

Today in Sports: Now we eventually can have a Super Bowl. The NFL and the AFL announce a merger. 1969.

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