Top 5 Sports Stories

TGIF everyone, here's my Top 5 for July 12, 2010 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

* The second round of the British Open is underway in wind and rain. Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa was the early leader at 12 under par.
* The Yankees take the field tonight at the Stadium wearing two patches on their uniforms. One for George Steinbrenner, the other for Bob Sheppard. There will be a pre-game tribute to both. In a classy move, the Red Sox had a moment of silence for both men last night at Fenway Park.
* The surprise is not that the Golden State Warriors were sold to Mandalay Chairman Peter Guber and Celtics minority partner Joe Lacob instead of Oracle's Larry Ellison. The shock is that the Warriors commanded an NBA record price of $450 million.
* You go to the Tour de France, and a French World Cup soccer game breaks out. Australian cyclist Mark Renshaw was thrown out of the race for head-butting another rider. It must be something in the eau.

2. Where Have all the Viewers Gone?

I posed the question on Facebook yesterday, at "Len Berman's Top 5." Why was the All Star game the lowest rated of all time? The World Cup final did better, and it was on in the afternoon. There were lots of opinions. I liked what Paul S. wrote:
"Hey, how about have the game on so my 8 & 10 year old sons can actually stay up and watch. This is where I think they lose the future baseball fans. My son watched the World Cup (and we listened to those horns) mostly because he likes sports and it was on while he was awake!"
It's an old story, but the late games, preceded by all that "pomp and ceremony," contributes to the trickling away of fans.
Jeff M. emailed to say that he heard an interview with the Giants' Aubrey Huff. He didn't watch the game, finding it boring compared with soccer. And that's from a major leaguer!

3. Signage

Something new from the Baltimore Ravens at training camp this year. No autographs for adults. Kids only, ages 6-15. Could this be the start of a trend? Will kids have to produce a birth certificate to prove they fall in the range? Will adult collectors hire kids to do their dirty work? All sorts of possibilities.

4. Friday eMailbag

In response to subscriber Bruce B. who mentioned that Baylor/West/Chamberlain didn't win a championship when they played together in L.A., journalist Frank Deford, a Top 5 subscriber points out, "I covered that team, and there's a huge difference to the current Heat threesome in that all three of those Lakers were 30 when the '68 season started. Baylor was 34 and on the way out. Also, unlike the current three who are all in the prime of their careers, they all are bosoms buddies, whereas Baylor and Chamberlain didn't like each other."

Editor's Note: I love it when some rare intelligence permeates the Top 5.

In response to the passing of Yankee announcer Bob Sheppard, J.S. writes, "Mr. Sheppard was my public speaking teacher at John Adams High School in Ozone Park, Queens, class of 1968. He was always nattily dressed (suit, tie and tab collared shirt) and was always 100% professional. He signed my HS yearbook 'Robert Leo Sheppard.'"
Editor's Note: How cool is that?

From D.B. on The Boss' passing, "I am not big on the afterlife, but assuming it is true, then George had a pretty bad first day. His manager did a pretty poor job managing the AL squad, and Phil Hughes was the losing pitcher, thereby costing the Yankees home field in the World Series."

And after Paul the Octopus' perfect prognostications for the World Cup, J.K. asks, "Wonder if Paul the Octopus is heading to Vegas?"
Editor's Note: Yup, to play the 8 armed bandits.

5. Spanning the World

Here's this week's Spanning the World highlight.
In case you missed "The Decision." Here it is....only LeBron James and Jim Gray look an awful lot like Steve Carell and Paul Rudd. Enjoy!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Happy Birthday: Coach and broadcaster Jimmy Johnson. 67.
Bonus Birthday: Actor Will Ferrell. 43.

Today in Sports: Joe DiMaggio goes 3 for 4 against the Indians, as he hits safely in 56 consecutive games. It was the end of the line. The streak ended the next day in Cleveland. 1941.
Bonus Event: The birth of Holden Caulfield. The Catcher in the Rye, written by J.D. Salinger, is published. 1951.

A special welcome to all the fans of the Reading Phillies who have signed up for the Top 5. Sorry I can't make it to Wing Fest next Thursday. Eat up!