Top 5 Sports Stories

TGIF everyone, here's my Top 5 for October 22, 2010 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

* The Phillies stay alive, beating the Giants 4-2. San Francisco still leads 3 games to 2 with game 6 tomorrow afternoon in Philadelphia.
* The Yankees and Rangers play game 6 tonight in Texas, with the Rangers leading 3 games to 2. 8:07pm Eastern, TBS.
* Let the posturing begin. The NBA says it's looking to reduce player costs by a third. The league claims teams will lose a combined $350 million in this, the last year of their agreement.
* Shaquille O'Neal posed as a statue for an hour in Harvard Square yesterday. Celtics fans hope he doesn't do the same on defense this season.
* In college football last night, the nation's #1 team, Oregon, pounded UCLA 60-13.
* Maria Sharapova is off the market. She is is engaged to Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic.

2. Game 6

Just the phrase "Game 6" has a special ring to it. In Boston it harkens back to 35 years ago this morning. I was working in Boston at the time when Carlton Fisk ended one of the greatest World Series games ever played. I was told truckers were flashing their lights all over the New England roadways when Fisk's fly ball crashed into the foul pole. In New York, "Game 6" also has a Boston connection. Bill Buckner in 1986. And now both League Championship series will have 6th games for the first time in 6 years. Are we in for more magic? Will 2010 be remembered for when the Giants and Rangers came close, but suffered heartbreak? Or are we in for something historic in one of those baseball towns? Stay tuned. Of course I'd love to watch the game in Philly tomorrow, but I have Cablevision. The good news is that my refund check for not having all my channels is in the mail, right?

3. "Energy Drinks"

Controversy is swirling around a crucial Peruvian soccer match. One team had its players dropping like flies during the match. Hospital tests revealed a tranquilizer in their bloodstream. The suspicion is that the other team tampered with their energy drinks, and the players started fainting. The team accused of dirty tricks won the match 3-0. An investigation is underway. It's common for players to get spiked in soccer, but their drinks?

4. Friday eMailbag

In reaction to NFL cable ratings beating the Cliff Lee pitched baseball game in the Bronx, R.G. writes, "I was at the Yankee game last night (game 5) and it was 3 hours and 48 mins! It's crazy and unnecessary and non-partisan fans are bored. Just for a comparison I checked the Bobby Thomson game - 2 hrs 28 mins. They need to fix this and then maybe baseball can start becoming our national pastime once again."

As for two members of FIFA asking for bribes for their support for the 2018 World Cup site, J.G. emailed, "Bribery at FIFA? No, no, say it ain't so... They make the International Olympic Committee look like Boy Scouts."
Editor's Note: Bribery? Spiked drinks? Is this international soccer or "Spy vs Spy" in Mad Magazine?

When I noted that the U.S. bought Alaska for $7.2 million, C.G. passed along the "Alex Rodriguez Salary Crunch."
It turns out Alaska is worth 9 Alex Rodriguez home runs. Check it out.

And when I wrote that tennis player Ana Inanovich was docked 4 points for taking too long in the bathroom, and that they should have that rule in real life for husbands/dates, A.H. wrote, "So long as we have a similar rule for letting our husbands/boyfriends watch just five more minutes of sports before they take out the garbage or mow the lawn."
Editor's Note: What's fair is fair.

5. Spanning The World

This week's Spanning the World highlight features a goal celebration that's actually not egotistical.

They are pee wee hockey kids, actually having fun between periods of a Washington Caps game. Fun in sports. Imagine that!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Happy Birthday: Seattle's hitting machine, Ichiro Suzuki. 37.
Bonus Birthday: Actress Scarlett Johannson. 26.

Today In Sports: At 12:34am on this date, Carlton Fisk waved his home run fair to beat the Reds in game 6 of the World Series. 1975.
Bonus Event: Disney World recorded its 100-millionth paying customer. Unfortunately, they were all waiting in line for Space Mountain at the same time. 1979.

I have a book signing tomorrow at Dolphin Bookshop in Port Washington, N.Y. from 1-3pm. Drop by!