Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Wednesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for August 17, 2011 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • According to Yahoo Sports, a jailed Ponzi schemer has admitted to providing cash, prostitutes, entertainment, jewelry, and other stuff to University of Miami athletes. (See number three below).
  • Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals becomes to first major leaguer to hit 30 homers in each of his first 11 seasons.
  • Another night, another triple play. Monday it was Milwaukee, last night the Red Sox. Have you noticed that invariably when there's a triple play there are no outs at the time?
  • Several of you chastised me for not mentioning that yesterday was the anniversary of Elvis' death. Was it better to omit it or wish him a happy birthday as a certain presidential candidate did yesterday?

2. Getting Their Kicks

The NFL put in a new rule this year hoping to cut down on injuries. Kickoffs are from the 35 yard line, not back at the thirty. The theory is, more touchbacks, fewer returns, fewer guys getting hurt. So what happened during the first week of exhibition games? Just as you'd expect. Fewer kickoff returns. Then there are the Chicago Bears, they kicked off twice from the 30 anyway. They wanted to practice covering kicks. Apparently the refs didn't notice and the league had to tell them to knock it off mid-game. Truthfully, more touchbacks and fewer returns make the game duller. But if it cuts down on injuries, it'll be tough to quibble with it.

3. Cesspool

Is cleaning up college sports hopeless? A convicted Ponzi schemer claims he gave all sorts of stuff to University of Miami athletes. From behind bars, the guy says he lavished money, cars, trips, jewelry, TVs, you name it, on a bunch of so-called student athletes. I'm sure many fans say so? Doesn't that happen everywhere? And it's not just the athletes catching flak. The administrators are viewed as money-grubbing, conference-jumping nomads who are only looking for the next great television deal. The latest is Texas A&M, leaving their fans twisting as to whether they'll jump to the SEC. Here's the problem. Big sports schools and their coaches make zillions, the actual athletes get scholarships. As long as there's money involved, somebody on the food chain is going to want more, and may not exactly play by the rules.

4. Swing and a Miss

You can't fault a girl for trying. Veteran boxer Christy Martin had her June fight stopped when she suffered a broken hand. She was ahead on all the judges cards at the time. Enter famed attorney Gloria Allred who went before the California Athletic Commission to have the decision overturned. Her argument? Sex discrimination. She claimed they wouldn't have stopped the fight if men were fighting. She said the ref was misguided in his efforts to protect women. Interesting argument, but it didn't fly. But you can see why Christy doesn't want to be coddled. She climbed back into the ring six months after her husband allegedly stabbed and shot her.

5. The Name Game

A sportswriter in Argentina named his twin daughters Mara and Dona in honor of the great Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona. It's only a matter of time before some Patriots fan names his girls Bra and Dy.

Happy Birthday: Former Orioles first baseman Boog Powell. 70.
Bonus Birthday: Actor Robert De Niro. 68.

Today in Sports: What took him so long? The Merry Mex, Lee Trevino, finally gets his first hole in one. 1973.
Bonus Event: We're off to see the Wizard of Oz, which opened on this date. 1939.

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