Len’s Top 5 – October 1, 2014

1. Quick Hits

  • Kansas City beat Oakland 9-8 in 12 innings (nearly 5 hours) in the Wild Card Game. The Royals will now face the Angels in the Division Series tomorrow night in Anaheim.
  • San Francisco is at Pittsburgh tonight in the National League Wild Card Game.
  • The NFL now says that Kansas City’s Muslim player Husain Abdullah shouldn’t have been penalized Monday night for praying in the end zone after a touchdown.
  • The FCC will consider a petition to sanction broadcasters who use the name Redskins on the air.
  • Michael Phelps was arrested for speeding and DUI in Maryland.

2. One and Done

Well that was exciting…and quick. The A’s are done after their loss to the comebacking Royals. Billy Beane is still waiting for that elusive championship…yet again. Isn’t it inevitable that this will be changed to a best of 3? You play 162 games to get a single wild card game? I know the idea is to increase the importance of winning the division, not to mention keeping more teams alive in September (ka-ching). But one game and out, while dramatic also seems a bit quirky. Let’s cut the regular season to 160 games and make the wild card series a best of 3.

3. Black and White

I find this stuff interesting and maybe you do too. According to the 2014 NFL Unofficial Player Census every long snapper in the league is white and every nose tackle is black. There are 175 blacks playing cornerback and one white guy. The only position that’s “color blind” is guard. There are 48 of each. Discuss.

4. Memories

The other day I mentioned that Willie Mays’ phenomenal World Series catch was my first baseball memory and I asked yours.

*F.G. First baseball game I ever watched on TV was 1976 Yankees-Royal Game 5 ALCS. Chris Chambliss’ home run (definitely not a walk-off, more of a “run for your life” off). I wrote him a letter after that and got an autographed photo back in the mail. I was so excited.

J.C. First baseball memory is easy for me. Dad took me to Yankee Stadium on Oct 1, 1961. Saw Roger Maris break the record and then reluctantly come out of the dugout to tip his cap. Plenty of good seats that day so I wasn’t behind a pole!
Editor’s Note: Happy anniversary of your first game! See #5 below.

L.G. April 18th, 1970. My first Yankee game with my dad. Horace Clarke led off the game with a homer (I was 7) and my dad told me he hit it because I was there. I believed him.

J.M. My first baseball memory was coming home from grammar school to find my mother glued to the TV set, watching the “shot heard ’round the world.” We jumped up and down in pure joy.

By the way, do people have similar first memories of the other sports? I tend to think not.

5. 61 (No Asterisk)

Roger Maris became the all-time home run champ 53 years ago today. That mark has been surpassed, but in my mind, not broken. Roger is still the “natural” single-season champ. Take a look at the video. Red Barber, announcing the game on WPIX-TV, seems more fixated on the $5,000 prize for catching the prized souvenir (it was Sal Durante), than the magnitude of the moment. And of course Maris virtually had to be pushed out of the dugout to take a curtain call. Roger used to muse to me that “Nowadays, a guy hits a sacrifice fly and he’s out there taking a bow.” How times have changed. Two years later to the day, Mark McGwire was born.

Today’s Birthday: Mark McGwire. 51*
Bonus Birthday: Former President Jimmy Carter. 90.

Today in Sports: Roger Maris hits #61. 1961.
Bonus Event: Henry Ford introduced the first mass-produced car the Model T. Price tag: $825. 1908.

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LEN ON THE MOVE

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Len's Book Signings/Appearances 2014:

The Greatest Moments in Sports - Upsets & Underdogs

    Munsey Park Elementary School, Manhasset, N.Y. Monday March 3. 5:30pm.

National Radio & TV Interviews:

  • NBC's Today Show "Spanning the World" Friday October 3rd.
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