Len’s Top 5 – July 22, 2014

1. Quick Hits

  • Tony Dungy says he wouldn’t have drafted gay football player Michael Sam.
  • David Ortiz hit two homers in last night’s 14-1 mauling of Toronto. His second, #453, moved him past Carl Yastrzemski into 36th place on the all-time list.
  • We are 9 days from the baseball trade deadline. In other words, the baseball version of basketball free agency: filling up newspapers and airwaves with anything that might stick to the wall.

2. No Tony Award

I’m sure Tony Dungy was just being pragmatic when he said he wouldn’t have drafted Michael Sam. Dungy said “Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it. It’s not going to be totally smooth … things will happen.” Dungy’s words make you sit up and take notice because of his reputation. He’s known as a level-headed “advisor” around the NFL. But I think Dungy made a mistake here. These aren’t the 50s. Times have changed. I’m not so sure “Things will happen.” And if Dungy thinks they will, he might have served Michael Sam better by keeping those thoughts to himself.

3. Unwritten Rules

The best part about unwritten rules is that new ones get unwritten every day. Texas pitcher Colby Lewis got angry with Toronto’s Colby Rasmus because he beat the Rangers defensive shift with a bunt single down the third base line. Lewis shouted at Rasmus telling him “That’s not the way the game should be played.” Really? Then we should ban pooch punts in football and underhanded serves in tennis. Hey, unwritten rules are unwritten rules.

4. All’s Fair in Love and War?

Can you blame 6 soccer players for not wanting to fly home after a soccer game? Their team is based in Donetsk, Ukraine which is currently controlled by pro-Russian Rebels, although the Ukrainian army is trying to wrest it back. The team was playing a match in Lyon, France when 6 of the players decided maybe it’s not so safe to return home. The soccer club has threatened them with sanctions. Sanctions? Really? There’s a freaking war going on.

5. What’s in a Name?

Top 5 subscriber Brian L. sent along a friend’s birth announcement. They gave the kid the middle name Jeter. Brian suggests this must be one of many. Along the same lines, there’s a family in Kansas City. Dad Casey has three brothers, Mickey, Roger and Andy. And three kids named Jeter, Maris and Yogi. He wins some sort of prize. But my favorite story involves former Yankee Johnny Blanchard. He told me how nice Roger Maris was to his son. The kid was so impressed with Roger that he named his son Maris. You can look it up. He was a first baseman and pitcher for Southwest Minnesota State University last year. The late Johnny Blanchard’s grandson. And Maris Blanchard’s favorite player? Derek Jeter, of course.

Happy Birthday: Former relief pitcher Sparky Lyle who famously went from Cy Young to sayonara. 70.
Bonus Birthday: Birthdays for $200. He hosts Jeopardy! Who is Alex Trebek? 74.

Today in Sports: Sonny Liston knocked out Floyd Patterson in the first round to retain his heavyweight title. 1963.
Also on this date: 20 years ago today. O. J. Simpson pleaded “absolutely, 100 percent not guilty” to murdering his ex-wife Nicole and Ron Goldman. 1994.

Need a gift for that young sports fan in your life? Check out my books. And if you’d like a personally autographed copy contact the Dolphin Bookshop at 516-767-2650.


Mashable Media Summit 2010: Tuesday June 8th

A day packed with powerful presentations and interviews, Mashable's Media Summit (in partnership with CNN) featured the intersection of social and digital media and lifestyle themes. Len spoke about his transition from old media to new media. Watch his presentation here!

To buy Len's newest book, The Greatest Moments in Sports - Upsets & Underdogs, visit:

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 August 15th.