Bonds hit 26 home runs to pass Babe Ruth for second place all-time and is now just 21 behind Aaron’s mark of 755.While Bonds slugged away, a stunning book, “Game of Shadows” by San Francisco Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, detailed Bonds’ alleged used of performance-enhancing drugs.The Italian victory was a salve on the country’s wounds in the wake of a national soccer scandal.

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I got bifocals just to read the agate type on the sports pages.

So I celebrated when American women swept the saber at this year’s fencing worlds.

But when the Saints came marching in to New Orleans again, it was a reminder of the unique power of sports to unite and galvanize us.

Let me offer a few words about my selection process. But by the world’s standards, I am an American provincial. I acknowledge that whatever happened at The Ashes was likely very cool.

And my “top 30” countdown didn’t even mention former Ohio State star running back Maurice Clarett heading to prison, Kenny Rogers’ black-handed pitching in the World Series, Ben Roethlisberger’s motorcycle sack, the latest NBA brawl, the Cincinnati Bengals’ string of arrests or any of Terrell Owens’ bizarre antics, from his non-suicide attempt to his spitting episode.

But there was plenty of good happening out there, too.

Beloved Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, whose late fumble against Indy almost proved catastrophic, got to win that elusive championship ring in his hometown of Detroit, then retired at the top.4) Durham Bull: In our rush to judgment, the scandal at Duke seemed a textbook case of jocks run amok: entitled lacrosse-team preppies turn a boozy party into a horrifying episode that escalates from racism to rape.

Duke tried to head off the backlash by canceling the season of a team favored to win the national title.

I admit to a second bias as well—to major sports, in part, because it is my audience’s bias.

That doesn’t mean I don’t know what happened in so-called “minor” sports.

But, in one of the greatest individual performances in college football history, quarterback Vince Young passed for 267 yards and ran for 200 more to lead Texas to a 41-38 victory.