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In 1955, Harley Clark was a cheerleader at the University of Texas when he introduced a hand signal that would become one of the most recognizable signs in college athletics.

At a pep rally, Clark displayed his index and pinky fingers extended, with his two middle fingers tucked under his thumb.

Theater should be as thrilling as a football game, as far as playwright — and Chicago Bears fan — Andrew Hinderaker is concerned. In fact, Hinderaker is so fascinated with the influence of football on society, he wrote a play about it called Colossal, which opens this week in Minneapolis. Productions in Dallas, New Orleans and Boston are planned for early next year.

Probably the three biggest recent stories involving women in sports have been Mo'ne Davis, Michele Roberts and Becky Hammon.

The St. Louis Cardinals will be playing in the National League Championship Series for the fourth year in a row and the ninth time since 2000 after their 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.

First baseman Matt Adams cracked a three-run home run for St. Louis in the seventh inning off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Bernie Miklasz sets the scene:

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The Baltimore Orioles will meet the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series beginning Friday in Baltimore.

Both teams swept their opponents in the best-of-five AL Division Series on Sunday.

The Royals only needed nine innings to put away the Los Angeles Angels 8-3.

Their two previous games went 11 innings, and their wild-card game against the Oakland Athletics went 12 innings.

The beginning of the NFL's 2014 season has been marked by scandals around players' off-field behavior. But each time the league mustered an official response, it seemed to invite even more criticism — especially in the case of Ray Rice, the former Baltimore Ravens running back who was seen on surveillance video punching his then-fiancee and knocking her unconscious.

Georgia Southern Runs Over NMSU

Oct 5, 2014

  Kevin Ellison ran for two touchdowns, including a late fourth quarter score to lift Georgia Southern over New Mexico State 36-28 on Saturday night.

Brandon Betancourt ran for a 5-yard touchdown to pull the Aggies within 29-21. Ellison answered with a quarterback draw from 32-yards out to stretch the Eagles' lead to 36-21 with 2:34 to play. Betancourt ran for a 3-yard touchdown with 20 seconds remaining to cap the scoring.

Ellison finished with 145 yards on 16 carries, including a 7-yard score in the first quarter.

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Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. You know, October isn't just for pumpkin spicy drinks, it's time for sports.

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Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Team USA soccer player Heather O'Reilly talks about the lawsuit she and other players from the U.S. and abroad have filed against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association. Turf fields are planned for the 2015 Women's World Cup, while their male counterparts played on grass, thought to be a superior playing surface. The players are alleging gender discrimination.

What do you do when you already have beaten Michael Phelps' record at 16 years old?

For swimmer Justin Lynch, who turned 18 last month, he just keeps practicing, chasing that record-breaking performance, with an eye on the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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The San Francisco Giants decisively beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-0 in the National League wild-card game Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

The record crowd on hand at PNC Park, mostly dressed in black, was no match for the Giants' bats and their pitcher's arm.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

No, no, I promise: This is not about Derek Jeter. May bats fly down my chimney and trolls enter my door if I inflict any more Derek Jeter farewell upon you. But, of course, I am a sentimental creature, and the player whose name dare not be spoken again did gush forth memories of other grand finales.

It took 12 innings, but the Kansas City Royals won the American League wild-card game over the Oakland Athletics 9-8 on Tuesday night. They now move on to the American League Division Series.

In the bottom of the 12th, Christian Colon and Salvador Perez hit RBI singles. The A's were up 8-7 until Eric Hosmer tripled and scored on Colon's hit down the third-base line.

When an NFL defender picks off a pass and runs it back for a touchdown, the celebration is often spirited. But referees in Monday night's game took exception to Kansas City's Husain Abdullah actions after he slid in the end zone and prostrated himself, imposing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty.

The play quickly became a hot topic on social media, where many criticized a penalty for what qualifies as a quiet gesture in the NFL, where excited players are known to point at themselves, others, and the sky, sometimes while making crude gestures.

If the oddsmakers are right, two Los Angeles teams will be the only ones left standing when the World Series starts in late October, in a "Freeway Series."

But there's talk of a "Beltway Series" back east, where two teams — the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles — are coming off strong seasons. And you can count on the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers to derail everyone else's plans.

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The final day of Major League Baseball's regular season has been one for the record books.

Jordan Zimmermann, up against the Miami Marlins on Sunday afternoon, became the first Washington National to pitch a no-hitter. As ESPN notes, "no major leaguer had thrown a no-hitter in Washington since Bobby Burke did it for the Senators in 1931 against Boston."

For the first time, the world record in the marathon is now under 2 hours and 3 minutes, after Dennis Kimetto of Kenya tore through the course at Sunday's Berlin Marathon. Kimetto, 30, says he wants to set a new record next year.

"I feel good because I won a very tough race," Kimetto said after the finish. "I felt good from the start and in the last few miles I felt I could do it and break the record. I believe I can improve it further. I'd like to return and try to break it again next year."

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ARUN RATH, HOST:

In case you missed it, last night baseball history was made. Michael Taylor, from the Chicago White Sox, hits a pop-fly in foul territory.

(SOUNDBITE OF BASEBALL GAME)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: Popped up.

The virgin Astroturf is springy underfoot, and the neon yellow goal posts stretch up into the blue September sky. The Comets should be playing well.

They're not.

After seven years of away-games, the football team at Cody High School in Detroit has their own field. The facility at Cody was in such terrible shape that they couldn't play there.

That changed Friday night. Unfortunately, the Comets homecoming did not start well.

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Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And now it's time for Sports. Derek Jeter takes his final curtain. The Ryder Cup tees off Scotland, still part of the United Kingdom. And FIFA contends with scandalous charges and BJ Lederman writes our theme music.

We're in the final weekend of the regular baseball season and there are still pennant races and wild-card matchups to be set.

Along with sports fans, political consultants are watching as well, and they are keeping an especially close eye on the Detroit Tigers. A fine team, sure, but also one uniquely suited to fill the needs of the people who buy TV time for political campaigns.

All over the country, advertisers love to buy sports spots for the big audiences that are enthusiastic and engaged. And with a live telecast, you can't fast-forward through the ads.

Derek Boogaard didn't make it to the National Hockey League because he was a great hockey player. He wasn't especially fast, and he rarely scored a goal. But in skates, he stood nearly 7 feet tall, and he was close to 300 pounds. Considered by many the toughest guy in the NHL, Boogaard was an enforcer, and his job was to fight.

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