30 December 2010

2010 Year in Sports Review- Part One

2010 brought us a lot of sports moments that were breathtaking, amazing, and will be talked about for years to come.  As the end of 2010 ticks down, were going to recount the top 20 moments in sports for 2010.  This is part one, with 11-20 and a few honorable mentions.

11.    San Francisco Giants first World Series Title:

o        The San Francisco Giants had 5 World Series Titles, but none since moving to the Bay Area.  In 2010 the Giants won the NL Western Division Title for the first time since 2003 even though they trailed the Padres for much of the season in the standings.  As the Giants made their post push in September, they coined the phrase “Fear the Beard” for relief pitcher Brian Wilson.  The Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves to set up a NLCS matchup with the Philadelphia Phillies and their Aces.  Winning the series 4-2 and setting up a date with the Texas Rangers for the World Series, a matchup that highly anticipated between 2 time NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum and 2008 CY Young winner Cliff Lee, who was undefeated in post season play.  The Giants ended up winning the series in convincing fashion 4-1, with Edgar Renteria being named World Series MVP.

12.     New Orleans Saints winning Super Bowl XLIV:

o        In 2006 the New Orleans Saints reached their first NFC Championship game, only to lose to the Chicago Bears.  However, in 2009 they reached it again, this time winning and setting up a 2010 play date with the Indianapolis Colts for Super Bowl XLIV.  Capturing the heart of many because the tragedy that was Hurricane Katrina, the Saints went on to beat the Colts.  With what many call the biggest moment in Super Bowl history, the Saints led off the second half with an onside kick, a very gutsy call by Coach Sean Peyton.  Lead by eventual Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees the Saints won 31-17, giving the city of New Orleans it’s first ever Championship.

13.    MLB Perfect Games and the game that wasn’t:

o        A Perfect Game is defined by Major League Baseball as, “A game in which a pitcher, or combination of pitchers, pitches a victory that a minimum of nine innings and in which no opposing player reaches base.

o        Officially in 2010 there were two pitchers who recorded perfect games, Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay.  The two were pitched a mere 20 days apart, the shortest amount of time in MLB History between perfect games.  Halladay became the first pitcher to ever throw a perfect game and a no-hitter in the same season, throwing a no-hitter in his first ever post season game, in the Phillies NL Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds.  He’s also only the second player ever behind Sandy Koufax to win the CY Young the same season as throwing a perfect game.  Neither of which are more famous than Armando Galarraga and his perfect game that wasn’t.  With 26 straight outs for the Tigers, Galarraga forced Indians shortstop Jason Donald in to a groundout at first.  Galarraga moved over to field the play; catching the ball an easy one step ahead of Donald- but umpire Jim Joyce, an MLB Veteran official missed the call, ruling the runner safe.  Galarraga retired the next batter, and after the game Joyce apologized to Galarraga saying he “thought” the runner was going to get there.  The Commissioner- err, I mean, the old fart who doesn’t have a clue- Bud Selig chose not to overturn the call and award the Perfect Game to Galarraga after hearing Joyce say it was the right thing to do. 

14.   University of Connecticut Women Huskies break John Wooden’s record:

o        It’s said, there is no such thing as “perfection” when it comes to sports, only the ability to hold off imperfection for a certain amount of time.  The Connecticut Huskies Women’s Basketball Team surpassed the UCLA Bruins coached by legendary icon John Wooden and the steak of 88 consecutive wins this year beating Florida State.  What’s said to be the most impressive part is that 87 of the 89 wins came by at least 10 points or more, and often over ranked opponents, with an average winning margin of 25 points for the streak.

§         The streak is being compared to other historic streaks now, such as:

•         Cael Sanderson’s 159-0 record as a collegiate wrestler at Iowa State from 1999-2002.

•         Kenyon College’s Division III swimming and diving championships starting in 1980 and still currently going strong at 31 consecutive.

•         Oklahoma’s football team that reeled off 47 straights from 53-57.

15.       Lakers and Celtics with one for the ages:

o        With the highest TV rating for an NBA Finals since 1998, the Lakers and Celtics went down to the wire in Game 7 of the Finals before Kobe Bryant emerged with his second consecutive NBA Finals MVP.  With a rematch of the 2008 NBA Finals where the Celtics had come out on top, this was to be the first full strength battle for each side, until Kendrick Perkins went down for the Celtics with a knee injury.  This was also the first Finals to go to 7 games since 2005, and only the fourth since 1985.  Going down to the end, the Lakers pulled out the win 83-79 on the back of Kobe Bryant’s 23 points and Pau Gasol’s 18 rebounds.  The win gives the Lakers 16 NBA Championships, one behind the Celtics 17 in Boston.

16.   NFL Rule Changes:

o        In hopes of keeping the NFL up to par with the ever growing Lingerie Football League, the NFL instituted new rule changes for the 2010 season, some of which were done midseason while play was going on.

§         Plays will be whistled dead as soon as ball-carrier loses his helmet.

§         Defensive players can not line up directly over the center

§         Personal fouls going in to halftime would be accessed on the opening kickoff of the 3rd quarter- no untimed down

§         More 15 yard penalties for defensive players leading with helmet or spearing a defenseless player, which is defined as: Player who just threw a pass, player attempting to catch a pass, player in the process of grasping the ball, player attempting a kick, or my favorite- any player on the ground at the end of the play.  Who doesn’t love a good pile on started by a lineman leading with his helmet?

§         There’s also the new rule that is called the “Cowboys Stadium Jumbotron Rule,” and loose ball striking a video board, guide wire, or sky cam, will be ruled a dead ball and the play will be replayed from previous spot- Thanks Jerry.

17.   Gilbert Arenas packing the “heat”:

o        In a card game dispute gone wrong, Gilbert Arenas brought 4 firearms to the Washington Wizards locker room.  Teammates said Gilbert left the 4 firearms in Javaris Crittenton’s locker with a note that read: “Pick One.”  Gilbert was suspended for the remainder of the 2009-10 season on January 4th.  December 2010 Gilbert was traded to the Orlando Magic for Rashard Lewis.

18.    Yankees lose icon George Steinbrenner:

o        Bought the Yankees in 1973 for 8.8 million dollars from CBS and was reportedly worth 1.6 billion dollars early in 2010 before his passing.  Nicknamed “The Boss” because he was known to meddle in on-field mechanics of the teams, he passed away at the age of 80 years just one day after the 81st All-Star Game.  As the owner of the Yankees “The Boss” brought home 7 World Series Trophies to the city of New York, and 11 pennants.

19.    Nevada upsets Boise State 34-31 in OT:

o        Riding a 24 game winning streak, and a 35 game regular season winning streak, and 10 straight wins over the Nevada Wolfpack.   Boise State, riding an undefeated season record, rolled in Nevada for should have been a win and a BCS Bowl game, and were shocked on the “kick heard around the world.”  Kicker Kyle Brotzman missed two kicks late, one in regulation to win the game, and one in OT to extend the game, sealing the fate for the Broncos and ending what would have been another BCS controversy for the National Championship.  Death threats ensued for Brotzman. 
o       The loss also cost Nevada at least 1 million dollars.  Had Boise State remained undefeated, and reached a BCS bowl, each school in the WAC would have received a portion of the BCS bowl game earnings, which was estimated at more than 1 million dollars per school.

20.   Ben Roethlisberger controversy:

o        In March of 2010 Ben Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a young woman in Georgia.  The college girl ended up dropping her charges when there wasn’t enough DNA evidence to convict Roethlisberger, however, the police sergeant who investigated the report, was also seen getting his photo taken with the Super Bowl winning quarterback that same night.  Roethlisberger was eventually suspended by the NFL for four games due to violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

Honorable Mention
.   Alex Rodriguez 600th homerun
.   Brittany Griner’s right hook on Jordan Barncastle
.   Mark McGwire admits to taking steroids- finally
.   MLB Icons- Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey Jr retire

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