Best of the Best in 10: 2013 review

2013 had its work cut out for itself thanks to 2012. Following a year that posed the Olympics and an unreal finish to the worlds greatest soccer league, how in the world can 2013 follow? Well it did, with the highest highs and the lowest lows, here’s a flashback to the past 365 days of the sports world.

10. Puig!

They’re only two opinions you can have about this guy, you either thinks he is exciting, electric and entertaining or arrogant, infuriating and annoying. Whatever it may be, he doesn’t care because he can play some serious ball. Few rookies ever have been able to make the impression he did this season in the MLB, winning games with walk-off grand slams and gunning down runners with his rocket launcher arm. He sparked a slacking Dodgers team to the top of the National League within a month of his rival and became must see TV, something baseball desperately needed. In one week he did this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zcU6yJ2kLs. Even left legendary Dodger announcer Vin Scully speechless and when Scully decided to speak it was in Spanish, that alone is an incredible feat. He finished batting .319 and belted 19 home runs since he arrived in May. Yet in a city of stars, he was the biggest of them all during the summer. LA is looking forward to years of his brilliance on the field.

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9. Brits finally get one

It took 77 long heartbreaking years for the British to win a Wimbledon title, Andy Murray finally broke through. In 2012 he fell short to Roger Federer in agonizing fashion and had a reputation as the Golden boy who couldn’t get it done. He defeated world No.1 Novak Djokovic in stunningly straight sets. Bearing the weight of an entire country on his shoulders, Murray said he felt all the pressure during the final match but in the end prevailed and sent the All England Club to an oblivion of joy. “Winning Wimbledon; I still can’t believe it. Can’t get my head around that.”

Andy Murray shows trophy to crowd

8. Madness

How did you remember March Madness this past year? Was it the small school of Florida Gulf Coast who dunked their way to the Sweet 16 as well as en route to being forever known as “Dunk City.” Was it the heartbreak of Kevin Ware in one of the scariest and ugliest injuries in sports history, yet his team rallied to win it all? Whatever made your March nuts, there was plenty to choose from last year, from “shocking” upsets by the Wichita State Shockers all the way to the Final Four to one of the best National Championship games in recent memory between Michigan and Louisville with the unlikely heroics of Luke Hancock who dropped 22 for the Cardinals when it matter most. March is crazy ever year, but 2013 was simply insane.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Michigan vs Louisville       ncaa-georgetown-florida-gulf-coast-basketball0404_oag_wichita-state-celebration-624x444

             7. Game 6

Up until this game, The NBA Finals was riveting in a different way. Every game consisted of each team blowing one another out. Regardless the Heat and Spurs came into Game 6 with a deadlock in momentum. The Spurs were up 3-2 in the series and a comfortable lead that sent many Miami fans to their cars. Yet LeBron wasn’t going to let any of that happen. His headband was knocked off and his game was unleashed bringing the Heat all the way back, but he needed some help. On a broken down play, Ray Allen hit a classic corner three to tie it up and take it to overtime in which the Heat would go on to win. In Game 7 Lebron took over once again and sealed the deal and title number 2 was in the hands of the King himself.

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6. The Cup in 17 seconds

The Blackhawks were a team of destiny all along. They went 24 games without a loss to start the year and then battled through the playoffs coming back against the Red Wings after being down 3-1 in the series, to win it. In the first game of the Stanley Cup, the Hawks and Bruins battled to triple OT where the Hawks barely prevailed and set the tone for the rest of the series. In Game 6, the Bruins were about to force a Game 7 with all the momentum on their side until lighting struck twice. Playoff hero Bryan Bickell tied the game up and then 17 ticks later Dave Bolland tapped in the Cup clincher and tapped off a historic season for Chicago.

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5. Boston Strong Part 1

Nobody gave the Red Sox a chance in Spring Training this year. Except the Red Sox did. Made up of guys like Johnny Gomes, Mike Napoli, Koji Uehara and Shane Victorino to go along with stars Dustin Pedoria and David Ortiz, the Sox took the league by storm and counted on great pitching and timely clutch hitting from Ortiz that brought another World Series banner home to Fenway. With the city at their backs this team always found a way to win and they finally clinched a series at home for the first time since 1918.

World Series - St Louis Cardinals v Boston Red Sox - Game Six    mlb_g_red_sox_b1_600

4. Farewell Mo

After 18 years of shutting the door on Yankee victories Mariano Rivera graciously said good-bye to baseball. Every stadium he visited he was honored in some way. In his day he was one of the most dominant closers ever, if not the most dominated with the most career saves in history. Yet numbers do not describe this man’s greatness. He did the right way and made it look easy against guys who did it the wrong way. In his final game in Yankee stadium, his two long time teammates Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter went to the mound and escorted 42 into the Hall of Fame and a into a long life of internal greatness.

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3. Blackout

It was a dominating performance by the Ravens. Up 28-6, Baltimore had all the momentum until… the lights went out. You would think one of the biggest events in the world would have a backup plan for power outages, yet the conspiracy theories continue to come out. Was Beyonce’s halftime performance that electrifying? Or was Commissioner Goodell’s doing? We will never know but it sparked the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick to make it an exciting game scoring 17 straight but fell just short in the end on a controversial no-call of pass interference that led to a 34-31 winner for the Ravens in Ray Lewis’ final game.

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2. 2 Weeks, 2 Miracles

College Football has a weird way of doing things. One week it produces typical blowouts and the next week every game heads into Overtime or ends on a game winning field goal. And then there is Auburn. A team that didn’t win a SEC game last year was two victories away from the SEC championship game, but with those two being against Georgia and Alabama it wasn’t going to happen. That’s what we thought. With 30 seconds left, on their own 30 and 4th down, Auburn was finished. Then the miracle at Jordan Hare happened, Nick Marshall threw up a Hail Mary to Ricardo Louis who was double covered but both Georgia defenders went after the ball, both missed and Louis had the state of mind to keep running and the ball landed in his lap and he walked in for the win. A week later Bama had one second left and a 57 yard field goal to book their trip to another National Championship. The kick landed into the hands of safety Chris Davis who began his sprint from the edge of his own endzone, and with the help of teammates tip-toed down the sideline to the greatest ending to a football game I’ve ever seen. Beating your in-state rivals, is one thing, having a chance to win the whole thing in January, is another. War Eagle.

1gYtOs.AuSt.70       Chris-Davis-USA-Today-Sports-Images                                

1. Boston Strong Part 2

The Boston Marathon is bigger than most marathon’s in other cities. It’s another holiday to Boston. People celebrate, school is canceled and it is a day of happiness and joy. at 2:50 pm two bombs went off towards the finish line and the Marathon soon turned into a war zone. It was a disturbing and scary scene. Runners who hadn’t finished yet were stopped and left to wonder while others were running for their lives. After days of news coverage hunting down the two suspects that kept thousands glued to their TV’s and the entire town of Boston and its suburbs shut down. But people won’t remember the two men who created these cowardly acts of terror, instead we will look back on those who were there watching over us in silence waiting for something like this to strike. In a moment which many were awe-struck, the Boston police did their job, saving lives, rescuing those at the points of detonation. And then there were the unsung hero’s, runners themselves helped one another out, carrying those who couldn’t walk or bringing others to needed medical attention. In America’s darkest hour, it always seems to be our finest. At times we can be a dysfunctional and unwelcoming country, but when disaster hits we always have come together to help each other out and unite as one. The powerful images of race will burn in memory of the Boston faithful, but it also sparked a rally. Boston teams relied on the  “Boston Strong” slogan to carry them through tough times. Many say that moments like these make us put sports into perspective and that we should step away. Yet in this case, sports was our way back to normalcy, united us as one.

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