The Best, Worst, and Weirdest in Sports, 2013: Part 2

Soccer
The year in sports provided many moments that no fan in his or her wildest imagination would conceive of. As does every year. Here are a few of them, taken two months at a time. Enjoy. Jack Dempsey/AP

Greatest Sports Moments, Part 1 - January/February

MARCH

 

Yankee Doodles (Cont.)

New York Yankee general manager Brian Cashman, arguably the most aptly-named man in sports, breaks his right fibula and dislocates an ankle while skydiving. One day later, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira strains his right wrist while taking swings in a batting cage and is declared out for 8-10 weeks. Says Cashman, “This ain’t good.”

Miracle Shot

Game-winning shots such as this are why YouTube was invented. In a New York state high school playoff game, New Rochelle’s Khalil Edney tosses the inbounds pass, has it intercepted by Mount Vernon’s Devonte Banner, who tosses it away harmlessly, only to have the ball caught by Edney, who then tosses up a three-quarters-of-the-court length game-winning shot that leaves his fingertips with one-tenth of one second remaining. New Rochelle, which trailed 59-49 with four minutes remaining, wins 61-60.

Grand Finale

In the final regular-season home game of her collegiate career, Baylor’s Brittney Griner scores 50 points, including a dunk, in a defeat of Kansas State. The six-foot-eight Griner will conclude her college career with an NCAA-record 736 blocked shots.

A New Air Jordan

DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers authors the dunk of the NBA season with this Lob City classic over Detroit’s Brandon Knight, who is also called for a foul on the play. (Jordan converted the and-one, which was also amazing, given his ineptitude at the free-throw line).

No Woman, No Try

The Gaza Marathon, a 26.2-mile run scheduled to take place in the Gaza Strip, a territory controlled by the Palestinian paramilitary organization Hamas, is canceled after Islamic leaders bar women from participating.

Snow Place Like Home

Team U.S.A. defeats Costa Rica, 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier that takes place in the midst of a blizzard and gale-force winds on the outskirts of Denver. The Ticos, most of whom had never seen snow, protested the decision to play the game, but that motion was denied.

Mush Madness

Mitch Seavey, 53, becomes the oldest musher to win the famed Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska. One year earlier, Seavey’s son, Dallas, 25, had become the youngest winner in the event’s 41-year history.

Weight Watcher

Cornell’s Kyle Dake becomes the first wrestler in NCAA history to win four Division I championships in four different weight classes over the course of four years: 141-pound class as a freshman, then 149, 157 and 165. His career record: 132-4, which includes undefeated junior and senior seasons.  

Golden Gopher Gals and Goals

The University of Minnesota women’s hockey team skates to a perfect 41-0 season and the NCAA championship. The win streak will extend to 62 games before ending against North Dakota in November.

The Comeback

Tiger Woods wins the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the eighth time and reclaims the World No. 1 ranking for the first time since October of 2010. It is Woods’ third PGA Tour victory of the season, but a championship in a major will remain elusive.

Dunk City

Florida Gulf Coast University, whose coach, Andy Enfield, is himself a Cinderella story, becomes the first 15-seed in NCAA tournament history to advance to the Sweet 16. Enfield, 44, reportedly earned millions as a partner in a start-up health-care company and then married a former Maxim model, Amanda Marcum, whom he took to Taco Bell on their first date.

Hot, Hot Heat

Led by league MVP LeBron James, the Miami Heat win 27 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in NBA history, before losing on the road at Chicago. The most memorable win of the streak? The Heat come from 27 points down in the third quarter at Cleveland, where James, an Akron native, began his career before escaping to South Beach.

Kevin No Ware

Louisville guard Kevin Ware rises to contest a shot against Duke in the first half of an Elite Eight game and lands awkwardly, suffering a gruesome compound fracture to his lower right leg. CBS cameras show three Cardinal teammates sprawled in the free throw lane, devastated by the sight of their friend’s disjointed limb. “I’m fine, just win the game,” Ware tells coach Rick Pitino. And the Cardinals do.

APRIL

Pitch Perfect (Nearly)

Texas Ranger pitcher Yu Darvish comes within one out of a perfect game in his second game of the season at Houston. Darvish fans 14 Astros on April Fool’s Day, but allows a two-out single to pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez, who was hitting in the ninth spot in the batting order.

Pitch Imperfect

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, whose passing acumen with the Wolverines was always highly scrutinized, throws out the ceremonial first pitch at Detroit’s Comerica Park. It lands halfway between the mound and home plate.

House of Cards

The Louisville Cardinals overcome 17 first-half points by spunky Spike Albrecht of Michigan to win the NCAA men’s basketball championship, 82-76. Afterward, one basket is lowered to allow injured Kevin Ware to partake in the ceremonial cutting down of the nets.

Available Seats at Fenway Park

In what will seem incomprehensible considering the days and months ahead, Fenway Park announces that the Boston Red Sox’ April 10 game against the Baltimore Orioles is not a sellout. For the BoSox, who finished the 2012 season in last place in the American League East, it marks the end of a 794-game streak of sellouts.

UConn Nabs Number Eight

The University of Connecticut and coach Geno Auriemma win their eighth women’s basketball national championship. The total leaves Auriemma tied with Pat Summitt for the most NCAA titles in women’s basketball history. The Huskies won their NCAA tournament games by 68, 33, 26, 30, 18 and 33 points.

Yankee Doodles (A Continuing Saga)

The return of shortstop, captain and future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, who was expected to join the team on May 1st after offseason surgery to repair his broken ankle, is delayed until after the All-Star break after doctors discover a hairline crack in the area. That’s four former All-Stars (if you include injured third baseman Alex Rodriguez) who are out of the lineup.

A Drop, Then Fall-out

In second round play at Augusta National, Tiger Woods’ ball hits the pin on the 15th hole and rolls into the water. Woods takes a drop, but someone phones a Masters official to report that Woods committed a rule violation by not dropping his ball close enough to his divot. Controversy ensues, as some call for Woods to drop out of the tournament. Officials cite an arcane rule and issue Woods, who will finish fourth, a two-shot penalty. Aussie Adam Scott wins the Masters.

Terror on Boylston Street

Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia wins the men’s division of the Boston Marathon (2:10:22) and Rita Jeptoo of Kenya the women’s (2:26:25), but they are footnotes. History will remember that at the 4:09 mark of the race (2:50 p.m.) two homemade bombs were set off within seconds of each other near the finish line. Three spectators were killed in the blasts and 14 others had to endure amputations. The alleged perpetrators, two brothers, were found three nights later. One died in a shootout with police and the other was apprehended on Friday evening.

More to Come

Ray Allen of the Miami Heat buries a three-pointer in a first-round playoff victory against the Milwaukee Bucks to bring his postseason career total to 322, passing Reggie Miller for the most all-time. It will not be his most memorable three of these playoffs.

He’s Out!

Jason Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran who appeared in only six games this season, appears on the cover of Sports Illustrated to announce that he’s gay. Collins, 35, whose twin brother Jaron is also an NBA player, becomes the first active player in one of the four major sports to publicly announce his homosexuality.

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