2010 Year-End Sports Review: What We Learned

Years from now, when people look back on 2010, what will they remember as the defining sports moment? Uh, they can only pick one? We discovered that Tiger Woods likes to play the field and that Brett Favre doesn’t mind sending pictures of his anatomy to hot sideline reporters via text message. We found out that LeBron listens to his friends a little too much and that Ben Roethlisberger needed a serious lesson in humility. But we also learned that athletes such as Michael Vick and Josh Hamilton haven’t blown second chance opportunities (or third and fourth chances in the case of Hamilton). It was also nice to see a certain pitcher turn down bigger money so that he can play in a city that he loves.

We’ve done our best to recap the year’s biggest sports stories, staying true to tradition by breaking our Year End Sports Review into three sections: What We Learned, What We Already Knew, and What We Think Might Happen. Up first are the things we learned in 2010, a list that’s littered with scandal, beasts, a Decision and yes, even a little Jenn Sterger.

Contributors: Anthony Stalter, John Paulsen, Paul Costanzo, Drew Ellis and Mike Farley

Tiger Woods gets around.

We hesitate to put this under “golf” because the only clubs involved were his wife’s nine-iron hitting the window of his SUV and the various establishments where Tiger wined and dined all of his mistresses…over a dozen in all. This was the biggest story of the early part of the year, but it got to the point that whenever a new alleged mistress came forward, the general public was like, “Yeah, we get it. Tiger screwed around on his wife. A lot.” He has spent the rest of the year attempting to rebuild his once-squeaky clean image, but it’s safe to say, we’ll never look at Tiger the same way.

Golfer Tiger Woods apologizes for irresponsible and selfish behavior during his first public statement to a small gathering of reporters and friends at the headquarters of the U.S. PGA Tour in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida,on February 19, 2010.   UPI/Sam Greenwood/Pool Photo via Newscom

LeBron wilts when his team needs him most.

Say the words “LeBron” and “Game 5” in the same sentence and NBA fans everywhere know exactly what you’re talking about. In the biggest game of the season, LeBron looked disinterested, going 3-of-14 from the field en route to a 120-88 blowout at home at the hands of the Celtics. There were rumors swirling about a possible relationship between LeBron’s mom and his teammate, Delonte West, and there’s speculation that LeBron got that news before tipoff and that’s why he played so poorly. Regardless of the cause, LeBron played awful in that game, and it turned out to be his swan song in Cleveland as a member of the Cavaliers. Talk about leaving a bitter taste.

You can auction off your talented son’s athletic abilities and get away with it.

The NCAA set a strange precedent this season while dealing with the Newton family. The always inconsistent and completely morally uncorrupt NCAA decided in its infinite wisdom that despite discovering that Cecil Newton shopped his son Cam to Mississippi State for $180,000, and that is a violation of NCAA rules, that Cam would still be eligible because it couldn’t be proven that he knew about it. Conference commissioners and athletic directors around the country spoke out about the decision, while agent-wannabes and greedy fathers everywhere had a light bulb go off in their own heads: As long as we say the player doesn’t know about it, it could go off without a hitch. What was Cecil’s punishment in this whole thing? Limited access to Auburn for the last two games of the season. Easy with that hammer there, NCAA. Read the rest of this entry »

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Colby Lewis, MVP Josh Hamilton lift Rangers to first ever World Series

Texas Rangers players celebrate after defeating the New York Yankees to win their Major League Baseball's ALCS playoff series in Arlington, Texas October 22, 2010.  REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

With a dominating effort over the Yankees in the ACLS, the Texas Rangers have punched their first ticket to the World Series in club history.

Colby Lewis allowed just one run over eight innings in the Rangers’ 6-1 win in Game 6 Friday night. The only run he allowed shouldn’t even have counted, as A-Rod scored on what was deemed a wild pitch, but replays showed that the ball actually hit Nick Swisher’s leg.

No matter. Lewis yielded just three hits and struck out seven while frustrating Yankee hitters with his outstanding command of the strike zone. He won both of his ALCS starts, posting a 1.98 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP with 13 Ks over 13 2/3 innings.

Josh Hamilton was named series MVP, as he reached base in all four plate appearances on Friday and batted .350 with four long balls in six games. Considering his long personal battle with drugs, alcohol and immense ups and downs, it’s amazing how far he’s come. He’s an easy guy to root for if you know his background and he’s a true comeback tale.

As for the Yankees, they can only blame themselves. They hit just .201 to the Rangers’ .304, while driving in 19 runs to Texas’ 38 RBI. They were also bested in home runs (9 to 6) and ERA (6.58 to 3.06).

This is yet another example of how baseball is won on the field – not in the offseason. The Bombers could have spent triple what they did this year to field a team and they still would have had to execute on the field. But they didn’t and now they’ll be at home come November.

Comment Starter: The Rangers now await the winner of the NCLS between the Phillies and Giants, as San Fran currently holds a 3-2 lead. What matchup would you most like to see? The two underdogs or a powerhouse Phillies-Rangers matchup?

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