2008 Year-End Sports Review: What We Already Knew

While every year has its own host of surprises, there are always those stories that simply fit the trend. Sure, it can get repetitive, but if we don’t look back at history aren’t we only doomed to repeat it? Every year has its fair share of stories that fell into this category, and 2008 was no different.

Our list of things we already knew this year includes the BCS’ continued suckiness (Texas-Oklahoma), how teamwork wins championships (KG, Pierce and Ray-Ray), and the #1 rule for carrying a handgun into a nightclub – don’t use your sweatpants as a holster. (Come on, Plax. Really? Sweatpants?)

Don’t miss the other two parts of our 2008 Year-End Sports Review: “What We Learned” and “What We Think Might Happen.”

Brett Favre can’t make up his mind.

The biggest story of the summer was all the drama surrounding Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers. This saga has been covered to death, but there’s one detail that never seemed to get that much play. At the start, it looked like the Packers were making a bad decision by moving on so quickly even when Favre decided he wanted to return. But when the news broke about Favre’s near-unretirement in March, the Packers stance became much more clear. They were ready to take him back after the owners’ meetings, but he called it off at the last minute. At that point, the Packer brass was understandably finished with Brett Favre, much to the chagrin of a good portion of the Packer faithful. – John Paulsen

The Chicago Cubs’ title drought is not a fans-only phenomenon.

The 2008 Cubs were easily the best team the franchise has assembled in decades, but they still couldn’t win a single game in the playoffs, and the reason is simple: the pressure finally got to them. Sure, they said the right things to the press about how they didn’t care about what had happened in the past, but don’t believe a word of it; there wasn’t a single person in that dugout that wasn’t fantasizing about being part of the team that finally, mercifully, ended the longest title drought in sports history. Once ESPN picked them to win it all, however, they were doomed. Ryan Dempster walked seven batters in Game 1, which matched his total for the month of September. The entire infield, including the sure-handed Derrek Lee, committed errors in Game 2. Alfonso Soriano went 1-14 with four strikeouts in the leadoff spot, while the team as a whole drew six walks and struck out 24 times. The team with so much balance in the regular season suddenly became the most one-dimensional team in baseball; take Game 1 from them, then sit back and watch them choke. And now that this group has lost six straight playoff games (the team has lost nine straight dating back to 2003), it isn’t about to get any easier. Get a helmet, Cubs fans. – David Medsker

If you’re going to wear sweatpants to a nightclub, leave the gun at home.

If winning a Super Bowl is the pinnacle of an NFL player’s career, than shooting yourself with your own gun in a nightclub has to be rock bottom. Case in point: Plaxico Antonio Burress. Just 10 months after helping the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, Burress accidentally shot himself in the leg while at a nightclub. Apparently the (unregistered) gun was slipping down his leg and when he tried to grab it to keep it from falling, the lucky bastard wound up pulling the trigger and shooting himself. And that wasn’t the worst of it because as Plaxico found out, New York has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. He was arrested, but posted bail of $100,000 and is scheduled to return to court on March 31, 2009. If convicted of carrying a weapon without a license, he faces up to three and a half years in jail. He shouldn’t expect special treatment, either. The mayor of New York wants to be sure that Burress is prosecuted just like any other resident of NYC. The Giants, meanwhile, placed him on their reserve/non-football injury list and effectively ended his season. While “Plax” definitely deserves “Boner of the Week” consideration for his stupidity, what’s sad is that in the wake of Washington Redskins’ safety Sean Taylor’s death, most NFL players feel the need to arm themselves when they go out. Maybe players can learn from not only Taylor’s death, but also Burress’s accident so further incidents can be avoided. – Anthony Stalter

Read the rest after the jump...

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Wet and Wild: May-Treanor/Walsh capture the gold

Facing a good team in front of a (semi-)partisan hometown crowd in a pretty heavy rainstorm, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh completed their gold medal run (without losing a single game during the entire Olympics) by defeating the Chinese combo of Wang Jie and Tian Jia, 21-18 and 21-18.

They have now won 108 straight matches and have won back-to-back Olympic gold medals. Expect big changes for the duo now that this competition is over, as both players have said that they’d like to start a family. May-Treanor is 31 and Walsh is 30, so it’s conceivable (no pun intended) that they could take a year or two off to start a family and then join forces again in a couple of years to try to make a run at the 2012 Olympics in London. At 35 and 34, it wouldn’t be easy, but the way that these two compete, you never know. I guess it could depend on how many kids they want to have. One, maybe… two would be tough.

Regardless, if they do indeed take a break, the time is now for another American team to grab the mantle. The best beach volleyball team ever to take the sand now sounds like they may be done competing, at least for now.

Thursday morning update: The World of Isaac posted these photos of the match.

May-Treanor/Walsh sweep Brazil, will play for gold

You’d think playing for a shot at the gold medal game would be tougher than this.

Not when you’re Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh and you’re riding a 107-game winning streak.

The duo dispatched their second Brazilian team in as many matches, ousting Renata and Talita, 21-12 and 21-14, and will move on to face Tian Jia and Wang of China for the gold. The final match will be televised live in the Eastern and Central time zones at 11 PM/10 PM on Wednesday night on NBC. (We lowly Pacific time zoners don’t get the honor of seeing the match live because NBC is too lazy to produce a separate broadcast for us. Hello, McFly! Misty May and Kerri Walsh are from California! People here might want to see the match live, you dig? Grrr.)

Color commentator Karch Kiraly said during tonight’s broadcast that if the duo is able to win gold in these Olympics, they’ll be hands down the best team – men’s or women’s – ever to play beach volleyball. That’s high praise from the salty dog.

May-Treanor/Walsh advance to semis

Surprisingly, it wasn’t on in primetime in the States (and unfortunately I missed it), but Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh dispatched Brazil in two sets, 21-18 and 21-15.

It figured to be the toughest opponent yet for the Americans, but an unheralded team from Belgium actually gave them a stiffer test in the round of 16.

Then again, this isn’t your typical Brazilian team. The No. 3 seed overall entering the tournament, yes. But it wasn’t these two women together who earned that ranking. Ana Paula is a replacement for Larissa’s regular partner Juliana Silva, who landed awkwardly in a match and injured her knee earlier this season. She declined immediate surgery in hopes of seeing her first Olympics, but two days before competition in Beijing was set to begin, Juliana withdrew. Thus, Brazilian rivals were asked to keep their country’s tradition strong.

You can’t fault a 25-year-old for desperately desiring her Olympic debut, but Juliana’s late decision appears to have ended up hurting her partner. Ana Paula arrived in China a day before the Opening Ceremony to begin training with a woman whom she had never played a prior match.

Confusion plagued the two throughout. At times it looked like Ana Paula wanted to lead, being the being the more-experienced of the two, but this was Larissa’s team. Ana Paula would have been at home watching if it weren’t for Larissa. Late in the second set, Larissa sat on a wall next to their bench to turn her whole body toward Ana Paula and lecture. No matter the reluctance a two-Olympian might have in getting instruction from someone 10 years younger, it was too little too late.

NBC will have coverage of the Americans’ next match in primetime on Monday night. In other action, Elaine Youngs and Nicole Branagh fell to Xue Chen and Zhang Xi of China in straight sets, eliminating the possibility of an All-American final.

Related Posts