Biggest Sports Story of 2010!

Which is your pick of the litter?

My own pick of the biggest sports story in 2010 may not be yours so let us hear from you as a comment to The Pecan Park Eagle. My only guidelines for even considering our options for the year were these: (1) It could be anything that had anything to do with an athlete or sport of national or international renown; and (2) It had to be something that came to mind without the help of Google or any printed form of reference. The underlying supposition here, of course, is that, if we have to look it up for a name, fact, or anything else, it could not be that big of a deal and (3) It was perfectly OK to simply consider the question from an American sports fan’s perspective since that’s what I am. I would expect Brazilians to vote something like 100% on this matter in favor of their country’s 2010 first win ever in soccer’s 2010 World Cup matches.

Along my way down memory lane, I ruled out several things, many of which would only be deemed of superior importance to the participants and fans of a particular geographical area:

(1) The biggest sports story of 2010 was not Alabama winning the NCAA Division 1 football championship for 2009. Once you get fifty miles away from from Tuscaloosa or Birmingham, Alabama, the shrine of Bear Bryant begins to lose the glow of its elephantine self-importance to the cry of neighboring war eagles.

(2) It also was not the New Orleans Saints playing and winning their first Super Bowl in history. The Saints even getting to the big game was about as random as the storm named Katrina that first inspired national sympathy for the team’s achievement. After all, the club had been trying to get there for over forty years. Wasn’t it about time they succeeded, anyway – storm be damned upon their city or not?

(3) It was not the NCAA Division 1 basketball champions for 2010. I cannot even recall who that was. Had I gone to that school, or had I lived in that area of the country, I’m sure I could tell you – or even make a case in behalf of my alma mater.

(4) It was not the total collapse of Tiger’s Wood’s reputation, marriage, privacy, financial empire, or golf game, but Tiger and sweet old Jessie James, the ex-husband of actress Sandra Bullock, ran a neck-and-neck tie for the most disingenuous apology for 2010.

(5) It was not Brazil winning the World Cup, notwithstanding the power of the Brazilian vote or the American soccer lobby vote. Any big win in  soccer in any year will ever be the major thing that happens on my calendar – and my attitude is not parochial. The world’s view of the support is. Soccer in the USA will continue to be the “sport” which allows our kids to break into sweat while they are growing into the desk jobs they will occupy for the rest of their lives as adults working for Chinese-owned companies on American soil.

(6) It was not the Texas Rangers reaching the World Series for the first time under the brief leadership watch of President Nolan Ryan, nor was it the patched-together Giants winning the 2010 World Series for the first time since their 1958 move to San Francisco. (See previous thoughts on the 2010 success of football’s New Orleans Saints for further explanation.)

(7) It was not the TCU Horned Frogs going undefeated in the 2010 NCAA Division 1 football season and qualifying as a BCS participant in the Rose Bowl a few days from now against Wisconsin. TCU had to win all twelve of their games and be perfect enough in that way to receive any kind of invitation to the dance, even though they have no chance of winning the big prize, a national crown in football. Under the present system, TCU could repeat this year’s performance for the next ten years running and still be denied an opportunity to play for the national championship.

None of those things are my pick for the biggest sports story of 2010. My pick is more like a loaded gun that has now been cocked and aimed at 2011 – and maybe at several years to come. My choice is the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball signing starting pitcher Cliff Lee and ending up the year with arguably the greatest collection of four ace starters in baseball History. With Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt manning four of the five starter spots in the Phillies pitching rotation, what are the odds of that club now taking most of the three-game series they play next season? And how often do you think the Phillies may head to the ninth inning with a league to protect next year? Man! If closer Brad Lidge has his head and his arm in shape in 2011, he has a chance to set a stratospheric record for saves pitching behind this group.

You may disagree, but my pick is the greatest pitching show on earth that now sets up its tent in Philadelphia next baseball season. I can’t wait to see how the best staff on paper now performs on the field of actual play, where the real results are determined.

Please check in with your own opinions. Maybe your memories are more far-reaching than my own.

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5 Responses to “Biggest Sports Story of 2010!”

  1. Sam Quintero Says:

    Bill, I agree with your pick. This selection has a feel good aspect to it, unlike the others that were mentioned. And especially, when you consider the length of the baseball season and potential for statistical accomplishments. Setting aside team preferences or loyalties, however you choose to consider them, just being a baseball enthusiast will make following the Phillies this year very interesting. If only the television medium would pickup on this idea of the following the Phillies this year like they follow the Miami Heat and three’s a crowd collection. It would be fun to watch an occasional weekend of Phillies baseball from time to time this coming season and see at least 3 of the 4 aces. Great selection!!!

  2. Gary Says:

    Bill, Spain won the World Cup. Brazil was knocked out by the Netherlands who went on to lose to Spain in the final.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Thanks, Gary!

      My Brazil nod as World Cup champs just goes to show you how closely I follow the sport of “futbol.” I must not be alone here. It took a long time today for an informed person like you to come along and correct my error.

      Happy New Year! – Bill

  3. Bill Hickman Says:

    Guess it depends on the definition of “Biggest,” but I thought the best sports story of 2010 was the class shown by pitcher Armando Galarraga as he lost his perfect game due to a bad umpiring decision. That coupled with the ump admitting his mistake, and then the two subsequently shaking hands. We rarely see that kind of sportsmanship in today’s world.

  4. David Munger Says:

    Bill-on paper the 2011 Phillies Pitching Staff wasn’t that impressive. Being an SEC ALUM, I guess I’ll go with ‘Bama over the “Quitters” and
    I’ll wait for Auburn to win one for the SEC THUMB.

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