So once again we come to the end of the year. There's no other way to put it, 2011 mostly sucked in just about every topic one can think of.
Although this is about sports (and will be below, once I finish complaining about other topics) the economy still dragged, entertainment didn't entertain, and most news stories were tragic. While there were a few upbeat stories (e.g. the U.S. Navy Seals killed Bin Laden) most news was bad news. Internationally Japan still suffers from a horrible tsunami and earthquake, while Europe continues to flounder and the leaders fail to take the drastic action needed. Here in the U.S. our economy also drags due to leaders who fail to take the drastic action needed (memo to congress and the EU: cuts, cuts and more cuts are needed). Meanwhile closer to home people died or lost their homes in Missouri and Alabama due to horrific tornadoes. The justice system (my field) saw another black eye as Casey Anthony got away with murdering her child, while the lawyers and jurors rushed to sign book deals. Did I mention entertainment? Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Charlie Sheen, Party Rock... need I really say more?
Now on to the actual topic, sports in 2011. There were some genuinely good stories this year and the two that stand out are the last day of the baseball season. Down 7-0 the Marlins come back to beat the Yankees in extra innings to knock out the Red Sox, while the Cardinals came back from oblivion to put the cap on a monumental choke by the Braves. The world series was almost as good as the Rangers were one strike away more than once but the Cards refused to lose. The other great story in sports had to be Rory McIlroy winning the U.S. Open at Congressional. McIlroy, only 2 months after losing the lead on the final 9 of the Masters, played the U.S. Open like it was the Disney Classic. He went 16 under par in a U.S. Open (keep in mind that par is usually good enough to win an Open).
Now what sucked in sports: I mentioned the Cards winning the series, but as a Giants fan, I believe the season outcome turned on an event in May, when Buster Posey's leg was severely broken in a collision at the plate. Terrible tragedy as Posey is one of the game's best players and one of its best all-around guys, but at least this was a part of the game. Who knows what would have happened had Posey remained healthy through the stretch. Okay I admit to being a Giants homer but one has to wonder what if....
Meanwhile in the NFL and NBA there almost were no seasons due to something not part of the game: MONEY. The players greed cut short the NBA (no big loss there) season and nearly did the same for the NFL. These guys forgot that they get to play a game for millions of dollars. I think it would've actually been better to have locked them all out all season, voided all contracts, and let the owners conduct a new draft next year of college grads and players who crossed the inevitable union pickets. And if the greed of the NBA wasn't bad enough Kris Humphries is guilty of forcing upon the public, even more Kardashian television time.
Perhaps worst of all in sports, college football proved that not every team gets treated equally and every game does not count. USC isn't in a bowl game this year despite their top 5 ranking, because of NCAA violations. Meanwhile schools that are equally culpable (Ohio State, Miami, LSU, Penn State) got no penalty or a slap on the wrist. Back in November LSU and Alabama played each other to determine which team should be number one. In a snoozefest LSU proved its great defense and weak offense is better than Alabama's great defense and weak offense. The game meant nothing since the two teams will meet again for the BCS championship. Meanwhile great offenses like Oklahoma State, Stanford or even Boise State are denied a chance to prove their mettle against LSU. And if Alabama wins the rematch we'll have a "national champion" that no one outside of Tuscaloosa believes is truly deserving of the title.
Hockey, soccer and trash sports (like MMA or X Games) pretty much sucked in the past so I'll just say they still suck.
And on a more local scale, Fannation continues to go downhill. The blogs rarely get read because the blog page gets flooded with spam, yet no one seems capable of fixing the problem. Smart Fannation members like Stowe, or the Coach are basically gone from the site, replaced by guys who think there were no great athletes or teams before the mid-nineties. Even on a personal level I get cyber-stalked by two Fannation guys, one who goes by initials and the other some kind of Indian. Memo to those two guys: I don't hit from your side of the plate and I don't switch hit. If that's not what you're up to and it's just some kind of sour grapes thing, well too bad.
Sorry for the length of this post, I guess my verbosity might be another thing that sucked in sports.