Since the year is winding down, here is the only list of
"Best of 2012" you will need (unless of course you're going to debate best
reality TV or best elected official, in which case you should go soak your head
because all reality TV people are pathetic and every politician was already
pegged by the Who: "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." Here's your list of best of sports for 2012.
The year began with Lindsey Vonn absolutely dominating
women's world cupskiing. During the
2011-12 season she pretty much owned the world, winning the overall title, the
downhill title, the super G title and the combined title. By comparison this is like a sprinter winning
the 100, 200 and 400 meters. Vonn
clearly established herself as the greatest American skier in history.
After Vonn, the winter was also dominated by (and I hate to
say this) New York. After a fumble by my
beloved 49ers, the Giants went on to win another Super Bowl behind Eli
Manning. The Manning-Mario Manningham
combination might've been the best since Joe Montana-Jerry Rice in 1989. Ultimately Manning and the Giants outplayed
pretty boy Tom Brady and the Patriots.
By the way Brady's wife gets the award as worst football wife, blaming
Brady's receivers for the loss.
NY's super bowl win
was followed by Linsanity. How can
anyone not like this story. Jeremy Lin
went to Harvard. HARVARD! In February, this guard who had formerly been
cut from the craptacular Warriors and the Rockets suddenly showed the world he
could play some serious b-ball for the Knicks.
He dropped 25 points on the Nets and 28 points on the Jazz before
putting up 38 on the Lakers. Lin was the
underdog story of the year, and even though he ended up missing much of the
second half of the season due to an injury, no one else in the NBA came close
to Jeremy Lin as a feel good story. In
fact, my reporting on an NBA story shows just how great Linsanity was, because
I usually despise NBA players, whom I regard mainly as thugs who are way behind
the players from prior decades in terms of skill.
March? What else but
March Madness. Anthony Davis dominated
the way old-school big men do. Watching
him and Jeff Withey go at it in the final (actually in April) was awesome, two
big centers refusing to allow hardly anyone to score in the paint. There is definitely hope for basketball to
again become the domain of the dominant center.
April means two things.
The new baseball season, always a great time, even Dodger fans thought
their team had a chance, Ha! The second
thing is the Masters. Has there ever
been a shot like Bubba Watson in the playoff hole at Augusta, over the tree,
then turn left, then settle in close to the hole. Bubba's shot was something even Seve wouldn't
have considered, let alone attempted.
Can you imagine Watson at the next Masters, driving up Magnolia Lane in
the General Lee (he bought it), and serving Bubba food (catfish, peanut-butter
and banana sandwiches) at the champions dinner?
And best of all, Tiger and Phil were on their way home before Bubba even
hit that wedge.
Next up perfect games: Philip Humbler on April 21st,
Matt Cain on June 13th and Felix Hernandez' on August 15th. Perfect games are just that, perfect! Cain, especially was awesome (my Giants bias)
with 14 strikeouts. Hard to believe but
Cain was the first Giant ever to throw a perfect game. He did what Christy Mathewson, Carl Hubbell
and Juan Marichal never could do. Then
to add to the pitching perfection, on May 8th at Camden Yards. Josh Hamilton, he of the previous drug
addiction and redemption, tagged 4 homers and a double. A 4
homer, 5 for 5 game is up the hitters equivalent of a perfect game. Way to go Mr. Pefectos.
In any list of sports "best ofs" for 2012, you have to
include some awesome Olympians. Gabby
Douglas, the flying squirrel, Michael Phelps, the greatest Olympian ever, Usain
Bolt, the fastest man on earth and the story that I think was best of all,
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings winning their third beach volleyball
gold in a row. Those two were not
supposed to win, they were not the same team that dominated the beach during
the prior two Olympics. This time Misty
came back from a torn Achilles and retirement, while Kerri came back from
having two kids. In the finals they faced
a younger team of Jen Kessy and April Ross who had taken over Misty and Kerri's
throne since 2009. Misty and Kerri won
the gold mainly by sheer will, just refusing to allow Kessy and Ross to put
their shots down. Misty and Kerri
definitely get the Best of Olympic performance.
And one more thing, Kerri might win a 4th gold in Rio in 2016 as she
will be paired with April Ross.
In addition to the Olympics the summer belonged to Ernie Els
and Rory McIlroy. Els, at age 42 and
after not even being invited to the Masters, beat the young guys and won his 4th
major, and 2nd British Open title with a final hole birdie. McIlroy, at the PGA proved he is the future
of golf. As he had done the year before
at the US Open, McIlroy dusted the field at the PGA winning by 8 strokes.
The fall brought football and the return of Notre Dame to
number one status. The Irish beat
Stanford, Michigan State, Michigan, Oklahoma and USC. They look to finally shut up the SEC yahoos,
once the Irish beat up Alabama in the BCS.
The fall also brought the Best of the Best of 2012. There was no individual or team that was a
better story than the Giants winning the World Series. The way the Giants did it was definitely the
best sports story of the year. Down 0-2
against the Reds in the divisional playoffs, the Giants came back to win 3
straight behind Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum (in relief?, Yes, in relief!),
Matt Cain and Sergio Romo. They then
repeated the feat coming back from a 3-1 deficit against the Cardinals. Then in game 1 of the World Series, when
every writer and announcer in the country predicted the Tigers would win behind
the "unbeatable" Justin Verlander, Pablo Sandoval sent Verlander to the showers
after only 4 innings, and Barry Zito pitched the greatest game of his
life. After that the series was all but
a foregone conclusion as everyone not wearing a Tiger uniform knew the Giants
TEAM would not be denied.