The Top 10 Sports Stories /Games in the Month of January
10. Barry Bonds Tests Positive
‘If I Did It (Steroids),’ this is how it would happen.
Barry Bonds’ positive test for amphetamines was the latest black mark on his dwindling career. Once a guaranteed lock to the Hall of Fame, Bonds’ career is now sinking faster than George W. Bush’s approval ratings.
With the BALCO investigation still lingering on, questions remaining about his steroid use and the potential perjury charges that await, Bonds pursuit of Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record seems almost moot.
Most fans outside the San Francisco area could care less about Bonds or his chase for the record.
The only real question is whether Major League Baseball will put an asterisk by his name along with the Mark McGwires, Sammy Sosas and Jose Cansecos of the world.
9. Florida 41, Ohio State 14
The Florida Gators absolutely swamped the Ohio State Buckeyes in the BCS National Title Game.
In fact, after Ted Ginn Jr. returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, the Buckeyes failed to show up.
Florida wide receiver Dallas Baker (a.k.a. ‘The Touchdown Maker’) tied the game at 7-7 and the Gators never looked back.
Urban Meyer’s prolific offense scored at will with an assortment of trick plays and use of the spread offensive.
With almost no running game throughout the season, Florida’s passing game was run to perfection by quarterback Chris Leak while the Gator defense harassed Ohio State quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith on almost every snap. By halftime, the game was essentially over.
8. Dallas 6, Edmonton 5
Even I questioned whether a hockey story was worthy of this list because we all know, deep down, that hockey is not a sport.
But what makes the Dallas-Edmonton game on Jan. 4 worthy of this list is the fact that it includes probably the most embarrassing moment in the history of the sport.
With the Dallas Starts leading 5-4, the Edmonton Oilers pulled their goalie to bring another attacker on the ice in the final minute of the third period. Dallas’ Patrik Stefan eventually got the puck on a steal and skated toward the empty net. All Stefan had to do with the puck was ‘tap it in.’ ‘Tap, tap, tap it in.’
As he slowly skated to the empty net with no defenders near him, he somehow lost control of the puck two feet in front of the goal. Stefan then tripped on his own skates and Edmonton retrieved the puck still down 5-4 with 10 seconds left.
Edmonton went down the length of the ice and Ales Hemsky scored the game-tying goal for the Oilers with two seconds left in the game. Dallas would eventually go on to win the game in shootouts 6-5, but should have never been in that situation.
7. Mark McGwire Left Out of the Hall of Fame
Before I talk about Mark McGwire I must make it clear that ‘I am not here to talk about the past’ and ‘my lawyers have advised me that I cannot answer these questions without jeopardizing my friends, my family and myself.’
Of course these are the famous words of the so-called ‘innocent’ McGwire when he was testifying in front of Congress and literally struck out on his chances of preserving his good name.
We will never know whether or not McGwire used steroids but the writers who vote for the Hall of Fame sent a strong message to the former St. Louis slugger; they would not take the chance, giving McGwire only 23 percent of the votes to enter the Hall of Fame, well below the 75 percent required.
6. Roger Federer’s Dominance
Roger Federer has quickly become the most dominant player in the history of tennis and the scary part is that he is only 25 years old. With his 10th Grand Slam trophy at the Australian Open, Federer is only four wins away from tying Pete Sampras’ all time record.
He made quick work of American Andy Roddick in the semifinals and did not drop a set during the Australian Open.
For sports fans there are some basic truths that they have come to expect throughout the years.
Tiger Woods will not blow a lead when leading after 54 holes. Adam Vinatieri will make game-winning field goals in the playoffs. And when Roger Federer is playing any tournament, on a hard court or grass, he is unstoppable.
5. Phoenix Suns on Fire
NBA fans should ask the Eastern Conference to secede from the league so the NBA Finals can be played between the Phoenix Suns and the Dallas Mavericks.
Not to take anything away from the Mavericks, but the Suns are the best team in the league and there is a small Canadian guard to thank for that: Steve Nash. The do-everything point guard is on the verge of capturing an unprecedented third straight MVP award after averaging 19.5 points per game, dishing out 11.7 assists per game and shooting over 53 percent from the field.
With Nash running around in the backcourt the Suns are the ‘Showtime’ of this decade and are the early season locks for the NBA title. Yet somehow Nash can’t start on the All-Star team.
4. David Beckham Comes to the United States
I don’t care if Beckham is washed up or no longer a star in Europe. If Beckham can bend one insane kick around the defense and into the goal, it would be worth it.
Debating whether Beckham still has it shouldn’t really matter. We all know that Shaquille O’Neal is well beyond his prime, but we all still watch him play because to everyone he is still the Shaquille O’Neal of the past. Shaq is still the same guy who led the Lakers to three straight NBA Titles.
Beckham’s presence and skill can only help some of our American guys. One look at the 2006 World Cup and there is no doubt we need it (I’m talking to you Landon ‘I Can’t Handle European Play’ Donovan).
3. Oklahoma St. 105, Texas 103
Every year college basketball seems to give fans one game before the NCAA tournament that is worthy of the madness. This year it was the Oklahoma State-Texas showdown.
The high-scoring affair went into triple overtime where Oklahoma State’s Mario Boggan ‘Texas two-stepped’ around the defense and hit a game-winning three pointer with just over three seconds left in the game.
Though Texas lost, freshman Kevin Durant showed everyone why he is a lock to be the No. 2 pick in next year’s NBA Draft behind Ohio State’s Greg Oden.
Durant scored 37 points in the game, showcasing his array of skills. He hit fall-away jump shots, deep three-pointers, floaters and scored on a three-point play which temporarily put the Longhorns up by a single point (103-102) before Boggan’s game-winner.
Durant is leading the Big 12 in scoring, averaging over 24 points per game while grabbing 11 rebounds a game, leading fans to draw comparisons to Carmelo Anthony’s first season at Syracuse.
2. Colts 38, Patriots 34
As a Patriots fan, this one really hurt.
In what can only be described as one of the greatest AFC Championship Games in recent history, the Indianapolis Colts finally beat their arch nemeses, the New England Patriots in the playoffs.
The Colts came back from a 21-3 deficit behind the play of Peyton Manning and stunned one of the greatest postseason quarterbacks in history, Tom Brady.
Sure, I can blame that bogus roughing the passer penalty on the Patriots which gave Manning and the Colts an extra 12 yards at the 2:01 mark in the fourth quarter as a main reason why we lost. Instead, I will take the high road.
Never could I imagine the Patriots blowing the game in the fourth quarter after holding such a big lead. Not with Brady and Belichick together. The Patriots are the one Boston team that isn’t supposed to choke. We leave that to the Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins.
1. Boise St. 43, Oklahoma 42
The hook and ladder play when your team is facing a fourth down and 18! The Statue of Liberty on the last play of the game! Throw in a marriage proposal by the star running back to the cheerleader. Sounds like every movie clich