2011 brought about many surprises to the sports world. There were championships won, records broken and big time transactions conducted. Unfortunately, some not so enlightening events also took place in the year, including the surprising deaths of three NHL players.
Whether good or bad, there were several notable events that took place around sports last year, and here is a list of what I found to be the most notable. Of course there will be some events that will not be on this list most likely because they had slipped my mind.
If their are any that readers wish to add, please post anything in the comment section that you feel should be brought up. So here is The Year in Professional Sports, the good, including some events that changed the Boston sports scene.
The Bruins Stanley Cup playoff run was the most exciting thing to happen in Boston sports since the Red Sox' 2004 World Series Championship.
Even though it does not fall in the same decade as the other three team's championship seasons, this Boston Bruins team will always be grouped in with the championships that made the Decade of Domination in Boston.
Phil Jackson is arguably the greatest NBA coach of all time, next to Red Auerbach. I love Red Auerbach just as much as the next diehard Celtics fan, but you need to put things in perspective. The game was much more complex when Jackson coached, and both Auerbach and Jackson coached some of the biggest names in the game ever.
Phil Jackson coached one of the greatest basketball players of all time in Kobe Bryant, as well as the greatest of all time in Michael Jordan. Jackson's zen strategies of coaching basketball will probably never be done in a similar way again, and the records that he holds will not be touched for years to come.
"Not one. Not two. Not three...." LeBron say what? It was the King's word that he would bring multiple NBA championships to the city of Miami. It was clear that what was keeping LeBron's rings away from him in Cleveland was the team that surrounded him. Now here in Miami he has what we will call a better situation. So it was no questions asked, right? NBA championship. Bang! Just like that, right? Not so fast.
They went through my Celtics real quick, but it was the Dirk-led Mavericks that put their foot down and sent LeBron's mama back to Delonte's house rather than to a NBA championship party. You see, what made this great was seeing the harder working team win, and seeing LeBron lose. Not just Miami losing, but LeBron losing. Andy what the hell was that crying BS with Bosch? Most overrated power forward in the league.
I couldn't help but love this Green Bay team. I had liked Aaron Rodgers from the start and Clay Matthews was just fun to watch, like a Troy Polamalu. Seeing them win the Super Bowl was a great thing for football because it showed that Green Bay did not need Brett Favre.
I just wish the media would stop giving Rodgers beej's all the time cause it's getting real annoying.
Derek Jeter was the first in the history of the New York Yankees to hit 3,000 balls this past season. Now look, I hate the Yankees...probably more than almost anything and my least favorite athlete in sports is on the Yankees. His name is Alex Rodriguez. I like Derek Jeter. There, I SAID IT. I like Jeter because he is a quality athlete and you have to respect him for that. Derek Jeter is the exact person all baseball fans would want to have as the only hitter in Yankees history to hit 3,000.
The Cardinals came back to beat the Texas Rangers in the final game of the World Series. It was a real underdog win considering how the Cardinals had placed themselves into the playoffs in the first place.
They had not reached the playoffs until the last day of the regular season, and then had two comebacks in those playoffs that took them to the title. It made the September from hell hurt a little less.
The NFL lockout actually displayed some good things to fans. One of those was that the NFL finally showed that they truly do care about the game more than the money. They got all of their stuff sorted out so they could still have a full season and chaos did not breakout across the country.
The CBA was agreed upon and ratified thanks to the two major leaders on both sides of the case: Robert Kraft and Jeff Saturday. The passing of Myra Kraft seemed to have an impact on this whole ordeal as well. Her death seemed to motivate the emotions that went into this and make people see what is really important here and that was the game. Robert Kraft was going through the most difficult phase of his life and he still managed to lead the way in getting this deal taken care of.
I don't really know if this is good or bad or ugly...yet. I think we all knew it was time for a change in the Red Sox organization if this team wants to move forward. Terry Francona was one of the greatest managers the Sox will ever have, but we could all tell something in the clubhouse just was not ticking throughout the season, and especially towards the end.
These are the two most important positions in the organization when it comes to personnel on the team and then how well that team does. That is what Ben Cherington and Bobby Valentine are responsible for. Cherington needs to get him the pieces and Valentine must then execute. I am somewhat pleased so far, especially with the landing of closer Andrew Bailey in a deal that sent away Josh Reddick.
Valentine hasn't disclosed anything encouraging so far. I didn't like how people were asking Valentine in the press conference following his hiring about certain things regarding the team. It was too soon. Hopefully come spring training he will have answers. He has to have them then.