He Who Must Not Be Named: Who Are The Biggest Sports Vilians Of All Time?
"I can't stand him!"
"He broke my heart!"
"He cost us a championship!"
Chances are you've uttered one or more of these phrases in your lifetime because a player on the opposing team has done something so traumatizing to you, that you cannot mention his name in a sentence without cringing.
Then again, if you're a fan of the team that has been victimized, you best not use said person's name in a crowded bar full of passionate local fans itching for a fight.
But just who are these individuals that evoke such hatred, and what did they do to deserve such a reputation?
What follows is a list of selected major sports cities biggest villains.
This is a subject we can all relate to.
After all, jealousy and hatred go hand-in-hand in athletics.
If I neglect to mention your city, feel free to comment on who you think should represent it.
Or if you disagree with me, be sure to tell me why.
I'm itching for a good debate.
Baltimore: I'm going with former Colts owner Robert "Bob" Irsay on this one. He treated his team like a toy, and fired coaches left and right.
But the shrewdest move Irsay ever made was secretly moving the team to Indiana on a cold winter night in 1984 without even telling the city.
Irsay had been upset with city officials' refusal to fund a new stadium, and decided he couldn't wait any longer for the feds to wise up.
So he moved the team out for good, and forced the loyal citizens of Baltimore to wait 12 years for another NFL team to call their own.
Boston: Since this is my region, there are plenty of candidates: Buckner, Clemens, Drieth, Laimbeer, Ruth, Samuelson, but one super-cedes them all.
Bucky #$^&$#& Dent.
The light-hitting shortstop, who couldn't hit water out of a boat, incredibly hit one over the Green Monster to give the Yankees the 1978 AL Eastern Division Championship.
In effect, it meant that the Red Sox blew a 14-game lead, and had to wait several years to become successful again.
Cleavland: Lot of candidates here too ranging from Art Modell to Edgar Renteria, to Bill Belichick.
But LeBron James takes the cake.
Not only did he agree to take a lesser role for more money in Miami, but he ripped the hearts out of every loyal Cavs fan on a television special full of self-worshiping hubris where he made himself bigger than the team and the state he grew up in.
He also had the nerve to thank Akron, but shun Cleveland weeks later adding more fuel to the fire.
It should be an interesting return for the King back to Cleveland.
Chicago: Moises Alou swore at him, and he reportedly had to leave Wrigley Field with a police escort.
If only Steve Bartman didn't mess with that foul ball.
Would the Cubs have won the pennant and made their first World Series since 1945?
Sadly, we'll never know.
New York: For the Yankees, going 5 years without a championship is like an eternity.
So you can imagine how big Dave Roberts's stolen base was in game 4 of the 2004 ALCS.
If Roberts doesn't steal the bag, Ortiz doesn't perform his heroics, leading to the biggest postseason collapse in MLB history.
Oakland: Al Davis really needed another championship to prove that the game hadn't passed him by as the 21st century dawned.
It appeared he was going to be one step closer as wonder boy quarterback Tom Brady fumbled in the waning minutes of the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff.
However, referee Walt Coleman enforced the obscure tuck rule, and ruled the play a fumble.
The Patriots went on to start a dynasty. The Raiders recovered to make the Super Bowl in 2003, but slowly sunk into the depths of the NFL standings shortly afterwards and have been trying to dig their way out ever since.
Philadelphia: He never had a winning season, and the fans slashed his tires after his final game as Phillies manager.
Then, Terry Francona goes to Boston, and wins 2 championships within four years.
Hopefully the Phills 2008 triumph stopped the bleeding.
Pittsburgh: The Pirates were destined to win the Pennant in game 7 of the 1992 NLCS.
Then Doug Drabek got tired, and a youngster named Francisco Cabrera who barely played, came up to bat with two runners on and the Bucs clinging to a 1-run lead.
Then, in an instant, Cabrerra got a hit, and Sid Bream's gimpy knees somehow slid around the catcher's tag and the Braves were headed back to the World Series.
Soon afterwards, Barry Bonds left Pittsburgh as a free agent, and the Pirates started a string of losing seasons that continues to this day.
How's that for a villain?
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