2011 was a crazy year for New York sports. The city added new stars in the form of Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, and Rafael Soriano. While no major championships were won, the Giants, Knicks, Rangers, and Yankees all made the playoffs. St. John’s returned to relevancy, winning 21 games and making the NCAA Tournament. Other teams, such as the Mets, Islanders, and Nets faded into oblivion. Without further ado, here are the Top 10 NY Sport moments from 2011:
#10: NY Rangers Sign Center Brad Richards: Before I begin, I know that no one reading this really cares about hockey. However, Richards signing with the Blue Shirts was the biggest NY hockey story of the year. After the Rangers were eliminated by the Washington Capitals in the first round of the NHL Playoffs, the Rangers wasted little time, inking Richards to a six-year, $57 million deal.
The Rangers have the second best record in the Eastern Conference and will look to ride the momentum of their big Winter Classic win.
#9: St. John’s Return To Relevancy The St. John’s Red Storm went through a ten year, NCAA Tournament drought before making the big dance in 2011. The Red Storm battled and endured the tough Big East Conference to earn the sixth seed in the big dance. The Johnnies went down in the first round, but St. John’s basketball is officially back.
#8: Jose Reyes Wins Batting Title, Leaves Mets: The ultimate bi*** award in 2011 goes to Jose Reyes. Entering the final day of the regular season, Reyes had a two-point lead on Ryan Braun for the NL batting title. After laying down a bunt single, Reyes took himself out of the game to preserve the award. The common Met fan (who I will get to later) dealt with a lot of unnecessary drama throughout the season and most knew that Reyes would leave in free agency. Instead of giving the fans one last show, Reyes took himself out of the game. Call it whatever you want, but to me, it’s cowardly. The Mets do not need players like Reyes. Good riddance, Jose.
#7: Jets Fall To Steelers In AFC Championship: The stage was set. The Jets eliminated Peyton Manning and Tom Brady on their home fields. Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers were the only thing standing in their way of the Super Bowl. However, the Jets played the worst first half of football I’ve ever seen. Their rally fell short in the fourth quarter as Rex Ryan slammed his headset down in disgust after the loss. The Jets didn’t exactly right the ship in the latter part of the year, finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs.
#6: The Wilpon/Madoff Investigation: Talk about a mess. The trustee involved with this case claims that the Wilpons owe $500 million in illegal ‘profits’ banked from the Bernie Madoff scandal. This mess ultimately made the Wilpon family way more frugal with their management of the Mets. I’ve never been a Reyes fan, but the Wilpons apparently didn’t even make a competitive offer for their ‘franchise’ player.
As long as the Wilpons own the team, I don’t think the Mets will be competitive. We’ve already heard that they are not interested in selling the team and that’s just a damn shame for Met fans.
#5: Penn State Football Scandal: This scandal completely shook the entire country. People were (and still are) in complete shock that the vicious acts of Jerry Sandusky were never brought to light. Since this story dominated and still continues to dominate headlines, I’ll let it just roll forward into 2012 with the hope that justice is served.
#4: Mariano Rivera Sets All-Time Save Record: Do we need to say anything more about Mr. Mariano Rivera? Rivera is the model of consistency, dominance, and pure class. Rivera broke Trevor Hoffman’s all-time save record on September 19th. Rivera saved 44 games, his highest total in six years. Rivera’s 1.91 ERA was just classic Mo.
#3: Giants Defeat Jets In Battle For The Big Apple: Just last week, the stage was set for the Battle of the Big Apple. Winner moved closer to the playoffs; loser was essentially eliminated. The Jets basically forgot to show up for the game as the Giants ran away with a big win. Most Jet fans acted really arrogant before the game, stating that the Jets ‘ran NY’. Funny how Jet fans forget their entire Jet ‘history’ is based around one ‘guarantee’. The Giant/Jet dynamic is similar to Yankee/Met dynamic. No matter how good the Jets are (or think they are), they will never stack up to the Giants. The Giants have the track record to back up any argument. Case closed.
#2: Knicks Acquire Carmelo Anthony: It feels like it took forever, but the Knicks got their man. In a trade where the Knicks traded virtually everyone outside of Amare, Landry Fields, and Jared Jefferies, Carmelo Anthony came back ‘home’ to the Big Apple and led the Knicks back to the playoffs. The Knicks were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics, but the Knicks finally have something that they’ve lacked for a decade–star power.
#1: DJ3K: In Je-terian fashion, Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit came on a home run. Fan, Christian Lopez caught the ball and was rewarded with tickets, memorabilia, merchandise, and the rest of the good stuff. Jeter capped his memorable day by collecting five hits and delivering a performance that no one will forget.
2011 was an exciting year for NY sports and 2012 will hopefully be full of playoff wins and championship performances.