Dresden Baluyot (Sports Editor)
As 2010 approaches, I wanted to take a look back at the biggest stories in sports from 2009.
The city of Pittsburgh was blessed with not only one but two championship trophies…the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Pittsburgh Steelers took home the Stanley Cup and the Lombardi Trophy respectively. The Los Angeles Lakers opened the season with only one goal: Win the franchise’s 15th championship; and that they did. As much as the world outside of the Bronx hates to admit it, every year is really about the New York Yankees. In their new stadium, the most important franchise in American sports returned to the top and won their 27th championship ring. In the world of NCAA athletics, the Florida Gators football program took home its second national championship in three years and on the hardwood, the North Carolina Tar Heels ripped Michigan State for the national title. It was UNC’s second national title in five seasons.
There were plenty of headlines that saturated the media but a few stood out more than others. One, UFC sets all-time pay-per-view record. The rapidly growing sport of MMA has grown so much this year that it marked the first in which UFC, not boxing, had the year’s most purchased event, as UFC 100 (1.6 million) topped boxing’s biggest event, Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto (1.25 million). Two, tennis contributed one of the biggest news of the year. It didn’t take place on a court or even feature a current player, but when Andre Agassi’s autobiography “Open” hit the stores it sent shockwaves through the sport. The tennis legend admitted to using crystal meth and exposed the story of how his positive test was kept a secret by the ATP Tour. Third, the University of Kentucky made a major splash in the world of college basketball by taking John Calipari away from Memphis. Calipari and his new staff hit the recruiting trail with a vengeance, signing one of the best freshman classes ever led by Mr. John Wall. UK is off to a fast start under Calipari and looks prepared to reach the Final Four for the first time since the Wildcats won the national title in 1998. Another story that has showered the media has been the back and forth catfight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. Negotiations for a 2010 fight between the two power fighters were surprisingly easy. However, days before Christmas and just as it appeared the fight was going to be formally announced, Mayweather demanded Pacquiao to submit to Olympic-style drug testing administered by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Pacquiao didn’t want to risk giving blood the week of the fight and refused to accept the demand, potentially leaving the fight of the century on the verge of collapse.
But the biggest sports headline of 2009 has to be the Tiger Woods chronicle. Tiger Woods did not capture a major title but did manage to win the FedEx Cup and also make a remarkable comeback win at the Arnold Palmer’s event at Bay Hill. However, on November 27th, the golf legend’s life took a downward turn. We can go for days recapping all the stories that has smothered the media but ultimately, Tiger Woods cheated on his wife, Elin, and disappointed the millions of fans who have admired him since he changed the game in the late 1990s. No star in golf, perhaps in any sport, has ever fallen faster. How he recovers will surely be the biggest story of 2010. Only time will tell…
NBA-Los Angeles Lakers
MLB-New York Yankees
NCAA Basketball-Men’s: North Carolina Tar Heels
NCAA Football-Florida Gators