January 15, 2013

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What I Will Remember About 2012 – Part 2

By: Joe Williams

Every year we see things we never thought we would and things we never want to see again. We see everything from the incredible to the inspiring to the sad and hilarious. Here’s what I will remember about 2012.

To read part one, click here.

July 23 – Penn State became the first school to receive NCAA sanctions because of criminal matters that did not directly deal with breaking NCAA rules. The penalties included a $60 million fine, a four-year ban on postseason play, a reduction of scholarships for the next four years and the vacating of all victories from 1998-2011.

July 31 – Michael Phelps won his 19th Olympic medal, making him the most decorated Olympian ever.

July 31 – The Fierce Five, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, won gold at the London Olympic Games.

August 2 – Gabby Douglas became the first African-American woman to win the individual all-around competition.

August 5 – Andy Murray bounces back from losing to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final to beat Federer and win the gold medal in front of his home country. He broke through again a month later, winning his first major title at the U.S. Open.

Miguel Cabrera winning baseball's Triple Crown is one of the biggest stories of 2012.

August 9 – Usain Bolt made his claim as the greatest sprinter ever by becoming the first man ever to defend his golds in both the 100m and 200m races.

August 9 – Hope Solo, Alex Morgan and the U.S. women’s soccer team won Olympic gold after a controversial semifinal against Canada and then getting revenge against Japan in the final after the shootout that ended the Women’s World Cup in 2011.

August 10 – The “Dwightmare” finally came to an end when Dwight Howard was traded from the Orlando Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers after months and months of indecision about where he wanted to play and who he wanted to play with.

August 12 – Rory McIlroy wins the PGA Championship. He would follow that with two more wins heading into the Tour Championship and cement himself as the top player in the game.

August 15 – Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game against the Rays and the Mariners won 1-0.

September 7 – In the midst of a pennant race and against his wishes, the Washington Nationals shut down their superstar pitcher Stephan Strasburg after 159 1/3 innings. The Nationals would go on to win the NL East and then lose in the NLDS in five games to the St. Louis Cardinals.

September 15 – The NHL labor dispute officially becomes a lockout.

September 24 – The Replacement refs fiasco came to a head on the final play of the Green Bay/Seattle Monday Night Football game. When the officials turned what sure looked to be an interception and a Green Bay win into a touchdown and a Seattle win, the NFL had no choice to settle the dispute with the regular officials.

September 30 – Team U.S.A. chokes the Ryder Cup away, blowing a 10-6 lead on the final day at Medinah. Justin Rose and Ian Poulter led the charge for Europe while Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk dropped critical 1-Up matches. The comeback almost didn’t happen when Rory McIlroy looked at his tee time in Eastern Time instead of Central time and needed a police escort to arrive at the course with just 10 minutes to spare.

October 3 – Miguel Cabrera goes 0-2 in the Detroit Tigers’ 1-0 win over Kansas City in the regular season finale but still manages to be the first player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown, finishing the season with a .330 average, 44 home runs and 139 RBI. He would be name the American League MVP.

October 10 – New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi pulls Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning of Game 3 of the ALDS. Raul Ibanez took A-Rod’s place and homered to send the game to extra innings. Ibanez did it again in the 12th inning, giving the Yankees the win.

October 13 – Notre Dame comes up with a goal-line stand, stopping Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor on fourth-and-goal and then survives a controversial replay review to beat Stanford 20-13 in overtime to remain undefeated.

October 13 – The St. Louis Cardinals scored four runs in the ninth inning to stun the Washington Nationals and advance to the NLCS.

October 15 – Trailing 24-0 at halftime in San Diego and staring a 2-4 record in the face, the Denver Broncos score 35 unanswered second-half points to beat the Chargers 35-24 and improve to 3-3. They would not lose again in the regular season and finish with the best record in the AFC.

October 25 – Pablo Sandoval hit three home runs in Game 1 of the World Series on his way to earning the World Series MVP award.

October 28 – The San Francisco Giants completed an improbable run to a second World Series win in two years and did it after trailing 2-0 in a best-of-5 series against Cincinnati and then falling behind 3-1 to St. Louis in the NLCS

November 10 – Texas A&M upsets No. 1 Alabama 29-24, led by its redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel. It was a springboard for Manziel as he led the Aggies to an 11-2 record in their first season in the SEC, a win in the Cotton Bowl and became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.

November 17 – Undefeated Kansas State and Oregon both go down and lose their shot to play for the BCS National Championship. Baylor beat the Wildcats 52-24 and Stanford knocked off the Ducks 17-14 in overtime.

November 21 – Jack Taylor, guard at Grinnell College (Division III), scored an NCAA-record 138 points against Faith Baptist Bible College.

November 22 – Two words…Butt Fumble.

December 1 – Georgia came up five yards short of scoring the game-winning touchdown against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. Alabama hung on for a 32-28 win and a spot in the BCS National Championship Game.

December 8 – Appalachian State’s Brian Okam quickly became known for the worst free throw ever after a video of his miss went viral.

December 16 – Tom Brady leads the Patriots on a furious rally after falling behind 31-3 against the 49ers. After the game was tied at 34, San Francisco retook the lead and won 41-34.

December 30 – Adrian Peterson runs for 199 yards against the Green Bay Packers after already eclipsing 200 yards twice this season, but he came up a mere nine yards short of the single-season rushing record.

June 14, 2012

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Ranking This Season’s No-Hitters

By: Junior

It is only mid-June, yet we already have five no-hitters this MLB season, 2 of which are perfect games. We have had some from usual suspects (Jered Weaver) and from unlikely places (Seattle). So before another one is thrown (R.A. Dickey may have his approved by the time I finish this article) let’s rank which of the five was most impressive.

Where will Johan Santana's no-hitter rank out of those thrown this year?

5. Jered Weaver

There are two reasons why Jered Weaver lands at number five for me on this list. First, it came against a lowly Minnesota Twins team that has been downright awful at times, especially in the beginning of the season when this happened. Second, Weaver is a dominant pitcher, so of the five on this list I most expect to see him on it. Nonetheless, Weaver was very impressive against the Twins, only walking 1 and striking out 9.

4. Seattle Mariners

Six pitchers combining to throw a no-hitter is often considered less impressive than one guy throwing it. In this scenario, I was thoroughly impressed by the way the pitching staff of the Seattle Mariners rose to the occasion against a superior Los Angeles Dodgers team. After starter Kevin Millwood was pulled with a sore groin, Brandon League, Tom Wilhelmsen, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor and Lucas Luetge all kept the no-hitter alive. It is one thing for one pitcher to bring his best stuff on a given night, but six? It is less celebrated, but still very impressive.

3. Johan Santana

What makes Johan Santana’s no-hitter so great is the comeback story associated with it. Had Santana thrown a no-hitter say, 7 years ago, it still would have been great, but expected. Not the dominant pitcher he used to be, the now 33 year old channeled his former self and pitched a great game against the St. Louis Cardinals. This no-hitter wasn’t without controversy however, as it appeared a ball hit by Carlos Beltran that was called foul during the game actually was a fair ball. Those calls will happen during a game though, and this time it went in Santana’s favor.

2. Philip Humber

Of course, the top two have to be the perfect games. Beyond just that, it is amazing that Humber was able to blank the Mariners with only 96 pitches. That doesn’t mean that the perfect game was all defense, as Humber struck out 9 Mariners during the outing. Humber’s perfect game had drama all the way to the last pitch, which was a full count strike that got by A.J. Pierzynski, who threw out the batter at first.

1. Matt Cain

This was the easy number one in my mind. While there is a slight discounting because it came against the Houston Astros, Cain stuck out 14 batters, matching Sandy Koufax’s perfect game record from 1965. Matt Cain dominated the game from start to finish and not only is his performance being debated for the top of this list, but as one of the greatest pitching performances of all time. While I don’t think it is quite to that caliber, there is no doubt Cain pitched a gem against Houston. He also received some great support, including a great diving catch by OF Gregor Blanco in the 7th inning. Matt Cain’s performance tops the list of no-hitters for this year, but how long will it be before another no-hitter comes along to challenge it?