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News » Weird, wacky, wonderful: A peek at sports in 2009

Weird, wacky, wonderful: A peek at sports in 2009

Weird, wacky, wonderful: A peek at sports in 2009
So you say you hate 2008? Wish it was over? Wish it never happened?

Think about all that was going on in Seattle this time last year.

The Seahawks were preparing for another playoff run. Huskies football was enjoying a recruiting renaissance.

Hope abounded.

The Mariners were pursuing a trade with Baltimore that would land them ace left-hander Erik Bedard. ESPN insiders and some outsiders were predicting an American League West title for the M's.

The Sonics were awful, but they still were ours. And the city believed it had an unbreakable lease that certainly would keep the NBA in town for two more seasons, time enough to seal a deal to remodel KeyArena.

It wasn't snowing. And cars weren't sliding out of control down Seattle's hills.

Then 2008 happened. And Seattle became the country's favorite sports punch line and punching bag.

But we're all sports fans here. And there is an inherent optimism among all of us. The new year promises to be the first step of a reawakening in this city.

Besides, the sports world stretches well beyond Seattle. And the world is here for us to enjoy.

These will be some of the highlights and lowlights from 2009:

Jan. 1: After upsetting USC in the Rose Bowl, Penn State coach Joe Paterno, saying he needs a new challenge, announces he is leaving the Nittany Lions to coach the Detroit Lions.

Jan. 10: After scoring the go-ahead touchdown in the Patriots' AFC playoff win, New England wide receiver Wes Welker, who was fined $10,000 for making a snow angel after a touchdown catch against Arizona, is flagged for delay of game while he is building a snowman in the end zone.

Jan. 20: Citing a painful shoulder, teary-eyed Jets quarterback Brett Favre announces he is retiring.

Jan. 26: Word is leaked that Michael Phelps will be on the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue.

Feb. 16: At a news conference, new boss Hank Steinbrenner says he has signed the Rolling Stones to sing the national anthem before the start of all Yankees home games.

Feb. 17: Making a surprise visit to spring training, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich asks Cubs manager Lou Piniella how much Piniella would be willing to pay to break the curse and win the World Series.

Feb. 18: Steinbrenner signs Pope Benedict XVI to a multiyear deal. He says the pope will offer a blessing for his team in the clubhouse every game after batting practice.

Feb. 28: Bedard throws a pitch in a spring training game. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic hail it as a medical miracle.

March 4: The Lions acquire wide receiver Chad Johnson.

March 5: Johnson announces he is legally changing his name to 0-and-16.

March 16: Former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress is injured during a training run in his bid to make the U.S. Olympic biathlon team. U.S. officials refuse to confirm the injury, but teammates say they saw his rifle slipping through the waistband of his ski pants.

March 19: Kasey Keller makes an acrobatic save in the last minute of stoppage time as the Sounders open the MLS season with a 2-1 win over the Red Bulls of New York.

April 18: Roger Clemens tells Mike Wallace on "60 Minutes" that he is entering the Tour de France. After the interviews, Andy Rooney says he believes Clemens in lying.

May 19: Isaiah Thomas hits a three-pointer with no time left as Washington beats Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

April 3: After learning that many of the toilets inside New Yankee Stadium aren't flushing, Steinbrenner signs Joe the Plumber to a seven-figure deal.

April 6: Felix Hernandez loses a no-hitter in the ninth inning, but the Mariners beat Minnesota 1-0 on a home run by designated hitter Ken Griffey Jr.

April 6: The Yankees lose their opener 4-2 to Baltimore. Steinbrenner fires manager Joe Girardi.

April 8: Baltimore makes it two in a row against the Yankees. Steinbrenner fires Pope Benedict.

April 16: In the first game at new Yankees Stadium, Cleveland's Cliff Lee shuts out New York. Steinbrenner fires the Rolling Stones.

April 25: The Oakland Raiders use their first pick to draft Usain Bolt.

May 12: Mariners shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt takes a pitch.

May 23: Randy Johnson strikes out 10 in six innings, as the Giants beat the Mariners 5-3 at Safeco Field, giving Johnson his 300th win.

June 4: Frustrated that he can't get Republicans to agree to his health-care package, President Barack Obama challenges Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss to a game of H-O-R-S-E. The winner gets the health-care plan he wants. Chambliss accepts.

June 16: Obama signs his new health-care package into law.

June 28: Favre wakes up and feels no pain in his shoulder. He tells the Jets he wants to return as their starting quarterback.

July 13: After watching the American League All-Star team's workout in St. Louis, Steinbrenner makes an offer to buy the team.

July 19: Adrian Beltre is traded.

July 22: Bedard is traded.

Aug. 13: In an effort to be more fan friendly and with New York coming to town, the Mariners announce a new promotion Yankees Suck Weekend.

Sept. 5: With 35 seconds left, Jake Locker scores a touchdown and Washington trails Louisiana State, 21-20. But a Pac-10 official overhears Locker yell "Yippee!" and flags the Huskies quarterback for excessive celebration. The extra point is blocked.

Sept. 13: In his first play from scrimmage, the Raiders' Bolt catches a 75-yard touchdown pass from JaMarcus Russell and moonwalks the last 10 yards into the end zone.

Sept. 13: Nobody is hit by a snowball in the Seahawks' opening-day win.

Sept 19: Locker finds Kavario Middleton alone in the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown, and the Huskies upset USC, 38-34. (Told you 2009 would be different.)

Sept. 20: Bobby Engram catches two touchdown passes in the Washington Redskins' win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Oct. 27: Oklahoma City Thunder owner Aubrey McClendon loses billions of dollars. (Oh, wait, that happened in 2008.)

Nov. 21: Washington beats Washington State 38-10 in the Apple Cup and is expected to accept a bid to the Las Vegas Bowl.

Nov. 23: A victory parade breaks out on Montlake Boulevard.

Dec. 12: Stephon Marbury still isn't playing in the NBA.

Dec. 22: Construction begins on the remodel of KeyArena. David Stern proclaims that the league has always valued Seattle as an NBA city.

Maybe that's a little too optimistic.

Steve Kelley: 206-464-2176 or

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: December 30, 2008

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