Whether you call yourself a casual, a die-hard, or not at all a fan of sports, there was something that caught your interest this week. Almost every day of this past week there seemed to be a headline that rose to the top of the news in every market, and they just kept getting better. This leads me to ask this question: was this the most historic week in sports, ever?
It all started Sunday evening; the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Francisco Liriano fired a fastball that just barely missed the strike zone of St. Louis Cardinals’ leadoff man, Matt Carpenter. A pitch that marked the start of a long, 162-game season that we have seen so many times before. A new season that allows for new players to make names for themselves and veterans to keep up their pace from the previous season.
In relativeness to this season, we have already seen historic marks being made in this seasons’ first week. Dodgers’ rookie Ross Stripling made his debut in The Show with a 7 1/3rd no hitter before being pulled; a move that Dodgers’ manager, Dave Roberts, justified his choice through the fact that Stripling threw 100 pitches coming off of Tommy John’s surgery. A pitcher making his debut hasn’t thrown a no-hitter since Bumpus Jones… in 1892!
Trevor Story, a man who few, outside of the baseball aficionados, have heard of made his name known by becoming the first rookie to hit 7 homeruns in any 6-game stretch ever. What made it so special was this was opening week, and Story homered twice in his debut and at least once in each of his next 3 games. Pitchers will surely figure out his homerun-or-bust offensive style, but until then we bask in his great run.
After baseballs’ Opening Day festivities were over, Monday nights’ National Championship game between one-seed North Carolina and two-seed Villanova put on a historic show for a peak of 22.3 million viewers, and capped off an incredible March Madness tournament. Arguably the best men’s basketball championship game ever played ended with two of the best shots we, as viewers, have ever seen. Marcus Paige hit a double-clutch prayer from three to tie the game with 4 seconds left only to have their brief hopes of forcing overtime shattered when Ryan Arcidiacono rushed up the court and passed to, an uncovered, Kris Jenkins who hit a deep three-pointer at the buzzer to end the season; it will be a shot that will be shown every March for the rest of our lives.
The Men’s national championship game was followed up by another historic National Championship between the Huskies of the University of Connecticut and the Oregon State Beavers. The University of Connecticut clinched their fourth-straight National Championship, kept a 75-game winning streak alive, and their 10th title since 2000.
Thursday began the start of another historic Masters tournament. It featured 22 year-old Jordan Spieth getting out to an early lead to what looked like his second consecutive Green Jacket in as many years. Like usual, unknown golfers in the pro-circuit made a name for themselves, and long-time professionals made solid runs toward the lead. Newly heard of, Carter “Smylie” Kaufman, saw himself in the final pairing on Sunday, only to post a 7-over par during the final round to fall to 29th place. Bernhard Langer, a 58 year-old veteran, began the tournament with a blank visor and ended with a top-25 finish and covered the front of his hat with Wheels Up.
That was all masked, however, by an epic collapse on the Masters’ famous 12th-hole. Jordan Spieth took a 5-stroke lead into the final 9, but it was quickly erased after posting a bogey on hole 10 and 11, then an now infamous 12th-hole quadruple bogey. In this day and age of media and memes on Twitter, this will go down as one of the most memorable collapses in a major tournament, ever, that will surely not go away any time soon. Spieth made a game of it by birdieing hole 13 and 15, but ultimately fell short as England’s’ Danny Willett took advantage of his 50/1 odds; he even turned one man’s $20 into $3000. This Masters’ Sunday was one of the best final rounds to watch in the history of Golf.
To cap off that Sunday, the Golden State Warriors picked up their 72nd win, a feat only managed one-time in NBA history by the ’95-’96 Chicago Bulls. Arguably the greatest team in NBA history, the Warriors will look to take sole-possession of the single-season wins record, Wednesday, by winning game number 73 against the Memphis Grizzlies. Are they the greatest team of all-time? We may never know, but their 2016 campaign has given them a credible case.
Between a start no one saw coming to this years’ baseball season, two historic National Championship games, an unexpected collapse at the Masters, and the Warriors tying the record for most wins in a season, this may be not only the most memorable and talked about week in sports ever, but the most historic. By Wednesday night the Warriors may have capture number 73, and future Hall-of-Famer Kobe Bryant will have played his last game in the NBA. Not many 10-day stretches come to mind as being more memorable than this past week.
But was it the most memorable ever? In my lifetime, yes it was; but that’s up for you to decide.
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