An A TO Z 2005 Sports Review
By Michael Avallone
It was an interesting year to say the least. Steroids, T.O., the White Sox, Lance, Larry, Manny and so much more. Will 2006 be as entertaining? It has its work cut out for it…
Al and Alma’s — I won’t use the “Love Boat” reference…but boy is it a good one. Strippers, alcohol, and NFL Pro Bowlers? Is it Super Bowl time already?
Bush – No…not our President. That’s for another discussion.
Chicago White Sox — The White Sox won the World Series for the first time since 1917, sweeping away the Houston Astros. Think Journey’s “ Don’t Stop Believin’ ” had something to do with it? Neither did I…
Dress Code — In October, the NBA announced a league-wide regulated dress code. No longer could players wear throwback jerseys, hats, or gaudy chains on the sidelines. Sure, that’ll keep players from going into the stands.
Drew Rosenhaus — “Next question.”
Howard and Anna — Kris Benson’s wife Anna showed up on the Howard Stern Show to promote, well, something, and ended up spilling the beans on a whole other set of issues. With no hesitation, Benson threatened to sleep with the entire Mets team – including the club’s batboy – if she caught her husband cheating. No truth to the rumor Benson’s teammates were pushing him to join the Vikings on their day at the lake.
Indianapolis Colts — The Colts started the 2005 season on a 13-0 tear, winning each game by at least seven points. San Diego came into Indy in Week 14, beat the Colts 26-17, and spoiled what could have been the first perfect season since the ‘72 Dolphins.
Idiot in Pinstripes — Owner of arguably the most recognizable mane in all of Boston, former Red Sox centerfielder Johnny Damon signed with the rival Yankees on December 20 th to a four-year, $52 million contract. With the acquisition, the Yankees become the clear preseason favorites for the 2006 American League East divisional crown…again.
Juiced — Maybe they should elect this guy into the Hall of Fame. Jose Canseco’s autobiography set one heck of a chain of events in motion. There were the steroid hearings, the public denials, the BALCO case, and the Raffy Palmeiro debacle after the book’s release. Who knew?
Larry Brown — The biggest NBA off-season acquisition might have very well been the signing of a 64-year-old man. The Knicks scooped up former Pistons, Sixers, Pacers, Clippers, Kansas, Nets, UCLA, Nuggets and my CYO team coach Larry Brown to steer the sinking ship at Madison Square Garden. Early returns have not been good. As of Christmas, the Knicks had lost seven of eight games and owned the second worst record in the Eastern Conference.
Manny Being Manny – He wants out. He wants to stay. He wants out…but only to Arizona, Southern California or Seattle…and maybe New York. Is Manny Ramirez picking petals off a flower as he does this?
“Original Whizzinator” — In May, Minnesota Vikings tailback Onterrio Smith was caught at the Twin Cities airport with what the AP described as, “an elaborate contraption designed to beat drug tests.”
The “elaborate contraption” was really a device called “The Original Whizzinator”, a packaged instrument which includes a fake penis, bladder and athletic supporter. Use your imagination on how it works.
Panthers Cheerleaders — If I was writing for Playboy, I’d get more in depth…
Shootouts — After what felt like 30 years, the NHL lockout that cancelled the 2004-05 season came to an end in July. The “new NHL” ushered in a slew of rule changes, including the addition of shootouts after overtime sessions. Though traditionalists were critical of the shootouts at first, it seems as though everyone’s come around to the concept by now.
Terrell Owens – The worst teammate in sports…PERIOD.
Tour de Lance — Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France again. Sheryl Crow cheered, Americans celebrated.
UNC Tar Heels — After 17 years of Division I coaching, Roy Williams got the proverbial monkey off his back in 2005. UNC, led by junior Sean May’s 26 points, beat Illinois 75-70 in the NCAA championship game back in April. By July, UNC’s top seven scorers from 2004-05 had all graduated or left for the pros, leaving the Tar Heels with a shell of a roster for the upcoming year.
Ugly Uniforms — The Kings in gold, the Giants in red, the Celtics in black, the Spurs in silver. What’s next, the Yanks without pinstripes
Zen Master — With Phil Jackson’s return to the Lakers in 2005 came the return of his usual bag of tricks as well. One of Jackson’s famous coaching maneuvers involves giving each player on the team a specific book he wants the individual to read. Unfortunately, Kobe Bryant turned down Jackson’s offer to read The Last Season , Coach’s tome following the 2003-2004 campaign.
See you next year.