slides: 13 Biggest Sports Stories in 2013
Saturday, December 28, 2013
2013 was quite a year in sports for Central Massachusetts, New England, and the entire world, and GoLocal was there to cover it all.
The GoLocal Sports Team broke some huge local stories this year; and we saw the first Word Series victory at Fenway in nearly 100 years, the return of baseball to Worcester with a new NECBL team, plus a Patriot superstar escorted from his Attleboro home in handcuffs.
From the Celtics and Red Sox, to High School State titles, here are GoLocalWorcester's Top Sports Stories of 2013:
#13. Worcester Baseball
Baseball has always held a very important place in the history of Worcester.
In 1863, the famous poem Casey at the Bat was written in Worcester by Ernest Thayer under the pen name “Phineas.”
In 1880, J. Lee Richmond of the Worcester Worcesters pitched the first perfect game in professional baseball history.
However, there was a void of professional baseball in the city following the departure of the Worcester Tornadoes in 2012.
That void ended in 2013, with the announcement by John Creeden, Jr. of Worcester's newest baseball team, the Worcester Bravehearts. This new team hits the field in 2014, managed by former Tornadoes player Alex Trezza, in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League.
#12. Patriots Fall Short
The Patriots made a great run toward the Super Bowl in January. After going 12-4 in the regular season and earning a first round bye, the Pats walked past the defensive powerhouse Houston Texans 41-28 on their way to play the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC Championship.
Baltimore had just come off a tough double overtime victory at Denver a week earlier, so New England fans felt confident that they would be heading to New Orleans for their eighth Super Bowl.
However, at game time Baltimore's defense stepped-up behind their retiring captain, Ray Lewis, stunning the Patriots 28-13. This would be the first ever home loss in an AFC Championship game for New England.
#11. HS State Champions
2013 brought several high school state titles to Central Massachusetts.
In the spring, there was a Central Mass sweep in softball as Milford (Division I), Grafton (Division II), and Assabet (Division III) all took home State Championships.
In the fall, four Central Mass football teams reached State Super Bowls, and two of those teams came home as champions. The Doherty Highlanders won a battle with Dennis-Yarmouth 28-26 to claim the Division 4 title, and in Division 6, the Littleton Tigers won a 52-35 shootout over Cohasset.
#10. Auburn's Tyler Beede
Tyler Beede, an Auburn native, had one of the most dominant pitching performances in all of Division I college baseball in 2013 at Vanderbilt University.
The 6'4” right-handed sophomore pitcher was heavily criticized for turning down a $2.5 million offer from the Toronto Blue Jays after being picked 21st overall in the 2011 MLB Draft. But now he is proving that he may have done the right thing in going to Vanderbilt.
Following the 2013 season, Beede was named Second Team All-American by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.
#9. Tim Tebow
Much of New England scratched their heads when the Patriots signed Tim Tebow in June. Despite questions over the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback's viability as a starter in the NFL, the signing of Tebow was big news in Foxboro ahead of training camp.
#8. One Fine Day
October 13, 2013 was a great day in New England Sports history, in fact, it is possibly one of the best ever.
First, the New England Patriots defeated the New Orleans Saints 30-27, after Tom Brady completed a 17-yard touchdown pass to rookie Kenbrell Thompkins with 5 seconds left in the game.
Then the Red Sox, down by five runs to Detroit in Game 2 of the ALCS, staged an unlikely comeback--featuring a David Ortiz grand slam--winning the game and making the series even at 1-1.
Read GoLocal's list of the Ten Greatest Days in New England Sports history here .
#7. Red Sox Victory
After the train wreck season of 2012, expectations were tempered for the Red Sox in 2013. They had dropped payroll, fired their manager, and the team's focus was on rebuilding for the future.
So when the Red Sox won their third World Series in ten years, the celebrations in New England were incredible. This was evidenced by the enormous number of people who turned out for the victory parade through Boston's streets in November.
See GoLocal's parade coverage here.
#6. Shamrock Shakeup
When the Celtics brought in Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to play along with Paul Pierce under Doc Rivers, the team and fans knew that the window to win was small.
They won a title in their first year together, and made several more runs in subsequent seasons, but in summer of 2013, it was clear that the window had closed.
Doc Rivers walked away, replaced by first-year coach Brad Stevens; and Kevin Garnett was traded, along with Paul Pierce, to Brooklyn for draft picks and role players.
While the short-term prognosis for the Celtics is not promising, most agree that these moves in 2013 will be the building blocks for a bright future at the Garden.
In February, GoLocal's John Barone broke the news that Hamilton native, and Syracuse Orange guard, Michael Carter-Williams would declare for the 2013 NBA draft after his sophomore season.
Carter-Williams, a 2011 McDonald’s All-American at St. Andrews in Rhode Island, was drafted 11th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. He is currently having himself quite a rookie year, with 17.6 point and 7.8 assist per game averages.
#4. Bob Lobel
For more than three decades, Bob Lobel was part of the telecast at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. And this year, after the tragic attacks that occurred at that site, Lobel shared his memories of the event, and how the bombings affected him in one of the best-written and well-read articles that GoLocal had the privilege of publishing in 2013.
Read the article here.
#3. Algonquin Lip-Dubbing
The athletes at Northborough's Algonquin Regional High School became internet celebrities in 2013 after their YouTube video went viral.
The video featured dozens of students performing a lip-dub of a song by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen while backpedaling through the school.
The video was part of a marketing class project, and had more than 18,000 hits within 48 hours of being published.
Watch the amazing video here.
#2. Aaron Hernandez
The Patriots knew that they would potentially need to deal with character issues when they drafted Aaron Hernandez in 2010.
In 2013, those issues came to the forefront in a large way when their star tight end was arrested and charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd in June. Hernandez is currently awaiting trial from the Bristol County House of Corrections.
If it wasn't bad enough for Hernandez, things got worse. Later in June, authorities began to investigate Hernandez' involvement in a 2012 double homicide in South Boston.
The GoLocal Sports Team will surely provide further news on these cases in 2014.
#1. Marathon Bombings
The biggest sports story in New England of 2013 transcended athletics, touching the lives of our local communities and much of the world.
On Monday, April 15--Patriots Day in the Bay State-- an otherwise normal celebratory day in Boston turned tragic just before 3:00 PM. Just feet away from the finish line for the Boston Marathon, two explosions from homemade bombs went off, killing three spectators, and injuring more than two hundred.
The tragedy gripped the entire nation; sparking emotions ranging from fear to outrage. But from the wreckage, emerged evidence of New England's resilience. From the impassioned speech at Fenway by David Ortiz, and Rene Rancourt's touching rendition of the National Anthem at the TD Garden, to the outpouring of support through the One Fund Boston, and the individual heroes like Carlos Arredondo and Joe Andruzzi (along with many, many others); New Englanders and Americans responded in an enormous way.
Read more of GoLocal's Coverage of the bombings here.