Sports

2013 Sports Awards: The Best, Worst, and Everything in between

By December 26, 2013 No Comments
2013-sports-awards

2013-sports-awardsIt’s the end of the year and for sports websites, that means time for recaps and awards. For some reason, I wasn’t asked to vote on a single award so I made my own. Here are the 2013 Sports Awards as determined by me.

The Worst Player Signing of the Year: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

Jeter’s one-year, $12 million deal for next season doesn’t make him obnoxiously overpaid, and it isn’t one that would completely hamstring a team, preventing them from getting any better in the future. I actually think Jeter will play well, and he may even be getting paid near market value, a rarity for big name in the MLB. Still it is, by far, the worst signing of this year

You see, Jeter still had one year remaining on his previous contract and was set to make $9.5 million. For those of you playing at home, that means the Yankees decided to hand over an extra 2.5 million dollars just for funsies.

So, THIS is the new – more fiscally responsible – Yankees I’ve heard so much about? Okeydokey.

Most Disappointing Season of the Year: Derrick Rose 2011-12 playoffs 2013-14 season

Even the Jacksonville Jaguars have done more athletically this calendar year than Derrick Rose. Let that sink in for a moment.

The only thing more painful for Bulls fans than watching Rose get hurt again is watching the Bulls play without him, something they should just stop doing. And, hey, at least he’s started complaining about the team that he isn’t playing for because he’s always hurt. That should help.

If that doesn’t inspire optimism, Bulls fans, just wait for Adidas to start airing The Re-Return commercials. (#HesBack…Again)

The Brett Favre Award for the Sports Figure We Really Want to Never Come Back: Lane Kiffin, Former USC Football Coach

Hey, Lane, you finally won something!

The Luckiest Athlete of the Year: Jake Peavy, White/Red Sox

There is a certain amount of luck required to win a championship. No one exemplifies this fact more than Peavy this season. He was 8-4 with a 4.28 ERA through late July, when he was traded from a White Sox team that ended up going 63-99 to a Red Sox team that was so desperate for pitching, they didn’t care that he was having trouble keeping people from scoring runs. Being freed from a team that ended up one loss from 100 is lucky enough, but Jake’s luck didn’t end there.

Despite his 4 wins in 10 regular season starts, the Red Sox made the playoffs. In the postseason, Peavy threw for an impressive 7.11 ERA over 3 starts, and allowed opposing batters to hit .314 against him. That is the definition of coming up small when the games are the biggest. And still, STILL, his teammates – and their beards – bailed him out, winning the World Series in spite of him.

So to recap: Played bad for a really bad team, got traded to a good team, played worse, won a championship.

That is how you become the luckiest player of the year.

The Worst Decision in Sports of the Year: Tim Tebow, Broadcaster?

In a year when the Falcon’s thought Steven Jackson would carry them to the Super Bowl, it can be said that there have been a few blunders on and off the field. The worst, however, doesn’t involve any gameplay at all. It’s the bidding war between networks to make Tim Tebow a broadcaster for college football. ESPN wants to make him its “Kirk Herbstreit” of its new SEC network. CBS is willing to “blow up its pre-game show” to accommodate him. And no one seems to realize that being a broadcaster involves talking.

If you’ve never heard Tebow speak, it’s sort of like an 8 year old with ADD who just downed a 2-liter of coke (either kind). Listening to him talk makes you wonder how he was able to dress himself for the games, let alone pretend to be a starting quarterback.

I love watching SEC football, but if I have to spend an entire game listening to his rapid-fire gibberish, I’ll start watching the Big 10. Yeah, it’s that serious.

The Really Talented Player that We are All About to Hate Award (aka the Future A-Rod Award): Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers

This one might not be a popular choice, but let me explain my reasoning. Richie Incognito isn’t good enough, and we all already hated Johnny Manziel last year.

Now that that’s out of the way, on to Puig. When Puig made his debut in June, he immediately took off like a rocket. A rocket that seemed to piss off just about everyone that came in contact with it. People don’t like the way he watches his homers, they don’t like the way he celebrates big plays, they don’t like the way he runs the bases. As a result, roughly half of the league has felt the need to weigh in by criticizing him, arguing with him, or having their pitchers hit him (which happened, on average, nearly weekly). It’s a truly remarkable amount of hate for a guy that can’t really speak English.

Still, no matter how much opposing managers, players, and fans hate him, Puig is all sorts of good. And since his Cuban birth certificate says he is only 23, we can be reasonably sure that he is young enough to stay good for a long time. Haters of baseball, as one target is suspended out of the sport, a new champion arrives for all of your hating pleasure.

Best Scandal of the Year: EA Sports vs. College Football Players

There were several upsetting scandals this year in sports, but I make the rules, and I’m in a happy mood, so I’m picking the only scandal of the year that doesn’t make me feel sad for the world.

This year, college football players finally seemed to realize that they make the NCAA and their schools a lot of money, and don’t get much back besides CTE. One of the ways they showed this new awareness was by writing “APU” on their uniforms. This did nothing. But another way was to sue EA Sports for using player likenesses in video games and never compensating them.

Even if you believe that playing football is the price they pay for the free “education” that their communications degree provides, it is kind of hard to justify putting the players’ likenesses in video games and saying the kids don’t need to get paid. Is it considered just another part of playing college football, like running routes and having someone else do your homework? Certainly, the players in EA’s “All Notre Dame” team, with guys that played before there was color TV, did not sign up to be available on your PS3.

This is why I was thrilled when EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company settled a $40 million class action lawsuit to pay college football players for being in the NCAA football games. This money is being split between the players, regardless of whether EA made them a 40 overall or a 90. If they were in the game, they get compensated.

Now my buddy, a 4-year walk-on and bench warmer, can expect over $300 from EA Sports. For him, that’s over $100 a tackle. Finally, some college players are receiving compensation in line with what they could get if they make it in the NFL.

(To keep this happy mood going, let’s ignore that this will almost certainly ruin any chance of a college football video game in the future)

Biggest Surprise of the Year: Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

When you look at the face of Nick Foles, you see someone that looks much more like a potato farmer than a professional athlete. I hate to be one to read a book by its cover, but watching his pre-game warm ups, I can’t help but think that an equipment manager stole a uniform. He just doesn’t seem like he should be paid to play football. Curling, maybe, but not football. Then, the game starts, and he is good. Really good.

Last year, Foles was OK, playing only when Michael Vick was hurt (so, like half the season), but this year he has been a goofy-looking beast. In 12 games, through week 16, he has thrown 25 TDs and 2 interceptions. That’s 12.5 touchdowns for every 1 pick. That’s better than Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Football Jesus (Peyton Manning). And better by a whole bunch (2.9-1, 2.4-1, 5.1-1).

Not only that, but he has managed to corral Chip Kelly’s hyperdrive offense, proving that it can be run even by a quarterback that is completely unathletic.

The Eagles were supposed to be rebuilding, and Foles was supposed to be a back-up. Nope and nope. Surprise!

Best Non-Sports Sports Topic of the Year: LeBron James’s Receding Hairline

There was a point this year, when I guess nothing else was going on in sports, and everyone wanted to talk about how LeBron is losing his hair. Maybe it’s the headband, constantly bringing people’s eyes to where hair once was, or maybe it was NBA 2K14, which featured LBJ’s avatar with a half bald head, but something made this a hot topic. Then, LeBron shaved his head, confirming to many what they already knew was true anyways. At some point, people changed their minds, saying he might not have lost his hair. This, of course, led to rumors of hair transplants, or special hair therapy, and internet timelines charting his hair’s growth and decline throughout history. Seriously, it’s out there.

The fact that this was a story at all was remarkable, but its staying power is what made it the best non-story of the year.

So ha ha, MVP/NBA Champion, LeBron, you’re going bald (we’re pretty sure). Sucks to be you…oh, wait, nope it probably doesn’t.

The Best Sports Moment of the Year: The final 17 seconds of the Stanley Cup Finals

If you didn’t love this sports moment, you don’t like sports. If that’s the case, I’m not sure why you’re on this site, but I appreciate the read.

If you are a sports fan and haven’t seen the moment, finish reading this, take a look at like five more of my articles, and then IMMEDIATELY watch. You won’t regret it.

Happiest Sports City of the Year: Boston

Of course. There is rarely a better place to be a fan.

The Red Sox won the World Series. That is normally enough to make a Bostonian’s year. And they have the riot photos to prove it.

The Bruins went to the Stanley Cup Finals. They lost, but fans can take comfort in knowing that one of their players cemented his status as one of the great sports badasses of all time. Patrice Bergeron suffered torn cartilage, a separated shoulder, and a broken rib that punctured his lung, but decided to keep playing anyways. He ended up collapsing the lung, and having to spend 3 days in the hospital, but all things considered, he had a pretty solid series.

The Patriots are going to the playoffs despite having zero football players on the field not named Brady.

For all I know, the Revolution are probably good too. This city just has it all going sports-wise.

Normally, I’d rather watch Olympic Ice Dancing than admit Boston is superior at something, but after the year that the city had, and after overcoming the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, Beantown absolutely deserves to be the happiest sports city of the year. Congrats, Boston, well-earned. We hope you never win it again.