Top 10 NY Sports Moments of 2009

December 30, 2009

...where dreams are made of

As 2009 comes to a close, and Luis Castillo drops the ball  in Times Square, we reflect on those moments (good or bad) in the past year that made New York sports entertaining, frustrating, and memorable.  Players went down, new players arrived, and even a Championship was won for the city.  Tears were shed, fans jumped for joy, and in a time of recession sports provided us with an outlet to escape. 

No. 10- Rex Ryan introduced as Jets head coach. 

Rex Ryan, formerly the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, accepted the Jets head coaching vacancy on January 21, agreeing to a four-year contract.  Eric Mangini was let go, and Ryan let out a breath of fresh air to a fan base that has experienced nothing but disappointment over the past 20 years.  In his introduction to Jet fans and the New York media, Ryan proclaimed that the Jets would win a Super Bowl during his tenure, and that his team would be the most aggressive football squad New York has ever seen.  Rex has backed up most of his statements, as Gang Green currently holds the number 1 defense, and the team has a pretty bright future moving forward.

No. 9- Islanders select John Tavares with the first overall pick

Speaking of futility, the Isles have been a doormat in the NHL most of the decade.  Due to a horrendous 2008 season, Garth Snow and the Islanders held the number 1 overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, and selected what appears to be a future star in John Tavares.  With concerns over the Lighthouse Project and whether their team will relocate, Islander fans needed something to excite them, and Tavares definitely provides that.  The 19-year-old currently leads the team with 16 goals and 28 points. 

No. 8- Giants lose to Eagles in NFC Divisional playoffs

The New York Giants looked unbeatable for most of 2008, but then things changed when Plaxico pulled a Cheddar-Bob and shot himself in the leg.  Big Blue still had everything in front of them to another Championship, including a home playoff game against the hated Eagles.  Many thought the Giants would win, but Donovan McNaab and Brian Westbrook proved to be too much, and the G-Men bowed out of the NFL playoffs.  With the loss, the Giants’ season ended with an overall record of 12-5. The Philadelphia Eagles also became the first team to beat the Giants twice in the same season in Giants Stadium. 

No. 7- Yankee walk-off wins

During 2009, the New York Yankees had 15 walk-off wins, including one in the Post-Season.   They had three in a row against the Twins from May 15-17 and who could forget Luis Castillo dropping the pop-up on June 12.  On August 7th, Alex Rodriguez hit a 15th inning two-run homer to give the Yankees a win over the Sox.   In game 2 of the ALDS, Mark Texeira hit a low line drive just over the left field wall to give the Yanks another walk-off victory over the Twins. 

No. 6- Jose Reyes hamstring injury

2009 could not end quickly enough for the Mets, and the mysterious injury to Jose Reyes was a microcosm of the Mets year.  What first began as a day-to-day injury quickly turned into a season-long problem, as Reyes would never return to the field.  There were plenty of doctors, plenty of diagnosis’ and the Mets lost 90 games as they saw player after player go down.  The pitching staff could not overcome the lack of offense, and the “Amazing’s” drifted off into obscurity for the second half of the season. 

No. 5- Jets draft Mark Sanchez

GM Mike Tannenbaum is not one to shy away from making a splash, and the 2009 NFL draft was no different.  Gang Green traded up to draft the former USC star with the 5th overall pick, giving Sanchez and most Jet fans their wish.  The drafting of Sanchez continued what Rex Ryan started, a change of culture for the New York Jets franchise.  While it is still to be determined how good the “Sanchise” will be, Jet fans definitely have something to look forward to for years on end. 

No. 4- Yankees and Mets open new stadiums

Citi Field cost close to $900 million, and Yankee Stadium topped that with $1.2 billion.  Both stadiums lived up to the hype and presented fans with two different styled ball parks.  Citi Field was noted for its’ fan-friendly atmosphere and sight lines and Yankee Stadium was boasted as a tremendous spectacle and a cathedral of sorts.  The ticket prices were high, and in one case the product was not worth the price of admission, but both parks provided great (and not so great) moments in 2009. 

N0. 3- Syracuse and UConn go to six overtimes

It was a war of attrition, and also described as one of the greatest college games of all-time.  It took place in the quarter-finals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden as Syracuse outlasted the Huskies 127-117.   Six players had double-doubles, eight players fouled out, and the game lasted three hours and 46 minutes.    “I’ve got no words,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said when asked to describe the second-longest Division I game ever. “I’ve never been prouder of any team I’ve coached.”   Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn  had 34 points and 11 assists in a game-high 67 minutes, only 3 fewer than were played.  

No. 2- Big Blue closes out Giants Stadium with loss to Panthers

Giants Stadium opened with a loss to the hated Cowboys in 1976, and closed with an even tougher loss to the Carolina Panthers.  In a stadium that saw plenty of joyful memories, the Giants gave their fans one they will never forget, this time in embarrassing fashion.   Big Blue trailed 17-0 early, and quickly saw the game get out of hand.  One Giant fan described the crowd as “shocked” adding “the fans couldn’t even boo, they were that upset.”   Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin apologized to the fans after the game, but no apology can erase the disappointment in the fans eyes as they said goodbye to the stadium and left the parking lot. 

No. 1- Yankees win number 27

The Bronx Bombers captured their 27th Championship by defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in 6 games.  From Texeira’s monster regular season, to C.C. Sabathia’s dominance, to Johnny Damon’s double-steal, the Yankees had an incredible 2009.  Furthermore, A-Rod was able to overcome past post-season failures and silenced his critics and Derek Jeter returned to prominence with a bounce-back season.  Yes, the Yankees had by far the highest payroll in baseball, but credit must be given to spending that money wisely and getting the job done when it mattered.  In a year that saw plenty of despair for New York sports teams, the Yankees were able to bring the city back to the top and are in great shape for a repeat in 2010.


One comment

  1. what??!! this is absurd.. how about Knicks sign Darko Milicic??? hahahahaha

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