January 1, 2018


The best sports moments of the year all happened in Houston in February, from the point in the Super Bowl where there was 2:12 minutes to go until James White’s push into the endzone in overtime.

It was incomprehensible.

It was unprecedented.

It was sublime!

The Astros winning the World Series! And how did the Sports Illustrated writer know it was going to happen years in advance?

My favorite sports event was the Mayweather-McGregor fight.  It was a much better fight than I expected.  It’s my favorite because I watched it with the most friends.  Second place would be overtime in the Super Bowl and the Patriots’ remarkable comeback.

Well, for me, high-school hoops eclipses everything…

Before this year, no team from the historically-weak Academic Athletic Association (San Francisco’s public-schools league) had *ever* won a state championship in *any* sport, in any division.
Very few had even gotten close.
Not any more…
Along came the Bears of Mission HS, led by guard Niamey Harris, better-known at the start of the hoops season in the Bay Area high-school sports world as the Mission quarterback.
His 16 points per game, competitive fire and excellent team leadership helped the Bears to a snappy 35-1 record overall, leading to an overtime upset of highly-regarded Southern California champ Villa Park in the Division 3 state championship game (with me in attendance).
In California, there are twelve title games (six boys and six girls) including the invitational “Open” division which often features nationally-ranked powerhouses, but the Division 3 boys’ game (third-lowest) was by far the story of the tournament.
Harris now plays at City College of San Francisco, concentrating fully on basketball.
Not quite Hoosiers or “When Cuba Conquered Kentucky,” but awful darned good!
My favorite was the World Series.Second was the entire baseball playoffs.
Shalane Flanagan winning the New York City Marathon!
World Series Game 5.
The 2017 MLB Postseason was full of really exciting, really loooong games (long enough to truly test this lifelong baseball fan’s patience). Game 5 of the 2017 World Series was really exciting and really long, but it never tested my patience – I wanted more and more and more of it, thanks to an unfathomable sequence of jaw-dropping, mind-blowing moments:
  • Dallas Keuchel failed from the start to deliver his end of the expected pitchers’ duel, surrendering four runs in the first four innings
  • Remarkably, Clayton Kershaw (faced with a favorable path to a 3-2 Series lead heading back to Dodger Stadium for Games 6 & 7) also failed to deliver on his end – not once, but twice!
    • Yuli Gurriel crushed a three-run bomb off Kershaw to tie the game, 4-4, in the fourth inning
    • After Cody Bellinger restored the Dodgers lead to 7-4 (and temporarily dampened the mood in Minute Maid Park) in the top of the fifth inning, the Astros put runners on against Kershaw in the bottom of the inning before Jose Altuve hit a towering, three-run, two-out, game-tying home run off Kenta Maeda
  • George Springer had an adventurous seventh inning, misplaying a base hit into a one-run Astros deficit in the top of the inning, before launching a game-tying solo home run in the bottom of the inning
  • The Astros continued their seventh-inning rally, culminating with Carlos Correa’s ceiling-scraping homer that gave the home team an 11-8 lead, and nearly blew the roof off of Minute Maid Park
  • With the Dodgers down to their last strike in the top of the ninth inning, Chris Taylor tied the game, 12-12, with a single up the middle off Chris Devenski
  • Alex Bregman provided a fitting ending to one of the greatest games in baseball history, driving a two-out, walk-off single into left field off Kenley Jansen
My favorite moment was the successful expansion of the MLS into Atlanta and Minneapolis-St. Paul. The MLS uses a different financial and ownership model that continues to be successful as soccer grows in popularity. As a result, I root for the success of MLS, whereas I’m indifferent to the financial fortunes of the other major professional leagues and the individual team owners.
The greatest moment in 2017 sports came on New Year’s Even when DT Kyle Williams scored his first NFL touchdown, helping break the Buffalo Bills historic playoff drought of 17 years, as well as the ensuing jubilee, beginning in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium concourse, as fans watched the Bengals win, to the city welcoming the team home to subzero temperatures at the Buffalo airport.