I am going on vacation and won’t be back until the new year. Happy Holidays to all!! Have a safe one everyone.
Because of that….this will be my last journal entry for 7-10 days [I may be able to sneak on a computer and throw one up here sometime]. I’ve worked over the last 2 days to put some stuff on here to read.
Here is a look back at the surprising and disappointing teams in sports for 2004. And NO…I am not going to put the Boston Red Sox in there. Before the season…they were one of the favorites to win the World Series. All of this things surrounding their championship season made it so special.
DETROIT PISTONS. This team canned it’s coach and made a pretty risky mid-season deal to get, at times, volatile Rasheed Wallace. They didn’t win their division…but went into Indiana and stole the East from them. Of course, that was just to be the West’s red-headed stepchild. Well, Detroit thoroughly spanked the Lakers. Spanked them in LA [though the Lakers did fight back to win one] and really spanked them in Detroit. Where did they come from?? They snatched the trophy away from the West for the first time since Jordan sank that shot at the FT line in 1998.
TEXAS RANGERS. This was a team that lost Alex Rodriguez…yet won 89 games [18 more than last season] and were in the playoff hunt up until the final week.
UTAH UTES FOOTBALL. I know, they play in the Mountain West. So what. They blew out virtually everyone they played…including some BCS conference teams. They became the first non-BCS school to get into a BCS game. Their coach will be in Florida next year….but the program could still thrive.
XAVIER MUSKETEERS. They lost A-10 player of the year David West to the NBA. Yet, they surprised everyone by getting to the Elite 8 and nearly popping Duke for a shot at the Final Four.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING. Yeah…the Tampa Bay Lightning are Stanley Cup Champions. A hockey team in Tampa. A hockey team that sucked so bad for most of it’s existence. And they beat fellow surprise team Cal-gary to do it.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS. How is this team the AFC West champ?? They drafted a QB that didn’t want to sign. But the guy that he was meant to replace is an All Pro. Their best receiver is a basketball player. And name a guy on defense….and one of them!
MIAMI HEAT. The pre-Shaq Heat. The team has been in shambles since Alonzo Mourning’s kidney problems started. He left for New Jersey and the Heat drafted Dwayne Wade. Suddenly the Heat were the #4 seed in the East….behind the Pistons. Pacers and Nets.
CHICAGO CUBS. They weren’t terrible disappointments…I mean, they did finish 89-73. However, they were supposed to be at least in the playoffs, right? Instead, you had Sammy sulking….players vs. announcers…and even Dusty Baker frustrated. Not to mention that they’ve inherited the Red Sox badge of total suffering franchise alone.
SEATTLE MARINERS. How did this team get this bad?? I know they had no pitching…but didn’t Seattle have enough mashers out there?? Ichiro broke a 80+ year record for hits and they still couldn’t score enough.
MIAMI DOLPHINS. Blame it on Ricky Williams. I do.
MIAMI HURRICANES. This was a team that was in two of the last three National Championship games. They were a top 5 pre-season pick. Yet, they lost to North Carolina…then Clemson, at home, the very next weekend. Yet, they still had a shot to win the ACC…but were knocked off, at home again, by Virginia Tech. Add to the fact that both Florida State and Louisville should have beaten them [both in Miami] and this could….could….be a 6-5 team.
DETROIT RED WINGS. The team won the President’s trophy for best regular season record. But, again, they came up short…getting smacked by Calgary. They did make a big trade for Robert Lang…Hasek’s return didn’t go smoothly as he and Cujo kept fighting [Legace turned out to be their top goalie]….Hull is now gone…and Stevie Y is hurt.
STANFORD CARDINAL HOOPS. They went thru the regular season with 1 loss….then lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament to Alabama. Great season cut short.
PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS AND UTAH JAZZ. Well, you can’t call them total disappointments. In fact, both teams made surprising runs for the playoffs. What was disappointing was to see their long playoff streaks come to an end. The Jazz missed the playoffs for the first time since 1983. The Blazers haven’t missed them since 1981. The longest current streak belongs, shakily, to the Lakers .