What makes a great sports year? Do we define a sports year when the unthinkable becomes reality? When we say goodbye to greatness? Do we define the world of sports with the motto “anything could happen”? As we turn the page on 2016 in to 2017, the contributors of Back Sports Page look back at the year that was 2016 with their highlights and memories. Today we focus on Major League Baseball
Danielle McCartan (Pro Sports Rundown): Top story is the Baby Bombers have arrived in the Bronx. I was at the 1996 World Series reunion. The first baseball game I ever attended was the Yankees vs. Brewers in June of 1996. Seeing that team, the beginning of the Yankee Dynasty, back together was a trip down memory lane, for sure. As the baseball gods would have it, in the sweltering heat of summertime in New York City, Baby Bombers Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin hit back-to-back home runs in their first at-bats in the big leagues. There is not doubt that in the presence of the original Yankee Dynasty team, Judge and Austin tipped off a brand-new one.
Ashley Mayle (Back Sports Page):This was the year and ending Major League Baseball needed. Baseball has been dying in urban communities, lacking diversity and has been on the list of cut programs on college campuses across the country; But this year, this year could be the year that everything turns around. The Cubs vs Indians World Series was magical. It had all the story lines; droughts for each organization, Midwest cities with some of the best fans in the world, individual player stories and America’s pastime back on the biggest stage for all the world to see. That prolific 7 game series brought life back into the game for all generations, and opened eyes of all young athletes around the world. As a native Clevelander, it wasn’t the result I had hoped for, but it was jam-packed with emotions that I haven’t felt since the Indians’ teams of the 90’s. This series was much more than just the 2016 World Series, it was a rebirth and reunion for baseball and America.
Mario Sencion (Back Sports Page) :In the MLB, as much as the Cubs made their statement by winning the world series I feel that the Cleveland Indians made their mark. In the beginning of the 2016 season I didn't think they had a chance yet as the season developed they stood out. So I feel that the top story for me would be the shocking run that the Indians were able to put together. On the flip side the story would be how the NY Mets managed to injure their way through the season!
Scott Thompson (Beast of the East Sports): unfortunately, when I think about the 2016 season I think of the tragic death of Jose Fernandez. That fateful Sunday morning was one I will never forget. Not only did the baseball word mourn, but the sports world paid their respects to a pitcher that had so much more ahead of him. There were many other story lines like Trevor Story's monsterous start to the season and Bartolo Colon's first career HR, but it was a sad story that stole the headlines in 2016
Steve Saunders (Back Sports Page):Everyone is going to say the Cubs. I'm not saying the Cubs. No way, not happening, won't do it, not on your life...they did win after over a century of nothing...so that's cool...even if they needed a fake rain delay to do it
Ryan Morik (Beast of the Beast Sports): MLB I have a tie for the best MLB moment of 2016 - the Cubs winning the World Series for the first time in 108 years is self explanatory. Watching Kris Bryant smile from ear to ear making the final out in one of the greatest games in MLB history to end the longest title drought in sports was fun to watch. But something else that got me emotional was Dee Gordon smashing a bomb just one day after his best friend, Marlins' ace Jose Fernandez, was tragically killed in a boating accident. Gordon said that was the farthest home run he had ever hit in his entire life. Jose was watching over him that night, there's no way around it. That entire night, despite being filled with tears, was also filled with magic.
David Mignano (Back Sports Page): MLB: How could it be anything else than the Cubs winning the World Series? Coming into the year as the odds on favorites it would be hard to find a Cubs fan that wasn’t feeling cynical. A strong veteran presence backed up by an equally impressive young group came storming out of the gates to open the year. They faltered some as the year moved into the dog days, but Joe Maddon was able to get them back on track heading into September. In the World Series two teams with historically long droughts squared off and it was a classic series. The ratings were the highest they’ve been in years. Not only was the electricity running through both cities, but the entire baseball world as a classic Game 7 was played. The curse finally ended, Bartman finally can breathe, and Theo Epstein solidified his Hall of Fame Career as he led the charge for both the Red Sox and Cubs to crush their curses.
Eric Webb (Back Sports Page):One of the biggest stories for baseball is the possibility of Tim Tebow playing in the Major League. No matter what this guy does the media always manages to find him, and this time he shook things up by deciding to pursue a career in baseball after a failed NFL career. When I heard the story I said “good for him,” but a lot of people think he should just give up sports. I’m sure he wanted to play football more than baseball but in my opinion, life throws you curve balls, and you only lose when you don’t swing back.