December 30, 2008
Twelve months ago, none of the Yahoo! Sports blogs existed in their current form. Shutdown Corner, Big League Stew, Ball Don't Lie, Puck Daddy, Dr. Saturday, The Dagger, From the Marbles, Devil Ball, Cage Writer and Roto Arcade were all born -- or at least redeveloped -- in '08. They now rank among the top sports blogs on the web and result from the efforts of two dozen-plus bloggers (each of whom is listed on the right-hand side of this page).
Of that group, some are writers, and some are artists. Some are athletes, and some are journalists. All of them, like you, are fans. As such, they gravitate to the games, but like sportswriter Dick Young advised Roger Kahn in "Boys of Summer":
"Anytime you get your story off the game you got to do it. Because that’s unusual and people read unusual things. Fights. Bean balls. Whatever. Write them, not the game … But most of the time you do write the games."
Our year was most unusual, and that's the focus here. For those of you who read this stuff the first time, here's to hoping it ages well. And for those of you who missed it, it's not too late to live through this, the year of the Yahoo! Sports blogs, a categorical retrospective ...
Story of the year: The Tampa Bay Rays. They not only went from worst-to-first in the AL East (and eventually to the World Series), but they did so in style: changing their name, growing Rayhawks, distancing themselves from Hollywood types and finding new and inventive uses for jock supporters.
Video of the year: Def Leppard disgraces Lord Stanley. The most glorious trophy in sports was in Detroit to celebrate the Red Wings' championship, as was Def Leppard. To quote Puck Daddy, "This is what you get for booking a band from England: Drive on the wrong side of the road, place the holiest of holy hockey grails on a pedestal upside down." Ouch.
Satire of the year: NFL Shark Week. MJD's look at players surviving shark attacks is as funny as it is ridiculous, and the pièce de résistance is when the shark squares off with an indecisive Brett Favre. I'd rather not spoil it, but try not to LOL when the shark says, "HE'S LIKE A LITTLE KID OUT HERE."
Media bird-doggin' of the year: Dudes LOVE Erin Andrews. They do, so much so that she's been dubbed "Erin Pageviews", which isn't a big deal, really, unless you're familiar with the blogosphere's -- and all of sports media's, really -- infatuation with the ESPN sideline reporter. Then it's a creepy kind of love.
Real reporting of the year: Investigating Mike Commodore's Facebook photo. Our bloggers don't do much "real reporting", but sometimes, when they do, magic happens, as it did when Puck Daddy looked into Mr. Commodore making it rain on himself. His agent explained it away with good humor, saying, "Somewhere there is a horny orangutan looking at this photo and falling in love."
Athlete blogging of the year: Chris Cooley's adventures in drug testing. The Redskins Pro Bowler wrote for Shutdown Corner this year and led his drug testing post with this: "How do I end up in a bathroom stall at the Borgata with my pants around my ankles while a man named Bill stares at my penis?" It gets better from there (don't miss a pants-less Clinton Portis), as does the rest of Cooley's archive.
Honorable mention: Too Much Rod Benson
Lists/tournaments of the year: BDL Bedlam. Thanks to the creativity and will of J.E. Skeets, this 64-seed, NBA-themed tournament came off without a hitch. Marko Jaric's girlfriend and Dikembe Mutombo's finger wag faced off in the final, and you can guess which won the popular vote.
Fashion statement of the year: Kerri Walsh's bandage. Thanks in part to the Mystery Solves series, Fourth-Place Medal was a smash hit, and one such mystery was the black stuff on Mrs. Walsh's shoulder that looked "like a cross between a tribal tattoo and a Rorschach test." After
a simple web search an extensive investigation, it turns out it was medical tape. Huh.
Interview of the year: Greg Oden. We were fortunate to interview many people this year, but Mr. Oden is a blogger and total goofball, so he gets the honor. The money quote is his snap response when asked to name the dream animal: "a flying monkey." Of course it's a flying monkey.
Photoshop/Artwork of the year: Eddy Curry, gymnast. After hearing of Mr. Curry's childhood dream, this contest called for Photoshops of the portly Knick doing whatever it is gymnasts do. And it's fitting that this ends with the work of the readers who make everything possible. Thank you. It was a very good year.
More Y! Sports year of the blog posts: Shutdown Corner (NFL), Big League Stew (MLB), Ball Don't Lie (NBA), Puck Daddy (NHL), Dr. Saturday (NCAAF), The Dagger (NCAAB), From the Marbles (NASCAR), Devil Ball (golf) and Cage Writer (MMA)