Mikaela Shiffrin and Tom Brady take top sports stories of the year
I get to vote.
No, I’m not a resident of Alabama, so I didn’t vote in that. We’re also past election season in November.
I got my ballot for The Associated Press year-end sports awards. So here are my picks:
The top 10 stories of the year
• No. 1: I wrote it in over the nominees … Mikaela Shiffrin win the World Cup title at the age of 22. Really, AP, that’s a write-in? All she did was conquer the world, except that she didn’t do that in an Olympic year, so I guess that doesn’t count. In a related development, we have shifted to an Olympic year, so get ready, world. Here she comes.
• No. 2: The Trump/NFL/Kaepernick debacle … Send me all the hate mail you want. I’ve already argued why NFL players have every right to take a knee.
It’s not an affront to anyone. If the NFL believed the hallowed status of the anthem, then it would close concession sales 10 minutes before and after the anthem, so that all spectators were in place. (Yeah, right.)
And what’s more ridiculous? President Donald Trump tweeting about this or the fact that Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have a job?
• No. 3: Russia gets the boot from the Olympics (sort of) … It’s a small step, but a step. I would have gone further, banning Russia completely from Pyeongchang, South Korea, because, let’s face it, the country engaged in state-sponsored cheating to make the 2014 Olympics a showcase of its greatness.
By the way for all of you who will write me regarding No. 2 about how politics shouldn’t be in sports, No. 3 here shows that the ship has sailed on that concept.
• No. 4: The Houston Astros win the World Series … Yes, I was rooting for them primarily because they were playing the Los Angeles Dodgers. On a neutral note, Houston had a plan for rebuilding, executed it and lots of other franchises in sports are looking to it as a model.
• No. 5: Clemson beats Alabama for the national title … If your team wins repeatedly, then it’s fun (49ers of the 80s or, say, the San Francisco Giants of 2010, 2012 and 2014). When another team keeps on winning, it’s obnoxious.
It was fun to see the Tide go down. May it happen again on New Year’s Day.
• No. 6: The NHL skips the Olympics … The NHL has the innate ability to shoot itself in the foot. It’s too bad, because hockey’s great, especially on an Olympics-sized sheet. What is the league thinking?
• No. 7: Chargers to Los Angeles and Raiders to Las Vegas … The NFL’s continuing quest to suck every dime possible out of a community is a reason to boycott the league, not kneeling. The Raiders have jobbed Oakland … twice, while San Diego actually cares about the Chargers, while Los Angeles doesn’t even notice they exist.
• No. 8: The United States and Italy don’t qualify for the World Cup … Yes, some pooh-pooh soccer, but it’s only the most popular sport in the world. I’m not asking to win this thing, but being among the top 32 in the world is embarrassing.
• No. 9: The Patriots come back to win Super Bowl LI … Yes, annoying, but it was quite the comeback as the Atlanta Falcons blew a 28-3 lead, and it was the first overtime in the Super Bowl.
• No. 10: Kevin Durant leads the Golden State Warriors to an NBA title … It’s on this list because it’s the sports trend of the rich getting richer, say, like the Yankees getting Giancarlo Stanton because they don’t have enough firepower already.
Stories that annoyed me
• Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. … That was a con from a mile away.
• Anything involving the Ball family. … I just don’t care.
• Tim Tebow plays baseball … His year with the Broncos was awesome, and had major consequences. General manager John Elway was so pained by Tebow pulling games from a very dark place that he acquired Peyton Manning. Enough already.
Top Female Athlete
Huzzah, Shiffrin was actually on this ballot. Novel concept. She got my vote. She will not win this year.
She will be the 2018 AP Top Female Athlete after the Winter Olympics.
Top Male Athlete
Yes, it’s Brady. The guy’s a machine in a sport that chews up people. My top five included Jose Altuve, Roger Federer, Russell Westbrook and Durant.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.
Organizer Rob Simon: It’s such a steep and notorious climb, you’re hitting grades of up to 14 percent, so that’s going to be an intense climb that’s going to …