I will be doing a national version of this list on Wednesday. I did my best to make these INDIVIDUAL moments, but it was such a long list it was somewhat tough. I did not consider the Capitals in my list-as they have the word “Washington” in front of their name.
Honorable Mention: Orioles trade for Kevin Millwood, UMBC & Mt. St. Mary’s reach conference championship games-Towson almost joins them, Hopkins football gets buzzer beating win in NCAA Tournament, Ravens sign Matt Birk and Baltimore’s own Domonique Foxworth, Maryland soccer reaches Elite 8 in NCAA Tournament, Eastern Tech wins first state title, Ralph Friedgen remains at Maryland, Debbie Yow offers “full support” to Gary Williams, Gary nabs highly rated recruiting class, Mark “TNT” Tucker wins USBO belt, Ray Rice scores first career TD, Rod Woodson first Raven in Hall of Fame, Orioles extend contracts of Markakis and Roberts
25-“The Band That Wouldn’t Die” airs on ESPN
24-Loyola soccer returns to NCAA Tournament
23-Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman make MLB debuts
22-Calvert Hall snaps Loyola’s streak in Turkey Bowl
21-Hopkins, Towson play lax thriller at Unitas Stadium
20-Maryland beats Cal in NCAA Tournament opener
19-Ravens go to Miami for first playoff win since ’02
18-Maryland, Virginia play 7OT thriller in lacrosse
17-Phelps beats Cavic in Swimming classic
16-MMA Makes Baltimore Debut
15-Baltimore Blast claim another NISL title
14-Orioles rally from down 10-1 to beat Red Sox
13-Maryland Women win ACC Tournament
12-Navy gets 2nd win at Notre Dame in as many tries
11-Steve McNair murdered in Nashville
Was it technically a “local” story? No. But did it reverberate here in Baltimore? Big time. Other notable local sports deaths this year included former Ravens LB Tony Fein, Former Bullets owner Abe Pollin, Former Colts LB Mike Woods, Perry Hall High track coach Jerry Martin, “The Human Eraser” Marvin Webster, Hall of Fame 3B George Kell, Former Maryland football coach Lou Saban, Mervo track coach William Vaughan, River Hill lineman Steven Dankos and former Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart.
10-Maryland beats Wake Forest to “clinch” another trip to NCAA Tournament
After a loss to Virginia in Charlottesville, the Terrapins NEEDED a win over Wake in the ACC Tournament to punch their ticket to March Madness. Not only did they get it, they got it emphatically.
9-Ravens Draft Michael Oher
How many times do you know EXACTLY as much about the 23rd pick in the NFL Draft as you do about the 1st pick? Of course, this moment might not have meant as much had Oher not gone on to play at arguably a Pro Bowl level in 2009. And this thing……
8-Orioles Fans Boo Teixeira, Cheer on Win over Yankees on Opening Day
As Bob Haynie said, it felt like Memorial Stadium on Opening Day….
And there is NO DOUBT that this is one of the lasting images of the season……
7-Morgan State wins MEAC Tournament, Advances to NCAA Tournament
It wasn’t JUST a revival for Todd Bozeman. It was the moment that completed the revival for the entire Bears program. For a school with a significant athletic history, a moment like this was notably missing from their resume.
6-Ray Lewis makes “The Tackle” in San Diego
Greatest play in team history? Quite possibly. The more significant thing to discuss would be whether or not this might be the lasting image we have over #52 as we reach the tail-end of his career.
5-Chelsea, AC Milan turn Baltimore into soccer town for one night
It wasn’t just a special night for soccer fans. It was a special night for ANY Baltimore sports fan who has wanted something to do over the summer. While Oriole Park at Camden Yards remains barren after April unless the Red Sox or Yankees come to town, M&T Bank Stadium was PACKED for a night that was in a word-awesome. You probably don’t remember who won the match (Chelsea), but you might remember thinking to yourself after you left “Maybe I WOULD support a MLS team if they moved here.”
4-Rachel Alexandra wins Preakness with captivating performance
Unbelievably, there was actually one thing that could take our attention from the bigger story-which was the MAJOR drop in attendance at Pimlico due to the decision to ban alcohol on the infield by the Maryland Jockey Club. BUT-the performance of Rachel Alexandra, and the opportunity for Calvin Borel personally to pursue the Triple Crown actually made us interested in THE SPORT of horse racing again. It was an incredible year for the sport all around-as Rachel was even more dominant in the Kentucky Oaks, Mine That Bird won an improbable Kentucky Derby, and another filly in Zenyatta was breathtaking in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
3-Matt Wieters makes MLB Debut
He created a rainbow for crying out loud……
I’m not sure there’s ever been a more anticipated debut for an Orioles player…..ever. Ben McDonald? Jeffrey Hammonds? They were anticipated, but not like this. After 12 years of misery, O’s fans just needed hope. It wouldn’t mean the team was going on to win the World Series, but it was at least a positive step…..
2-Maryland stuns #3 ranked North Carolina
Twice I was moved to tears by a local sports moment this season. This was one of them. Greivis Vasquez put together what I called his “Mona Lisa” in recording a triple double and leading the Terps back from down double digits late to beat UNC. It was one of the more breathtaking individual efforts we had ever seen from a Maryland player. There was a time when the College Park faithful wouldn’t have been so disappointed to see Vasquez depart for the NBA Draft, but this was clearly the moment that turned him from a polarizing figure to a player who is carving his own place amongst the great players in Maryland history.
1-Ravens beat Titans to advance to the AFC Championship Game
In a season that was built on emotion, it was the ultimate emotional game. As I wrote at WNST.net after the final gun, I was in tears. They didn’t make the Super Bowl, but there is no doubt that we will look back fondly on that team for years. The way they rallied around OJ Brigance, the win in Dallas, two playoffs wins-and all of it done with a first year head coach and rookie QB. It was some kind of special. On top of all of that, this would be the last time we’d see a meaningful kick from one of the most popular athletes in the history of Charm City…..
Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…..