HELLER: It’s time to ring in the new … and some old

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Here’s a prospective peek at the fun and games of 2012, with the promise that it will be a better year for somebody, somewhere.

January: Because New Year’s Day falls on Sunday, millions of Americans are forced to nurse hangovers without the soothing presence of bowl games on TV. Instead ESPN runs 12 live college basketball games, all with Dick Vitale screaming painfully. … Alabama and LSU play to a boring 6-6 tie in the BCS championship game, bringing new demands for a real college football playoff.

February: Green Bay wins its second straight Super Bowl by thumping the New England Bradys 42-17, prompting Packers coach Mike McCarthy to inquire, “Vince who?” … After the Miami Heat lose their fourth straight game, the club sends LeBron James back to Cleveland in exchange for Lake Erie.

March: Baseball commissioner Bud Selig denies reports that the regular season and league playoffs will be eliminated so that the bolstered Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Angels can proceed directly to the World Series.

April: Duke wins its fifth NCAA basketball title under coach Mike Krzyzewski by thwarting Virginia Commonwealth 85-81 in the Rams’ second straight trip to the Final Four. Two days later, VCU coach Shaka Smart quits to replace Flip Saunders with the hapless Wizards. … President Obama throws out the first ball as the Nationals open their season against the Cubs at Wrigley Field but loses every potential vote on the North Side by doing so in a White Sox jacket and cap.

May: A colt named Isn’t He Clever is disqualified after winning the Kentucky Derby because an investigation reveals he is really 4 years old and lied about his age. … Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg pitches a one-hitter to outduel Phillies ace Roy Halladay 1-0 and run his record to 7-0 as the Nats take over first place in the NL East.

June: Owners of the New Jersey Nets announce the team will move to Brooklyn for the 2012-13 NBA season and be renamed the Dodgers. Whereupon owners of the Los Angeles Kings announce the team will move to New York and be renamed the Yankees. … Rory McIlroy of Ireland wins his second consecutive U.S. Open by a stroke when resurgent Tiger Woods double-bogeys the 72nd hole.

July: Mardy Fish defeats Rafael Nadal to win the men’s singles championships at Wimbledon as Queen Elizabeth II abandons her usual reserve and screams “Go Fish!” throughout the match. … The telecast of the baseball All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium is delayed when Fox sends its TV crews to Kansas City, Kansas, instead of Kansas City, Missouri.

August: After being ejected from a game, first-year Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is fined for appearing in the dugout wearing dark glasses and a granny dress. … When the Nats lose 14 consecutive games not started by Strasburg or Jordan Zimmermann, general manager Mike Rizzo fires manager Davey Johnson and rehires Jim Riggleman, explaining, “The differences between Jimbo and me last season were only a misunderstanding.”

September: Although the Redskins traded way, way up to land Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck in the NFL Draft, coach Mike Shanahan announces that veteran Rex Grossman will start the opening game “because he knows better how to deal with adversity.” … Riggleman quits abruptly as manager of the Nats when Rizzo refuses to discuss a contract extension through 2032.

October: The Capitals lose their first four games, prompting GM George McPhee to dismiss coach Dale Hunter because “he’s simply too tough to relate to today’s players.” … The Cardinals become the first club in 12 years to win back-to-back World Series, edging the Angels 2-1 in Game 7 as former St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols leaves seven runners stranded.

November: After the Redskins’ record drops to 3-8, owner Dan Snyder cans Mike Shanahan and replaces him with son Kyle, who immediately installs Luck as starting quarterback and says, “I think Dad has lost it.” … As the NBA season begins, Bobcats owner Michael Jordan ends his second retirement at age 49 and explains, “I think I can still ‘Be Like Mike.’ “

December: President-elect Ron Paul does coin-flipping honors before the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia, saying, “These brave young guys deserve one more day of glory before I abolish the Armed Services.” … Desperate sports columnist promises that 2013 will be a better year for somebody, somewhere.

For more of the author’s columns, go to dickheller.wordpress.com

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