2010 did not see a New York team win a championship. Not even the New York Yankees. It was the first time in 110 years that the Bombers didn't win it all. OK, of course that's not true, but it sure as heck seems like it. The Yankees and the New York Jets came the closest out of all the local teams to the achieving the ultimate prize, making it all the way to their respective league/conference championships. But they lost, which is not supposed to happen to New York teams. The New York Mets bumbled their way through the season, ensuring the end of the Omar Minaya era. The New York Giants collapsed like the 2007 Mets' bullpen, ending their season and closing out Giants Stadium in disgrace. The New York Knicks were awful. The New Jersey Nets were whatever word comes after awful. The New York Rangers missed out on the playoffs by one stinking shootout loss. The New Jersey Devils were one and done in the postseason once again. And the New York Islanders finished in last place, where they usually finish. So it was not a banner year for New York sports. Here's a month-by-month look at the past year in sports:
The 2010 New York sports world got rolling on January 1. The Knicks won a thriller, beating the Hawks in overtime, 112-108. Nate Robinson poured in a whopping 41 points. The Knicks decided to sell high and, before the diminutive guard could even get to the locker room, he was traded to Boston for JoJo White, Oil Can Boyd and Matt Damon. The next day, four local teams began their new year. The Nets lost to Cleveland, 94-86, giving them a 3-30 record. That sounds like a joke, but that was actually their record at the time. 3-30. On the ice, the Rangers lost in overtime, 2-1, to Carolina. Marian Gaborik scored the only goal of the game for the Blueshirts, and he would, in fact, be the only Ranger to score a goal for the rest of the season. The Islanders won in a shootout, beating Atlanta, 6-5, which spurred them on to a streak of six wins in seven games. The Thrashers' Ilya Kovalchuk scored his last-ever NHL goal in that game. The Devils toppled Minnesota, 5-3. Jamie Langenbrunner scored a hat trick and immediately retired, foreseeing what the 2010-'11 season would hold.
On January 3, the Giants closed out their season with a 44-7 loss in Minnesota. They were run out of town after disgracing Giants Stadium in their final game there the week before, when they lost to Carolina, 41-9. They were so bad it wasn't even the Carolina Panthers that they lost to but the Carolina Hurricanes. Perry Fewell was hired soon after to take over the defense, and he discovered a big problem with 2009 unit--they were only using eight players. In his first act as coach, he announced they would go back to the traditional 11-player configuration. The Jets finished their regular season on the 3rd by killing the Bengals, 37-0. Cincinnati insisted the game didn't really count because they "weren't trying." That was the last-ever game at Giants Stadium. Afterward, Jets owner Woody Johnson announced that his team would be moving back to Shea Stadium. When told that Shea no longer existed, he asked, "OK, how about the Polo Grounds then? No? I guess we'll have to stick with the Giants here in New Jersey or wherever the hell this place is." Rex Ryan's first season with the Jets was a wild success, as his team went on to be the Cinderella story of the year--if Cinderella boasts, brags, smells, swears and has swagger dripping out of her pores, that is. They defeated the Bengals again the following week to open the playoffs, stunned the Chargers, highlighted by Shonn Greene's 53-yard touchdown run, but fell to the Colts in the AFC Conference Championship Game. The Jets had a 17-13 lead but that was mainly due to the Colts resting their starters in the first half so they would be fresh for the last 30 minutes. And on January 22, the Mets traded Brian Stokes to Anaheim for Gary Matthews Jr., cementing their fourth-place finish before the first pitch of the season was even thrown.
Despite fan protests, the Knicks and Nets were forced to keep playing their games. The Knicks went 2-9 in the month, while the Nets were 2-11. On February 4, Kovalchuk was traded to the Devils, cementing their fourth-place finish in 2010-'11. The Devils went 2-4-1 in the month of February, while the Rangers' record was 3-3 and the Islanders 2-4. The teams then took a two-week break to watch or play in the Olympics or just completely ignore the whole thing. Bruce Jenner won the decathlon (which took place in the winter due to a clerical error) and suffered a tragic accident while receiving his Gold medal, which resulted in horrible disfigurement leading to botched plastic surgery on his face and somehow becoming Kim Kardashian's stepfather. There's no record of that actually happening, but trust me, it did.
Early in the month, the Jets acquired LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie promised his new coach that he would name his 16th child "Rex" and his 23rd offspring "Ryan." Then nothing much at all happened until the 29th, when the Nets won their 10th game, ensuring that they wouldn't supplant the 1972-'73 76ers as the worst team of all time. A parade was thrown for the Nets in East Rutherford, and then they were promptly kicked out of town and told to never come back. They played the rest of their games that season in an undisclosed location, and subsequently moved to Newark.
Basketball season mercifully came to an end on April 14. The Knicks lost to Toronto, 131-113, which was David Lee's final game as a Knick. He scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and he was named the team's player of the year and given an old gift certificate to Crazy Eddie's for his troubles. The Knicks finished with a 29-53 record, which amazingly enough didn't even come close to last place. That honor went to the Nets, who were defeated in their last game by the Miami Heat in double overtime. They ended the 2009-'10 season with a 12-70 mark. And much to their surprise, they were allowed to stay in the NBA for at least another year.
The Rangers made a big playoff push, winning five of six games heading into their last contest in Philadelphia. They missed out on the playoffs by one point when they lost the game in a shootout. The final and decisive play came when Olli Jokinen skated toward the net during the shootout but tripped over one of Bobby Clarke's teeth that was thought to be lost for the last 40 years (and how it made from the Spectrum to the new arena is anybody's guess), and the puck trickled harmlessly off his stick. The Islanders, after hanging around in playoff contention for a chunk of the season, finished in last place. Rookie John Tavares led the team with 54 points, but confessed after the last game that he thought he'd been playing on the Ottawa Senators the whole season. The Devils finished in first place, with 103 points, but lost to the Flyers in five games in the first round of the playoffs. They weren't too concerned, though, as one member of the team said, "I think next season will really be our year." Jacques Lemaire, though, had had enough and retired. Not "Brent Sutter retired," but really retired. Or so he thought.
Baseball season officially got underway on Sunday, April 4, when the Yankees played the Red Sox in Joe Morgan and Jon Miller's final ESPN opener. Despite Curtis Granderson homering in his first at-bat as a Yankee, prompting John Sterling to begin a singing career and release his first single, "The Grandy Man Can," Boston beat the Yanks, 9-7. Nick Johnson batted second in the lineup, but when the game ended he just wandered off and was never heard from again. That was the only day the bombers would spend in last place, and they would finish the month in second, with a 15-7 record. Robinson Cano was named the American League Player of the Month after putting up an OPS of 1.201, and he would forever be known as "MVP candidate Robinson Cano."
The Mets opened up on the 5th, and despite a lineup that included Matthews, Alex Cora and Mike Jacobs, they easily defeated the Marlins, 7-1. David Wright bashed a home run in his first at-bat of the season, ending any speculation that his lack of power in '09 would continue. Jose Reyes started the season on the disabled list with a thyroid issue, and Carlos Beltran was also out, with knee problems. He underwent groundbreaking surgery, though, not seen since the days of Tommy John. Beltran had the giant mole on his face removed and inserted into one of his knees, giving him extra ligament support. That procedure is now known as Carlos Beltran Surgery. The Amazin's would have an up-and-down month, wallowing in last place on the 23rd, but they catapulted to first only four days later, and ended April with an eight-game winning streak and a 14-9 record. Phenom Ike Davis made his major league debut on April 19, helping the Mets in their quick turnaround. The highlight of the month was a 20-inning win over St. Louis. What could possibly go wrong for the Mets?