baseball, basketball, college football, football, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Sparks, Major League Baseball, MLB, National League, Pac-12 Conference, Rose Bowl, Southern California sports, Staples Center, USC Trojans, WNBA, Women's Basketball, World Series
The home to four SoCal teams, located in downtown Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of ajburuca.com
HONORING WHO WE SEE AS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S TEAM OF THE YEAR
Two days left in 2016.
It’s only fitting that like every other sports media entity, we give props to the best that this part of California and the country had to offer this year.
Three teams were considered before I made the decision; here are the two that had a great 2016 but didn’t quite make it to the top…
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
The Dodgers celebrating their West Division title
* National League West Division Champions for the fourth straight year
* Beat the Washington Nationals in the NLDS
* Lost to the eventual World Champion Chicago Cubs in the NLCS
All right, so they didn’t make the World Series for the 28th consecutive year.
But considering they failed to reach that goal at the hands of a team that ended up winning that Series for the first time in 108 years – in a spectacularly dramatic fashion, no less – and became the undisputed top sports story of 2016,
Dodger fans should credit, congratulate, and tip their caps to those Chicago Cubs.
And keep in mind that the Cubs winning the title shouldn’t take away from the season their team had, overcoming so many injuries on the mound to take their 4th straight division crown.
USC TROJAN FOOTBALL
Preparing to take the field at the Coliseum
Any team that starts a season 1-3 with their first game ending in a woodshed whipping by a team that is virtually everyone’s choice to win the national championship in a little more than ten days.
Who then, after changing their quarterback, rattles off eight straight wins,
Including a dominating effort over their two traditional rivals and a team who won the conference and is scheduled to play the program that whipped you 52-6 in September in the College Football Playoff semifinals,
Which earned them a top ten ranking and a spot in the most prestigious of bowl games, which will be played in Pasadena this coming Monday,
More than deserves props, respect, and a mention here.
One other SoCal team eclipsed these two.
I won’t waste anymore time: Here’s my choice for SoCalSportsAnnals.com’s team of 2016…
THE LOS ANGELES SPARKS
Celebrating a hard-fought WNBA title after their epic 77-76 Game 5 win over Minnesota in Minneapolis. Photo courtesy of lasentinel.net
The only team from the greater Los Angeles area to win a championship in 2016.
Anyone who disputes this choice must have their views on a woman’s place in sports questioned, because not only did these Sparks win their third WNBA championship, they won it in a most exciting fashion.
And they didn’t sneak in the back door either, sporting a 26-8 record in the regular season and beating the one team with a better win-loss mark, the 28-6 Minnesota Lynx, with a winning shot in the last seconds of a winner-take-all Game Five in the Finals.
On the road!
It was (in my view) the greatest game in the history of women’s basketball and, along with the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team’s legendary win over China in the 1999 World Cup Finals at the Rose Bowl – the one made famous by Brandi Chastain ripping off her jersey and exposing her sports bra – one of the two greatest contests n the history of women’s sports.
The most exciting finish in the history of women’s basketball and one of the most exciting in basketball, period – The last seconds of the Sparks’ title-clinching win. Courtesy of YouTube.
A game in which if it doesn’t elevate the sport, I honestly don’t know what will.
The only question remaining is how Candace Parker, Nneka Qgwumike, and the rest of their Sparks teammates will top those heroics in 2017; can they repeat?
We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, but for now…
These athletes more than deserve the distinction from this site as the best that SoCal had to offer in sports this year.
May 2017 be as good as 2016 for them,
And better – a LOT better for certain teams who won’t be mentioned as I don’t want to throw salt on their wounds – for everyone else.
Happy New Year From SoCal Sports Annals!