Standing Room Only Year In Review: The awards

Standing Room Only Year In Review: The awards
December 31, 2013, 2:00 pm
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Welcome to the Standing Room Only Year End Awards Show!

Please, do everyone a favor and hold your applause until the end. If someone does applause? Please don’t shush them. No one likes a shusher. But we alll love sports. So, let’s look back at the year that was and hand out some much-deserved hardware.

THE “BLEDSOE-TO-KEVIN TURNER” AWARD (Game of the Year)

Runners-Up

November 24: Patriots 34, Broncos 31 (OT): If the Pats had stolen the No. 1 seed, this game takes on a whole new meaning. But even as it is, Brady’s second-half comeback against Peyton Manning, in overtime, on Sunday Night was a classic. A microcosm of the QBs’ Hall of Fame relationship.

February 18: Celtics 118, Nuggets 114 (3OT): This was the last great game of Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce era. Pierce played 54 minutes, scored 27 points, had 14 rebounds, 14 assists and hit a 3-pointer with five seconds left in the second overtime to send it to a third. Garnett played 47 minutes, had 20 points, 18 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocks and scored the first six points of triple overtime to carry the Celtics to the win. This was the seventh and final consecutive win of Boston’s post-Rondo streak, and it was all down hill from there.

October 13: Game 2 of the ALCS — Red Sox 6, Tigers 5: Picking the best game from the Sox' World Series run is like Sophie’s Choice, only if Sophie had 11 kids. But let’s go with Game 2 against the Tigers. Down 5-1, with two outs in the eighth inning, four outs away from a 2-0 hole, a trip to Detroit and a date with Justin Verlander. David Ortiz steps into the box. Joaquin Benoit steps on the rubber. First pitch — TIE GAME!

An inning later, Jarrod Saltamlacchia’s walk-off single gives Boston the win, and they never looked back.

And the winner is . . .

May 13: Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals — Bruins 5, Maple Leafs 4 (OT): Forever changed the way we’ll watch playoff hockey. Created a new stratosphere of hope. Left the door open for comebacks we never could have fathomed. Made it impossible to ever again, in good conscience, leave a playoff game early.

THE JULIAN TAVAREZ/MANNY RAMIREZ AWARD (Best Bromance):

Runners-Up

Tyler Seguin/Brad Marchand: Like Romeo and Juliet, these two were torn apart this summer, and while Seguin is flourishing in his new home, Marchand still seems to be struggling with the distance. It’s never good as the first time, but here’s hoping that Marchand finds loves again and re-discover his former self — before it’s too late.

Tommy Heinsohn and Jordan Crawford: Sky’s the limit for this budding Bromance. It might be the greatest and most fascinating Boston sports friendship since Pedro Martinez and Nelson de la Rosa. The only problem is that it started so late. We haven’t had a chance to see this bromance in full bloom. But I’ll say this: The future looks bright. At least for the next month or so until Crawford’s traded.

LeGarrette Blount and Aqib Talib: Abbot and Costello meets Smokey and Craig makes for the greatest Patriots bromance since Chris Slade and Willie McGinest. Is there any good reason these two don’t have their own realtiy show yet? Oh, right. Bill Belichick

Manti Te’o/Ronaiah Tuiasosopo: There’s still time for these two crazy kids.

And the winner is . . .

Jonny Gomes/Mike Napoli: Champs are the champs. These two forged a bond early in spring training. They birthed the beards. They led the charge. But here’s a question: Have they shaved the beards? I’m pretty sure that Napoli still has his. And while I haven’t heard from Gomes, I doubt he’s had time to shave it between alligator wrestling in Florida and rhino hunting in the West Indies. (I also have no idea if that’s what he’s doing, but wouldn’t be surprised.) Either way, what’s next for the beards? To they stay? Do they shave and start from scratch. Napoli’s about two months away from being able to use his as a bat.

THE BIRD/DR. J CHOKEHOLD AWARD (Best Fight)

Runners-Up

Ryan Dempster vs. Alex Rodriguez: The actual fight wasn’t that great, but the altercation is noteworthy in that Dempster’s selfish act awakened the Yankee beast, turned the A.L. East pennant race upside down, and sabotaged everything that the Red Sox had worked for all season. (Or at least that was all we heard for three days after it happened. Remember?)

Rajon Rondo vs. Kris Humphries: Basketball fight!

Joel Rechlicz vs Milan Lucic: Slightly more entertaining than Rondo/Humprhies, but, hilariously enough, with fewer ejections.




 And the winner is . . .

David Ortiz vs. the Camden Yards dugout phone: Accepting the award tonight, will be the dugout phone’s widow, Shirley. 

THE GENTLEMAN JOHNNY DAMON AWARD (Most Dramatic Departure)

Runners-Up

Wes Welker: Welker’s departure caused nears riots throughout New England, and that was even before the Pats' only other viable receiving target was arrested for allegedly executing one of his friends. But 10 months later, it makes a little more sense. If anything, the issue is more how his addition helped the Broncos as opposed to how much his absence hurt the Patriots.

Tyler Seguin: Maybe he had to go. Maybe it was never going to work in Claude’s system. Maybe the only way he was ever going to grow up was to have someone give up on him. Whatever the reason, the trade hasn’t worked out for Boston. Through 36 games this year, Seguin already has more goals (19) and assists (18) than he did last year in 48 games (18 goals, 16 assists). Meanwhile, Loui Erikkson has scored five goals and suffered two devastating concussions.

Jacoby Ellsbury: No surprise that he split town. A little surprise that he jumped to the Yankees. But in the end, it was what it was. Ellsbury is who he is. And in a year in which Boston said goodbye to Welker, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers, his departure barely registered. It was sports in its coldest and most capitalistic form. It was emotionless. It was without emotion!

Aaron Hernandez: The biggest shock here is still that Hernandez was chewing Bubbalicious. So much sugar in that stuff!

And the winner is . . .

Ubuntu: Six months later, the departure Rivers, Pierce and KG is a little easier to swallow because it was obviously the right move(s). But it was also history. The end of an era. Some of the harshest, deepest and most emotional sports goodbyes the city’s encountered in some time. 

THE TERRY GLENN AWARD (Breakout rookie season)

Runners-Up

Jared Sullinger: From a steal to the real deal, now that Sullinger’s back is in order, he’s emerged as one of Boston’s biggest assets. After Rondo, he’s probably the biggest. All while using his biggest asset (his backside, aka The Widowmaker) to make a mockery of the post. 

Torey Krug: His rookie year didn’t even officially start until this past September, but whatever that was last spring, provides so much hope for the future.

Logan Ryan: Spent a little time in Belichick’s doghouse this season, which is a little scary for the future. But he also spent a lot of time on the field, making plays and emerging as an impact player on a defense that’s dying for more. Ryan finished the year tied for the AFC lead with five interceptions. The highest total of any rookie in the league.

And the winner is . . .

Xander Boegarts: Haven’t been this excited for a Sox prospect since Nomar. His real rookie year is the most exciting aspect of the upcoming season. 

THE BERNARD POLLARD AWARD (Most Devastating Injury)

Runners-Up

Rajon Rondo’s ACL: A healthy Rondo wouldn’t have led Boston to a title last year, but his absence (11 months and counting) has certainly made an impact. If Rondo never got hurt, it’s very fair to wonder if he’d still be here. And as along as he is hurt, the Celtics rebuild will be in limbo. Nothing is real until the Rondo shoe drops. That means a trade or an extension. And that’s the big picture. In real time, it’s just unfortunate that the most exciting basketball player in Boston has been on the sidelines for almost a year.

Vince Wilfork’s ACL: Such a big loss for the Pats' D, but also really emotionally taxing for fans. I mean, how bad do you feel for Vince? I can’t remember the last time an injury bummed me out this much. Watching him on the sidelines during games is like watching Alvin Mack listen to the game on his couch at the end of The Program.

Patrice Bergeron’s entire body: We’ll never know exactly how much pain Bergeron played through in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. But we do know that he had torn cartilage in his ribs. And a separated shoulder. And a punctured lung. And that has to suck. What sucks even more is the thought of what the Bruins might have accomplished with a healthy Bergeron for Game 6 and presumably Game 7. 

And the winner is . . .

Rob Gronkowski’s ACL and MCL: Gronk no like. Gronk’s right knee bend like bow and arrow. Poor Gronk. Poor Tom Brady! The Pats haven’t given up hope, but for the third straight season, they’re without a healthy Gronkowski when it matters most. Gronk sad.

THE RAY ALLEN/RAJON RONDO AWARD (Best In-House Feud)

Runners-Up

Wes Welker vs. Bill Belichick: I’d like to think that someday we’ll get the real story. A full explanation for what Welker ever did to end up in Belichick’s perpetual dog house. But for now, while it still too bad that the rocky relationship resulted in Welker playing for a conference rival, the back and forth was and is still a good time.

Tyler Seguin vs. the Bruins: You know how websites like to tag original videos with some kind of seal or logo so that everyone knows where it came from once it goes viral? Every time something new and ridiculous surfaces about Tyler Seguin’s time in Boston — for instance, this video — I half-expect to see a “Property of the Boston Bruins” stamp in the corner.

And the winner is . . .

Doc Rivers vs. Danny Ainge: The best part about this feud is that neither guy is wrong. Not entirely, at least. It’s more that they both deserve a little blame for how things played out. But neither will give an inch. So, we’re left with a battle of semantics. A non-stop merry go-round of nonsense. Thankfully, it’s worked out for both sides. Doc came back, go this applause, and we can all move on.

THE RODNEY HARRISON AWARD (BIGGEST ADDITION)

Runners-Up

Brad Stevens: It might be too early to jump to conclusions about what the future holds for Stevens in Boston, but then again, it might not be. It might be entirely reasonable to declare his hiring a success and more than anxiously await what will happen next. At the very least, we can say this: The existences of Brad Stevens makes the rebuild easier than it would have otherwise been. He lowers the bar. He can coach up a major difference.

Shane Victorino: He was as advertised, in the best-case scenario. Great defensively, great in the clubhouse, a pain in the ass for opposing pitchers. Victorino had two of the biggest hits of the postseason; two of the biggest hits in Red Sox history. And even if he never played again, he would be more than worth the three year/$39 million price tag.

Tim Tebow: One of the greatest training camps in New England Patriots history. A true inspiration.

And the winner is . . .

Koji Uehara: The most dominant season a closer has ever had in Boston. A unique personality that took over the city and raised the entire game to another level. The experience of watching Koji pitch this year was unlike anything we’ve witnessed in Boston. Unlike anything we will again. Until next year, I guess.

Is there anyway he keeps it up? 

THE TOM BRADY SHOULDER AWARD (Biggest Non-Story)

Runners-Up

Should Boston fans Boo Wes Welker?: Well, should they?

Should Boston fans boo Doc Rivers?: Should they?!

Should Boston fans boo Terry Francona?: For the love of all that’s holy, we need an answer! We need the media to tell us what to feel and how to act. Please! Somebody. Anybody?

And the winner is . . .

Every debate over whether a former player/coach deserves to be booed upon his return to Boston: Across the board. Every one. Please. Please. No more booing debates!

Can that be our collective New Year’s resolution for 2014?

Nice. That's a great way to start.

Follow me on Twitter: @rich_levine