Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The 2016 Brewskies: Awarding the funny and dubious moments in sports

The 2016 Brewskies
by rick olivares

It’s the year’s end and you know what that means – it’s time to hand out the Brewskies – awards for the dubious and hilarious and WTF moments in sports for 2016. And let me tell you, the past year was really one for the books.

Curses Foiled Again Award
Heading into the World Series, all the chatter between the two protagonists – the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians was which clubbed was cursed the most in their baseball history and how the loser will feel more cursed. The Cleveland Indians took a 3-1 series lead and only needed one more win to wrap it up.

Shockingly, they lost the last three matches including an 8-7 heartbreaker in 10 innings during Game 7.

Rocky Colavito lives and continues to be cursed in Ohio.

Dubious Achievement Award
The Golden State Warriors join the Seattle Mariners and the New England Patriots as the teams with the all-time season best record only to lose when it matters either in the playoffs or the finals.

The Warriors’ broke the Chicago Bulls’ 20-year record of 72-10 by winning one more game. Yet unlike those Bulls and the 1972 Miami Dolphins who pled the NFL’s only perfect season, they won the championship.

And to paraphrase the 1996 Bulls’ Ron Harper, “73-9 don’t mean a thing without a ring.”

Hit Maker of the Year
This ain’t no Motown chart-topper! Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors takes this home for the cheap shots of the year to Steven Adams (twice), LeBron James, James Harden, Blake Griffin, Michael Beasley, and most recently, Phoenix Suns rookie Marquese Chriss.

Sorry but unnatural me butt. Green is Bruce Bowen dirty.

The Truth is Out There Award
Ryan Lochte and the Brazilian police. The American swimmer came out with a story of how they were held at gunpoint during one night during the Rio Olympics. A succeeding investigation showed that the swimmer and some friends might have not been telling the truth. Lochte was pilloried worldwide as an ugly American adding fuel to the fire of all the problems of the Rio Olympics.

But a succeeding USA Today investigation and a Brazilian witness showed that the Brazilian police also exaggerated their tale of the Americans’ destroying a bathroom in a gas station (it wasn’t destroyed at all) and that they demanded money from Lochte and company.

An unfortunate incident that shouldn’t have happened. As it is, it didn’t do any party any favors at all. Everyone’s reputation took a further hit.

The Mouth That Roared Award
Sam Allardyce and Hope Solo. The former lasted only 67 days as England manager and after he was caught during a sting operation for unsavory practices in football. On the other hand, former US Women’s National Team goalkeeper Hope Solo couldn’t keep her mouth shut once more when she uttered that the Swedish team that bounced them from the Women’s World Cup were a bunch of cowards. USA Soccer suspended her for six months effectively ending her time in a national jersey.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is Award
American golf fan David Johnson foreshadowed the United States’ win at the Ryder Cup for this year when he was dared to sink a 10-foot putt by Rory McIlroy after he heckled McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Andy Sullivan, and Justin Rose after all four pro golfers all missed their putts. Rose bet a crisp new $100 bill that Johnson could make it. But the American did. And he did the chicken wing dance after as he got hugs from all the golfers. Plus, signed golf balls and the hundred-dollar bill.

If Looks Could Kill Award
This one goes to Michael Phelps whose death stare was caught as rival South African swimmer Chad Le Clos looked blissfully unaware. It only served to add to Phelps’ legend.

Diver of the Year Award
Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas was on the verge of losing the gold medal to American Allyson Felix during the Olympics’ 400-meter dash when she dove towards the finish line – yes, she extended her arm and threw herself across – to win by .07 of a second! While “diving” is legal in the sport, people frowned over the act of desperation. While she isn’t the first to do it, you can say that people are still used to winning by blazing through standing up.

Protest of the Year
More controversy from the Olympics! After Mongolian wrestler Ganzorigiin Mandakhnaran lost the bronze medal match to Uzbekistan’s Ikhtiyor Navruzov when the judges awarded a penalty point after the finish of the match, the former’s two coaches, Tserenbaatar Tsogtbayar and Byambarenchin Bayaraa threw a challenge flag. When the judges explained the call couldn’t be challenged, they ran out onto the mat stripped down in protest — one removing his shirt, and the other removing both his shirt and pants, leaving on only his underwear.

It sure was a tough loss and I totally sympathize with them (I believe it was an ill-timed and bad call), maybe these coaches could receive a Hanes endorsement for their efforts.

Chant of the Year
“Will Grigg’s Is On Fire” that fan chant “created” by Wigan Athletic fan Sean Kennedy (to the tune of “Freed by Desire” by Gala) for striker Will Griggs became an internet sensation. A top of the cart song, and a massive stadium chant for Wigan and Northern Ireland in the European Championships. The funny thing too was when those loveable and incredible Irish fans were singing it during the Euros, Will Grigg was on the bench!

Jordan Crying Meme
The picture for this internet meme was during basketball great Michael Jordan’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. The meme generated a lot of publicity in use following the Golden State Warriors’ failed 2016 NBA campaign; the loss of Jordan’s alma mater, the University of North Carolina to a Villanova buzzer-beater for the 2016 National Championship; and when US President Barack Obama awarded basketball’s GOAT with the Presidential Medal of Freedom citing that he was “more than just an internet meme”.

The Black Coffee Award
Goes to Conor McGregor after he repeatedly insulted Nate Diaz during a CNBC television interview for UFC 196. McGregor twice told Diaz to “bring me my coffee” during the interview and the latter responded with a few choice expletives. Diaz had the last laugh when he forced McGregor to submit via rear naked choke during the match.

The fighting Irishman got his revenge when he won in UFC 202 via a majority decision.  

Bizarre Call of the Year
Swedish football Adam Lindin Ljungkvist who suits up for Jarna SK was shown a red card for farting during a match against Pershagen SK. According to referee Dany Kako, he cautioned then sent off Ljungkvist for releasing gas. ““I perceived it as deliberate provocation. He did it on purpose and it was inappropriate. Therefore, he received a yellow card.”

Best Music Video of the Year
Former French international footballer Eric Cantona for singing “Will Grigg’s Is On Fire” during his incredible home video of his dissection of the European championships. It is both hilarious and amusing.

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