Wurst Of The Wurst – 2014 Year In Review

The Center Bar at HRH Las Vegas - Better Luck in 2015?

The year 2014 is in the books, and as the Bucks play-by-play man, Ted Davis, might add, “and earning interest”. It may have been a decent year for the stock market, but as far as the rest of last year goes, good riddance. As a sports fan in the usually forgotten state of Wisconsin, there were more highs than lows, but it was definitely a year of peaks and valleys, and some extreme valleys, thanks especially to our always reliable Milwaukee Brewers. So go ahead and throw an ice cold bucket of ice water over your head, and say goodbye to 2014.

January 2014 dawned with the Bucks threatening to break the NBA record for ineptitude, the Packers rallying for an inexplicable division championship, the Badger football team losing yet another Bowl game and the UW Men’s basketball team playing some pretty decent basketball. The Badgers 34-24 loss to South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl was not a surprise, but head coach Gary Andersen leaving 11 months later, after his second full season, would be. Florida State and Jameis Squinston defeated Auburn 34-31 in the last BCS championship game. The Tigers would lose to Wisconsin almost a year later by the same score, in overtime in the 2015 Outback Bowl. Frank Kaminsky, blossoming into one of college basketball’s finest big men was another head scratcher, the Packers getting drilled at home by the Niners in the playoffs wasn’t. Doug Melvin letting Nori Aoki leave would prove to be a big mistake for Milwaukee, and a bonus for Ned Yost and the Kansas City Royals. Milwaukee signing Zach Duke, Mark Reynolds, Matt Garza and Lyle Overbay would prove to accomplish nothing.The Bucks finished January 1-14, and ran their win total to 8 eight games. Colorado legalized the sale of marijuana for recreational use, millions cheered in their basements and garages all across America.

February flashed by, dominated by the horror stories flowing out of the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi. If you had reservations about Russia before these Olympics, rest assured they didn’t change, and any trips you may have been thinking about scheduling over there have been squashed for good. More importantly, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the Daytona 500, the Seagulls crushed Peyton Manning and the Broncos, 43-8, in one of the worst Super Bowl’s ever, (XLVIII – you figure it out), and the Badger basketball team continued to pick up steam heading into March Madness. Doug Melvin continued to sit on his hands in the off season, guzzling LaBatt’s and hoping Ryan Braun’s thumb had healed, then he signed Francisco Rodriquez, and that actually worked about pretty well, for a while, anyway. The Wurst Brewer fan and his wife traveled to Cancun in February, and will never return there again.

March Madness gripped the state of Wisconsin in a fever pitch. Bo Ryan’s crew leveled American, 75-35, sank the Oregon Ducks, 85-77, trapped the Baylor Bears, 69-52, and tamed the Arizona Wildcats, 64-63 in overtime to advance to the Final Four for the first time in 14 years, and the maiden voyage for Ryan. Unfortunately, Traevon Jackson decided to take another game winner in the semi-finals, and Kentucky’s minor league NBA team tripped up the Badgers, 74-73, only to be ousted by the UConn Huskies two nights later. Kudos to UConn, their women’s team also won the national basketball title. Meanwhile, in Spring Training, the Brewers promotional team trotted out Hank The Dog, claiming the new mascot to be a good luck charm and infuriating Bernie Brewer and the Racing Sausages in the process.

April saw 25 year old Rory McIlroy begin his domination of the 2014 PGA tour with his win in the Masters, erasing any thoughts of a Tiger Woods comeback and asserting himself as the number on golfer in the world. The Bucks ended their worst season ever at 15-67, and the Brewers inexplicably started the year 20-7, finding themselves all alone in first place in the NL Comedy Central.

Led by his team of “Dumb Ass Partners”, California Chrome flirted with the Triple Crown by winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in May. The Brewers continued their winning ways, led by a stellar effort from the starting pitchers and closer Francisco Rodriquez. Jadeveon Clowney and Johnny Manziel were all the buzz in the NFL Draft. Clowney was a bust at #1 to the Texans, Manziel should have never been drafted, he went at #22 to the Browns. Odell Beckham, Jr., at #12 to the Giants, was the steal of the draft. The Packers pick, Ha-Ha Clinto Dix, proved to be no joke at #22. As if anyone cared, Ryan Hunter-Reay won the Indy 500. Musky season opened May 5th, it didn’t matter, I didn’t catch one all year.

The NBA season mercifully ended in June, with the San Antonio Spurs thoroughly dismantling the soon to be LeBron James-less Miami Heat, 4 games to 1. Martin Kaymer continued the European dominance in golf with a win at the U.S. Open, the Brewers continued to play surprising baseball, and “Tonalist” ended all hopes of a Triple Crown for California Chrome with a resounding victory in the Belmont Stakes. Germany won something called the World Cup, I believe the sport is called soccer.

If it was hotter than July in Wisconsin, you wouldn’t know it. The AL All-Stars beat the National Leaguers, 5-3, thus securing home field for the Kansas City Royals in the World Series. Milwaukee continued to stay atop the NL Central, running it’s record to an incredible 51-33 heading into July, but then the cheese began to get moldy. The Screwers would finish the month at 9-16, and the greatest collapse in the history of modern baseball was officially underway. Shoni Schimmel of the Atlanta Dream was named MVP of the WNBA All-star Game, of course, and Washington state legalized the sale of marijuana for recreational use, while millions of Americans cheered from their basements and garages. The LA Kings may have won the Stanley Cup this month too, (not sure), maybe. Rory McIlroy won the British Open, and he wasn’t finished winning majors just yet, either. The Bucks hired Jason Kidd as their new head coach, proving to be a smart move.

August emerged with a hint of football in the air, NFL training camps opened, and the all-new collegiate playoff series was unveiled. In Milwaukee, however, the air began to fill with boos, as the Brewers continued their free fall into nothing, plodding along at 13-14 for the month. Meanwhile, in Kansas City, Ned Yost and a host of other former Brewers dealt away by Doug Melvin were capturing the attention of everyone in baseball. In Chicago, the Cubs began calling up the pieces to their 2015 World Series championship team. McIlroy added the PGA championship to his mantle full of trophies, while Tiger Woods stayed at home playing video games. Daniel Ricciardo won the Belgian Grand Prix Formula One race, (sponsored by Red Bull Racing), proving that, on the contrary, Red bull does indeed give you wings.

September filled the air with footballs, and filled the loss column with 22 entries for the Brewers. Mildoggie posted a pathetic record of 9-22 in September, officially finishing 3rd in the NL Comedy Central, thus culminating another embarrassing chapter in their mediocre team history. Undaunted, manager Ron Roenicke remains at the helm. Reliever Johnathan Broxton was acquired from the Phillies, he’ll replace Rodriguez, who, not surprisingly, faded down the stretch. Gone too is Rickie “4-6” Weeks, a fan favorite despite an incredible track record record of injuries and lack of production at 2nd base. Melvin Gordon and the Badgers, on the other hand, under soon to be defunct head coach Gary Andersen, opened with a disappointing loss to LSU, then rebounded with unimpressive wins over a soft non-conference schedule, heading into the Big Ten season, 3-1. The Packers started slowly, causing quarterback Aaron Rodgers to warn all the Cheesehead faithful to “R-E-L-A-X”, and rest your calf muscles. September proved to be the best month for musky man Don Leaser, he netted six altogether, while I regrettably grabbed the net and took pictures. Portugal netted the 2014 European Table Tennis Championship, spiking Germany, 3-1.

Madison Bumgarner delivered one of the greatest pitching performances in World Series history, as his San Francisco Giants edged Ned Yost and the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers, 4 games to three in an entertaining October Classic. Ryan Braun had surgery to repair his damaged thumb, probably due to overuse of a syringe from 2011-2013, and Doug Melvin and the Brewers braced for another exciting off season, preparing to craft PR statements explaining their expected last place finish in 2015. Hank The Dog was released on waivers. The Packers began to light up the scoreboard and started winning games, and the Badger football team, despite an inexplicable loss to Northwestern in their BIG10 opener, began a nice winning streak behind Heisman-like performances from Melvin Gordon. At the Chicago marathon, Eliud Kipchoge (mens) and Rita Jeptoo (womens) of Kenya, won their respective division titles. Imagine that.

Packer fans rejoiced on November 9th when they led the Bears, 42-0 at halftime, on their way to a resounding 52-14 victory at Lambeau Field. Bears fans rejoiced when they realized this would be the first of many nails in the coffin of head coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery. The Badgers, led by an unbelievable 408 yard performance from Melvin Gordon, blasted Nebraska 59-24 at Camp Randall on November 15th and finished off the pesky Gophers a week later to claim the Paul Bunyan Axe and the West Division title in the Big Ten conference. Meanwhile, the UW Hockey men’s hockey team began what would prove to be one of their worst season’s in school history, and the Badger basketball team embarked on their quest for a Big ten Title by winning the Atlantis tournament in the Bahama’s, with impressive wins over UAB, Georgetown and Oklahoma. The Bucks and their prized rookie, Jabari Parker, along with new head coach Jason Kidd, caught everyone by surprise, mostly by playing defense, and playing at an above .500 clip in November, heading into December at 10-7. Doug Melvin and the Brewers dream of a first baseman became a reality when they traded Marco Estrada to the Blue Jays for left handed hitting Adam Lind. Wilson Kipsong and Mary Keitnay, surprisingly, both of Kenya, win the New York City Marathon.

Santa Claus arrived in December and delivered a 59-0 pasting from the Ohio State Buckeyes to the Wisconsin Badgers in what was billed as the BIG 10 Championship game in Indianapolis. One week later, fearing another 59-0 loss to Auburn in the Outback Bowl, head coach Gary Andersen resigned. Athletics Director Barry Alvarez put salve on that wound by hiring Madison original Paul Chyrst away from the University of Pittsburgh,however, and all was well again inside the walls of Camp Randall Stadium. Coach K and his Duke Blue Devils won their showdown with Wisconsin at the Cold Center, 80-70, ending the Badgers undefeated season to date. Since then, Bo Ryan’s crew has bounced back nicely, heading into the conference season 12-1, with a victory Thursday over Penn State 89-72, already under their belt. The UW hockey team is now 1-11, including an 8-1 pasting yesterday at the hands of the 5th ranked, and hungry, Michigan Tech Huskies. I know they’re hungry, my wife and I had breakfast with them New Year’s Day at the Madison Hilton, and man, can they eat. Despite Aaron Rodgers being limited to the use of just one leg, the Packers were able to clinch the NFC North title, and now must await the winner of Dallas-Detroit Wild Card game to see who comes calling to Lambeau Field on January 11th, 2015. The Brewers, as usual, have remained idle since the Lind trade. Mark Reynolds has taken his .199 average to the Cardinals, and in the meantime, the Chicago Cubs and John Lester are now the odds on favorite to win the pennant and advance to the World Series.

And just in case you were wondering who the reigning kings of the 2014 SportAccord World Mind Games are, that would be China and Russia with 6 gold medals each. So the next time you take a pass on football, basketball, hockey, golf or baseball and decide to play checkers, chess, Chinese Chess, Weigi or Bridge, just be careful who you sit down to the table with across from you.

That about wraps it up for the 2014 year in sports, the wurst of the wurst, in my humble opinion. Here’s to another entertaining 12 months of ath-a-letic achievements in 2015.

And For What

Photo courtesy of someone's Twitter Account - Happy New Year!

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