It’s been a wild year in sports. LeBron changed homes, the Red Sox won some games and the world watched the Winter Olympics and World Cup together. In the final roundtable of the year, the DC Sports section shares its favorite and most memorable sports moments of 2018.
Bryan Lambert, Staff Writer
When I look back at 2018, the first thing I think of will be David Price rushing the mound at 100 miles per hour to hug Chris Sale after the final out of the World Series. Since he signed in Boston, Price has gotten more than his fair share of criticism. He was horrid in their 2016 playoff series against Cleveland and got lit up by the Yankees seemingly every start against them; a trend that continued into Game 2 of the Divisional Series. Then, inexplicably, Price became the pitcher we all expected him to be when he signed his $217 million deal.
He was lights out against Houston and Los Angeles, winning two games in the World Series, including the championship-clincher. He didn’t win World Series MVP but he more than deserved to be the guy at the center of the celebration on the pitching mound. It was a redemption story, with an emotional ending, for the ages.
Danny Barletta, Campus Correspondent
Without a doubt, my favorite sports memory of the year was the entire 2018 Red Sox season. The end of March through the end of October was a masterpiece that ended in a well-deserved World Series title. This Red Sox team won 119 total games, demolishing the previous franchise record. They really steamrolled over the competition all season long, and it’s pretty easy to see why. Top to bottom the roster was stacked. Mookie Betts won the MVP. JD Martinez was the best overall hitter in the league. They had the best outfield in the majors with Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi. Their rotation was solid all year and the bullpen stepped up in the playoffs. What set this team apart from every other that I have ever seen, though, was how the role players and lesser known guys stepped up in the biggest moments. Steve Pearce, Brock Holt and Nathan Eovaldi just to name a few. I watched this team religiously all season long, and it was without a doubt the best baseball team I have ever seen and the best part of 2018 for me.
Matt Barresi, Staff Writer
Unquestionably my favorite moment in sports this year was the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series, particularly the playing of “New York, New York” postgame. Included in the enjoyment was the runup, especially defeating a strong New York Yankees team and stamping the season’s rivalry in favor of the good guys. However, as seen above, this is a favorite moment for many a New Englander so I will diversify and give you another one. I really took pleasure from watching France win the World Cup this past summer. It was enhanced by a future’s ticket from a sportsbook in Delaware, but watching the teenager Kylian Mbappe dominate Argentina with some just fantastic offensive attacks was awesome. He followed it up with a goal in the final and even though I am not a “soccer guy,” for a reason I can’t really place my finger, on I just derived great pleasure watching the whole experience.
Julia Dowd, Campus Correspondent
Although the Red Sox winning the World Series this year was very exciting and definitely a highlight for many sports fans in New England, one of my favorite moments happened right here in Storrs at Gampel Pavilion. The exhibition game for the men’s basketball team was a highly anticipated game, at least for me since there was a new coach in town. After last year’s disappointing season with a losing record, the UConn student fans were looking for any sign of hope that this year would be different than the last. Dan Hurley, the former University of Rhode Island head coach, would be taking over the program and that could not have been better news. Having been a recent transfer from URI, I saw what kind of energy he brought to the court and the passion he has toward the sport and his players. I couldn’t wait to see what this energy would do for the UConn program. And so far, he has boosted the morale of many UConn fans and the team has performed. I look forward to seeing how far Hurley can take the Huskies this season.
Kevin Arnold, Staff Writer
While it wasn’t necessarily my favorite moment, David Wright’s last career game was without a doubt the most memorable sports moment of 2018 for me. Wright had battled through multiple injuries – most notably spinal stenosis – and even though he refused to give up it was clear that his time in the big leagues was coming to a close. Knowing all of this going into his choreographed, final weekend in a Mets’ uniform did not make it any easier to see him go. Wright was more than just the face of the franchise, he was a childhood idol, someone I tried to emulate both on and off the field. It was a bittersweet moment watching him wave to the crowd, hug Jose Reyes – a longtime friend and teammate – before Amed Rosario entered the game in his spot. No matter what moves the Mets make this offseason, Opening Day 2019 will be off, for lack of a better term, without Our Captain standing out there.
Matt Severino, Campus Correspondent
The best moment of 2018 was hearing Kevin Ollie had been fired from his position as the head coach of the men’s basketball team. After winning it all in 2014, the program went downhill. Knowing there would be a new man in charge was the greatest news a lifelong UConn men’s basketball fan could hear. Yes, it hurt to have to cut ties with one of your own, especially a four-year player who jumped around the NBA for more than a decade all to return home and lead you back to the promise land. But it was time, and it had been time for a while. Dan Hurley is everything UConn basketball was and ought to be. The energy around the program since Ollie’s departure has been contagious and there has never been a better time to be a student or a fan of the team.