Top 10 New York Sports Stories of 2013: Nos. 10-6
As we get set to turn the calendar to 2014, we decided to compile another list and look back at the biggest news of 2013 - and what we found is roughly two-thirds of our choices were news items that somehow directly related to one from 2012; whether it was closure (or re-closure), fruition, reversal of fortune or simply re-living a moment, somehow, the more things changed in 2013, the more they stayed the same.
With that, we present the bottom half of our Top 10 list, with the top five items to be revealed on New Year's Day.
No. 10: Rutgers University's year of turmoil
The 2013-14 academic year will be Rutgers' last as a member of the Big East/American Athletic Conference, but never did anyone think that the state university of New Jersey would go out with such a bang.
The first scandal started back in April, when allegations surfaced that men's basketball coach Mike Rice was verbally and physically abusive to his players, and investigations there led to the dismissal of Rice and resignation of athletic director Tim Pernetti - the latter a hugely underrated loss in such a year of transition.
Roughly seven months later, new AD Julie Herrmann had to deal with some backlash after alleged abuse of a player by football assistant Dave Cohen back in April was once again brought to light, but the situation was quickly diffused as the player left the team and Herrmann intimated that head coach Kyle Flood had dealt with the situation (and disciplined Cohen) when it originally happened.
As for the teams involved in the controversies? Well, the Scarlet Knights football team finished the regular season 6-6, earned bowl eligibility at the literal eleventh hour and lost to Notre Dame in the Pinstripe Bowl, while the hoops team heads into their first-ever American Athletic Conference game against Temple on New Year's Day with the same exact 6-7 overall record.
No. 9: Tuna and Torre taste immortality
Joe Torre and Bill Parcells are New York coaching legends, with each coaching both of the respective local teams in his sport at one point and the pair combining for 28 seasons and six championships between them - and it's no surprise that in 2013, both took their rightful place in the pantheon of greats.
Parcells had been a Pro Football Hall of Fame candidate after he retired in 2000, but after his second retirement in 2007, he had to wait five years to be on the ballot again; it didn't take that long to get in, though, as in February, he was elected in his second year of his "second" eligibility to join six others in the Class of 2013 and was enshrined in Canton on Aug. 3.
As for Torre, 2013 was his first year of eligibility on the ballot to be debated by the Baseball Hall of Fame's Expansion Era Veterans Committee - but there was really no debate, as he received votes from all 16 members of the committee and will join fellow unanimous selections Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa, as well as any players who earn election from the BBWAA voting populace, to be enshrined in Cooperstown next summer.
No. 8: All-Star Fever, future edition
The 2013 MLB All-Star Game brought the hoopla of the game's finest to New York City last summer, and in 2015, the NBA will bring that atmosphere back to the Big Apple for basketball's biggest event.
Back in September, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that the Knicks and Nets will co-host the NBA All-Star extravaganza set for Feb. 13-15, 2015, with the Friday and Saturday night events (including the Slam Dunk Contest and other skills events) set for Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden getting the main showcase on Sunday night.
In the statement released by the league announcing the move, Stern said that "New York offers an extraordinary opportunity to host NBA All-Star events at two world-class venues, and we look forward to celebrating our game with basketball fans across the entire city, in all five boroughs," with Barclays Center CEO Bruce Ratner adding that "basketball may have been invented in Springfield, Mass., but its heart and soul are in NYC through and through."
No. 7: Football comes back to the Apple
Football in this case meaning soccer, as the New York Yankees announced on May 21 that they and Barclays Premier League power Manchester City will co-own NYC Football Club, a Major League Soccer expansion franchise that will begin play in 2015.
The team announced its first few hires right away, including USA Soccer legend Claudio Reyna as Director of Football Operations and former Rutgers AD Pernetti as Chief Business Officer, and in October, they signed a deal to be broadcast on WFAN Radio.
The location of NYC FC's permanent home is still unknown, but they will play their first few seasons (at least) at Yankee Stadium, and, when added to Harrison, N.J.-based Red Bull New York, they will give the metropolitan area at least two teams in now five major professional sports leagues.
No. 6: Yankee Stadium becomes a "frozen tundra"
Have no fear, we don't mean a barren wasteland…more like, say, an icy oasis? That's what the Stadium will become over the next few weeks, as the New York Rangers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils get set to play a pair of games in late January as part of the NHL's Stadium Series. The Yankee Stadium games will be the third and fourth of the six-game outdoor block, with Rangers vs. Devils going first on Jan. 26 and Rangers vs. Islanders scheduled for Jan. 29. The Broadway Blueshirts will be the visitor in both games, but they got the last laugh when they used defenseman Dan Girardi and Yankees manager Joe Girardi for a little misdirection in unveiling their Stadium Series garb.
Be sure to visit YESNetwork.com on Wednesday, Jan. 1 to see what we ranked as the Top 5 New York Sports Stories of 2013.