Top 10 New York sports storylines of 2013

Andy Pettitte and shortstop Derek Jeter walk to the mound to remove Mariano Rivera from his final home game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Credit: Reuters
Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter walk to the mound to remove Mariano Rivera from his final home game at Yankee Stadium.
Credit: Reuters

It was not a year of championships and trophies for New York City in 2013.

The fall has brought one struggling team after another, with the Giants, Nets, Knicks and Rangers all performing well under expectations. Meanwhile, the Jets, Islanders and Devils have struggled — as expected.

But, as in any year, New York dominated the sports landscape with one huge story after another. The media capital of the country kept churning out story after story in 2013.

We count down the Top 10 sports storylines of 2013 in New York City:

10. Robinson Cano signs with Mariners

It’s not often — ever? — the Yankees lose their best player over money issues. But Jay Z and Robinson Cano jetted to Seattle looking for over $200 million and they never looked back. Cano was never as loved as the Core Four, but he’s likely a future Hall of Famer. He leaves a big hole in the Yankees infield, not to mention in the hearts of Yankee fans.

9. Mike Rice fired by Rutgers

There’s never a scandal unless it’s caught on tape — just ask former Rutgers men’s basketball coach Mike Rice. The little-known former head coach of Robert Morris exploded onto the national stage back in April after ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” showed practice film of him hurling basketballs at players’ heads, grabbing and shoving them and yelling homophobic slurs. After that, it was only a matter of time before he was fired. Athletic director Tim Pernetti also bit the dust as a result of the scandal.

8. Parcells, Torre elected to Halls of Fame

The two greatest coaches of their generation in their respective sports both got the nod to the Hall of Fame this year. It was back in February that former Giants and Jets head coach Bill Parcells was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The two-time Super Bowl winner with the Giants was inducted in August. Equally outsized on the national stage, former Yankees manager Joe Torre learned just a couple weeks ago he will take his four World Series rings to the Baseball Hall of Fame next summer.

7. Tortorella gets the ax

Outspoken and brash Rangers head coach John Tortorella said goodbye to the New York stage with a firing at the hands of owner James Dolan after another disappointing playoff exit. Got any questions!? Any bleepin’ questions at all? No? Good. Now turn off your cell phones, idiots.

6. Jeter down for the count

Derek Jeter called 2013 the worst season of his career and a “nightmare.” It’s impossible to disagree. The 39-year-old Yankee captain entered the spring coming off a fractured ankle in last season’s playoff loss to the Tigers. And it only got worse from there. Jeter rebroke the ankle, suffered hamstring and calf injuries and could never stay on the field. In the end, he played just 17 games and has left everyone questioning whether he’ll ever be the same again.

5. Revis traded to the Bucs

Blockbuster NFL trades are rare, but the much-discussed trade of all-everything cornerback Darrelle Revis finally went down in April, just before the NFL Draft. Revis is acknowledged as the best corner in the league and probably the best since Deion Sanders was in his prime in the 1990s. But new Jets general manager felt the time was right to capitalize on rebuilding an dealt the future Hall of Famer to Tampa Bay for a first-round draft pick. So far, so good, as the Jets used that No. 13 pick on Sheldon Richardson — a leading candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

4. Harvey injured, needs Tommy John

It was a year of unrivaled highs and lows for Mets ace Matt Harvey. The 24-year-old shacked up with supermodel Anne V and had a 7-2 record with a 2.35 ERA and league-leading 147 strikeouts on his way to earning the start in the All-Star Game at Citi Field. But in late August it all came crashing down with the diagnosis of a partially torn UCL in his pitching elbow. He tried to hold off on it, but in the end Harvey underwent Tommy John surgery, ending his 2013 and 2014 seasons.

3. A-Rod’s wild, wacky suspension

The long-hoped-for — even by the Yankees, allegedly — suspension of Alex Rodriguez was finally handed down on Aug. 6, but that just kicked off a crazy ride for the Yankee third baseman. He immediately appealed the suspension and made his season debut returning from hip surgery, that very night. He finished out the season sparring with the Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman, only to storm out of his appeal hearing in November over what he felt was a sham case by MLB commissioner Bud Selig. When the Miami New Times broke the story of steroid-supplying clinic Biogenesis way back on Jan. 31, we had no idea the story would last well into 2014. Please hold for an appeal ruling in January — the surely resulting craziness to come from that decision.

2. Nets trade for Garnett and Pierce

Anybody in the market for two future Hall of Famers? Brooklyn? Sure, have Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and we’ll throw in Jason Terry as well. The Nets stole the headlines during a lousy draft when they traded for the two Hall of Famers and gave up THREE first-round picks. By now you probably know it hasn’t gone so well, as the Nets stand far under .500 at the end of the calendar year, but the predictions in July were nothing short of a championship. Good luck, Jason Kidd. Oh yeah, did we mention the greatest point guard of all time is now their head coach?

1. Mariano Rivera walks away

If you were going to script Mariano Rivera’s retirement from the game, it would’ve ended with him confidently striding off the mound after closing out his sixth World Series title. We got a more realistic storybook instead, but it’s still something baseball fans will never forget. Rivera stole the stage at the All-Star Game in Queens and had tears in everyone’s eyes when Jeter and fellow-retiree Andy Pettitte took the ball from Rivera in his final game. We’ll see you in five years in Cooperstown, Mo.

Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.


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