What a year to be a sports fan in Missouri. Our Thanksgiving Horn O' Plenty runneth over and out, our lower Christmas tree branches had to be extracted in order to make room for all the presents. And our Auld Lang Syne old acquaintances will certainly not be forgot; but , for the most part, will be wished well. In other words, the Pro's heavily outweighed the Con's.
Let's do this chronologically, shall we?
1) K.C. Chiefs make the playoffs. StL Rams almost do. Next!
2) Mike Anderson broke some hearts in Mizzou Basketball-land and headed south into the open arms and wallets of the folks in Piggie-ville, Arkansas. He, like so many NCAA head coaches, showed that he's nothing but a businessman in a big business and did exactly what he 'said' he'd not do--return to Nolan Richardson's program and try to re-amp it up.
A note: Was listening to a Mizzou basketball game a week ago. After we won (see below!), the announcers seem to be over-enjoying the fact that the Razorbacks had lost to OU that day. The fact that I had to do some serious mentalsportshistory downloading in order to understand again exactly WHY they were almost ecstatic tells you all you need to know about how much we Mizzou fans miss Anderson. So Mike, can't wait to meet you in our next MIZ-ARK SEC game (re SEC: see below!).
3) In literally his first pitch from a mound in a spring training game, St. Louis Cardinals ace pitcher Adam Wainwright, blew out (the actual medical term) his elbow--absenting him from the entire optimistic-looking 2011 season. The national outlook for our team immediately dropped--from a potential rival for the Phillies to compete for the NL pennant to a long-shot to make the playoffs at all. See Below!
You all know this story. But none of ye could have predicted either what happened or how. Remember #5's poor start? Remember #29's? Remember the Brewers' torrent pace of July and August? Remember being 10 back late? Remember?
Let me get to it.
I have still not watched the last half of the penultimate game of 2011. I'll admit it. Too much stress in life without having to put up with that. Having said that, and apologized for it to Mrs. Mitchell to this day, one could say that our Cardinals' entire 2011 season could be summarized by Game Six.
Slow start. Overwhelming odds early. Mistakes/errors made. First last chance with 2 strikes (could easily be compared to the last regular season game in which everything right had to happen). Second last chance with 2 strikes (could easily be compared to Game 5 v Phillies. God how good was Carp?!).
Then we won. It all. Truly a World Series for The Ages. One that, dare your inky servant say it, almost 'makes up' (Dad says you can never make up for anything in sports) for 1985/denkinger.
3A) Pujols left. See above. See prior column. Buh Bye. (*nice recently-reported back-loaded job on your contract, Homes. You won't see more than $20,000,000/year until many years down the road.)
4) Gary Pinkel made a really big mistake and then tried to 'make up' for it by coaching up his/our Mizzou Tigers to 4 wins in a row, including a nice Advocare V100 Independence Bowl in Shreveport (see next week's column!), just as Mizzou was doing a little exiting of their own. Congratulations, Gary. Hope and believe you will retire here.
5) Mizzou to Southeastern Conference, and all that that entails. Taking our Tiger tails to tailgating parties like none the Big 12 ever had, that's what that entails, baby.
I used to have to think before answering how I felt about the move. Think? WTH! My brother's an Ole Miss alum. I've seen him do it. Let's do this, right? Knoxville? Oxford? Fayetteville (basketball + football. Heh heh heh)? This may be the best 2011 news of all.
6) The 2011 version of the Missouri Tigers basketball team is undefeated under under-appreciated coach. Undefeated. Pinch us.
I'm sure I left something out. Just giddy. Have to be. Can't imagine another year that could compare to "Ought Eleven" for a sportsfan in Missouri.
Be good and be careful this weekend.
Brian K. Mitchell, an R.Ph.,
is theowner of Mitchell Pharmacy in Kennett. He can becontacted via e-mail
or log on to mitchellpharmacy.com