First off, I would like to wish everyone of you out there a HAPPY NEW YEAR . I’m certainly glad we’ve turned the page to a new decade. I hope all of you have stayed safe partying out there, especially those of you visiting here for the Rose Bowl and the BCS Title Game this Thursday. This has certainly been a good start to the new year for this L.A. fan. Earlier this evening, or last night, Kobe showed once again why he’s LA’s MVP with his buzzer beater ( UNGUARDED, WHAT WAS SAC THINKING ? ) And to bring back my favorite moment of the ’09 season, MLB Network replayed Game 2 of the NLDS against the Cardinals ( Yup, the Matt Holliday game !!!! ) . I still hear a buzz from being at the game even to this day, which only makes me want for baseball to come around soon. And heck, we’re only 2 months away from spring training !!!! ( I guess the wait between seasons seems shorter when your team goes deep into October !!!! ) And speaking of Game 2 of the NLDS, for those of you who cant get enough of that frantic 9th inning……
OK , now a look back at 2001
OPENING DAY LINEUP
Before we reflect upon the 2001 season, when bringing up the 2001, baseball is certainly not on the top of ones minds. When we think of 2001, we think of one of the most tragic events our country will ever suffer in our lifetime, and with many affected by the events of 9/11 it was a time for us to unite as one. However, while we will never forget , life does go on, and baseball is just one of those facets of life that can for at least 3 hours of our lives divert our attention from the real world.
And the 2001 season was an exciting one for the Boys in Blue under first year manager Jim Tracy. Though the Blue would finish 6 games back of the eventual World Champion Arizona D-Backs with an 86-76 record, they would be in the thick of the division race for much of the season. Highlights from this season would include the emergence of catcher Paul Lo Duca, who would lead the team with a .320 batting average, highlighted by his 6 for 6 performance on May 28th against the Rockies. Chan Ho Park would lead the staff with 15 wins and 218 strikeouts, and Jeff Shaw would anchor the bullpen with 43 saves. Gary Sheffield would have another outstanding season with 36 home runs, but it would be fan favorite Shawn Green who would set the all-time L.A. Dodger mark in a season for home runs with 49. The Dodgers would also be involved in a couple of Barry Bonds personal highlight reel as he would hit career home run # 500 in early April with none of his Jints, I mean, Giants teammates to greet him at home plate , then his record breaking 71st and 72nd home run of the season off Chan Ho Park on the seasons final weekend. If it’s any consolation Dodger fans, the Blue ended up winning that night and knocking the Giants off of post-season play. ( And to this day, our hated ones still dont fly a World Championship flag repping their city …..)
OTHER EVENTS OF 2001
The Lakers, led once again by the Shaq-Kobe tandem, would win the 2nd of 3 consecutive NBA Titles. The Lakers would sweep their way through the Western Conference playoffs and if not for a long layoff between the Western Conference Finals and the Finals, may have swept the 76ERS as well. No matter, they would take down Philly in 5, finishing with a 15-1 playoff mark. This may have been their best team of the 3PEAT, and maybe the best of the 4 they won this decade !!!!
Dale Earnhardt Jr. dies from injuries suffered in a crash at Daytona 500. He was 49
Barry Bonds sets the MLB record for home runs hit in a season with 73, breaking Mark MacGwire’s mark of 70 set in 1998
Enron, at one time the worlds largest energy trader, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
And finally, the one event we will all never forget, on 9/11 , Al Qaida terrorists crash 2 airliners into the World Trade Center in New York City. Another plane would hit the Pentagon and another crash in a field near Shanksville, Pa. About 3,000 lives are lost to this tragic event.