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Sports Then and Now



Top Five Underdogs of 2009: Age Trumps Beauty, Life Springs in the Desert, and Dead Women Kicking 4

Posted on November 25, 2009 by John Wingspread Howell
The consumate underdog, in just a matter of weeks the Sky Blue FC went from last place to WPS Champions.

The consumate underdog, in just a matter of weeks the Sky Blue FC went from last place to WPS Champions.

It has been a year of mixed emotions for incurable fans of the underdog. On the downside are ultimate victories by ultimate bullies such as the Steelers and the Yankees. Atypically, March Madness produced no Cinderella stories. Perennial underdogs, the Cleveland Cavaliers choked on their best opportunity yet to win an NBA Championship, faltering in the Conference finals, with Orlando.

On the upside are the overlapping individual and team stories of Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals, the parallel stories of two soccer Cinderellas, and a Warner-like comeback in the golf world.

And now, for the countdown.

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Another MLS Near Miss for Chicago Fire, The Match is the Metaphor 1

Posted on November 15, 2009 by John Wingspread Howell
Eastern Conference Championship - Real Salt Lake v Chicago Fire

The Chicago Fire lost to Real Salt Lake in a shootout.

Bridgeview, IL November 14, 2009 – You can sum up the Chicago Fire’s season in this one game. You can sum up the team’s history, excluding year one, in this one game. The summary is this: outstanding defense, underachieving offense, overall game domination, tantalizing fans by getting within reach of greatness only to find a way, sooner or later, to betray them– and themselves.

After win streaks and losing streaks, the usual Fire roller-coaster ride throughout the season, this season looked as if it might

be different, as if whatever curse constrains Chicago might have been broken. After all, they beat the Revolution for a change, and found themselves playing in a Conference final.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

      Read more »

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