In honor of this year's edition of Best of Phoenix, we bring you the best sports moments of the year.
5.) Joe Garagiola retires
We'd been hearing Joe Garagiola's gravelly voice our whole waking lives. It was always a comfort to hear him broadcasting baseball games for NBC and, since moving to the Valley, off-and-on with the Arizona Diamondbacks, with whom his son, Joe Jr., used to be an exec. Joe Sr. always was a wise and wisecracking presence. When he retired from broadcasting recently -- to much fanfare by the Diamondbacks -- we got a lump in our throats to think a presence from our sports-crazed youth no longer would be a mainstay.
4.) Suns draft Alex Len
Last season, the Phoenix Suns were the worst team in the NBA's Western Conference. So because of this new low in suckage, we're heartened by any seemingly positive development. Anything that could bring the team back to almost glory. And we think thrifty owner Robert Sarver and his crew may have stumbled on a guy who could help ace guard Goran Dragic make our purple-and-gold goons respectable again: 7-foot-1 Alex Len. We know: Tree-tall white guys (jump-shooters like Dirk Nowitzki aside) tend to be meat in the middle in today's NBA, not the mega-scorers needed to be to win championships. But if Len can stay healthy (ankle issue), we predict he'll be different.
3.) Patrick Peterson playing football
Just about any time PP is playing football, it's one of the best moments in Phoenix sports. He's dazzled fans as a pro with his punt-return prowess: the Cardinals' rookie record for most punt returns in a season in 2011, four punt-return touchdowns, which ties the NFL record; a game-winning 99-yard touchdown in 2011, the longest of that season for the Cardinals; the team's most punt-return yardage in a single season, 699 in 2011; named All-Pro in 2011, and selected for the Pro Bowl in that year and the next. He scored his first NFL touchdown in Week One of the 2011 season, with a fourth-quarter punt return of 89 yards against the Carolina Panthers to seal a win for his new team. He's (sadly) turning into one of the Cardinals' better offensive players this year, too.
2.) Honey Badger comes to town
In an age when pro (and college) sports are trying to clean up their images, a "problem" such as Mathieu's can be sudden death for a promising career. But the Cardinals wisely decided to take a chance on Mathieu, one of the most aggressive cornerbacks ever to play the college game (he plays safety for the Cardinals). He's already made a huge difference in just a handful of games with the Cardinals, including a touchdown-saving forced fumble, and a game-ending tackle of a receiver on fourth down.
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1.) The Diamondbacks/Dodgers brawl
It was at Chavez Ravine that former Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy hit two batters in apparent retaliation for Dodgers pitcher Zack Grienke hitting catcher Miguel Montero. Anyhow, the Dodgers took great umbrage at Kennedy's antics. So much so that they stormed the field and started whomping up on our beloved Snakes. The Dodgers got the upper-hand in that battle, as well as an upper-hand in skirting punishment. The Dodgers ended up winning the division at Chase Field, and reportedly pissing in the pool. If that's what it takes light a fire under the ass of lackadaisical Diamondbacks fans, then so be it. It'll make the revenge that much sweeter.