“Happy New Years Day–Top San Diego Sports Stories of 2019”
1..SAN DIEGO STATE reaches agreement to purchase all the land at the SDCCU sight for (87.7M) to begin construction of a 35,000-seat Aztecs Football-Soccer stadium, then a 30-year plan for expansion of the front door to the campus.
2..MANNY MACHADO…in stunning last minute move before spring training starts, the Padres sign ex-Orioles-Dodgers star to team record (10Y-300M) contract, a year after the equally surprise signing of ex Royals 1B-Eric Hosmer. Machado faded badly, hitting (.188) the second half of the season.
3..KAWHI LEONARD….The legendary Aztecs basketball player goes from the San Antonio Spurs to the Toronto Raptors, and leads the Canadian team to the NBA title, and he, the NBA-MVP honors. He finishes off the year by signing a record free agent contract with the LA Clippers.
4..STEPHEN STRASBURG…The former Aztecs baseball star pitches his Washington Nationals team to the World Series, then wins the World Series MVP.
5..WINTER MEETINGS….Baseball’s swap shop comes to San Diego in December, and is followed by record setting free agent contract signed by Gerrit Cole-Yankees and Anthony Rendon-Angels, plus Strasburg’s decision to re-sign in Washington.
6..PADRES…So much expectation, so much disappointment during the summer. From a (45-45) record at the All Star break, the Friars crash and burn into last place, with another 90-loss season. Trade of Franmil Reyes in July in 3-team deal with Reds-Indians destroyed team chemistry and changed the clubhouse.
7..CHARGERS…Fans continue to follow the team that moved to LA, and sat and watched the promising team go from AFC-hopes to a last place (5-11) season. RB-Melvin Gordon held out for 6-weeks in contract dispute. Team had 12-major injuries in first 8-weeks of season, leading to a turnover marred season by QB-Philip Rivers.
8..ANDY GREEN…Fired in the final weeks of another 90-loss season, the fourth straight campaign under his direction. Green hired as bench coach of the Cubs for next season.
9..PHILIP RIVERS…Breaks into tears during his last post game press conference, as he heads into off season unsigned, with hints the Chargers do not want him back next year.
10..FERNANDO TATIS….A blazing start to his rookie season, hitting over .300 till he went down with a serious groin injury then went down again with a back problem. Gifted on defense, the 20-year old hit better than expected.
11..AZTECS FOOTBALL…An amazing collapse at the end of the season, followed by a (27-0) shutout loss to Ohio in the Fresco Bowl. State lost 5-of its last 6-games.
12..GULLS HOCKEY….The American Hockey League team leads the league in average attendance and gets to the playoffs again.
13..DALLAS EAKINS…The Gulls coach is rewarded for his solid seasons behind the bench, by landing the head coaching job for the NHL-Anaheim Ducks.
14..SAN DIEGO FLEET…The much ballyhooed return of pro football ended badly when the league shuts down after the 8th week of a money losing season. Mike Martz shows magic as his team plays well despite having to go thru 3-different quarterbacks, after his potential starter Josh Johnson left to sign with the Washington Redskins.
15..AZTECS BASKETBALL…Coach Brian Dutcher’s team fails to get to the NCAA-tourney for the second time in a three year span.
16..JALEN MC DANIELS….His final season is stained by a potential lawsuit in Seattle for videotaping two female friends having sex with his teammates while they were in high school. SDSU never disciplined the player, who then left school to enter the NBA draft.
17..SAN DIEGO STRIKEFORCE…A disastrous debut for the indoor football league team that went (1-13) in its maiden season. They fired the GM and lead scout, early in the season, are last in attendance,as ex Charger Burt Grossman struggled in his coaching debut.
18..USD…Anthony Lawrence rewrites the entire Toreros football record book, wrapping up a brilliant quarterbacking career in guiding the Blue back into the 1AA playoffs.
19..SOCKERS….In a bold marketing move, lures MLS-soccerf star and World Cup hero Landon Donovan to sign a contract to play indoor soccer for the final month of the season.
20..MIGHTY 1090….San Diego’s top sports-talk station ceases operation after mistakes by station management led to its financial demise, coupled with unreasonable financial demands by Mexican owners. It was the second all sports station to go under due to managements decisions, following the dissolving of XTRA-Sports-690 by Clear Channel radio.
21..USL…The Division II soccer league gives a franchise to San Diego, and Donovan Landon is named GM-Coach of the San Diego Loyal that will debut this spring in the United Soccer League.
22..POINSETTIA BOWL…The second level bowl, operated by the Holiday Bowl, ceased operation despite drawing decent crowds. It was one of a couple of bowls to close up shop.
23..PHIL MICKELSON…Heading to the twilight of his career, the Rancho Santa Fe native stuns local fans by electing not to play in the Farmer’s Open tourney in 2019 at Torrey Pines.
24..TIGER WOODS…Relaunched his career, that would see him win on the PGA tour after 4-different surgical procedures on his back.
25..PT LOMA NAZARENE….Got toe the finals of the NCAA-Division II tourney, led by 6’8-transfer forward Dalton Hommes, who then left school for the NBA draft.
26..AZTECS FOOTBALL…rallies back from bad season, blasting Central Michigan in New Mexico Bowl, finishing the campaign at (10-3). Coach Rocky Longs career record at SDSU now (81-38)
27..KEITH LINCOLN…Legendary AFL-Chargers star passes away…Great career as running back-receiver-kick returner for early years Chargers team led by Coach Sid Gillman.
28..KELLEN WINSLOW JUNIOR…Son of legendary Chargers tight end, found guilty of multiple counts of rape, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, in prison for 8-to-20 years.
29..JERRY MAGEE….Longtime San Diego Union-Tribune NFL writer passed away (90Y)…he covered 42-Super Bowls in his career.
30..JIMMIE JOHNSON….El Cajon superstar NASCAR driver announces this coming season will be his final in a likely Hall of Fame career, that has seen him go 93-races in a row without a win.
31..DAVE GARCIA…Popular San Diego resident passes away at (98). A lifetime baseball player-coach-manager was a familiar sight sitting behind home plate at Padres games. His grandson was Padres utility man Greg Garcia.
32..WILLIE O’REE….Honored by NHL which names its Community Service Award for players who do great things on and off the ice. O’ere also enshrined into NHL Hall of Fame for breaking NHL color barrier.