Thursday, June 29, 2006

NBA Draft, Live Blog

By Tiger Fan

Well, with MU greats such as Thomas Gardner, Kevin Young, and Jimmy McKinney all eligible for this year’s draft, I figured I should keep track of things to be sure I capture the moment. Here’s how it all went down:

6:32: The pregame show is finally over and Toronto is on the clock. I’ve never understood why the first team even needs to go on the clock. We always know who they’re going to pick anyway. A quick shot of the green room shows No. 1-pick-to-be Andrea Bargnani looking rather awkward in a suit that’s too small. Of course, nothing could be more awkward than the mere presence of Adam Morrison, seated nearby. Dan Patrick tells us that Bargnani’s nickname is The Magician. Seeing that he’s going to be picked first in the NBA Draft after averaging just 11.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in Europe, I’d have to agree with that nickname. That is magic.

6:37: Toronto takes the 7’1” Magician… who is handed a hat by a woman who can’t be more than five feet tall. Highly comical. Fannette weighs in for the first time: “I didn’t even know they played basketball in Italy. I just thought they made spaghetti.

6:40: NY fans incessantly boo The Magician during his interview with Stu Scott. His explanation: “I’m from Europe.” Oh… now it makes more sense.

6:43: Aldridge to the Bulls… er… Blazers via trade. Hopefully he doesn’t play as still as he looks with the commish. Interestingly, I didn’t know Aldridge had a criminal record. You would have though the Blazers would go with laptop-stealer Marcus Williams or drunk driver J.J. Redick here. Or, you know, actually make a good PR move and bring in local favorite Adam Morrison. But what do I know.

6:49: Morrison goes next to Charlotte and Dan Patrick begins filling us in on his college career… and his diabetes… and the insulin shots he takes every day. Thanks for the medical history. Fannette adds to the commentary: “What you may not know is that he also had some blood in his urine last time he peed.”

6:53: Our first Dick Vitale sighting. Underlying his criticism of The Magician? He can’t believe no one from Duke has been drafted yet.

6:56: The Aldridge-Tyrus Thomas trade makes no sense for the Blazers. Aldridge still would have been on the board at No. 4. Foolish.

7:03: As we go to commercial, it seems that EA Sports has fallen on hard times financially. That’s the only possible explanation for an NBA Live ’07 ad campaign focused on Adam Morrison crying.

7:08: Kevin Garnett might not have to kill anyone with his gat’ after all. The Wolves make a great pick in Brandon Roy at No. 6. He may be the best player in this draft.

7:14: Fannette looks up from the paper she is writing and gestures toward Stephen A. Smith: “That guy is so annoying. Who is that? ‘Cause he needs to shut up.”

7:21: Rudy Gay was just picked No. 8, which proves the NBA Draft is a crapshoot. From what I can tell, Rudy Gay is Rickey Paulding: an athletic swingman who can dunk and shoot the 3, but lacks any heart or killer instinct. Paulding plays in Israel. Gay is going to be a millionaire. Go figure.

7:30: An hour into the draft and Thomas Gardner is still available. I don’t believe it.

7:34: Forget what I said about Garnett. Minnesota just trade Roy, who they took at No. 6, to Portland for Randy Foye, who was picked No. 7. This doesn’t make any sense. If Minnesota wanted Foye (who will be good, but not as good as Roy), why didn’t they just take him? Were they just trying to screw over Portland and get some cash? Is this the first draft-day trade where the players names have rhymed? I need answers.

7:37: The Sonics just drafted the black Shawn Bradley from Senegal. This guy should be on posters for years to come… of course, they will be posters of other people.

7:42: Redick is picked No. 11 and Vitale thinks it is a great pick. Really? I’m stunned. Honestly. I didn’t see this coming. Biggest surprise of the draft so far.

7:59: The ESPN takeover of the sports world is complete as David Stern actually banters with Dan Patrick before introducing the pick of Ronnie Brewer to the Jazz.

8:04: Stern just announced the Foye-Roy trade and looks as confused as I was.

8:30: After a boring half-hour, the Knicks are on the clock…

8:32: The Knicks’ fans seem to want Marcus Williams… ‘cause, you know, with Nate Robinson, Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis on board, there really aren’t enough guys in the backcourt who want the ball in their hands.

8:34: Stern toys with the crazed crowd by announcing a trade…

8:35: After all the suspense, Isaiah doesn’t disappoint. With the 20th pick, the Knicks take… WHO? Renaldo Balkman? The NIT MVP? Only Isaiah could do this. Unbelievable. Spike Lee is giggling nervously. Stephen A. is speechless. What a disaster.

8:47: Marcus Williams is finally picked by the Nets with their first of two straight UConn picks. If I were the Nets, I would have picked him with their second pick, just to screw with him. Of course, I know learn that he’s been taunted for months by his own mother, so it probably wouldn’t phase him.

8:52: Josh Boone goes No. 23. He would have won Ugliest Player honors were it not for Mr. Morrison. Boone is the fourth UConn player selected in the first round, which has only happened twice before. Of course, the 2005 UNC team and the 1999 Duke team each made the Final Four.

9:11: ESPN informs us that Jordan Farmar goes to the Lakers as part of the Shaq trade. Well, now that we know that, maybe it was a good trade. I mean, Farmar’s gotta be good for at least one title, right?

9:14: The Blazers get Sergio Rodriguez. He goes by “Spanish Chocolate.” What could go wrong? It’s part of the fourth trade by the Blazers… and it’s the third unnecessary one. Brilliant.

9:19: We’ve got our first crier. It’s not Morrison. Ladies and gentlemen, Maurice Ager! Of course, I would probably cry too if I found out I had to listen to David Hasselhoff music all the time. And now… the Knicks’ circus is back!

9:25: Mardy Collins to the Knicks. Not a terrible pick… if you’re a team that doesn’t need to win immediately. Which the Knicks do.

9:30: Final pick of the first round: Joel Freeland from… England? Yikes. Watching the video “highlights” of this guy, I gotta say I’ve seen more talent at the MU Rec Center in pick-up games. I mean, he’s tall, but otherwise… The ESPN guys say he’s a “project.” Translation: He’ll never see the floor in an NBA game. A fitting end to an odd first round that took way too long.

11:10: It’s finally over. Thomas Gardner was not picked. However, two players from Senegal, two players from Israel, one player from Nigeria, one player from the Ukraine, and one player from Bosnia were selected. Ouch. Now, I don’t want to go all Dick Vitale on you here, but… while I think Thomas made a mistake by going pro – and I know I’m not a scout – I don’t know how you can look at highlights of these lanky foreign guys rattling in lay-ups against a bunch of stiffs in Europe and see more potential than you see in a guy who dropped 40 on kansas and was one of the scoring leaders in the Big XII. TG should have stayed in school, but I also think he could help an NBA team more than at least 10 players selected in the second round. Best of luck in Europe, Thomas!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

More like Sensodine...

As everyone knows by now, Mizzou knocked off Pepperdine to advance to the NCAA baseball super regionals. But what you might not know is that Pepperdine coach Steve Rodriguez is a bit of a baby (though you might have guessed that when you heard the MU announcing team talking about his strategy for giving a relief pitcher extra time to warm-up. Rodriguez pretends a position player is injured in some minor way and goes out to talk to him. Brilliant!). Don't believe me? Check out today's Post-Disgrace recap.

C'mon Steve... comparing a preseason No. 10 team with two early round pitchers on it to the Devil Rays? You're better than that. Or maybe you aren't... after all, this is the third straight year your squad has lost in the regional final. Is it hot in here, or is that just the seat you're sitting on?

Moving on (as Pepperdine seems unable to do)... Missouri is rewarded with a matchup against national power Cal State Fullerton (you know, the 2004 national champs). Big reward, huh? But when you have a dominating pitcher (that's you, Max) and a damn good one (Nathan Culp) throwing two of the three games, you always have a chance.

My concern isn't the pitching, though. It's the hitting. Brock Bond, John McKee and J.C. Field have all picked it up as of late. The problem: preseason All-American and junior U.S. team member Hunter Mense still is hitting less than .250, and Zane Taylor remains a pretty unimposing cleanup hitter. Those two have to do more for the offense to produce, and the offense has to produce to hope for a series win against CSF.

But whatever the outcome, the Tigers still made it out of the first weekend. Two freshmnan starters got big-game experience. MU increased its national signature in baseball. That's good stuff, folks. Good enough that I'll be satisfied if the season ends this weekend. But that doesn't mean I'm not hoping for more!

Coming Thursday A look at Cal-State Fullerton's likely starters and starting lineup.

Tiger ace Max Scherzer was drafted No. 11 overall earlier today by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Scherzer's selection marks the first time a Tiger player has been selected in the first round of the MLB draft. Nathan Culp was selected by San Diego in the fourth round. Congrats to Scherzer and Culp... but let's hope we see them a few more times in a Tiger uniform, starting on Friday!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Malibu Regional Recap

By Tiger Fan

In case you haven’t heard by now, the Tigers beat Pepperdine by a score of 8-3 earlier today to clinch their first-ever NCAA Regional title (no, I didn’t get anything done at work today after 3:00). The win also marked the first time a No. 4 seed has won a region since the tournament expanded to 64 teams. For those of you who don’t follow college baseball, this is the equivalent of reaching the Sweet 16 in the NCAA basketball tournament. Next up for the Tigers is a trip to the Super Regional for a best of three series against Cal State-Fullerton. At stake is a trip to the College World Series in Omaha and a chance to play for the national championship.

If this sounds like an improbable turn of events to you, you’re not alone. Just two weeks ago, Mizzou was on the outside of the NCAA tournament picture looking in. But since then, the Tigers have won 10 of their last 12 games, including a sweep of No. 3 Texas (which has since been knocked out of the NCAA tourney) and four straight wins in elimination games this weekend. The two losses in that stretch have been heartbreaking one-run games that were decided in the ninth inning. I don’t know much about Cal State-Fullerton, but if the Tigers keep playing like they have been, they are going to be mighty tough to beat. It should be an interesting series when things get underway on Friday.

The Tigers’ regional win is the result of a wild weekend of baseball that saw them lose their opener against Pepperdine on Friday with their ace Max Scherzer on the hill, survive a 14-inning battle with Cal-Irvine on Saturday, win two games on Sunday with two freshman pitchers recording complete game victories and knock off Pepperdine again today with their closer Taylor Parker filling in at starter. The amazing thing is that after all of the madness, things are set up perfectly for the Tigers as they head to the Super Regional. Scherzer was able to rest up and should be ready to show what he is made of on Friday after not pitching his best against Pepperdine. Then Nathan Culp will be ready to go on Saturday. And if a third game is needed after that 1-2 punch, Rick Zagone is coming off a complete game win with lots of confidence. Behind the starters is a bullpen that has been playing well and a line-up that seems to be hitting better with each passing game. The CS-F series is by no means a gimmie – they are one of the top teams in the country – but you have to feel good about how things are shaping up for the Tigers right now.

I’ll be in Las Vegas this coming weekend, so I won’t be glued to my computer like I was last weekend (ask Fannette; she’ll tell you that 9 hours of listening to baseball on a computer in one weekend is a bit much). But since I was able to tune in this weekend, I'd like to give out some Malibu Regional Awards:

MVP(s): Rick Zagone and Aaron Crow

The entire pitching staff turned in an amazing performance, but Zagone and Crow really stood out. The two freshmen turned in back-to-back complete games on Sunday when the Tigers needed it most. After the 14-inning affair on Saturday, lots of Tiger fans were wondering how the Mizzou pitching staff would survive on Sunday. But Zagone and Crow answered the call, allowing two just two runs between them as the Tigers knocked off both UCLA and Pepperdine. That is clutch. I don’t think they are quite ready to replace Scherzer and Culp, but after Sunday’s performance, I’m already looking forward to next year.

Gutsiest Performance: Taylor Parker

After pitching 1.2 scoreless innings in Saturday’s game to earn the W, the Tiger closer came back today and made only his fifth career start. He pitched 5.2 strong innings, allowing just 2 unearned runs on five hits and pitched his way out of a couple tight jams. Parker wound up the day with his second win of the tournament.

Unsung Hero Award: Travis Wendte

If you look at the stats from this weekend, Tiger reliever Travis Wendte’s numbers won’t dazzle you. But while Wendte didn’t earn a win or a save on Saturday, he saved the season for the Tigers. He pitched five scoreless innings against the Anteaters, and recorded several crucial outs with the winning run just 90 feet from home. None of these other guys could have done what they did if it weren’t for Wendte.

There’s a Reason We’re His Fan Club: Gary Arndt

Our boy Gary turned in a solid performance this weekend, particularly Saturday. In that game, he made a diving catch for the third out in the 13th inning that saved the season and he turned the game-winning double play in the bottom of the 14th. Oh, and he also had a homer and 3 RBI in that game. If the scouts were watching, you might see Gary get drafted in tomorrow’s MLB draft.

Improbable Clutch Hitter Award: J.C. Field

One of the most productive Tigers this weekend was J.C. Field… yes, that J.C. Field. We all know he’s a great catcher, but J.C. isn’t usually known for his hitting prowess or his speed on the base paths. But that wasn’t the case this weekend. J.C. had an RBI single in the ninth on Friday to bring the Tigers within one. He scored the winning run on Saturday when he chugged all the way home from second in the 14th. He scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning on Sunday. He had an RBI and a run scored on Monday. Forget the ninth spot in the order… let him bat clean-up if he’s going to hit like this.

And while we’re at it, let’s move the 6-7-8-9 hitters to the top of the order. This weekend, John McKee, Brock Bond, Gary Arndt and J.C. Field (who usually occupy those spots in the order) accounted for 11 runs scored and 9 RBI. Can’t ask for much more from the bottom half of the order. Finally…

Pinch-Hit Hero Award: Ryan Lollis

He only had one at-bat on Saturday, but he came up huge when it mattered most. Lollis stepped in to pinch-hit for Trevor Helms with two outs in the 14th inning on Saturday. Lollis ripped a two-strike single to right, allowing J.C. Field to score what would be the game-winning run.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Thrill of Victory, Agony of Defeat

By Tiger Fan

After a wild weekend of baseball, Mizzou is still alive in the Malibu regional (they have just knocked off Pepperdine 4-1 as I write to force another game on Monday). To say that the games were close would be an understatement. The Tigers lost a heartbreaker to Pepperdine 3-2 on Friday, won in 14 innings against Cal-Irvine on Saturday and slipped by UCLA 2-1 earlier today on the strength of a complete game by Rick Zagone. The Friday and Saturday games illustrated what is best (and worst) about college sports: the thrill of victory on Saturday, compared to the agony of defeat on Friday.

Both games went down to the wire as I listened intently on my computer. Friday night, Trevor Helms was robbed of the game-tying RBI in the ninth when the Pepperdine second baseman made a diving stop and threw him out by inches. A painful loss. Saturday, J.C. Field chugged home for the go-ahead run in the 14th and the Tigers sealed the victory with double play in the bottom of the inning. A thrilling victory.

Most fans have experienced both of these sensations and that’s what makes sports so great. You never know what is going to happen. Yes, it seems like Mizzou fans often get the agony more than thrill (see: Tyus Edney, the Fifth Down, the Kicked Ball… all before my time as a tiger fan), but we’ve had our thrilling moments too. It’s hard to say at this point where this weekend’s games fall in my history as a sports fan, but below are my 10 most thrilling moments (sometimes a moment, sometimes a whole game) and my 10 most agonizing losses. I’m sure some of the Tiger fans out there have shared these moments. Check out my list and feel free to discuss your own memories in the comments section.

Thrill of Victory:

  1. Mizzou-Nebraska – October 11, 2003

It had been 25 years since Mizzou beat Nebraska. But on a cold, rainy night in Columbia, Brad Smith turned in another electrifying performance and the Tigers came from behind to win 41-24. There are too many magical moments in this game to recount them all. We sat in the front row of Tiger’s Lair that night: shirtless, chests painted, freezing cold, soaking wet. We screamed so loud that Fannette’s vocal chords were cramping the next day. When it was over, we stormed the field and accompanied the goalpost to Harpo’s, where I personally cut off the piece of history that sits proudly on my desk. Somewhere around 1:30 in the morning as I was heading home, I realized I was still shirtless and covered in smeared paint. What a night.

  1. Mizzou-kU basketball – March 6, 2005

As a senior at Mizzou, I had endured four long years without ever being on hand to see the Tiger beat kU. After years of seeing talented Tiger teams fall apart against the beakers, I wasn’t optimistic when the highly ranked gayhawks came calling against the NIT-bound Tigers. But then Jimmy McKinney got hot. So did Thomas Gardner. Mizzou got out to a big lead and withstood a late kU rally for the 72-68. Yellow Suit Guy, The Nethead, Tiger Fannette and I helped lead the charge as the students rushed the floor. Truly an amazing way to finish up my college career.

  1. Texas A&M beats Kansas State for the Big XII title – December 5, 1998

The No. 10 Aggies (who I’ve cheered for since birth) trailed No. 1 by 15 as the fourth quarter began, but the Aggies tied it at 27 with just over a minute to play. The Aggies dragged down a K-State receiver at the two-yard line as time expired, sending the game to overtime. On third-and-17 in the second overtime, Aggie running back Sirr Parker caught a quick slant, eluded a tackle and raced 32 yards for the game-winning touchdown. I went crazy with my parents in my living room. Our dog was even jumping around. After that, all I remember is running through my neighborhood with a Texas A&M flag. It was bedlam.

  1. Mizzou-kU basketball – January 16, 2006

In the midst of another mediocre season, Tiger Fannette and I returned to Columbia earlier this year without much optimism as the Tigers took on kansas. For 38.5 minutes, it looked like we were right. With about 90 seconds to play, the beakers led by 11. They led by 7 with 30 seconds remaining. But Thomas Gardner, who scored 40 that night, was on fire and he tied the game with 5.6 seconds to play. kU’s Christian Moody missed two free throws with 0.4 seconds remaining and Mizzou won it in overtime, 89-86. Sitting up high, Tiger Fannette and I had to deal with abuse from kU fans for the entire game. Needless to say, they didn’t have much to talk about when the final horn sounded.

  1. Reds sweep the A’s to win the World Series – October 20, 1990

If I had been more than seven years old, this would probably be higher up on the list. The Reds weren’t supposed to have a chance, but they won four straight games instead. I remember that my grandparents were staying with me and I was allowed to stay up late to see the game, which was being played in Oakland. I watched the whole thing with a broom in hand… and when the Reds took a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning of game four, I got to start waving it around. One inning later, the Reds were world champs.

  1. 2005 Independence Bowl – December 30, 2005

Anyone who saw this game knows that it started out as an “agony of defeat” story. As I sat at my home in Cincinnati watching the game, I started making and receiving angry phone calls to and from my Mizzou friends. 21-0 in the first quarter? Are you serious? But I kept telling my family that I thought the Tigers could still come back. When it was 28-14 at halftime, my friends were urging me to head out for the evening, but I stayed put. Then the defense clamped down and Brad Smith started playing like, well, only Brad Smith can. When the dust had cleared, it was an unbelievable 38-31 victory for ol’ Mizzou. I finally headed out to meet up with my friends, but I did so sporting a Kellen Winslow jersey and a big smile.

  1. Mizzou-Oklahoma State basketball – February 24, 2004

In the midst of a disappointing season, I actually thought about not going to this game. I had to work at the Missourian all day, so I wasn’t able to get there in time to secure my usual front row Zou Crew seat. In fact, I got there right before tip off and watched my first and only game from the Hearnes Center upper deck. Early on, I couldn’t believe how out of it all the fans were up there. Some of them didn’t even seem to know what was going on. But by the time OSU’s John Lucas missed a jumped as time expired in the second overtime (giving unranked Mizzou a 93-92 victory over the No. 6 Cowboys), even the upper deck fans were on their feet and going crazy. It was a wild game and an electric atmosphere. As we sang the alma mater up in the rafters, I remember hoping that the last game played at Hearnes would be just as thrilling. Unfortunately, we all know that didn’t happen.

  1. Mizzou-SEMO baseball – April 30, 2003

This isn’t a game many people remember (mainly because there weren’t many people there – the official attendance was 619, but that seems hard to believe), but it’s one of my favorite Mizzou memories. The Tigers trailed SEMO 10-6 going to the bottom of the ninth and most of the fans who did show up started filing out early. But I stayed put with three of my friends and we were handsomely rewarded. The Tigers clawed their way back into it and Ryan Rallo hit a game-winning two-run homer into the left field bullpen with two strikes and two outs to give Mizzou an 11-10 win. We went crazy, running up and down the bleachers and screaming like crazy. The win was made even sweeter by the fact that the SEMO fans in front of us had been giving us a hard time all game long. Truly a great moment.

  1. Mizzou-SLU basketball – December 3, 2001

This was my first – and best – experience watching a Mizzou road game at a Columbia sports bar. As na├»ve freshmen, we had no idea that you needed to show up early at Buffalo Wild Wings to get a table to watch the big game. We rolled in right as the game started, only to discover that there was nowhere to sit. Luckily, they let us stand in the entry, and I’m glad we did. When Wesley Stokes hit the game winner at the buzzer, giving Mizzou a 69-67, the place went crazy. Drinks went flying. Everyone was high-fiving and hugging. And then everyone left, meaning that we could stay and enjoy some victory wings.

  1. Albert Pujols steals the soul of Brad Lidge – October 17, 2005

I’m not going to pretend to be a Cardinals fan. But I watching last year’s NLCS at Mike Duffy’s Sports Bar in St. Louis with a room full of Cardinals fans, I definitely got caught up in the moment. The Cards entered the ninth inning trailing the Astros 4-2, with the Astros just three outs away from clinching the series. The St. Louis fans were looking pretty devastated, but all of that changed with one pitch. Pujols crushed a three-run homer to left off Houston closer Brad Lidge and the place went ballistic. I was hugged by people I didn’t know. People were standing on tables. Pandemonium. Houston went on to win the series, but Albtert’s homerun will be remembered for a long time… and Lidge hasn’t been the same since.

-Honorable mention: Reggie McNeal completes a Hail Mary touchdown at the end of the first half against Oklahoma State, my alma mater Lakota East beats West at basketball for the first time in school history, MU beats kU in the 2003 Big XII Tourney, Mizzou makes the Elite Eight by beating UCLA

Agony of Defeat:

  1. A dagger in the heart of everyone” – January 8, 2006

The Bengals hadn’t been in the playoffs in more than a decade, but Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson led a high-powered offense that had Cincinnati fans believing again. After winning the division, the Bengals took on the Steelers in the first round of the playoffs in front of a sellout crowd of orange and black. The stage seemed set for the Bengals to make up for years of terrible play. Then it happened. On the second play of the game, Palmer unleashed a 66-yard completion to Chris Henry… and then Steelers d-lineman Kimo von Oehlhoffen landed on Palmer’s leg. I knew immediately that he was seriously hurt. I screamed at the TV. Things were thrown. Neighbors were probably terrified. As it turns out, Palmer tore both his anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament. Game over. Season over. Dream over. The Steelers, of course, went on to win the game 31-17 and later won the Super Bowl. I actually think I went through the stages of grief on this one: This cannot be happening (denial)… Why is this happening? (anger)… Okay, I’ll accept this if Kitna can lead us to victory (bargaining)… Fine, I don’t care anymore (depression)… I still don’t think I’ve reached the acceptance stage over.

  1. The last game at Hearnes Center – March 7, 2004

The scene was set for a story-book farewell. The Tigers were playing the archrival beakers. Mizzou was saying good-bye to four great seniors (Rickey Paulding, Arthur Johnson, Josh Kroenke and Travon Bryant). We needed the win to make the NCAA tournament. It should have been a perfect ending to the decades of basketball at the Hearnes Center. For most of the game, it looked like things would go according to plan. The game was close, but AJ was playing out of his mind. He finished the game with a career-high 37 points and eight rebounds. Jason Conley threw down a dunk with 49 seconds to play to give the Tigers the lead and, after an Aaron Miles 3-pointer, Conley made two free throws to tie the game at 82 with 15.4 seconds to play. But someone forgot to tell kU freshman David Padgett how this story was supposed to end. He hit the game-winning basket over AJ with 2 seconds to play. The Tigers lost the last game ever played at the Hearnes Center, 84-82. All I remember after that game was stunned silence. We probably stayed in the arena for at least an hour after the game. We didn’t want it to end that way. But it did.

  1. Kirk (bleepin’) Hinrich – March 9, 2003

The AP recap of the game begins like this “Kansas needed two improbable long shots to wrap up its second straight Big 12 championship.” That doesn’t do it justice, but it gets the gist of it. Aaron Miles and Hinrich both made wild, buzzer-beating, garbage three-pointers in the final minute. Hinrich’s shot broke a 74-all tie with 23 seconds to play. Mizzou lost the game 79-74. It was the first home game we had lost all season and to be honest, we didn’t know how to react. I just remember sitting in stunned silence, wondering how it got away. Here’s what it looked like.

  1. Super Bowl XXIII – January 22, 1989

Again, if I was more than five years old, this might be a more traumatic moment for me. As it is, Joe Montana’s game-winning 92-yard drive with 3:02 to play against the Bengals is one of my earlier memories. To be fair, I don’t actually remember the game (although I’ve seen the highlights) but I remember three things: a) My favorite player at the time, Tim Krumrie, got hurt, 2) The Bengals lost, 3) Everybody we were watching the game with (I believe a church gathering) was really bummed. Now I understand why. The only thing I could think of that would be worse is if the franchise quarterback had his knee blown out on a freak play… oh wait…

  1. The Fake – October 5, 2002

It was Brad Smith’s coming out party. He carried the ball 26 times for 213 yards and two touchdowns while adding 178 yards and another score through the air. Mizzou trailed Oklahoma 23-7 in the second half, but Smith’s 25 scamper with 10 minutes to play put the Tigers ahead 24-23. The atmosphere at Faurot Field was electric. Mizzou had the No. 3 team in the country on the ropes. You could feel the upset. And then, OU faked the field goal. The defenders were there, but somehow freshman tight end Chris Chester managed to catch the ball between two sets of hands with 6:33 left for his first career reception. The Tigers never recovered. I was in the band then, so I had a clear view of Chester’s catch. There’s no way he makes that catch 99 times out of 100. The defense was perfect. An inch either way and it’s incomplete and the Tigers win… all right, I have to stop…

  1. The Unlucky Block – January 20, 2004

Let’s set the stage: Mizzou leads No. 14 Texas 61-58 in Columbia with just seconds remaining. Royal Ivey drives the lane and puts up a lay-up to put the Longhorns within one. Tiger center Arthur Johnson steps up and makes a huge block. The only problem? The ball lands in the hand of Brian Boddicker, who calmly knocks down the game-tying 3 with 6.9 seconds to play. Ivey went bonkers in overtime and the Tigers lost 79-75. I was quite upset after the game and when I got to my car afterward and found a parking ticket, courtesy of MUPD, I pretty much lost it. The whole thing actually led to a bit of a fight between Fannette and myself. Apparently, she thought I was taking the whole thing a little too hard. Me? Hard to believe.

  1. MU-kU football – November 20, 2004

Mizzou had everything to play for: a shot in the Big XII championship game, Senior Day, a rivalry game against the beakers, and a chance to overcome the embarrassment of blowing a 21-0 lead against KSU two weeks before. On a personal note, it was the last home football game of my college career. As usual, I braved the cold and stood shirtless in the front row of Tiger’s Lair despite the cold. Unfortunately, the Tigers failed to grasp the importance of this game. In fact, they pretty much didn’t show up. The Tigers trailed 21-0 at halftime and ended up losing 31-14. We took out our frustrations on small plastic megaphones that had been given out to the student section. When Rocky Mountain Tiger stopped by to see us near the end of the game, there was a graveyard of megaphones that had been crushed on the brick wall above Dan Devine’s name. Buried with them was Mizzou’s chance at a bowl game.

  1. MU-Iowa basketball

This one also requires the scene to be set: Mizzou entered the game 9-0 and ranked No. 2 in the country. So many students stuck around Columbia after exams that the Hearnes Center was oversold by thousands. The official attendance figure for the game was a sell-out, but there were students sitting with their feet over the balconies in the upper deck and we were jammed in shoulder-to-shoulder in the student section. The arena was rocking before the game and then, in the opening minutes, Wesley Stokes threw a sick half-court alley-oop to Rickey Paulding, who threw it down over two Iowa defenders. The place was going crazy… and then the Tigers stopped playing. They trailed by 11 at the half and ended up losing 83-65 to a team they had beaten just weeks earlier.

  1. MU-kU baseball – May 27, 2006

This one is only a week old. Playing for a spot in the Big XII title game – and presumably with their season hanging in the balance – Mizzou battled back to tie the game at 3, only to blow it in the ninth. The Tigers gave up the winning run without the ball ever leaving the infield. He reached on a walk and advanced to second on a bunt. Then, with two outs, he reached third on an error at third base by Zane Taylor (who was only in the game because Brock Bond had been thrown out after starting a bench-clearing brawl). Then, the unthinkable. On a routine groundball, Tiger shortstop Gary Arndt tripped over his shoelaces and the throw to first was (arguably) late as the winning run scored. The Tigers went quietly in the bottom of the inning. I was at home in Cincinnati, so the only way I could track the game was through the Tigerboard live chat. Needless to say, I had to bite my tongue to keep from yelling during that ninth inning, as everyone else in the house was asleep. There was lots of cussing in the chat room that night, but this is a rare agonizing loss that had a silver lining: As we all know, the Tigers not only made the tourney, but have a shot at winning the Malibu regional tomorrow.

  1. 2006 NCAA Championship – January 4, 2006

This may seem like an odd choice, but I hate texas so much that seeing them win in one of the greatest college football games ever played drove me crazy. I was watching the game alone at Fannette’s apartment (she had gone to bed) and I really had to bite my tongue to keep from waking her up. Pillows were thrown. The floor was pounded. What had started out as a casual night of sitting on the couch watching football ended up with me six inches from the TV, living and dying with every possession. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be a USC fan that night. Of course, I guess they do have another national title to fall back on… something I can’t say I have ever experienced.