Top 5 Tuesday: Sports History’s Most Patriotic Moments

Tomorrow will mark two-hundred thirty-six years of American independence. Two-hundred thirty-six years since Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence and John Hancock signed his — well, “John Hancock.” The past centuries have provided many definitive moments, and sports history is no exception. Today, THE SPORTS DISPENCER has scoured the records to compile five of sports history’s most patriotic moments.

5. Reaction to the Death of Osama Bin Laden

On May 1, 2011, a covert operation captured and killed Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden in his Pakistani compound. Courtesy of social media, news spread rapidly before an official announcement was made, eventually reaching the fans of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. There, a nationally broadcast matchup between the Mets and Phillies was briefly interrupted in the top of the ninth when jubilant spectators erupted into chanting U-S-A. Although in the midst of a tightly contested NL East matchup, rival fans put their team allegiances aside and reveled in a marquee American moment.

4. “Dream Team”

At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, the U.S. men’s basketball team — composed of college stars — stumbled to an unacceptable third place finish. Four years later, FIBA turned to the NBA to supply a lineup capable of returning American basketball to atop the podium. By enlisting the game’s best and brightest stars, the world could not compete, losing by an average of 43.8 points. From Bird to Magic to Barkley to Jordan, the U.S.’s elite squad dazzled audiences, seized the gold, and brought glory to the “Stars and Stripes.”

3. Super Bowl XXXVI Halftime Show

As the United States continued to recover, Super Bowl XXXVI served as a platform to pay tribute to victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. After U2 treated the sold out Superdome crowd to an upbeat rendition of “Beautiful Day”, the scene changed. Behind the band, two backdrops began to scroll, featuring the names of all the victims killed in the attacks. When U2 concluded the emotional performance, Bono tore open his jacket to reveal an American flag. The halftime show garnered rave reviews and in 2009 was named by as the greatest in history.

2. Rick Monday Saves the Flag

A two-time All-Star, ex-Cubs center fielder Rick Monday is perhaps best known for stopping two protesters from burning an American flag in a play dubbed “the greatest in baseball history.” In regards to the incident, Monday, a former marine, later remarked, “If you’re going to burn the flag, don’t do it around me. I’ve been to too many veterans’ hospitals and seen too many broken bodies of guys who tried to protect it.”

1. Miracle on Ice

Entering the 1980 Winter Olympics, the Soviet Union was the odds-on favorite to top the podium, winning every ice hockey gold since 1964. Since the United States’ victory in 1960, the Soviets defeated America in every subsequent matchup with a cumulative score of 28-7. In the heart of the Cold War, the Americans and Soviets were natural rivals, but the United States never seemed to gain the upper hand. When the Olympics returned to Lake Placid, where the U.S. captured gold in 1960, momentum had finally shifted in America’s favor. In front of a raucous home crowd, Herb Brooks’ squad edged the Soviets 4-3 en route to Olympic gold.

What do you think? Anything we missed? Comment below and let the discussion begin.

* Photos Courtesy of LA Public Library, ESPN


Ridiculous Baseball Catch

In the bottom of the ninth, Lower Columbia College was leading Everett Community College 4-2. With two outs and a man on base, tensions rose as Everett DH Keone Kela stepped up to the plate.

The pitch was delivered down the middle, and the Everett slugger swung for the fences. The ball rocketed to left field, and fans celebrated what seemed to be a sure home run, but as the ball traveled over the low outfield wall, Columba College outfielder Derrick Salberg made a play for the ages.

MLB 2012 Middle of May Power Rankings

30. Minnesota Twins

With a record of 9-24, the Twins are already nine games back in the weak AL Central.

29. San Diego Padres

The Padres are an MLB worst 10.5 games back in their division.

28. Chicago Cubs

Last in the NL Central, the Cubs have struggled with run production, bringing in only 114 on the season.

27. Kansas City Royals

The Royals have mounted surprisingly good offensive numbers but are continuously set back by one of baseball’s worst bullpens.

26. Milwaukee Brewers

Aside from Greinke, the Brewers have had little success on the mound.

25. Houston Astros

The Astros five-game winning streak lifted them to fourth place in the NL Central.

24. Colorado Rockies

When your best starting pitcher is 49, something is wrong.

23. Seattle Mariners

The Mariners lay claim to a team OPS of .288 that is dwarfed by their division’s leader.

22. Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates offensive woes continue. They have an MLB worst 94 runs scored on the year.

21. Arizona Diamondbacks

After being swept by the defending champs, Arizona finds itself in a close series with the Giants.

20. Boston Red Sox

Last in the AL East and 7.5 games out of first, the Red Sox are struggling to put it back together.

Rick Osentoski – US Presswire

19. San Francisco Giants

The Giants may be second in the West, but they still trail the Dodgers by six games.

18. Chicago White Sox

A lack of consistency on the mound and at the plate causes them to drop in the rankings.

17. Oakland Athletics

Billy Beane’s squad is playing above .500 but has an uphill battle to take over first in the AL West.

16. Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies continue to surprise baseball pundits everywhere as they place last in the NL East.

15. New York Mets

An above .500 record and David Wright’s remarkable performances help the Mets crack into baseball’s upper half.

14. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Pujols has yet to prove he is worth the cash they dealt for him.

13. Florida Marlins

Ozzie’s team is just over .500 but has the pieces to do much better.

12. Detroit Tigers

They may be two games off the pace in the AL Central, but the Tigers have the talent to win the division.

11. Toronto Blue Jays

Jose Bautista has broken out of his slump, making the Jays a team to watch in the AL East.

10. Cinnicinati Reds

An NL wild card contender, the Reds trail the Cards by 3.5 games in the Central.

9. Cleveland Indians

They are leading the AL Central, but these days, that does not mean much.

8. Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa is second in the Al East but has dropped three in a row.

7. New York Yankees

The Bronx Bombers are still third in the AL East but have mounted a three-game winning streak.

6. Atlanta Braves

The Braves are charging in the NL East and have just taken a series from the defending champs.

5. Baltimore Orioles

The O’s are leading a close AL East race and show no signs of slowing down.

4. Washington Nationals

The NL East leaders have found a future star in Bryce Harper.

3. St. Louis Cardinals

Offseason pickup Carlos Beltran has rejuvenated his career with one of baseball’s top offenses.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

Matt Kemp may be slowing down, but the Dodgers have a six-game chokehold on the rest of the West.

1. Texas Rangers

Two words: Josh. Hamilton. The Rangers star has been lighting up the boxscore. The defending AL champs are poised to make another deep postseason run.

Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

* Photo 1 Courtesy of Rant Sports

* Photo 2 Courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle