BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s been a busy year of sports news in Baltimore. From Lamar Jackson’s epic performance against the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football to local teams returning to play amidst a global pandemic, there has been plenty to talk about.
Here are the sports stories that caught the most attention on WJZ.com in 2020.
A three-block stretch of West Street near M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore is now known as Mo Gaba Way in memory of the young Ravens and Orioles superfan who died earlier this year.
Gaba’s mother Sonsy took part in a ceremony during which ceremonial street signs were unveiled.
The Ravens announced the street would be renamed to remember Gaba, a local sports superfan who gained attention for calling into 105.7 The Fan beginning in 2015 to share his sports knowledge with listeners.
Gaba, known for his contagious energy and a smile that lit up the city, died in July after battling cancer for the fourth time. He was just 14.
Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was contemplating the idea of wearing a face shield during the team’s season opener against the Cleveland Browns. Then, he saw what happened to Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid.
“I dismissed that after last night,” Harbaugh said when asked about the shield after Friday’s practice.
Reid’s face shield began fogging up early in the contest and continued to worsen throughout the evening leading to plenty of jokes on Twitter.
When Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson disappeared late in Monday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns, fans began speculating what led him to leave the field.
Some fans believed he left to go use the bathroom.
On Tuesday morning, Jackson tweeted, “Y’all trippin I definitely wasn’t taking a [enter poop emoji]”
It was ultimately a calf cramp that sent him to the locker room, he said.
“I started cramping on the field,” Jackson said. “The two passes I threw, right before those passes to Willie and Mark, the overthrows, I was cramping (in) my throwing arm.”
Jackson said his legs then started cramping. He left the field and went to the locker room for treatment and stretching.
In the fourth quarter, he returned after backup quarterback Trace McSorley got hurt and it appeared the team would be left without a quarterback.
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis told The Baltimore Sun that he is fully planning to be part of the team in 2021 and never considered retiring. In that same interview, Davis questioned the direction of the team’s rebuild as he’s trying to find his form again, amidst three straight seasons of hitting below .200.
In an interview with 105.7 The Fan’s Vinnie And Haynie Show, MASN broadcaster and Orioles Hall of Famer Mike Bordick pushed back on Davis’ comments saying that there is a “track record” when it comes to Davis’ work habits. Bordick believes he hasn’t done enough work to keep up with the game as he has aged.
“There were a couple of head-scratching comments by Chris Davis. I think the thing that got me was the fact that he said when he came back for the second spring training, he just didn’t feel the same as he did in the first spring. And, I think, unfortunately, there is a track record with Chris Davis’ work habits,” said Bordick.
Each member of the Maryland basketball team took turns gripping the trophy awarded to the Big Ten Conference champions. They wore bright red hats boasting their accomplishment, and they proudly cut down the nets on each side of the court.
It really didn’t matter to coach Mark Turgeon or the No. 9 Terrapins that their 83-70 victory over 25th-ranked Michigan was good for only a share of the regular-season title. After more than four months’ worth of exhilarating wins and bitterly disappointing defeats, the robust celebration — which served as a welcome release of emotion — came without apology.
“Would we have liked to have won it outright? Absolutely, but we’re still champs,” Turgeon declared.
Spring Training is still a few months away, but the Baltimore Orioles announced a restructuring of their Minor League Baseball affiliates.
The Frederick Keys will no longer be a farm club for the Birds. The Keys have been affiliated with the Orioles franchise for 31 years.
Instead, the Aberdeen IronBirds will be the Orioles High-A affiliate.
Bowie, Delmarva, and Norfolk will remain the other Oriole minor league franchises.
Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson tested positive for COVID-19 in November 2020.
The Thanksgiving night game between the Ravens and Steelers was switched multiple times because of positive coronavirus tests within the Ravens organization.
The Ravens said the team “disciplined” a staff member for conduct surrounding the COVID-19 cases affecting the organization.
“The Baltimore Ravens have disciplined a staff member for conduct surrounding the recent COVID-19 cases that have affected players and staff at the Ravens,” the team said in a statement.
Justin Tucker saw his NFL-record streak come to an end versus the Dallas Cowboys, and Ravens fans blamed announcer Joe Buck, saying he jinxed it.
Tucker, who had made 70 straight field goals from within the 40, pushed a 36-yard field goal wide left in the second quarter of the game.
Right before Tucker went to kick, Buck pointed out Tucker had made 70 consecutive field goals from within the 40.
“I’m just gonna say [Tucker will make the kick]. No announcer’s jinx, come on,” Buck said jokingly.
Fans were quick to respond on Twitter.
With his bright red shoes and relentless running, Derrick Henry grabbed the spotlight and wouldn’t let go.
When he was done leading Tennessee into the AFC championship game, he did a lengthy victory lap around the Baltimore Ravens’ home, slapping hands and taking selfies with Titans fans.
One week after dominating defending Super Bowl champion New England, the Titans (11-7) eliminated Baltimore (14-3). The Ravens had won their last 12 games, with quarterback Lamar Jackson setting records and looking unstoppable.
Longtime sports announcer Cris Collinsworth said he is “sick” over his comments on-air during the Ravens-Steelers matchup Wednesday, when he said he was “blown away” by female Steelers fans understanding football so well.
During the second quarter of the game, Collinsworth made a comment about female NFL fans he had run into before the game began. “Everybody’s a fan. In particular, the ladies that I met. They have really specific questions about the game,” he said of the women. “And I’m like, ‘Wow,’ you’re just blown away by how strong the fans are here in this town.”
After online backlash from him singling out “ladies” questions on the game, he issued an apology statement on Twitter.