Leading Off

In busy year, 10 sports moments stand out

Sacramento Kings head coach Michael Malone yells at the referee that the New Orleans’ Anthony Davis was pushing off in the second quarter on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014, at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif.
Sacramento Kings head coach Michael Malone yells at the referee that the New Orleans’ Anthony Davis was pushing off in the second quarter on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014, at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif. TNS

In a year filled with many memorable moments for Sacramento sports fans, here are 10 we won’t soon forget:

Early departure – The Kings fired coach Michael Malone on Dec. 15, just 24 games into the season, even though he was 11-13 despite center DeMarcus Cousins missing nine games due to viral meningitis.

Cousins and Gay, Team USA – Cousins and Kings forward Rudy Gay played key roles in Team USA’s victory in the FIBA World Cup. Their participation also raised expectations for the Kings, perhaps too much (see above).

Separation anxiety – This moment hasn’t happened, but the build-up to Jim Harbaugh’s departure from the 49ers has dominated a season many hope to quickly forget. Maybe it will be Harbaugh’s parting gift – the chatter took attention away from the team’s troubles.

Thanksgiving feast – After Seattle’s Richard Sherman intercepted two passes to lead the Seahawks to a 19-3 victory at Levi’s Stadium, Sherman and teammate Russell Wilson ate turkey legs at a table on the 49ers midfield logo.

Fans mad for Bum – Madison Bumgarner had one of baseball’s greatest postseasons – including the longest save in World Series history and two victories – to carry the Giants to their third World Series title in five seasons.

Best game ever? – The A’s reached the playoffs again, but they lost the American League Wild Card Game 9-8 in 12 innings to Kansas City in what some experts called the best game they’d seen.

Changing caps – The River Cats delighted Giants fans, much to the chagrin of A’s fans, when they confirmed one of the summer’s worst-kept secrets and switched their Triple-A affiliation.

Changing coaches, again – After an embarrassing loss to the Dolphins in London, the Raiders fired coach Dennis Allen after just four games. But it didn’t help; the Raiders lost their next six games before beating the Chiefs, 49ers and Bills.

Futbol mania – Republic FC was an immediate hit, filling Hughes Stadium and Bonney Field and winning the USL Pro championship. That impressed Major League Soccer enough for Sacramento to be a serious contender for an expansion team.

Folsom mania – Folsom High School routed Oceanside 68-7 for the CIF Division I football title. The margin of victory wasn’t a surprise; Folsom outscored its 16 opponents 916-166.

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