The Angels entered the series with a nine-game postseason losing streak against Boston, but at least the team was comforted by the knowledge it had home-field advantage. Two games in Anaheim, and the losing streak stood at 11. The Angels finally broke the streak, winning Game 3 in Boston, and were tied, 2-2, in the ninth inning of Game 4 with a runner on third when Manager Mike Scioscia called for a squeeze. Erick Aybar missed the pitch, Reggie Willits was caught off third base, and the Angels squandered an opportunity that positioned the Red Sox to win in the bottom of the ninth.
Elsewhere locally, 2008 often felt like a replay of 2007. UCLA's men's basketball team reached the Final Four for the third consecutive year but lost in the semifinals, to Memphis. The Kings, Clippers and Galaxy again missed the playoffs. Chivas USA again lost in the first round. USC's football team lost another early-season game to a lesser opponent, Oregon State, and the loss was enough to keep the Trojans out of the BCS championship game.
The BCS was business as usual, meaning the system continued to be assailed all season long. Oklahoma and Texas both ended the season with one loss, Texas defeated Oklahoma on a neutral field, but when it came time to send one team to the Big 12 championship game, the BCS standings broke the tie -- the Sooners moved on, and after defeating Missouri, they and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Sam Bradford advanced to the BCS title game against Florida.
Disappointment of the year? It would be tough to argue against Big Brown, the alleged super-horse who blew away the competition in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and had trainer Rick Dutrow calling victory at Belmont "a foregone conclusion." Result: Big Brown finished last, pulling up down the stretch, the victory going instead to 38-1 longshot Da' Tara.
Upset of the year? The U.S. Ryder Cup team, relying on six rookies with Woods on the disabled list, ended a three-match losing streak dating to 2002 with a 16 1/2 -11 1/2 triumph over Europe.
Reason for optimism for the new year? It's a fresh start. In Detroit, where the Lions are an unprecedented 0-15 heading into the final weekend of the NFL regular season, the fans can hardly wait.
Coming SundaySports lost some legendary figures in 2008, including Pete Newell, Gene Upshaw. Section B