2012: A Look Back
December 31, 2012

It seems like everyone is saying it. “I can't believe the year is over already. It just flew by.” I suppose the older we get, the more it seems that way. 2012 was actually 24 hours longer than 2011, but yet that's not the way we remember it. For me, this year ended on a high note. I got a job in November, attended a wedding this month, and was even able to squirrel away some money for Christmas presents.

As a nation, though, this year didn't end too well. A mall shooting in Oregon, the massacre at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, and tonight, we plunge (or maybe are just lightly pushed, I don't know) over the so-called fiscal cliff. All of that has happened just this month, so maybe time does fly, even when you aren't having fun. The Mayan calendar was wrong, though, and we are all still here, so at least we can be thankful for that.

At the same time that we think time is flying by, we forget that the Summer Olympics, for example, were this year. The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup, and now there isn't even a hockey season. Billy Crystal hosted the Oscars for the first time in forever, and Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globes again. Lin-sanity grabbed New Yorkers' attention, and now the Harvard basketball star plays in Houston. Remember Jerry Sandusky and Penn State? Most of that was last year, but it carried into this one as well. Unfortunately.

The election wasn't that long ago, but it took all year to get down to the final two. If I remember right, the Iowa Caucuses were January 2. All of those primaries, all of the Republican debates. Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Dennis Kucinich, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul—long before we got down to Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama. The conventions—Bill Clinton sounding like he was running again, and Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair. All of that gets logged under 2012.

Exactly one week after the election came Superstorm Sandy, and who knew New Jersey and New York City could be hit by a hurricane? (technically downgraded to a tropical storm before it made landfall). Other disasters for 2012: Hurricane Isaac which tested the post-Katrina levees in Louisiana and devastated Puerto Rico and Cuba, and Hurricane Ernesto, which did most of its damage in Jamaica and the Yucatan. There were earthquakes in Iran, Afghanistan, and the Phillipines, wildfires in Colorado and Oklahoma, killer tornadoes in the Midwest, and a deadly cyclone in Sri Lanka and India.

On a lighter note, though, remember the Super Bowl? Giants beat the Patriots 21-17 when New England let New York score in the final minutes, but couldn't put points on the board when they got the ball back. Even more recently, the Replacement Refs. That dreadful call in Seattle that brought the regular officials back the next week. The NBA had a long lockout, a condensed schedule, and a Laker team that wasn't very good. LeBron James won his first title as the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games. The Clippers got good, though, so that's something. The college basketball tournament went to four different networks, but our cable company decided to make you pay extra for one of them, so I couldn't take full advantage. Kentucky, who sent just about their entire squad to the NBA afterwards, beat Kansas and took the title. Tennis saw Andy Murray finally win a major, Andy Roddick retire, and two more grand slam wins for Serena Williams.

And despite the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series (settle down northern California), it was still a pretty good baseball season. The Oakland A's came out of nowhere and won their division, playoffs were expanded (I'm still not really sure that's a good thing), a knuckleballer was the National League's best pitcher, but he's now in Toronto, and Texas slugger Josh Hamilton is now in Anaheim. Fenway Park celebrated its 100th birthday, and Dodger Stadium its 50th.

And speaking of Dodger Stadium, that leads us to the Dodgers. Even though they faded down the stretch and missed the post-season, 2012 was a monumental year for fans of the Blue. The team was sold. Out with Frank McCourt, who used team finances for personal use, and then ran the team into bankruptcy while facing a divorce. In with the billionaire Guggenheim group and Laker legend Magic Johnson as the face of the franchise. The Dodgers dealt for high-priced shortstop-third baseman Hanley Ramirez in July, and made a mega-deal with the Boston Red Sox in August. The team didn't jell in the remainder of the season, but that hasn't stopped the Dodgers. They opened their wallets again for prized righty pitcher Zack Greinke. A very busy 2012 indeed, hopefully leading to something bigger in 2013.

Locally, the Gold Sox refuse to recognize the 2002 pro season, but still celebrated their tenth “anniversary” anyway. On the field, though, the team won their first 20 games, making it a 35-game winning streak overall, dating back to 2011. The manager picked up his 200th win, and there was a no-hitter thrown by Cal State East Bay's Nick Hudson in the final weekend. The Gold Sox, incidentally, are the highest drawing summer collegiate team in California.

Other notes about 2012: I started tweeting, but just about baseball, and haven't really been part of the Twitterverse lately. I took in a couple of Major League games, including going with my Mom and Uncle to Vin Scully Bobblehead Night. I also saw Game Five of the League Division Series between Oakland and Detroit, but the Tigers' Justin Verlander proved to be too much for the Athletics. And, proving they can't all be gems, I had to give up reading the Los Angeles Times online, because they started charging money for it, and I wasted two hours to see Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. I don't think that's the movie about the sixteenth president that is going to get Oscar consideration, but at least it was something to write about.

So maybe 2012 went by quickly, but you certainly can't say that not a lot happened. I'm sure 2013 will go by just as fast. Is it January first already? Happy New Year everyone!

Note: With this column, I have completed two straight years without missing a Monday. That's 105 straight weeks that I have written here. This started as a New Year's resolution in 2011, but that was only supposed to be for one year. I am still uncertain if I will continue to post something every week, but admittedly, the streak of not missing a week has kept me going. I'm working now, so I don't have as much time on my hands, but we'll see. Maybe next week, maybe not.

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