The earliest moments where I can remember feeling sad about professional sports were the 1986 NFC championship game, the final weekend of the Orioles 1989 season and the ’89 Indy 500.
In the championship game, the Giants beat the Redskins 17-0. In the final weekend, Toronto ended the O’s remarkable rebound from the infamous 0-21 ’88 season and shut them out of the playoffs. In the race, Emerson Fittipaldi and my beloved Al Unser Jr. dueled for the lead in the final laps before an innocent bumping of tires sent Unser spinning into the wall.
Fortunately during this era, I also had the Dodgers’ ’88 World Series win (surely Orel is still going through the mail), the Redskins’ ’88 Super Bowl win (Sister Mary Ann, if memory serves, sent Jed Fox to the principal’s office for rooting against them, perhaps in a class-disrupting fashion; four years later, Dallas-loving John Paul Diller would apparently be more diplomatic in countering Miss Pairo’s victory-following sing-a-longs of Hail to the Redskins) and lots of Topps cards to keep me in good spirits.
But when Al Unser Jr. gets involved in a high-speed side-swiping incident — with Unser allegedly as Emo (the old school “Em-o,” not the new pronunciation), an average citizen as Unser and police claiming the drinking of more than milk — ’89 comes to mind.