A look back at the Top 10 Kansas City sports moments in 2017

As we start into the New Year, let’s look back at the Top 10 headlines and see what made 2017 great for Kansas City sports fans.

While 2017 was not as exciting as some previous years, like the Royals’ 2015 World Series championship, there was still so much that left fans of every team around the area happy at the end of the year.

Top 10 – #10: The core Royals’ last home games at the K

Yes, the Royals had a disappointing 2017 season. Everyone hoped the boys in blue could pull off one more playoff run before Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar became free agents. It just wasn’t meant to be for the Royals as they were officially out of playoff contention with five games left and finished below .500. Thankfully, they ended the season at home and we had the opportunity to watch these players one more time. These games were about watching these players we saw develop into stars, who gave us classic moments and the team’s first World Series trophy since 1985, presenting us one last great moment by reminiscing all these other great moments.

Top 10 – #9: Mizzou football turns season around with six-game winning streak

The season seemed over for the Tigers in mid-October. They had a 1-5 record and coach Barry Odom was on the hot seat. Then the Tigers went on a roll and changed everything with a six-game winning streak. Led by quarterback Drew Lock, who went to Lee’s Summit High, the Tigers won all but one of those six games by at least 28 points and capped off the regular season with a 48-45 victory over Arkansas. Lock led the nation in touchdown passes. The Tigers played Texas in the Texas Bowl, but lost to the Longhorns.  Odom got a two-year contract extension, making this winning streak not only a big deal for 2017, but the future of the MU football program.

Top 10 – #8: Mike Moustakas breaks the Royals home run record

When Moustakas had 25 homers going into the All-Star break, we all knew he had a great shot at breaking the Royals’ homer record. Moose’s home run production started to slow coming out of the break, however, due to an injury. On September 1, he tied the record with his 36th home run in a 7-6 win against Minnesota.  He did not get No. 37 until the sixth inning on September 20th to break Steve Balboni’s record that had been on the books since 1985.

Top 10 – #7: Frank Mason III wins player of the year

Before the 2016-17 college basketball season started, no one considered Mason to be a contender for player of the year. Mason would have a historic season as the leader of the Jayhawks, being the first player in Big 12 history to average 20 points and five assists per game. Mason became the first Jayhawk to win the Naismith Player of the Year since Danny Manning in 1988.

Top 10 – #6: KU basketball wins 13th straight Big 12 title

Anytime a school ties a record set by John Wooden’s UCLA teams, your team has accomplished something big. KU was once again a favorite to win the Big 12. They had some heavy competition in West Virginia and Baylor to win the conference, but just like the previous dozen years, the Big 12 trophy goes through Lawrence. On February 22, the Jayhawks beat TCU 87-68 to clinch the Big 12 regular season title, making it their 13th straight conference title and tying UCLA’s record set from 1967-79. The Jayhawks, however, failed to get to the Final Four in Glendale, Arizona, losing to Oregon in the Elite Eight at the Sprint Center.

Top 10 – #5: Michael Porter Jr. signs with Mizzou

The Tigers’ basketball program was in a bad spot coming out of the 2016-17 season. Mizzou finished 8-23, its worst record since 1967, and were searching for a head coach after firing Kim Anderson. They hired Cuonzo Martin on March 15, but the program really turned around once they signed the nation’s top high school recruit, Michael Porter Jr., on April 12. Once he signed other blue-chippers opted to join him at Mizzou. That included Jeremiah Tilmon, Blake Harris and brother Jontay Porter. Season tickets sold out before the season started. Unfortunately, due to a back injury that required surgery, Porter played than two minutes in the season opener against Iowa State and will probably be out for the rest of the season. But how he’s impacted Mizzou, Porter’s signing will be remembered as a program turning point.

Top 10 – #4: Bill Snyder returns after cancer diagnosis

In February, Snyder announced he had been diagnosed with throat cancer. Snyder said treatments were going well and he would be there for spring practice and the 2017 season. Fortunately for the Wildcats, Snyder fought through it and was able to be on the sidelines, leading them to an 8-5 record, including a win over UCLA in the Cactus Bowl.

Top 10 – #3: Chiefs draft QB Patrick Mahomes II

In 1983, the Chiefs drafted quarterback Todd Blackledge with the seventh overall pick. He ended up being one of the biggest draft busts in franchise history. The Chiefs did not pick another quarterback in the first round until 2017.  The Chiefs traded up 17 spots to the No. 10 pick to select Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. Not only was this historic for the franchise, but also showed the Chiefs were ready to move in a new direction.

Top 10 – #2: Chiefs win the AFC West Again

At the very start of 2017 on January 1, the Chiefs clinched the AFC West in a 37-27 win over the Chargers. This was the first time the Chiefs won the division since 2010. On Christmas Eve, the Chiefs clinched another division title. It is the first time in franchise history they have won back-to-back division championships.

Top 10 – #1: The Border War returns through the Showdown for Relief

For the past five years, fans on both sides of the border have been waiting for the Jayhawks and Tigers to play again in basketball or football. Once Michael Porter Jr. signed with Mizzou, it seemed like a great time to renew the rivalry. We even featured an article in our July issue about how great it would be to bring back the Border War. Then, it was like a dream came true when it was announced Kansas and Missouri would play an exhibition basketball game at the Sprint Center on October 22 to raise money for disaster relief in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Tickets sold out within hours for fans eager to see these classic rivals face-off again. The Jayhawks edged by the Tigers 93-87 and it raised more than $2 million for disaster relief. It may be a while until we see these rivals play each other again, but from the importance of this game to the schools and the fans, the Showdown for Relief was the top moment in Kansas City sports in 2017.

While these were the top moments, the saddest story of the year was on January 22 when Royals pitcher Yordano “Ace” Ventura was killed in a vehicle accident in the Dominican Republic. He was 25.

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Article by Drew Parks

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