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The Top 10 Sporting Events of the Year

This is the busiest time of the sports calendar. From March Madness to Opening Day to Marathon Monday to the NHL and NBA playoffs, March and April are full of some of the year’s best sporting events.

So it seems like the perfect time to share my top 10 sporting events of the year.

Here goes.

HONORABLE MENTION: The Kentucky Derby, US Open (Golf), Wimbledon, NFL Opening Weekend, NBA Playoffs, BCS Title Game.

10. THE START OF SPRING TRAINING

All winter long, especially here in New England, we utter the words (Blank) days until pitchers and catchers report.

Spring Training is the signal that the warm weather is just around the corner and that the monstrous New England winter is almost over (guess this doesn’t apply this year).

Even though we could care less about the games during Spring Training, the first couple weeks of workouts are always enjoyable as the team begins to come together for another summer of fun.

9. THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC

It may be a fairly new tradition, but the Winter Classic has become the NHL’s signature event, with the exception of the Stanley Cup Final. It has registered record television ratings for regular season hockey and has become a staple of New Year’s Day.

The aura of a hockey game outside — where it is supposed to be played — in some of the best and most famous stadiums in the country is breathtaking.

8. MARATHON MONDAY

This year's Marathon will be even more special.

This year’s Marathon will be even more special.

This year, Marathon Monday takes on a new and even more important meaning. It is an event that usually only Bostonians can enjoy. But on April 21, the world will share the day with us as we commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Marathon Bombings.

The Red Sox also play their annual morning game on this day – the only morning game on the MLB calendar. The early start time – 11 am – allows fans to head out to Kenmore Square after the game and watch the runners.

The day is always fun and full of surprises and great finishes. The Red Sox have had their share of exciting games on Patriots’ Day over the years (i.e. Mark Loretta’s walkoff in 2006 and Mike Napoli’s winner a year ago).

7. THE START OF MARCH MADNESS

You have to make sure the remote has new batteries for the first two days of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The constant switching between games and the inevitable upsets make the start of March Madness one of the craziest and most enjoyable events of the year.

6. NFL CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY

Championship Sunday, for some people, is even better than the Super Bowl. With two games deciding the teams that will represent the AFC and NFC in the Super Bowl, tremendous drama is always on display.

It’s the prelude to the biggest game in professional sports. It has to be on the list.

5. OCTOBER BASEBALL

It’s hard to single out the World Series on this list because the entire month of October (and sometimes beginning of November) is full of great baseball.

With the addition of a winner-takes-all Wild Card game, the Major League Baseball playoffs have gotten even better.

4. THE MASTERS

For me, this one is special.

Tiger Woods has had his share of memorable moments at The Masters. (SI photo)

Tiger Woods has had his share of memorable moments at The Masters. (SI photo)

As an avid golfer and huge golf fan, The Masters is something that I look forward to all year long.

It is one of the few sporting events that gives me chills just from turning it on. It is called “a tradition unlike any other” and it is so true.

The first major of the year captivates people more than any other golf tournament. Every year it is played at the same place, the magical Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

The unbelievably beautiful backdrop that Augusta provides, the enormous galleries of fans, and the always dramatic finishes make golf an absolute star during the second weekend of April.

3. STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS

The best professional sports “tournament” – bar none – is the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

No other sport produces the passion, excitement, and pure entertainment that the Stanley Cup Playoffs do. Spanning two months, it is the longest and most grueling championship chase in sports.

There’s nothing better than watching some spring hockey in shorts, while the sun sets outside your window. And that’s what you get all spring long.

Every year you are guaranteed to see some magical moments even if your favorite team isn’t involved.

2. THE SUPER BOWL

This one speaks for itself.

It is the single biggest sporting event in the world. You watch no matter what.

1. OPENING DAY

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Baseball’s Opening Day is the premier event on the sports calendar. (Michael Ivins photo)

Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is an easy choice for me.

I grew up with baseball and the Red Sox, so this is always a special day that sets the tone for the summer ahead.

As I said with Spring Training, it is a sign that the beautiful weather is near and that America’s Favorite Pastime is back.

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