San Diego Sports

Counting Down the Top 10 San Diego Sports Storylines of 2019

From the Sea Lions historic run, to a pair of new superstars at Petco - the past year brought with it a lot of excitement and plenty of change.

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It was an eventful year for San Diego sports fans, right up until the final days of 2019. Local teams made history. The Padres made a bunch of changes. And Philip Rivers may have made his last appearance with the only NFL team he's known.

So with a busy 12 months in the books, let's look back at the storylines that shaped 2019 for sports fans in San Diego.

10) Point Loma's Historic Run

March was mad at Point Loma. With the help of Player of the Year Daulton Hommes, the Sea Lions made it all the way to the school's first ever Divison II NCAA Championship Game.

9) Pro Football's Fleeting Return

Professional football made a brief return to San Diego. But we didn't have much time to get to know the Alliance of American Football and the San Diego Fleet. League ownership pulled the plug two weeks short of the end of its first regular season.

8) Close Calls for Local Squads

A handful of San Diego squads made noise in the postseason. The Sockers put together a thrilling 23-match win streak. Unfortunately it fell short of a championship, thanks to a loss in the Conference Finals to the Monterrey Flash.

In May the Gulls electrified Pechanga Arena, with their first Western Conference Finals in club history. Their run ended at the hands of the Chicago Wolves.

And in June fans packed into Torero Stadium to see the Legion make it to the Major League Rugby title game, where they fell to Seattle.

7) Double Duty for Donovan

"I love it here, and I want to be able to contribute something to this community."

Landon Donovan created a ton of buzz when he joined the Sockers midseason. Then he was instrumental in the arrival of the Loyal. The USL club will debut in 2020, with Donovan serving as the club's first manager.

6) Kawhi and Strasburg - Aztec MVPs

Kawhi Leonard brought the Raptors their first NBA Championship in his lone season in Toronto. The SDSU product earned his second Finals MVP in June after a dominant run through the postseason.

Then in October, Stephen Strasburg won two road games in the World Series to help the Nationals claim their first title. Strasburg took home MVP honors.

5) Brown is Back

After news broke in January of the Padres plans to return to their original colors, we finally got a glimpse at their new look in November.

"It's gonna be different, it's gonna be unique," Fernando Tatis Jr. said. "They're gonna know who's playing right away when they see the brown on the field."

4) Bounce Back Seasons for SDSU

After a miserable finish to their 2018 season, Rocky Long's latest squad boasted one of the top defenses in the country. They posted a 10-win season, capped by a bowl game blowout of Central Michigan.

On the hardwood, Brian Dutcher's program missed out on the NCAA Tournament last March. A new look group has the program off to its best start since 2010, entering the New Year 13-0. They're back in the Top-25 and have breathed life back into The Show.

3) Stakes High as Tingler Takes Over

The Padres ditched Andy Green before the final week of the regular season, thanks to an ugly second half of the season.

AJ Preller handpicked Jayce Tingler to take over in the dugout. The demands are pretty clear for the first year Major League skipper.

"We've got to win, and we've got to win now," Owner Ron Fowler said. "That's the expectation."

2) Farewell Season for Philip Rivers?

A messy situation in Carson didn't get any better. But by season's end the focus was on No. 17. After a down year for Philip Rivers and his team, there are questions about his future with the Bolts.

Rivers was reflective after his final game, sounding like a man who understands this chapter of his career may be over.

1) The Arrival of Machado and Tatis

"Finally a Padre."

Those were the words of Manny Machado after he put on a Padres jersey at his introductory press conference. The superstar third baseman inked a mega deal. His arrival amped up excitement and expectations at Petco Park.

And he wasn't alone.

San Diego is now home to arguably the best young talent in the game. Fernando Tatis Jr. made the Opening Day roster at 20-years-old. He dazzled immediately and became an instant fan favorite. 'El Nino' showed off his incredible talent at shortstop, and was the team's best offensive player.

If injuries hadn't cut his season short, he would have had a chance to win National League Rookie of the Year.

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