There’s absolutely no way to sugar coat it, 2018 was a horrible year for Arizona sports fans.
From the departure of Arizona D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt to another underachieving Suns season, there was no shortage of low-lights this year.
But with all of the negative storylines surrounding the Arizona sports landscape, there are reasons for optimism as we head into the new year.
Here are a few reasons 2019 will be a better year for Arizona sports.
The return of the greatest show of grass
January means one thing in Phoenix, time for the Phoenix Open! The golfing world turns their sights to Scottsdale for the Waste Management Phoenix Open at the end of the month. From the Birds Nest to the 16th Hole, it’s a week-long party for Valley golf fans.
For those looking to actually watch golf that weekend, some of the early commits for 2019 include Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson.
Money, money, money… Mo-ney!
With a top-3 pick in the NFL Draft and plenty of cap space entering the 2019 off-season, it could be a rebuilt Arizona Cardinals team next season.
Now that the team has some money to spend, look for the Cardinals to try and upgrade the wide receiver position, offensive line and linebacker positions.
Who knows, we may even be talking about former ASU standout N’keal Harry becoming Rookie of the Year for Arizona? Something Arizona sports fans will have no problem rooting for.
In Hurley we trust
You may not have noticed, but there’s an exciting basketball team to watch in 2019. And they play in Tempe.
The men’s basketball team at Arizona State University started the new season 9-2, including a historic win over the University of Kansas, the then number one team in the country.
Head coach Bobby Hurley has ASU’s basketball program trending upwards and we could see this year’s squad make a return to March Madness.
The return of the White Out
After a slow start, the Arizona Coyotes look to rebound and get back into the playoff hunt in 2019. The recent addition of Nick Schmaltz seems to have added a jolt to the Coyotes’ offense and the performance from goalie Adin Hill helped stabilize the team after an injury to Antti Raanta.
The Coyotes are hovering around the .500 mark entering 2019, but the team has been competitive and playing some very entertaining hockey as of late. Fans should expect some exciting hockey in the coming months and hope for a return of the White Out and playoff hockey.
The bright side of the Suns
Over the past few seasons, there hasn’t been much to cheer about for the Phoenix Suns. And with one of the worst starts in franchise history, this season is no different.
But record aside, 2019 could bring a brighter look into the Suns’ future. Guard Devin Booker continues his ascension to superstar status and T.J. Warren has revamped his shooting stroke to be a legitimate threat beyond the arch.
The Suns may have also found their big man of the future in Deandre Ayton. In his rookie season, Ayton is already adding his name to the record books. In the Suns game against the Nets, Ayton recorded his 21st double-double of the season and joined Charles Barkley and Shawn Marion as they only Suns in the last 35 seasons to score at least 20 points with 15 rebounds in three straight games.
Say hello to the beautiful game
For those who only focus on the major sports, you may want to take a look at the Phoenix Rising.
The United Soccer League club made it all the way to the league championship before falling to Louisville this season. Interest in the Valley soccer squad continues to build and talks about a promotion to Major League Soccer are gaining speed.
Most of last year’s squad is returning in 2019, so excitement for the Phoenix Rising is as high as ever.
While 2018 had plenty of lows for Valley sports fans, if you look close enough, there is plenty to smile about.
2019 for the Arizona sports teams is uncertain, but there’s a definite foundation for any sports fan to be optimistic.
Besides, like Harvey Dent once said, “it’s always darkest before the dawn.”