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Top 10 Regional Sports Stories 2010

By Mark Fagan, January 7, 2011, Sports

This year in sports was like any other year in sports: one of celebration (Rangers World Series appearance) and loss (the Austin Aztex relocate to Orlando). What follows are some regional sports highlights of the past 12 months. For Nick Barbaro's Top 10 soccer stories of 2010, see "Soccer Watch." For Richard Whittaker's Top 10 Roller Derby happenings, Russ Espinoza's Top 10 retirements of the year, and more, please see Chronicle Sports blog The Score at austinchronicle.com/sports.

1) THE TEXAS RANGERS advanced to the World Series for the first time in franchise history, eventually falling to the San Francisco Giants 4-1. That's one more World Series win than the Astros have.

2) ROUND ROCK EXPRESS And speaking of the Texas Rangers, after Nolan Ryan became a partial owner of the Rangers in August, it was only a matter of time before word came that the Round Rock Express would let their contract with the Astros expire and become the AAA affiliate of the Rangers.

3) TEXAS STARS In only their first year, the Texas Stars, who call the Cedar Park Center home, advanced to the American Hockey League's Calder Cup Finals, only to lose the hard-fought series 4-2 to the Hershey Bears.

4) CEDAR PARK CENTER Not only does the beautiful new CPC host all the Texas Stars' home games, they've snagged the Austin Toros away from Downtown Austin. The Toros are currently in the midst of their 2010-11 NBA D-League campaign.

5) FORMULA ONE One of the biggest stories of the year, sports-related or otherwise, is that the global phenomenon known as Formula One will be roaring into town – on a permanent basis. Construction on the Central Texas track will begin in earnest this year.

6) SPORTS VIDEO GAMES My slack-jawed bewilderment at the yearly leaps and bounds of the graphics and gameplay of today's HD video games never ends. Personal faves: Sony's The Show, EA's Madden and FIFA series, and the Visual Concepts NBA 2K line (in that order). For the Chronicle's Top 10 video games of 2010, see "In Play," Screens.

7) ACC RIVERBAT Austin Community College's first-ever school mascot, the Riverbat, made its grand entrance and gave Community's fictional mascot, the Human Being, a run for its money as far as ridiculousness goes. And that's a good thing.

8) BILLY RAY 'ROJO' JOHNSON The footage of comedian Will Ferrell's one-batter performance at the Dell Diamond in May as reliever "Rojo" Johnson appeared on Sportscenter and became a viral sensation.

9) TEXAS FOOTBALL Now for the bad news. If you are a fan of the Longhorns, Cowboys, or Texans, this football season sucked.

10) AUSTIN AZTEX By far the worst news of the year was the announcement that the Austin Aztex soccer team will be relocating to Orlando, Fla. For more on this, see "Soccer Watch."

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