Count Down

Over the past year, there have been more defections than deflections or reflections. Free agency has hit its twilight period, and never before has the sporting world seen so many players coming and going ... and not so peacefully. Below is the list of the Top 10 Messiest Sporting Divorces (Bennifer and Brad and Jen excluded) of the past year.

10. Andy Pettitte and the New York Yankees - The most reliable Yankee starting pitcher since Whitey Ford left the Bronx after he felt slighted at the lack of urgency with which the Bombers renewed his contract. He resurfaced in Houston with old pal Roger Clemens, but was injured all last year.

9. Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams - OK, maybe it was Warner's wife who made the mess, but regardless, neither the quarterback nor the organization was disappointed with the former MVP's release. His time was up in St. Louis, characterized by his wife's constant complaining on local radio. Now, Warner prepares for a cleaner break from the New York Giants.

8. Tracy McGrady and the Orlando Magic - TMac never looked at home in the Magic Kingdom. Bickering with management got him a trade to the Rockets to play alongside Yao Ming. He's still testing the waters, and this trade looks like it paid off for both teams.

7. Sammy Sosa and the Chicago Cubs - Never before has a superstar gone from fame to lame as quickly as Sosa. He wore out his welcome when he walked out on his teammates at the end of last year and was brought to Baltimore to revitalize an Orioles franchise that has to deal with the Nationals next door.

6. Jeff Garcia and both the San Francisco 49ers and the Cleveland Browns - Our only double-decker divorcer managed to leave his mark on the both NFL towns with parting shots on his way out. Chances are he'll surface in a West Coast offense (Detroit or Tampa Bay) and have the marginal success he's had his whole career.

5. Randy Moss and the Minnesota Vikings - The only reason this isn't higher on the countdown is because it hasn't officially happened yet, but when Moss is eventually traded after March 2, this is going to get real ugly. Talk about ruining a perfect situation. Let's just say the sun (or the moon) set on Moss' Minny career.

4. Nomar Garciaparra and the Boston Red Sox - Everyone involved knew the Sox weren't going to break the curse with Nomar patrolling. So they traded their star and broke the curse, leaving Garciaparra without a ring ... or a multi-year contract.

3. Shaquille O'Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers - Don't anger a 300-pound man. For some reason, the Lakers chose Kobe and his tainted past over sheer dominance, and Shaq didn't appreciate it. On his way out, he managed to get his shots at every member of the Lakers and will probably get the last laugh in June as he hoists title number four while Kobe testifies in the Michael Jackson case.

2. Phil Jackson and the Los Angeles Lakers - You know things are bad when you're dating the boss's daughter and you still can't work somewhere. Jackson's tell-all about the hellacious last year behind L.A.'s bench rubbed a lot of Lakeshow fans the wrong way. But the late word out of L.A. may suggest a renewing of the vows.

1. Ricky Williams and the Miami Dolphins - Williams ditched his teammates weeks before the season, leaving them without their best player and most animated character, to go smoke pot in the jungle. Good riddance. You don't even get joint custody of the kids.

Have a Countdown idea?

E-mail :

Never miss a story

Get our weekly newsletter delivered right to your inbox.

More from The Eagle

Would you like to support our work? Donate here to The Eagle Innovation Fund.

From the Archives

A look back into The Eagle's archives.