2010 MLB Year in Superlatives: Part One

The 2010 Major League baseball season is officially over and done with. Now that the off-season  has commenced, I can think of nothing better to do than to take a look back at the events, the highs and lows, the quirks of 2010. Lets think of it as a baseball funeral… but let us not consider it a sad event, the passing away of this season. Instead let us celebrate the wonder of the season that was!

This is the first of two FBB installments on the 2010 MLB Year in Superlatives.

~

Most Bizarre Injuries: On the American League side the distinction goes to the Angels Kendry Morales for breaking his leg in the happy victory huddle at home plate after he’d hit a walk off grand slam. A happy victory huddle never turned into a sad defeat huddle so fast. I bestow the title #1 freaky injury on the National League side upon Tyler Colvin (who we now- thankfully- know for sure is not a vampire.)

Honorable mentions: Mat Latos, who went down holding in a sneeze and Marcus Thames, who tripped on his own bat and landed on the DL.

Greatest commercial cameo: Randy Johnson’s snowball bit for Geico. I can’t be the only one who thought this was stinking funny.

Biggest surprise(s): First, the San Diego Padres. They may have just missed the playoffs, but who expected them to even be close? I know I didn’t. Second, Jose Bautista. The man is 30 years old, was entering his seventh year in the majors, was playing for his sixth team, and nobody knew his name. Guys like that don’t usually end up hitting 54 home runs.

Biggest disappointment: Who else is deeply embarrassed for thinking that the Seattle Mariners would be good this year? I know I’m not the only guilty party. The really sad thing is that they weren’t just not-good. They were the very definition of stinky.

Happiest news out of Japan: The at-last unleashed offensive fury of Matt Murton. I always knew he had it in him.

Best Names from the Draft: Corderius Dodd. Trugg Larsson-Danforth. Roderick Shoulders. Theophilus Griffin. Sebastian Vader. Gauntlett Eldemire.

Best Worst Headline: Pirates’ plan is to acquire talent from Draft

Worst Gun-Jumping Journalism: Remember when, for a few hours, Cliff Lee was “traded to the Yankees”?

Best Slide: Fordham’s Brian Kownacki turned in not just the best slide of this year, but perhaps the greatest slide in history.

Photo of the Year: Or at least, photo-of-the-year-that-looks-like-it-would-be-a-painting.

Photo of the post-season: Does anyone in this picture really have a clue what they are doing with their hands?


Weirdest Photo of the Year: Xavier Nady is not the man you think he is.

Feel-good moment of the year: Dallas Braden’s perfect game on Mother’s Day had to be 2010’s warmest, fuzziest event.

~

Look for 2010 MLB Year in Superlatives: Part Two coming up later this week!

Advertisements

Week Thirteen in Review

Week thirteen of the Major League Baseball season: In which many casualties occurred, another pitcher did that thing where he doesn’t let the other team hit the ball with the bat, and the Cubbie bears sunk even deeper into their morass of mediocrity.

Around the Majors…

Oh no-no!: Arizona’s Edwin Jackson recorded the fourth hitless game in the majors this season! It mightn’t have been all pretty, but he did it, by gum!

No More Ouchies: It was another bad week for fantasy managers across the nation as fellows like Dustin Pedroia, Placido Polanco, Chase Utley, Joel Zumaya and Luke Scott succumbed to injuries.

3x The Fun: Denard Span’s record THREE triples in a game couldn’t have been more fun than if he’d been rounding the bases on a hoverboard.

Curtains: The Diamondbacks are saying so long and farewell to manager AJ Hinch and GM Josh Byrnes.

Headline Injustice: “Rangers acquire C Molina from Giants” Personally, I would have titled this one, “Giants acquire P Chris Ray from Rangers

“What is this strange, mystical object, and what am I supposed to do with it?”

As for the Cubs…

Yo-ho-ho: Once again, the North-siders failed to solve the lowly Pirates. I remain perplexed by this embarrassment, but am surprised by it no longer.

Superhero of the Week: I present the honor to Theodore Lilly, not just because he pitched finely, but because I’m afraid he won’t be around to receive it for much longer.

Kitten-eater of the week: I may as well start skipping this category… there are too many candidates.

Airing of grievances: I have been irked by this all year, but what the hey is the problem with WGN Radio’s Judd Sirott? It’s not as if I’m a huge fan or anything, I just don’t see what this man has done to deserve all the hatred I’ve seen directed at him. Cubs fans constant whining and complaining  are far more obnoxious than Judd himself, if he is obnoxious. For myself, I have no problems whatever with the man. And you can quote me on that.

Z Center of Attention: I suppose the main topic that has kept Cubs nation atwitter this week was Carlos Zambrano’s angry little outburst and the sequence of events that followed. Initially, I was pretty put out with Carlos. I have always found his periodic tantrums vexing and counter-productive. This one particularly frustrated me, probably due in large part to the circumstances of this disappointing season. I forgive Carlos now… but what has eclipsed his behavior is the organization’s curious reaction to it.

The thing I don’t understand is, why NOW? Carlos has been on this team for ten years, within the organization for even longer. He’s had these “episodes” many times during his professional tenure and management has just looked the other way. Now, all of a sudden, his behavior is unacceptable. If this is the sort of thing that “cannot be tolerated” why have you been tolerating it for a decade? To me this feels like bad parenting or something.

Then there was the announcement that, upon serving his suspension, Carlos will be sent back to the bullpen. Do you see my dander? Cause it’s UP. The first time Carlos was exiled to relief work it was supposed to be to help out the team, to fill a hole that desperately needed filling. This time it feels more like they’re trying to punish him further and I don’t get it. It was sort of dumb and desperate the first time, now it is just flat out idiotic.

Just to be clear, I may be arguing on Big Z’s behalf, but in no way do I intend to excuse his actions. He is a grown man. There are kids that look up to him, and he has children of his own. He should be able to better control his temper.

While I don’t entirely agree with all the actions that have been taken, I do sincerely hope that the disciplinary measures have some benefit. I like Carlos a lot, and I feel for him. If this stuff helps him become a better player and/or a more controlled person, I think it’d be fantastic.

My point in all this rambling, I guess, is just to say that I am on Carlos Zambrano’s side. He isn’t all in the right. He has his problems. But as long as he’s wearing a Chicago Cubs uniform, I’m gonna stand by him.

~

I wish all my readers a safe and happy Independence Day weekend!



Week Nine In Review

Week nine of the Major League season: In which entirely too many interesting things happened.

For the Cubs…

Losing series to the Cardinals and Pirates do not a happy fanbase make! Thus…

Kitten Eaters of the Week: Everyone (minus most of the starting rotation.)

Super Hero of the Week: Carlos Silva. Making the Cards look silly will earn you this distinction.

I heard it through the grape vine: Rumors of Derrek Lee or Xavier Nady being shipped to Los Angeles swirled, but were soon quashed.

Demoted: John Grabow, to the disabled list. Tom Gorzelanny, to the bullpen.

Promoted: Andrew Cashner, from triple-A. Carlos Zambrano, back to the starting rotation.

Headed in the Right Direction / Outstanding Gloviness: Darlin’ Starlin Castro has been showing off some filthy skills at short. I see Gold Gloves in his future.

Elsewhere in baseball…

Best Worst Headline: “Pirates plan is to acquire talent from the draftThere’s a revolutionary idea!

No More Ouchies!: David Huff scared the living daylights out of us all. Kendry Morales went down with one of the more bizarre injuries I’ve seen lately.

Stop, Thief!: Oakland’s Gabe Gross may have pulled off the most sparkling home run robbery of the year when he pulled in a would-be blast from off the bat of Detroit’s Gerald Laird. The Tigers might want to consider some kind of security system, because they got robbed more than once this week…

Masterpiece: That’s what Roy Halladay had on Saturday night. Yet the one we’ll all remember most was…

The one that got away: Armando Galarraga did everything that Dallas Braden and Mr. Halladay did and just got a tough break. He did essentially pitch a perfect game. So did Harvey Haddix (and then some.) That’s baseball! That’s life! By now we all know that the events that followed Mr. Galarraga’s incredible outing were even more memorable than the performance itself. Joe Posnanski’s article on the whole thing is a MUST READ. Here is a nice excerpt:

And in that moment when [Galarraga] had a perfect game so unfairly taken away from him, he smiled. In the interview after the game, he simply said that he wasn’t sure about the call but he was proud of his game. When told afterward that Joyce felt terrible about the missed call, Galarraga said that he wanted to go tell Joyce not to worry about it, that people make mistakes.

Galarraga pitched a perfect game on Wednesday night in Detroit. I’ll always believe that. I think most baseball fans will always believe that. But, more than anything, it seems that Galarraga will always believe it. The way he handled himself after the game, well, that was something better than perfection. Dallas Braden’s perfect game was thrilling. Roy Halladay’s perfect game was art. But Armando’s Galarraga’s perfect game was a lesson in grace.

I liked these snippets from Yahoo’s Big League Stew, as well.

Our reward comes in seeing someone perform at the highest level and then having enough presence of mind to maintain a proper perspective when something goes against them.

It’s kind of strange that there would have been plenty of plaudits thrown Galarraga’s way had Jim Joyce made the correct call, but that we also wouldn’t have really seen the true measure of the man if there hadn’t been a bang-bang play on the would-be the 27th out.

Headed for Countryside Acres: Ken Griffey Jr.. Hey, wait! I already covered this yesterday!

One for the road: 18-yr-old Eri Yoshida debuted for the indy-league Chico Outlaws this week. I always looked upon this phrase with distaste in the past, but I’m saying it now, anyway: You GO, girl.

Series Preview: The Pirates who don’t do anything (except against the Cubs)

The Cubs are set to start a three game set in Pittsburgh this afternoon at 1 PM ET. Here’s a little looksy at what might be going down at PNC Park.

It grieves me that the time has finally come where we actually have to think twice about facing the Pirates. I can feel the world crumbling around me! Let’s try and keep our heads though. Who says that the Cubs 1-5 record versus the Bucs in 2010 doesn’t have to be a fluke? They have improved some from the past several years, but Pittsburgh ain’t exactly the toast of the National League. We can beat ’em.

At the same time, the Pirates are on a 5 game losing streak. This never bodes well. It isn’t likely they’ll lose another three in a row. And they know they can beat the Cubs. *Worried frowny face.*

Players To Watch

-Andrew McCutcheon: Young Mr. McCutcheon is a large part of the reason that the Buccos aren’t pushovers any longer. Igh! He has been smothering the Cubs all year, so look out. If I were one of our pitchers, I wouldn’t be touching the guy with a 10-foot pole.

-Garret Jones: Mr. Jones has hurt the Cubs, too. He also has a nice face, so…

-Carlos Zambrano: Big Z is set to make his anticipated return to the rotation this series. I am expecting at least 2 1/2 no-hitters in his first start back. Not to mention a grand slam that lands in the Allegheny River. On the fly.

-Andrew Cashner: *Sniff* Smells like rookie! What does rookie smell like? A cross between a new car, fresh mud puddles, and cookies.

-Randy Wells: I’m looking for a bounce-back from Randy. He can’t do worse than he did his last outing. Because it literally would not be possible!

~

Into the crystal ball I glimpse…

Game 2 is definitely getting rained out. I don’t have to check the forecast. I have a crystal ball. The ball doesn’t say anything about Marlon Byrd taking out the Pirate Parrot, but I wish it would.

“When putting away your luggage after arriving home, always close the zippers so bugs can’t crawl in.”

Author’s Note: The following post includes significant Starlin Castro-inspired enthusiasm. Nothing that has happened since his stellar debut has really dampened my excitement over him, and it is my opinion that the individuals who booed Starlin during last night’s game should all be hit square in the face with a sock full of pennies.

I hope nobody will hate me for relating every minute detail of the little trip I went on last week. Friday’s game was by far the best Cubs one I have ever been to in person, and the entire day was just flat out awesome. If it ever sounds like I’m bragging, forgive me. I am not trying to… I honestly had an incredible few days and count them as a tremendous blessing. If I could give everyone a little of my leftover joy, I would. And Cubs Nation would have a few more happy campers. Continue reading

Hot Soup Report: “Shhh! I gotta focus. I’m shifting into soup mode.”

The hot stove hasn’t been so hot for much of this offseason, and that is my excuse for neglecting the hot soup reports. Now there is suddenly a whole pile of soup-worthy tidbits. I’m just going to jump right in.

Trades

The big news since yesterday is the Roy Halladay deal, which has all but been finalized. Mr. Halladay will go to Philadelphia, Cliff Lee will go to Seattle and a tidy bundle of prospects will go to Toronto. It’s hardly thrilling to have Mr. Halladay join the National League. At the same time, I remember back when Johan Santana made the jump and we all thought nobody else would have a chance to win the Cy Young for years upon years to come. Not that that means anything. I’m just blabbering, trying to pretend that this move means anything to me. The Cubs will likely face Mr. Halladay and lose, yes. We probably would have faced Cliff Lee and lost as well. So what can I say?

The only other monumental trade was the Curtis Granderson tragedy, which I did mention previously.

Signings

Chone Figgins (Mariners): I was surprised how quickly this went down. I’ll tell you one thing… everybody is talking about Roy Halladay and such. Nobody seems to be noticing the Mariners. They’re getting things done, boy. They signed Mr. Figgins and have now traded for Cliff Lee. I’d say they’re looking pretty good. When one further considers that the Angels are losing Mr. Figgins, as well as John Lackey, well… one has to think that the AL West is gonna be a little more interesting this year.

John Lackey (Red Sox): Since his name already came up anyway… I don’t have anything to say about Mr. Lackey, besides that I’m not much of a fan. I randomly felt glad that the Cubs don’t have money to spend on such individuals this year.

Jason Kendall (Royals): I like Jason Kendall. I’m glad he isn’t a Brewer any more. For the record, I don’t like him so much because of the brief time he spent as a Cub (although he was charming in pinstripes), but because I used to enjoy his breakfast cereal.

Hideki Matsui (Angels): The only comments I can think of for this are attacks on the DH “position,” so I’ll refrain.

Randy Wolf (Brewers): Somehow, I don’t feel threatened.

Ivan Rodriguez (Nationals): This year, Pudge will become a lock to win the ‘Player-I’ve-seen-play-with-the-most-different-teams’ prize. Wherever this man goes, I end up seeing him play.

Mike Cameron (Red Sox): This pretty much narrows the Cubbies’ options for center-fielder down to Marlon Byrd. Unless we trade for someone. I vote for trying to talk the Yankees into giving us Brett Gardner. Otherwise, just give Sam Fuld or Tyler Colvin the job.

There are a bajillion other signings, but what interesting can really be said about Pedro Feliz to the Astros, or Bobby Crosby to the Pirates? This brings us to…

The Remaining Free Agents

Jason Bay: He won’t be returning to the Red Sox, according to the latest from MLBtraderumors.com. The front runners are said to be the Mets, Angels and Mariners, and the Yankees are “interested” (When are they not?) I want to see it down to the Angels and Mariners, don’t you? AL WEST INTRIGUE!

Matt Holliday: The Cardinals have, to my chagrin, made Mr. Holliday an offer for some obscene amount of money. If I was in power in St. Lou, the offer would have been: a box of Peeps from last Easter, a used copy of the original ‘Oregon Trail’ on CD-rom, a home-made Christmas tree ornament, and $1.42 in pocket change (lint included.) And that is my final offer. Not because I think ill of Matt Holliday, but because in this scenario I am obviously a mole trying to take St. Louis down from the inside.

Mark DeRosa: My offer to Mr. DeRosa would be the exhumed remains of my sweet baby turtle and a black shoelace. Anything to get him out of a Cardinals uniform.

Final Notes

The Pittsburgh Pirates picked up former Marlin prospect John Raynor in this year’s rule 5 draft. Here’s hoping he sticks! REBEL ALUMNI POWER!!!

Matt Murton, a former Cub and favorite of mine, will be pursuing his baseball career in Japan. I just want to publicly wish him the best. He’s a talented guy. I hope he finally gets a real chance to play and mops up over there.