2010 MLB Year in Superlatives: Part Two

Welcome to Part Two of the FBB’s year in review! This will be the last installment. As far as I know…

Are you ready for some more bests, worsts, and mosts? Then read on, my fair viewer, read on.

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Outstanding gloviness: Oddly enough, two of the coolest plays of the year belonged to pitchers. How ’bout three more cheers for Mark Buehrle’s Opening Day gem and Paul Maholm’s equally awesome (in my opinion) play from just a week later.

Greatest Robbery:

My top giggle-inducing moments: I did feel bad for laughing so hard when Miguel Olivo ended up being hurt from this play, but it was one of the funniest “slides” I’ve ever seen.

Also, this:

And THIS:

Minor League call-up to remember: The Pirates Erik Kratz. *Sniff*

Best blog-post incorporating the Cubs and “Lost”: This piece legitimately made me LOL.

Postseason highlight: Roy Halladay’s no-hitter is an easy choice. It gave even Phillies anti-enthusiasts such as myself something to cheer about.

Coolest lady: 18-year-old Japanese knuckle-baller Eri Yoshida, of course.

Random video and audio clips of the year: Timmy the Wizard and Barry Zito: Unicorn Master… On a side note, either one of those could be adapted into a sensational TV series.

Greatest Quotes : Jamie Moyer, on being informed that he had just become the oldest pitcher in MLB history to throw a shutout:

Really? Cool.

And a gem from lovable Cubs outfielder Sam Fuld:

102 years is not that long.

Goodbyes: Lou Piniella, Cito Gaston, Bobby Cox, Joe Torre (?), Ken Griffey Jr… I mean, the list just goes on and on.

And finally…

Thing of the Year: To me, the most memorable and outstanding  thing/event/game of 2010 was the Armando Galarraga- Jim Joyce game. It provided as potent a fodder for the waxings of baseball sentimentalists (like me) as ever there was. I’ll remember this game longer than I will remember that the Giants won the World Series, or that Edwin Jackson and Ubaldo Jiminez and whoever else threw no-hitters. The behavior of both men was exemplary. The class of Mr. Galarraga and Mr. Joyce will stand out in my mind far longer than the perfect game would have.


 

 

 

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R is for Rookie

In honor of the American and National League Championship Series, we’re going to take a fun little stroll down memory lane and revisit what some of the more prominent players looked like as rookies (or, even better, minor leaguers.) Why? Because it’s fun.

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NLCS

Tim Lincecum: Insert your own caption here. My head is about to explode with all the possibilities…

Jimmy Rollins: You know how in some sitcoms they’ll do flashback episodes and give the main characters ridiculous hairstyles to communicate the point that they’re supposed to be younger? It’s the sort of thing audiences laugh at because it is so silly and unrealistic. Yet if you put a braided wig on Jimmy Rollins now… would he not look exactly the same as he does on this card?

Harry Leroy Halladay:

Jayson Werth: I know that I have posted this photo before, but I simply can’t get over it.ALCS

Kerry Wood: Before he lost the baby fat.

CC Sabathia: His baby fat never went anywhere.

Derek Jeter: I could have produced an entire gallery of just amusing Derek Jeter rookie photos. Not even joking.

Josh Hamilton: The face is the same… the forearms, not so much.

Vladimir Guerrero: When Vladdy was but a laddy.

Cliff Lee: Clifton Phifer Lee looks exactly the same now as he did 8 years ago. Ten bucks says that another 8 years won’t change him a bit, either.

Merry Cliffmas & Happy Halladay!

What better way to celebrate my 200th post than by heralding the incomparable Roy Halladay on a historical achievement? Huzzah! In his inaugural playoff appearance, “Doc” has hurled just the second postseason no-hitter in baseball history! Not to mention his second of this year.

Anyone who read my post from earlier today is aware that I am no Phillies fan. But on occasions such as this, it is impossible not to throw one’s biases to the wayside. I have always held Mr. Halladay in high regard, and congratulate him most sincerely on this accomplishment. This is what we watch baseball for, is it not?

That smile makes ME smile.

Cliff Lee turned in a fine performance for Texas this afternoon (keep-a-rollin’, Rangers!) and in this, “the year of the pitcher,” it is to be hoped we’ll see a few more gems. None, though, is likely to match this.

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.

The FBB’s Year In Review: The (Unconventional) Bests, Worsts & Mosts of 2009

Well, dear reader, 2009 is drawing to a close. In a few days a new year will dawn, bringing new hopes and dreams with it. Before we embark on that new 365-day journey, let us take a moment to reflect on the many unique events that filled the last one…


BEST broadcasting moment: This remarkable call comes from the Seattle Mariners radio announcer Mike Blowers. If you haven’t seen/heard this yet, you must. (Honorable Mention: Ron Santo singing “Kumbaya” on air)

BEST catch: OK, so this is a conventional category. The “catch,” though, is anything but. It involves some ballet-like teamwork and two Pittsburgh Pirates you’ve probably never heard of. I’m probably the only person stiffing the Dewayne Wise catch in this category. Speaking of which…

BEST pitching performance: Everyone automatically thinks, Mark Buehrle’s perfect-o. That’s probably what everyone should think of, as a perfect game is a very rare and special accomplishment. No disrespect to Mr. Buehrle, but I’m gonna give this one to the San Francisco Giants’ Jonathan Sanchez. Because the Wise catch would have been a home-run 99 times out of 100. Because the only thing that kept Mr. Sanchez’s no-hitter from being a perfect game was a fielding error. And because I just want to be different. So there.

BEST line uttered: Courtesy Tim Lincecum, who was describing his panda bear-ish teammate Pablo Sandoval:  “His hair’s pretty fuzzy looking. He’s got a cute little smile and he gives really good hugs.” (Honorable mention: from Greg Maddux’s number retirement speech at Wrigley Field, “Let’s beat the Marlins today!”)

BEST worst headline: From ESPN’s website, “Texas Rangers Quietly Make Noise At Winter Meetings”

WORST headline: Sports Illustrated’s big headline for its World Series preview article read, “BIG SEXY SERIES.” Really, SI? Really?

MOST weepy events: The death of Nick Adenhart and Ernie Harwell’s farewell speech to Tigers fans.

BEST “news” article: The Phillies should have done a little research, because Roy Halladay doesn’t actually exist.

MOST exciting/improbable play-off series: I gotta give a shout-out to the hometown boys. Our Rebels, with a line-up depleted by injuries, defeated the bitter rival Luray Wranglers in the first round of Valley League play-offs. N’er have I been so proud!

BEST name: My second favorite part of the MLB draft (behind hearing a familiar name called) is some of the truly odd monikers of the selected players. This year’s greatest name was Seth Schwindenhammer. That’s a 15-letter surname (look out, Jarrod Saltalamacchia!) Runner up: Dexter Bobo.

MOST laughable PED accusation: Ryan Theriot… some journalists clearly had too much time on their hands.

WORST gameday weather: Will anyone who was there ever forget the crazy New Market hailstorm of ’09?

MOST readable preseason coverage: Walkoff Walk’s “BONILLA Projections” were the only ones worth reading, in my opinion, and are worth a looksy even now.

BEST musical performance: Mr. T’s rendition of Take Me Out To The Ballgame trumps all. Sorry, Alicia Keyes.

BEST baserunner: This guy.

WORST celebration: Some people thought this was fun and innocent. I thought it was garbage. (Honorable mention: I heard that when the Dodgers beat St. Louis in the NLDS, they used up all their victory champagne and beer and eventually started pouring water and milk on each other.)

MOST heartwarming first pitch: At least the Brewers are capable of doing something classy.

MOST gutsy glovework: I just wanted to slip this Sam Fuld catch in somewhere…

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.