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…