Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This Dumb Decade: 2001: Some Sort of Odessey

Time Magazine recently announced that this decade was the Worst.Decade.Ever. Who cares right? How was 2000-2009 for baseball? Actually it was possibly the worst decade ever for baseball too: steroids, ties in all-star games, Yankees book-ending championships, etc. For the next two weeks we will try to figure out what went wrong. We look at 2001 today.

January 16 - Outfielders Dave Winfield and Kirby Puckett are elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in their first year on the ballot. Puckett would die four years later of a stroke.
January 22 - World Series standout Tommie Agee dies of a cardiac arrest in Manhattan at the age of 58.

February 11 - Three Rivers Stadium, the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates since 1970, is imploded before thousands of onlookers. An informal poll determined that more than 50 percent of Pirates fans wish the players were inside the Stadium at the time.
February 20 - Atlanta Braves center fielder Andruw Jones wins a record $8.2 million contract in salary arbitration. Lazy people everywhere half-heartedly raise an arm in victory.

March 8 - The Orioles announce that Albert Belle is "totally disabled and unable to perform as a major league baseball player" due to a severe case of degenerative arthritis of the right hip. Belle would vow that "Belle v. Halloween Shenanigans" will continue.
March 24 -

April 4 - Hideo Nomo throws a 3-0 no-hitter against the Orioles in his Boston Red Sox debut. It is Nomo's second career no-hitter, apparently making him the fourth (!) pitcher in history to hurl one in both the NL and the AL. It is also the earliest no-hitter, by date, in major league history. Carlos Delgado hits 3 home runs for the Blue Jays against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who of course lost.
April 14 - A major league record is set as 11 one-run games are played. With a 1–0 win over the New York Mets, the Cincinnati Reds set the modern-day NL record with their 175th consecutive game without being shut out. The fact that they won 1-0 when breaking that record proves how cocky they were.
April 17 - Barry Bonds becomes the 17th player in major league history to hit 500 career home runs. It'll be a slow and steady climb to reach Aaron, but Bonds has a shot.
April 28 - 61* premieres on HBO. The moral of the story is never overachieve.

May 5 - The Chicago Cubs defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 20-1. It is the 15th time since 1900 that Chicago have scored 20 runs in a game, but the 1st time I've heard of such a thing.
May 8 - Randy Johnson records twenty strikeouts in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. Johnson is the first left-handed pitcher to record 20 strikeouts in a game, and is the first to do so without winning the game. Lefties always fuck things up.
May 12 - A.J. Burnett of the Florida Marlins throws a 3-0 no-hitter against the Padres. Burnett strikes out seven, but walks nine (the most in a no-hitter) and hits a batter. It is the 228th and absolute worst complete game no-hitter in major league history.
May 25 - Hideo Nomo of the Boston Red Sox tosses a one-hitter and strikes out 14 in a 4-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Nomo faces one batter over the minimum of 27, giving up a leadoff double in the fourth inning to Shannon Stewart. Previously, Nomo tossed a no-hit game on April 4 against the Orioles. Remember when Nomo was good? It was before he was a Met.
May 28 - Collecting five singles and a three-run home run, Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Paul Lo Duca goes 6-for-6 against the Colorado Rockies to tie an NL record for hits in an extra-inning game. Remember when LoDuca was good? It was...

June 8 - Damion Easley of the Detroit Tigers hits for the cycle against the Milwaukee Brewers, becoming the first player to accomplish this feat in interleague play. Easley would retire never having appeared in the playoffs.
June 12 - Dodgers outfielder Gary Sheffield becomes the first player in major league history to win three 1-0 games in a season with a home run, when he solos to beat the Atlanta Braves 1-0. He also supplied the only scoring by homering in April 2 versus Milwaukee, and in May 7 against Florida. That'd make anyone bigheaded.
June 16 - Mariners first baseman John Olerud hits for the cycle against the Padres, becoming just the second player in history to hit for the cycle in both leagues (Bob Watson being the first). Olerud previously did it as a Met against the Expos in 1997. He got his triple because Rondell White was playing with one good leg for some reason. The things you remember...

July 10 - The American League wins the All–Star Game. This will happen a lot. Cal Ripken Jr. gets the MVP honors for hitting a meaningless home run and for it being his last All-Star Game. Tommy Lasorda comically falls down.
July 18 - An Enron Field first: Jeff Bagwell of the Houston Astros hits for a cycle in a 17-11 Astros win over the St. Louis Cardinals. The SEC failed to find any wrongdoings.

August 5 - The Cleveland Indians tied a Major League Baseball record by erasing a 12-run lead to defeat the Mariners. It was probably the new Japanese guy's fault.
August 11 - Barry Bonds hit his 50th home run of the season to lead the San Francisco Giants to a 9-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs. No other player had reached 50 home runs faster than Bonds, or had a physically bigger head.
August 15 - For the first time in major league history, four pitchers from Venezuela combine to win their respective starts the same day: Freddy García,Kelvim Escobar, Giovanni Carrara and Omar Daal.
August 23 - With his 300th strikeout Randy Johnson becomes the first pitcher to strike out 300 or more batters in four consecutive seasons. Birds are still angry.
August 26 - Sammy Sosa hit his 50th and 51st home runs. Sosa joined Mark McGwire and Babe Ruth as the only major leaguers with four 50-homer seasons. Sosa is now entitled to get Budweiser half off at O'Flanigan's on Tuesdays.

September 2 - Mike Mussina of the Yankees comes within one strike of a perfect game against the Boston Red Sox. Mussina settles for a one-hitter after Carl Everett's single. He feels better later when he finishes a New York Times crossword puzzle.
September 5 - Roger Clemens becomes the second pitcher in major league history to win 19 of his first 20 decisions. What? Couldn't win all 20?
September 6 - Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants becomes the fifth player in history to hit 60 home runs in a season. He joins Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Bonds, who is the oldest to join this elite group, reaches the historic plateau the quickest. Seriously, ignore the dude behind the curtain.
September 11 - Due to terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, baseball postpones all future games until further notice.
September 21 - In the first sporting event in New York City since the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, Mike Piazza hits a dramatic 2 run home run in the 8th inning to give the Mets a 3-2 win over the Braves. The whole night was weird as hell. When Piazza homered, one of the TBS/Braves announcers (possibly Pete Van Wieren) said "Sometimes you have to wonder...if some things are meant to be." It hit a nerve at the time, now it just seems corny, albeit forgivable.
September 28 - Alex Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers hits his 50th home run in an 11–2 victory over the Anaheim Angels and becomes the 20th player in major league history to hit 50 homers in a season. The Rangers don't make the playoffs that year, or any year in the decade.

October 2 - At Wrigley Field, Sammy Sosa hits his 60th home run of the season. He becomes the first player in Major League history with three 60-home run seasons. He can now get a free pitcher of Bud on Tuesday nights.
October 4 - Rickey Henderson, on the Padres, hits a home run to become the major leagues' all-time career runs scored leader with 2,246. He slides into home plate for reasons that only Rickey Henderson can only attempt to explain. Tim Raines plays left field and his son Tim Jr. plays center for the Orioles. They become the second father-son duo to play in the same game, matching the feat turned by Ken Griffey and Ken Jr. Looking at it in another way, they were the worst father-son duo to play together in baseball history.
October 6 - The Seattle Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 1-0, setting the American league record to 116 wins in a regular season and tying the major league mark set by the Chicago Cubs in 1906. They should have saved some wins for the playoffs. Lenny Harris breaks Manny Mota's all-time mark for pinch hits with the 151st of his career. Tony Gwynn gets his 3,141st and final hit of his career. His career batting average of 0.338 is, at the time of his retirement, the eleventh highest since 1901. It is the second highest of any player to play since 1950 (Ted Williams' 0.344), and the highest of any player to play entirely in the last 40 years of the twentieth century. A teammate of his at San Diego State umpired some of my little league games.
October 7 - Rickey Henderson gets the 3,000th hit of his career. Tony Gwynn plays his last game. Barry Bonds extends his major-league record with his 73rd home run of the season. He will finish the year with a .863 slugging percentage to break Babe Ruth's all-time single-season record.
October 13- Derek Jeter does that play that makes Jeremy Giambi look bad for the rest of his life.
October 21- The Arizona Diamondbacks in their fourth year of existence defeat the Atlanta Braves to win the National League pennant. Fortunately for Atlanta the game took place at Turner Field, so no Braves fans were around.
October 22- The Yankees beat the Mariners 4-1 to advance to the World Series. Ichiro is to blame.

November 1 - The Yankees pull off 2 incredible comebacks. With the Diamondbacks leading 3-1 with 2 outs in the 9th inning of Game 4 of the World Series, Tino Martinez hits a game tying 2 run home run. One inning later (at 12:04 ET) Derek Jeter hits a walkoff home run to win the game, while fans wave a banner which says "Mr. November". Later that night in Game 5, with the Yankees trailing 2-0 in the 9th inning with 2 outs, Scott Brosius hits a 2 run game tying home run to tie that game at 2. The Yankees win 3-2 and take a 3-2 series lead.
November 3- The Diamondbacks extend the World Series to a seventh game, destroying the Yankees 15-2. According to Joe Torre's book Andy Pettitte was inadvertently tipping his pitches. Todd Stottlemyre, a Diamondbacks pitcher, told his father Mel, the Yankees pitching coach, immediately following the game.
November 4 - The Arizona Diamondbacks win their first World Series with a come-from-behind 3–2 win over the New York Yankees. Mariano Rivera begins the bottom of the 9th inning with a 1 run lead, but is unable to protect it, allowing two runs, including a game winning RBI single by Luis González. Randy Johnson gets the win in relief and shares World Series MVP honors with Curt Schilling. Birds still hate Johnson. This was the game of the decade.
November 11 - Mark McGwire announces his retirement. He hit 583 home runs, none of which he will talk about, since it's all in the past.
November 12 - Albert Pujols and Ichiro Suzuki win the rookies of the year. Victor Zambano does not.
November 27 - The major league owners vote unanimously to extend baseball commissioner Bud Selig's contract through 2006, adding "Buddie, you're doing a heck of a job."
November 30 - Major League Baseball's plan to contract by two teams next season is put into jeopardy by Minnesota courts. Unsure of their future, the Expos signs a one-year lease to play their home games of the 2002 season at Olympic Stadium. Due to the threat of being eliminated because of the proposed contraction, the agreement gives the Expos the right to unilaterally cancel the contract.

December 1 - The New York Mets sign pitcher Satoru Komiyama to a one-year contract. A seven-time All-Star in Japan and former Chiba Lotte Marines member, Komiyama will have a 0-3 record with 33 strikeouts and a 5.61 ERA in 2002, his only major league season. The Mets should have known better, considering "Satoru" is Japanese for "not very good."
December 6 - Major League Baseball reportedly gives John Henry permission to sell the Marlins to Expos owner Jeffrey Loria. Loria was so distraught by this horrible decision he would purchase the Philadelphia Eagles.
December 20 - The limited partners of the Boston Red Sox vote unanimously to sell the team to a group led by Florida Marlins owner John Henry and former San Diego Padres owner Tom Werner. The $660 million price, plus an assumption of $40 million in debt, would double the record price for a baseball team. A new evil empire is born.


Kevin said...

I was at the game with Brian during which Lenny Harris broke the pinch hit record. I believe Randy Johnson started that night...and sucked.

Roger said...

Hi Kevin! Wow you saw history