Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This Dumb Decade: 2002: Bonds vs. The Rally Monkey

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. It's time for 2002.

January 8 - Ozzie Smith is elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. He celebrates by attempting to do a back flip. He is released from the hospital just before his induction.

February 12 - Mets assistant GM Omar Minaya becomes the first Hispanic GM by accepting the position with the Expos. Frank Robinson is also announced as the manager of the team, which will be run by Major League Baseball for the 2002 season. And so it begins.
February 27 - The sale of the Boston Red Sox to a group headed by John Henry becomes official. Happy Birthday to me!

March 1 - The Red Sox fire GM Dan Duquette and hire Mike Port on an interim basis. Mike Port?
March 11 - The Red Sox hire Grady Little as their new manager. And so THAT begins.
March 22 - The Chicago Cubs send Jose Cueto, Ryan Jorgensen, Julian Tavarez & Dontrelle Willis to the Florida Marlins for Antonio Alfonseca and Matt Clement, or as they're known by their CW audience, "Six Finger Sexy and The Canuck."

April 3 - Barry Bonds hits a pair of home runs for the second day in a row. He becomes only the second player in history to begin a season with a pair of 2–HR games. Two days later Bonds ties the mark for most home runs in the first four games of the season, set by Lou Brock in 1967. Lou Brock had power?
April 11 - The Baltimore Orioles pound the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 15–6, scoring a franchise–high 12 runs in the 6th inning. They also collect a club–high 11 hits in 16 at bats. Add the Orioles to the list of teams that have sent the Devil Rays a thank you card for boosting their self-esteem.
April 16 - The Detroit Tigers win for the first time this season, defeating Tampa Bay 9–3. The Tigers had lost its first 11 games for the 5th-worst start by a major league team. While it'd be easy to point out they got their precious win against Tampa Bay, it'd be slightly harder to ask the question "How did the Devil Rays win a game before anybody in the first place?!"
April 27 - Boston pitcher Derek Lowe hurls Fenway Park's first no-hitter since 1965 It is the first career complete game for Lowe, who began last season as the Red Sox closer. I think Lowe was Boston's bullpen catcher for a few weeks too.
April 29 - Former major league outfielder Darryl Strawberry is sentenced to 18 months in prison for violating the terms of his probation six times. He deserves it for taking Homer Simpson's spot in the lineup.

May 2 - Mike Cameron becomes the thirteenth player in Major League history to slug four home runs in a single game, all solo shots. Cameron is also hit by a pitch and flies out to deep right field in a bid for a 5th homer. Cameron and Bret Boone also become the first teammates in history to hit back–to–back home runs twice in the same inning, performing the feat in Seattle's 10–run 1st inning. Nothing weird going on here kids.
May 4 - Barry Bonds hits his 400th home run as a Giant, leading his team to a 3–0 win over Cincinnati. Bonds is the first player to hit 400 homers for one team and 100 with another. Okay maybe something is going on here.
May 11 - Rafael Palmeiro records his 500th career home run. He was really good, even for a cheater and a liar.
May 23 - Dodgers right fielder Shawn Green becomes the 14th man in major league history to hit four home runs in a game and sets a big league record with 19 total bases. He goes 6-for-6, scores six runs (both Dodgers records), and gets seven RBI in a 16-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. He's a nice jewish boy.
May 29 - In an article in Sports Illustrated, former National League MVP Ken Caminiti says that about 50 percent of current major league players use some form of steroids. Whatttttttttttt you crazy!

June 18 - Jack Buck, Hall of Fame Broadcaster for the St. Louis Cardinals, passes away after months of hospitalization. On the date of his death, Darryl Kile pitched the Cardinals into a tie for first place, their first time at the time of the division since early April. It would be his final start before his sudden death.
June 20 - The Florida Marlins beats the Cleveland Indians, 3–0, as the Marlins' Luis Castillo extends his hitting streak to 34 games, the longest ever by a second baseman. Sure he can hit, but can he catch a pop-up?
June 22 - St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile dies suddenly in his hotel room in downtown Chicago. Kile had died in his sleep from 90% blockage of his arteries. He was 33. The game was postponed after the fans waited in the dark for an hour. Chicago Cubs catcher Joe Girardi (who later played for the Cardinals) made the announcement to the crowd that the game was canceled due to a "tragedy in the Cardinal family."
June 27 - In what Wikipedia calls one of the worst transactions in major league history, Expos GM Omar Minaya sends P Cliff Lee, 2B Brandon Phillips, OF Grady Sizemore and 1B Lee Stevens to the Indians in exchange for pitchers Bartolo Colón and Tim Drew. Colón will win 10 of 17 starts for Montreal, but Lee and Sizemore with Cleveland and Phillips in Cincinnati are Lee, Sizemore and Brandon Phillips. Minaya to this day sits in the dark, moving his magic beans around in his hand, waiting for them to grow.

July 2 - A combined total of 62 home runs are hit breaking the old major league mark on 57 set on April 7, 2000. A record 9 players have multiple home run games, breaking the previous mark of 8 set on May 19, 1999.
July 6 - Daryle Ward of the Houston Astros hits the first home run ever to exit PNC Park and land into the Allegheny River on the fly.
July 9 - In a controversial finish, the American League does not win the All-Star Game. Of course, they don't lose either, the game ends in a 7–7 tie after 11 innings as both the National and American leagues run out of pitchers. Peter Gammons would later claim that one of the pitchers was too hungover to pitch. It might have been Barry Zito, who is handsome.
July 23 - Nomar Garciaparra hits three home runs with eight RBI on his birthday as the Boston Red Sox annihilate the Marlins 26–9, in the opener of a day–night doubleheader.

August 7 - In a historic movement, major league players end their long-held opposition to mandatory drug testing by agreeing to be tested for illegal steroids beginning in 2003. Thanks for closing that barn door right on time guys.
August 9 - The Giants' Barry Bonds hits the 600th home run of his career. Is it 2003 yet? Meanwhile Vladimir Guerrero hits his 200th career home run. A lonely trumpet plays in the distance.
August 17 -Alfonso Soriano hits a home run to become the first second baseman ever to join the 30-30 club. Keep that up and you'll be traded to a perennial last place team son.
August 26 - Derek Jeter scored his 100th run of the season, joining Ted Williams (1939-49) and Earle Combs (1925-32) as the only players in modern history to score at least 100 runs in their first seven seasons. It should be noted that Jeter is ahead of both Williams and Combs in intangibility.
August 28 - Eric Gagné earns a save for the Dodgers. It is the first of his Major League record 84 consecutive save opportunities that he will convert.
August 29 - First baseman Mark Bellhorn becomes the first player in NL history to homer from both sides of the plate in the same inning, doing so in the Cubs' 10–run 4th inning. An even younger nobody named Theo Epstein takes notice.
August 31 - The Mets are shut out by the Phillies 1–0, to mark their 13th consecutive home defeat. In doing so, they become the first NL team to lose all their home games over the course of a month. This was the month Bobby Valentine lost his job. (Same went for his Groucho Marx alterego, "Vobby Balentine".)

September 3 - Rangers reliever Joaquín Benoit pitches seven innings of one-hit ball against the Baltimore Orioles to record the longest save in Major League history. The Orioles starting lineup is immediately traded to the Devil Rays.
September 4 - The A's set an AL record by defeating the Royals 12–11 for their 20th straight win. Oakland blows an 11–0 lead, but score in the bottom of the 9th for the victory. According to "Moneyball", Billy Beane missed the beginning of this game because he originally was planning to scout minor league prospect Kevin Youkilis.
September 8 - The Atlanta Braves win their 11th straight NL division title when the second-place Philadelphia Phillies lose to the New York Mets 6-4. It seems like they'll never not win the division. Also on this day the Texas Rangers set a major league record by homering in their 26th consecutive game. The streak will be ended at 27 games two days later. They don't and still don't have pitching.
September 14 -Chin-Feng Chen becomes the first Taiwan-born player to appear i
n the major leagues as he walks and scores as a pinch-hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Colorado Rockies. The 24-year-old first baseman-outfielder played for the 1990 Taiwan team which won the Little League World Series. Quit living in the past Chin Chen.
September 15 - Sammy Sosa joins Mel Ott and Willie Mays as the only NL players to post eight consecutive 100-RBI seasons. He's the only one of the three to take steroids.
September 18 - Greg Colbrunn is the first player to hit two home runs in a game while hitting for the cycle since George Brett (May 28, 1979). Just another notch on the belt for the Jim Thorpe of Baseball Greg Colbrunn.
September 22 - The Cincinnati Reds play their last game at Riverfront Stadium, losing 4-3 to the Philadelphia Phillies. Aaron Boone hit the stadium's last home run, and 1990 World Series hero Jose Rijo took the loss for the Reds. Good riddance Big Ugly.
September 29 - Albert Pujols becomes the fourth hitter in the major leagues, and the first batter since Ted Williams in 1939–40, to collect more than 250 runs batted in his first two seasons in the majors. He is not a machine. Just Albert.

October 5- The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the state of California United States of America advance to the ALCS by beating the Yankees. David Wells pitches poorly in Game 4 to clinch it.
October 13 - Adam Kennedy becomes the first player since Reggie Jackson in 1977 to hit three home runs in a single postseason game as the Angels defeat the Minnesota Twins to claim their first American League title in their 42 year existence. Reggie Jackson and Adam Kennedy. Sounds about right.
October 14- The Giants defeat the Cardinals 2-1 in Game 5 to win the pennant. Kenny Lofton had the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth.
October 26 - With one out in the 7th inning, the Giants are leading 5-0 and are just 8 outs from their first World Series title since moving to San Francisco. After two singles, Dusty Baker takes starter Russ Ortiz out of the game, handing him the game ball to keep in the process. Scott Spezio, who America discovered was in some shitty rock band, fouls off several pitches before hitting a 3 run homer to get the Angels close. In the bottom of the 8th, Darin Erstad led off with a homer. After two singles, the Giants brought in their ace reliever Rob Nen. Series MVP Troy Glaus nailed a 2 run double to give the Angels the 6-5 win.
October 27 - The Anaheim Angels win their first World Series as they defeat the San Francisco Giants 4–1 in Game Seven. Pitcher John Lackey becomes the first rookie to win a 7th game of a World Series since 1909. (Brian Epstein must have noticed this too.) Garret Anderson's bases loaded double in the third inning scores three runs for Anaheim to break a 1-1 tie and provide the margin of victory. Troy Glaus is named Series MVP. Dusty Baker gives him the game ball. The Rally Monkey retires to a zoo, I guess. Ironically the Rally Monkey made her premiere during a 2000 game against the Giants.
October 28 - Lou Piniella asks to be released from his managerial contract with the Seattle Mariners so that he may sign with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Lou Piniella has balls the size of Vermont.

November 12 - Oakland Athletics shortstop Miguel Tejada is selected as the American League MVP. He's quite talented for his age, whatever it may be.
November 22 - Houston Astros right fielder Richard Hidalgo is shot in the left forearm during a carjacking in Venezuela. He is released from the hospital. Ugueth Urbina didn't do it.
November 25 - The Boston Red Sox sign 28-year–old Theo Epstein as their new general manager. Bill James immediately demands half of his salary.

December 2 - In the biggest free agent signing of the year, the Philadelphia Phillies sign Cleveland Indians first baseman Jim Thome to a 6-year contract. Ryan Howard would be called up two years later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nicely done. Great read.