Saturday, December 19, 2009

This Dumb Decade: 2004: Schadenfreude and Pedro

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. To be fair, the last few months of 2004 wasn't so bad...

January 5 - Tug McGraw dies at the age of 59 from brain cancer.
January 8- In his book "My Prison Behind Bars", Pete Rose admits to gambling on baseball. I don't see the big deal: I read about this in Uh Doyyyyy Weekly 10 years previous.
January 29 - Shane Spencer signs as a Free Agent with the New York Mets. What time will the World Series parade be?
January- Aaron Boone tears a knee ligament during a pick-up basketball game. Now the Yankees will need a third baseman...

February 15 - Alex Rodriguez is traded by the Texas Rangers to the New York Yankees in exchange for Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later. This occurs following months of failed negotiations by the Rangers and the Red Sox to acquire A-Rod. The entire city of Boston is put on suicide watch.
February 27- Aaron Boone is given a bonus by the Yankees for his work. Just kidding, he's released for violating the terms of his contract. Thanks for playing!

April 6- Kaz Matsui makes his New York Met debut by homering. He would homer in his first at-bat the following season and hit an inside-the-park home run in his first at-bat for the season after that. Watch out Carl Pavano! Just kidding, aside from those at-bats he sucked.
April 12 - Barry Bonds ties his godfather Willie Mays for third on the all-time career home run list. HE'S ON STEROIDS! WHY ARE YOU LETTING THIS HAPPEN GOD! WHY?!?!
April 12 - The Cincinnati Reds defeat the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-1, in the first game played at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park. This is the lowest scoring game ever played at Citizens Bank Park.
April 27 - Chad Moeller becomes the fifth Milwaukee Brewers player to hit for the cycle, and the first to do it at home. The players that hit cycles and pitch no-hitters are incredibly random. I'll probably end up saying this a few more times.

May 8 - Curt Schilling pitches his first AL complete game, and the 80th of his career, while striking out eight. Pokey Reese hits two homers, one of which is an inside-the-park home run snapping a 172 at-bat homerless streak dating to April 4, 2003. When it rains it pours. Pokey wouldn't be added to any of Boston's playoff rosters, and he'd never be in the bigs again.
May 18 - Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson becomes only the 17th person in major league history to throw a perfect game, throwing 13 strikeouts on his way to a 2-0 defeat of the Atlanta Braves. Perfect games are different than no-hitters, shut up.
May 26 - Daryle Ward hits for the cycle in the Pirates' 11-8 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. Ward joins his father, Gary Ward, to become the first father-son combination in major league history to hit for the cycle. You snooze you lose Griffeys.
May 28 - Mariano Rivera notches his 300th career save in the New York Yankees' 7-5 victory over the Devil Rays. That is if you want to be cheap and count positive stats against the Devil Rays. To balance things out, Matt Clement becomes the 21st big league pitcher and the first Chicago Cubs pitcher in over a century to hit three batters in one inning. That ties a major league record. Nice.

June 12 - Bonds drills a solo home run off Rodrigo López, who becomes the 400th pitcher to be so victimized. Bonds' performance upstaged Rafael Palmeiro, who hits his 536th and 537th homers to move past Mickey Mantle into 11th place on the career list. Who DOESN'T upstage Rafael Whatshismustache?
June 20 - On Father's Day afternoon, with his father, Ken Griffey, Sr., in attendance, Griffey Junior hits his 500th home run. The home run also ties Griffey Jr. with his father in career hits (2,143). Junior however already has the lead on his father in ankle injuries with 47.
June 24 - Carlos Beltran is traded from the Royals to the Astros. He is in the final year of his contract.
June 26 - With a 6-4 victory over the Florida Marlins, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays have a record of 36-35, becoming the first team in Major League history to have a winning record after being 18 games under .500, thanks to a 26-7 run. Before falling under .500 for good in July, the Rays would win or tie 13 out of 14 series, including three straight sweeps during a club-record 12-game winning streak. Well even a broken clock is right twice a day.
June 28 - David Bell hits for the cycle. It's the first time a grandfather-son duo hit for the cycle. Griffeys got nothing on the Bells.
June 29 - Yankees' Tony Clark hits a deep-center two-run homer off Derek Lowe. Clark joins Bernie Williams and Danny Tartabull as the only players to reach the center-field bleachers more than once since the remodeled Yankee Stadium opened in 1976. Tony Clark's other claim to fame was wearing 00 for the Mets until he discovered that was Mr. Met's number. Tony Clark: not Cooperstown bound. He IS tall though.

July 5 - Éric Gagné's consecutive saves streak ends at 84, although technically during the streak Gagné blew the lead in the 2003 All-Star game. That should have counted against him, considering 100 times as many people probably saw that performance compared to any of his other saves. It's just common sense.
July 13 - The American League wins the All-Star Game. Oh my god really? You're KIDDING. The paradigm of which my brain has been able to filter the world has changed. Where do I go from here? (I'm being sarcastic.)
July 16 - Bobby Abreu joins Willie Mays, Bobby Bonds and Barry Bonds by reaching the elite 20-homers/20-steal plateau for a sixth straight season. That quartet are the only players to have six straight 20-20 seasons in major league history. Abreu also becomes the only member of the quartet with no family connection to Barry, his late father Bobby, or his godfather Willie, so therefore we don't really care or acknowledge it.
July 22 - Recalled third baseman David Wright from Norfolk of the International League (AAA); optioned pitcher Dan Wheeler to Norfolk. It begins.
July 24 - In a Red Sox 11-10 win over the Yankees Alex Rodriguez and Jason Varitek begin a bench-clearing brawl after Rodriguez was hit by a Bronson Arroyo pitch. For awhile it was believed that A-Rod complained he was being thrown at, to which Varitek responded, "We don't throw at .230 hitters." But that probably didn't happen.
July 29 - Mets outfielder Eric Valent becomes the eighth player in Mets history to hit for the cycle. People who have hit for the cycle in 2004: Eric Valent, Chad Moehler, David Bell and Daryle Ward. Pitchers breath a sigh of relief nightly that those four guys are all on different teams.
July 30 - Justin Huber is traded by the Mets to the Royals for Jose Bautista. Then, Ty Wigginton, the very same Jose Bautista and Matt Peterson are traded to the Pirates for Kris Benson, Anna Benson and Jeff Keppinger. And THEN, Scott Kazmir was traded with Jose Diaz to the Devil Rays for Bartolome Fortunato and Victor Zambrano.I hope I'm spelling that right: Victor Zambrano?
July 31 - Red Sox send Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs in a four-team deal. The Red Sox wind up with Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mienkiewicz.

August 3 - Bob Murphy dies at the age of 79 years old. He was a broadcaster for the Mets for 40 years, previously with the Red Sox and Orioles. Ever since, recaps haven't been nearly as happy. On the field, Albert Pujols, at age 24, becomes the first player/machine ever to hit at least 30 home runs in each of his first four seasons.
August 6 - Larry Walker is traded to the Cardinals. When asked by Walker if the Cardinals also play their home games at Coors Field they run the opposite direction.
August 7 - Greg Maddux earns his 300th career victory. This milestone will never be reached by anybody ever again, says everybody.
August 10 - At Great American Ballpark, Adam Dunn hits the first home run ever to land in another state. Against José Lima of the Los Angeles Dodgers (naturally), Dunn hits a ball that exits the ballpark in center field and bounces onto Mehring Way, which runs between GABP and the Ohio River. The ball then bounces onto a piece of driftwood in the river, which is considered Kentucky territory. It's all in Jack Kerouac's book. The home run was measured at 535 feet. I get the feeling that in 200 years Adam Dunn will be seen as the Babe Ruth of our era, and sabermetrocity (it'll be a word by then) will therefore be seen as a joke. I hate the future!
August 17 - Mark Teixeira hits for the cycle. Exactly. Wait...
August 20 - Mets place pitcher Victor Zambrano on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Why don't I remember this guy? Maybe it has something to do with the repression chip I had installed in my brain. When? I don't remember...
August 31 - Omar Vizquel goes 6-for-7 to tie the AL record for most hits in a nine-inning game as the Cleveland Indians roll to a 22-0 rout of the New York Yankees, who endure the worst shutout loss in league history. Well at least the Yankees won't get embarrassed like that again.

September 9 - Joe Randa becomes the first player in AL history to have six hits and six runs in the same nine-inning game in the Kansas City Royals' 26-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers in the first game of a doubleheader. Break up the Royals!
September 16 - Art Howe is canned, but he's allowed to finish out the season. He puts himself in the leadoff spot for all of the remaining games.
September 17 - Barry Bonds becomes just the third player in major league history to hit 700 career home runs, off of Jake Peavy. Meanwhile, Edgar Martínez gets his 1,000th career RBI as a designated hitter - a record for RBI at the position - and Ichiro breaks the major league record with his 199th single of the season. All of these facts remain under scrutiny due to the fact that there were no witnesses to these events, on account of "Mr.3000" premiering on this day.
September 22 - Raúl Ibáñez of the Seattle Mariners ties an AL record with six hits in Seattle's 16-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Whatever you Joe Randa wannabe. Raul Ibanez: Professional Joe Randa Impersonator. Hire him for your kid's bar mitzvah.
September 29 - Major League Baseball announces that the Montreal Expos will be moved to the Washington, D.C. area for the 2005 season. That night, the Expos play their final home game in front of 30,000+ fans. The Expos lose to the Florida Marlins 9-1. Sounds about right.
September 30 - The Yankees become just the fourth team in baseball history to post three straight 100-win seasons. More importantly, the A-Rod/Jeter friendship scale is at "I'd have a beer with him, but just one."

October 1 - Omar Minaya is named general manager. Adam Rubin is disappointed he missed out yet again. Meanwhile Ichiro surpasses George Sisler's 84-year-old record of 257 hits in a single season. That's like, a lot.
October 10 - Ken Caminiti dies at 41. On the same day Caminiti's former team, the Houston Astros, win a postseason series for the first time in the 43-year history of the franchise.
October 16 - ALCS Game 3: Yankees 19, Red Sox 8. Boy oh boy...
October 17 -"The steal"
October 18 - In the early hours David Ortiz hits a walk-off home run to give Boston the Game 4 victory. Sixteen hours after the conclusion of that game, the two teams go at it again. They play into the bottom of the 14th where Ortiz delivers another game-winning hit. The last time a team forced a Game 6 after being down 3-0 in a series were the 1999 Mets.
October 19 - The Bloody Sock/A-Rod Bitch Slap Game
October 20 - At Yankee Stadium, the Boston Red Sox pull off the greatest of baseball comebacks, beating the New York Yankees four straight times after losing the first three games of the ALCS. Wow.
October 21 - At home, the St. Louis Cardinals advance to the 2004 World Series after a Game 7 victory over the Astros. Carlos Beltran's eight home runs during the postseason wasn't enough for Houston.
October 24 - The Red Sox win 6-2 at Fenway Park behind Curt Schilling, to take the Series lead 2-0. Schilling goes 6 innings, giving up only 1 run (not earned) and only 4 hits, while striking out 4. He can really use some new socks. And a way to drop subtler hints about it. Also, Manny Ramirez is really terrible in the outfield.
October 27 - The Boston Red Sox complete a four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series for the first time since 1918. Babe Ruth has angry sex in hell that night.

November 3 - The Mets name Willie Randolph manager. His insistence of having the press conference at Yankee Stadium is kind of weird.
November 22 - The recently relocated Washington, D.C. National League franchise announces its new name, logo and colors. They also decide they will be terrible, in honor of the Expos.
November 26 - Vladimir Guerrero (.337 BA, 39 HR, 126 RBI) wins the American League MVP Award, receiving 21 of the 28 first-place votes. The former Montreal Expos outfielder signed as a free agent with the Anaheim Angels, after the New York Mets, according to Wikipedia, "refused to guarantee his salary based on advice from their medical staff". You know how the Mets are with caution and injuries.

December 17 - The Mets sign Pedro Martinez, who had been with the Boston Red Sox, to a four-year contract. His physical revealed he has a lot of grit.

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