Monday, December 21, 2009

This Dumb Decade: 2005: Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie, Oy Oy Oy

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. 2005 takes the spotlight today.

January 11 - Javier Vázquez, Brad Halsey, Dioner Navarro, and cash were traded by the Yankees to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Randy Johnson. Upon arrival to New York Johnson is confused by the sudden invention of what the demons refer to as "photography".
January 13- The Mets sign Carlos Beltran to a 7-year, $119 million contract. Beltran has been photographed before so nobody cares that the Mets aren't a joke anymore.
January 21 - Roger Clemens and the Houston Astros agree to an $18 million, one-year contract. Clemens agrees to a deal that makes him the highest-paid pitcher for the fifth time. "It got boring," Clemens would later say. "I decided then and there to always wait until the season began and make my yearly signing as melodramatic as possible."

February 2 - The trade that sent Sammy Sosa to the Orioles from the Cubs is approved. Chicago receives second baseman Jerry Hairston, Jr. and two minor leaguers. The Cubs then sign Jeromy Burnitz as a free agent to replace Sosa in right field. Like trading a broken DVD player for a VCR machine.
February 16 - The players' union signs an agreement calling for international drug-testing rules during a 16-team World Cup tournament (eventually called the World Baseball Classic) during 2006 spring training. In addition, the union agrees that two players from each MLB team must injure themselves during the competition.

March 2 - Thirty-two years after his death, Jackie Robinson receives the Congressional Gold Medal in the Capitol Rotunda, the highest honor Congress can bestow. To honor this all Senators and Congressman wore the number 42 throughout the day. Following the ceremony, the Boston Red Sox are honored at the White House for winning the 2004 World Series. Curt Schilling has opinions on this.
March 17 - Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Jose Canseco appeared before the House Government Reform Committee to discuss the topic of performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. It was simulcast on

April 3 - In his first outing for the Yankees, Randy Johnson allows a run and five hits in six innings as New York open the season with a 9-2 win over the defending champion Red Sox. Good to see things are back to normal, and forever this time.
April 6 - Brad Wilkerson of the Washington Nationals hits for the cycle in the Nationals' first win since moving to Washington D.C., 7-3 against the Philadelphia Phillies. He becomes the twentieth player to hit for the cycle twice. So how many Wilkerson jerseys do you own dear reader? Four? That's it?!
April 8- "Fever Pitch" escapes into theaters.
April 14 - On a historic night at RFK Stadium, the Washington Nationals post a 5-3 victory over the Diamondbacks in the first major league game in Washington D.C. in over 33 years. President George W. Bush throws the ceremonial first pitch. "You're doing a heckuva job Frankie!" Bush said to manager Frank Robinson. The Nationals proceeded to go on a Devil Rays like 100 game losing streak.
April 15 - Sammy Sosa hits his first home run at Camden Yards, giving him homers in 42 different ballparks. What a whore.
April 27 - Mark Grudzielanek becomes only the third Cardinals player to hit for the cycle at 40-year-old Busch Stadium, which was demolished after the season. The others were Ray Lankford on September 15, 1991 against the New York Mets, and Lou Brock on May 27, 1975 against the San Diego Padres. Way to make that less special Grudzie.

May 6 - San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman becomes just the third pitcher in major league history to reach the 400-save plateau, joining Lee Smith (478) and John Franco (424). This officially makes Trevor the most successful Hoff on the planet.
May 21 - The San Francisco Giants hold a celebration in honor of Hall of Famer Juan Marichal. A 9-foot bronze statue of Marichal is dedicated on the plaza outside of the ballpark, joining similar larger than life-size sculptures of Willie Mays and Willie McCovey. Boy, somebody hasn't read a specific commandment...
May 23 - In the traditional home run contest staged before the Hall of Fame game, David Ortiz of the Red Sox hits a record-breaking eight in his 10 official swings. He hits his last one, a drive that barely cleared the wall in right field, with a broken bat. David Ortiz is just rubbing it in our faces.
May 25 - The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2–1 in 12 innings, as manager Tony La Russa wins his 823d game with the Cardinals, passing Whitey Herzog for second place on the franchise list. La Russa also passes Herzog that night in the most reckless drinking and driving celebration in franchise history.
May 30 - The Chicago White Sox extend manager Ozzie Guillén's contract, making the move while the team has the best record in the majors (33-17). Chicago picks up the 2006 option on Guillén's contract, adds two more years and includes an option for the 2009 season. "What's the difference?" White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said. "I have all the money in the world! And the economy is booming. Kapow!"

June 8 - Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez becomes the youngest member of the 400-home run club when he hits a solo shot in the eighth inning of New York's 12-3 win over host Milwaukee. It's good to see someone who doesn't take steroids have a chance at breaking Aaron's record. (I actually said this at the time.) In other news, Minnesota ace Johan Santana improves to 15-0 over his last 17 road starts, when he pitches an 8-0 four-hit, nine-strikeout shutout against Arizona. Clearly he doesn't like Minnesota. They should trade him.
June 10 - The 1919 contract that shipped Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees sells at auction for $996,000. That would have bought a lot of hot dogs and hookers for Babe. For like a month!
June 14 - The Boston Red Sox honor their Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk and the 12th-inning home run that won Game 6 of the 1975 World Series by naming the left field foul pole where it landed the "Fisk Pole". At least, that's what they tell Carlton Fisk. Meanwhile, commissioner Bud Selig announces he's in favor of reversing use of the designated hitter for interleague games next season. Under Selig's proposal, the DH would be used in National League parks instead of in American League stadiums. Amazingly, this pointless "Opposite Day" idea never gained any momentum.
June 16 - With a 9-6 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City becomes the first major league team to have three-game sweeps of the Dodgers and Yankees in one regular season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Kansas City is 11-4 since Buddy Bell took over as manager May 31. Break up the Royals!
June 17 - The Baltimore Orioles' Miguel Tejada plays in his 822d consecutive game, tying Gus Suhr for ninth place on the all-time list. Gus Suhr?
June 24 - At Yankee Stadium, the Mets set a National League record by hitting three sacrifice flies in one inning, an oddity accomplished ironically by the Yankees back in 2000. But you knew that already, didn't you devoted reader?
June 27 - 46-year-old Julio Franco hits his eighth career grand slam as the Atlanta Braves get past the Florida Marlins. In his last seven appearances, Franco is hitting .458 with four home runs and 11 RBI. Earlier this month, he became the oldest player in major league history to have a two-homer game, the oldest in the last 96 years to steal a base and extended his own mark for being the oldest to hit a grand slam. Imagine what he can do over a two year span! Right Omar Minaya?

July 12 - The American League wins the All-Star Game.
July 14 - The San Francisco Giants defeat the Dodgers, 4-3, for their 10,000th victory in the franchise's history. They kind of lost interest by the 1,000th, if we're going to be real about it.
July 15 - Rafael Palmeiro's RBI double off Joel Piñeiro of the Seattle Mariners is his 3,000th career hit. Palmeiro, who also has 566 home runs, joins Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. Who the hell is Rafael Palmeiro?
July 23 - The San Francisco Giants retire the number 36 in honor of Gaylord Perry. The name Gaylord had been retired by mothers naming their children a long long time ago.
July 24 - For the Marlins/Giants game, 70-year-old Felipe Alou and the 74-year-old Jack McKeon in the dugouts, it marks the first time in North American professional sports history that opposing teams both had managers or coaches 70 or older. Omar Minaya attempts to sign them both to 5-year contracts.
July 31 - The Baseball Hall of Fame inducts its two newest members — Ryne Sandberg and Wade Boggs — in Cooperstown, New York. The Hall also honors Peter Gammons, recipient of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball writing. No truth to the rumor that he came out to the Peter Gammons song.

August 1 - Rafael Palmeiro is suspended for 10 days due to testing positive banned substance abuse. Ohhhhh Rafael PalMEIRO. Yeah...
August 2- I attend the Brewers/Mets game where Victor Zambrano gives up four home runs in one inning of work. Brian and I are so close to the field that Carlos Beltran probably heard us booing him, which made us feel bad. Boo on US. We also yelled "DOUG!" at Doug Mientkiewicz, who immediately turned to look at us, like a normal person would if you yelled out his name. This freaked me the hell out. The Mets won on a Mike Piazza walk-off walk in extra innings.
August 3 - Manny Ramírez of the Boston Red Sox becomes the seventh player in major league history to reach 30 home runs and 100 RBI in at least eight straight seasons. He celebrates by, I don't know, wearing his underwear as a hat? It probably happened.
August 6 - Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals becomes the first major league player to hit 30 home runs in each of his first five seasons. Bud Selig announces they will look into the "cyborg problem" at the end of the season. You know, after the National League DH thing.
August 7 - In just the fourth meeting of pitchers with the same last name since 2000, Víctor Zambrano of the New York Mets outduels Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs in front of 40,321 fans at Shea Stadium, pitching the Mets to a 6-1 win and a sweep of the three-game series. Besides this, it is the fourth time in modern major league history that starting pitchers with a last name beginning with Z faced each other, according to ESPN. Víctor and Carlos Zambrano have both faced Barry Zito of the Oakland Athletics. Victor won a game?
August 9 - Down 7-2 in the top of the 9th inning, the Indians score 11 runs against the Royals to win the game 13-7. With 2 outs, the Royals leading by 1 and a man on base, the Indian's Jeff Liefer hits a routine fly ball to left which is dropped by outfielder Chip Ambres, allowing the tying run to score. Kansas City made 3 errors altogether in the 9th inning. To make matters worse for the Royals, it was their 11th straight loss. Guess they shouldn't have broken up. In San Diego, David Wright makes the bare-handed catch. The Mets lose anyway.
August 28 - Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees collects his 1500th hit and drives in the 1000th RBI of his major league career in a 10-3 Yankee win over the Kansas City Royals. I don't want to know what good luck charm he was wearing that entire time. I'm guessing steroid underwear.

September 6 - Texas Rangers slugger Mark Teixeira becomes the fifth player in major league history to hit 100 home runs in his first three seasons, joining Joe DiMaggio, Ralph Kiner, Eddie Mathews and Albert Pujols.
September 16 - Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hits his first home run of the season and the 704th of his career. Bonds homers off Los Angeles Dodgers starter Brad Penny in his 11th at-bat after missing most of the year recovering from three operations on his right knee since January 31. Who invited him back?
September 22 - Pitcher Dontrelle Willis bats seventh in the Florida Marlins lineup. No other pitcher has batted seventh since the Montreal Expos' Steve Renko did so against the San Diego Padres on August 26, 1973. Coincidentally, both the Marlins and '73 Expos had terrible, just terrible offenses. Also, the Chicago White Sox, who had led the American League Central by 15 games on August 1, see their lead fall to a game and a half after losing to the Minnesota Twins while the second-place Cleveland Indians defeat the Kansas City Royals. The White Sox had a 69-35 record on August 1 but have gone 22-26 since; meanwhile, Cleveland, 55-51 at the same time, have since gone 35-12. Good job on that extension Reinsdorf! The White Sox would hold on to win the division though.
September 27 - The Atlanta Braves clinch their 14th straight division title thanks to Philadelphia's loss to the New York Mets. (They would not get a 15th.) Atlanta began their record-setting streak in 1991, when they were in the NL West and not a bunch of bastards.
September 28 - Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees hits his 47th home run of the season in the 2–1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. The shot broke the single-season club record for home runs by a right-handed batter, set by Joe DiMaggio in 1937. DiMaggio's record for the most times in succeeding to make Marilyn Monroe feel bad remains intact.

October 2 - Mets end the season above .500 at 83-79. Progress! It was Mike Piazza's last game as a Met. Sad. He blew his kisses to the crowd. Weird. Both wild card berths are clinched on the final day of the regular season. The Boston Red Sox clinch their third straight wild card after the Chicago White Sox defeat the Cleveland Indians 3–1, while the Houston Astros earn their second straight berth with a 6-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
October 9: Rookie Chris Burke hits a walk-off home run in the 18th inning as the Houston Astros defeat the Atlanta Braves 7–6 in a record-setting NLDS Game Four in extra innings. The game sets several records, including longest postseason game ever at 18 innings, longest postseason game by time (5 hours, 50 minutes), and first postseason game with two grand slams. Julio Franco left this game sucking on an oxygen mask while being carried by Bobby Cox.
October 13- AJ Pierzynski keeps running after strike three, umpires claim he needed to be tagged, ends up being called safe, White Sox inexplicably win Game 2 of the ALCS against the Angels, never look back.
October 16: The Chicago White Sox clinch the American League pennant with a 6–3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels in Game 5 of the ALCS.
Octobr 17- Brad Lidge's career gets destroyed for the next two years when he gives up the "Oh my god" home run to Albert Pujols in Game five of the NLCS.
October 19 - In Game Six of the NLCS however, the Houston Astros earn their first World Series berth in 44 years of team history with a 5–1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. For the Cardinals, the loss marks the end of the season for the team that led the majors with 100 wins. It also is the final game at Busch Stadium, which was soon demolished. Boy they take losses REALLY badly out in St. Louis.
October 25 - In the first World Series game played in the state of Texas, former Astro Geoff Blum wins the longest game in WS history with a tiebreaking two-out solo home run as the Chicago White Sox beat the Houston Astros 7–5 at Minute Maid Park to move within a win of a sweep and their first title since 1917. The 14-inning marathon lasts a total of five hours and 41 minutes. Why there isn't a band called "The Geoff Blum Redemption" is beyond me.
October 26 - In the World Series, the Chicago White Sox complete a sweep of the Houston Astros with a 1–0 victory in Game Four. Ozzie Guillen would later claim it was an honor to manage in a relatively boring World Series.

November 24 - On Thanksgiving evening, the Boston Red Sox officially announced the acquisition of pitcher Josh Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell from the Florida Marlins. Boston also added reliever Guillermo Mota in the deal, while sending minor league prospects shortstop Hanley Ramírez and pitchers Aníbal Sánchez, Jesús Delgado and Harvey García to the Marlins. Oh, how can anyone named "Hanley" succeed at ANYTHING in life? You know, besides winning "World's Stupidest Name" contests. Meanwhile the Mets acquire Carlos Delgado from the Florida Marlins. Hot damn!
November 28 - Toronto Blue Jays general manager J. P. Ricciardi signs former Baltimore Orioles closer B. J. Ryan to the richest contract ever for a reliever in a five-year, $47 million deal. J.P. Ricciardi is currently known as former Toronto Blue Jays general manager J. P. Ricciardi.
November 29- New York Mets sign Billy Wagner. Wagner would have signed with the Braves but what are you gonna do? Sometimes you have to settle.

December 9- Mets sign Julio Franco to a 2-year contract. He'll be able to pull the ball for one of those years.

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