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. Today we slide head first (still!) into the second half of the decade with 2006.
January 10- Mets sign RHP Mike Pelfrey to a four-year contract. No, he did not balk at their initial offer. Too easy guys, too easy.
January 21- The Orioles acquired Anna Benson and her husband, Mr. Anna Benson from the Mets in exchange for RHP Jorge Julio and RHP John Maine. I don't usually say this, but E! dropped the ball on this one.
February 14- Mets sign Jose Lima to a minor league contract. Philosophers and scientists have yet to answer the riddle, "If Jose Lima walks into a clock shop, which spontaneously combusts first? Jose Lima or the clocks?"
March 3 - In the first-ever World Baseball Classic game, Jae Weong Seo pitches two-hit ball and Chan Ho Park works three effective innings for a save to lead South Korea past Taiwan 2–0. The rest of the world is totally jealous.
March 10 - In the World Baseball Classic, Giants minor leaguer Shairon Martis pitches a no-hitter for the Netherlands in a 10-0 victory over Panama that ends after seven innings because of the mercy rule. Poor poor Panama. Seriously, they're poor. They need another Van Halen to boost tourism again.
March 14 - In the World Baseball Classic, Hee-Seop Choi hits a 3-run pinch hit home run to help Team Korea stun the United States. US manager Tommy Lasorda remains confident until he is notified that Angola is not participating in the tournament.
March 20 - Japan defeats Cuba 10-6 in the championship game. After falling behind 6-1 early in the game, Cuba pulls back to within one run entering the ninth inning before Japan closes the door. The championship game of the first international baseball tournament open to players from Major League Baseball features teams that, combined, have only two players on a Major League roster. Oh snap. Good job Bud Selig.
March 30 - Selig appoints Red Sox director and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell to head a probe into the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in the major leagues. Mitchell was chosen because Selig thought "The Mitchell Report" carried a lot more gravitas than "You Guys Are So Busted LOLZ".
April 6 - R.A. Dickey of the Rangers ties a post-1900 major league record by giving up six home runs in 3 1/3 innings in Texas' 10-6 loss to the Tigers. Guess which team he signed with last week. Come on now; it's an easy one...
April 9 - Cory Sullivan of the Rockies becomes only the eleventh player in major league history to triple twice in the same inning. It is the first time the feat had been accomplished in over fifty years. The two triples came against Padres pitchers Jake Peavy and Chan Ho Park. Chan Ho Park was the pitcher who gave up two grand slams to Fernando Tatis is one inning a decade or so ago. If Chan Ho is in the park, history follows.
April 17 - Pedro Martínez of the Mets becomes the 103rd major league pitcher in the modern era (and the 131st overall, including the pre-1900 era) to win 200 games in his career with a 4-3 victory over the Braves at Shea Stadium. His midget was sadly nowhere to be found following the game.
April 26 - Mike Piazza hits 400th career home run. For the Padres, so it doesn't really count.
April 28 - In a 6-2 victory over the Brewers, Cubs pitcher Greg Maddux earns the victory with 6 strikeouts and 2 ER over 6.0 IP, earning the first 5-0 start of his career. He would be dealt to the playoff-bound Dodgers by the trading deadline. Steve Avery just laughed at a Bazooka Joe wrapper.
May 3-4 - The Washington Nationals are bought by Theodore N. Lerner, who has agreed to pay Major League Baseball's price of $450 million for the franchise; the following day, they break ground on their new ballpark. Idiot.
May 13 - Major League Baseball introduces a new Mothers' Day tradition around the league. All players and umpires wore bright pink wristbands, and several players used bright pink bats, which were auctioned off following the day's play. $350,000 was raised for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer charity.
May 20 — Barry Bonds ties Babe Ruth for second place on the career list, and first place among left-handed hitters, with his 714th home run during the Giants' road game against the Athletics. The inventor of the asterisk, Contentious Q. Asteriskowitz, kicks himself for not asking for royalties.
May 21 - The Minnesota Legislature approves a new ballpark for the Twins, scheduled to open for the 2010 season. Under the bill, the Twins are prohibited from being folded by Major League Baseball or moved from the state of Minnesota for the 30-year duration of the initial lease. A proposed bill to prohibit Joe Mauer from being moved from the state of Minnesota was also passed, but was vetoed by Hank Steinbrenner.
May 24 - In the Cardinals' 10-4 victory at San Francisco, pitcher Adam Wainwright becomes the seventh player in history to hit a home run on the first major league pitch he sees. Everything comes easy for Adam motherfucking Wainwright, that piece of shit bastard.
June 6 - U.S. federal officials raid Diamondbacks pitcher Jason Grimsley's home looking for evidence that he was a distributor of human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing drugs. A day later he quits the Diamondbacks, and it is announced that he has given authorities names of people he knew that took steroids and HGH.So much for the hall of fame career of Jerry Griswold.
June 18 - Kenny Rogers of the Tigers becomes the 105th major league pitcher in the modern era (and the 133rd overall, including the pre-1900 era) to win 200 games in his career with a 12-3 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. If you count the postseason, the total would still be 200.
June 21 - Mets shortstop José Reyes becomes the ninth player in team history to hit for the cycle. Jose Reyes: The New Eric Valent.
June 30 - Adam Dunn hits a walk-off grand slam with 2 outs in the ninth for a 9-8 Reds victory over the Indians, becoming only the 14th player ever to hit a walk-off grand slam for a 1-run win with two out in the ninth inning. Does Dunn not know that gluttony is a sin? Meanwhile, The Atlanta Braves finish the month of June with a 6-21 record, spelling the end of their division title streak at 14. Management blames the fans, claiming they've been "kind of half-assing" their tomahawk chops.
July 2 - Cubs outfielder Angel Pagan becomes the first player in major league history to hit his first two career home runs on his birthday with a pair of homers in a game against the White Sox at Wrigley Field. An embarrassed Pagan would later admit it wasn't his actual birthday. "I just wanted that Bennigan's waitress to sing to me," Pagan said in between tears.
July 11 - The American League wins the All-Star Game. No kidding. In something that wasn't a sure thing, Jim Eriotes of the Sioux Falls Canaries becomes the oldest player ever to bat in a professional baseball game. The 83-year-old former minor league outfielder strikes out as the leadoff hitter, fouling off one pitch. Where's grandpa? He's not in his room...
July 16 - Cliff Floyd and Carlos Beltrán of the Mets both hit grand slams during a club-record 11-run sixth inning in a 13-7 victory over the Cubs. It is also the first time the Mets have hit two grand slams in one inning, or even an entire game. It is the first time that two grand slams were hit in one inning since...Fernando Tatis hit two in one inning against Chan Ho blahblahblah you know this. Back in New York, Mariano Rivera of the Yankees becomes the fourth pitcher ever to record 400 saves when he pitches two shutout innings. John Wetteland just lost the remote control.
July 18 - At the age of 94, former Negro League legend Buck O'Neil becomes the oldest player to play in a professional baseball game, leading off for both teams (by means of an unorthodox mid-game "trade") in the Northern League All-Star Game in Kansas City, Kansas. He is intentionally walked in both plate appearances. "I wasn't going to let that major league jerk Jim Eriotes have the record," O'Neil didn't say. Of course, both managers were immediately fired. Intentionally walking the guy? Seriously. Even Dusty Baker would have pitched to him.
July 20 - The Brooklyn Cyclones and Oneonta Tigers play the longest game in the history of the New York-Penn League with a 26-inning contest. The Tigers defeated the Cyclones, 6-1, thanks to scoring five runs in the top of the 26th inning off Brooklyn outfielder Mark Wright, who had entered the game to pitch despite having not pitched in any games during his college career. Oneonta leadoff hitter Deik Scram was hitless in his first 11 at-bats, but his single in the 26th inning scored the go-ahead run for the Tigers. Classic Deik Scram. Brooklyn manager George Greer was ejected in the first inning for arguing a call and caught up on Season 2 of The West Wing in the clubhouse. The two teams combined used 14 pitchers, struck out 38 batters, issued 14 walks, and got 34 hits. Of COURSE the Cyclones lose that game. They're notorious chokers in the late late late late late innings.
August 13 - Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner hits his sixth grand slam of the season, tying Don Mattingly for the major league season record. Unfortunately, Mattingly at the time promised a dying kid seven grand slams in a season, making George Costanza look bad in the process.
August 14 - Yankees pitcher Randy Johnson tallies his 4,500 career strikeout, retiring Angels designated hitter Tim Salmon in the 4th inning. Johnson celebrates by scowling.
August 22 - Carlos Delgado of the Mets hits two home runs against the Cardinals. The second, a grand slam, is the 400th of his career. The Mets came back from 7-1 to win 8-7, thanks to a Carlos Beltran walk-off home run off of Jason Isringhausen. It's the most exciting regular season game played by the Mets in a long time. Carlos Beltran is so clutch against the Cardinals!
August 30 - Curt Schilling of the Red Sox becomes the 14th pitcher to record 3000 strikeouts with a first-inning strikeout of Oakland's Nick Swisher. He is only the third pitcher to record his 3,000th strikeout with fewer than 1,000 walks. Schilling has absolutely no thoughts on this.
August 31 - Ryan Howard hits his 49th home run of the season in the Philadelphia Phillies' 6-5 10-inning loss at Washington, breaking Mike Schmidt's 1980 team record. Mike Schmidt claims that it isn't fair: back in his day there were no Subways to consume home run fuel.
September 4 - Ramon Ortiz of the Nationals pitches 8 no-hit innings and hits his first career home run before an Aaron Miles hit breaks up the no-hit bid in the ninth inning. This could have been Ramon Ortiz's world and we could have just been living in it.
September 6 - Rookie Aníbal Sánchez of the Marlins pitches the first no-hitter since May 18, 2004. He beats the Diamondbacks 2-0, ending one of the longest streaks without a no-hitter since the World War II era. That no-hitter was thrown by Randy Johnson, a Diamondback. OH THIS CYCLICAL EXISTENCE OF OURS!
September 18 - The New York Mets become the first team to clinch a playoff spot for the 2006 postseason by clinching the NL East with a 4-0 win over the Marlins. I do not attend this game and that is one of the biggest regrets of my life. Why did I go to bar trivia to lose again anyway? I'll never make the mistake of being 23 again. In Los Angeles, Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin, and Marlon Anderson of the Dodgers hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs in the 9th inning to tie their game against the Padres (The last two were given up by closer Trevor Hoffman). It is only the fourth time in history that four players homer consecutively (wow), and the first such occurrence in over forty years. Nomar Garciaparra would hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning, so he can go home relatively on time to pretend to like soccer.
September 22 -Alfonso Soriano hits his 40th double, and becomes the first person ever to reach 40 home runs, 40 stolen bases and 40 doubles all in one season. Six days earlier, he stole his 40th base, to become the fourth player to join the 40-40 Club joining José Canseco, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez. He is the first to not cheat, and the second to be a particularly bad fielder. At Petco Park, Chris Young has what would have been the first no-hitter in San Diego Padre history broken up in the ninth inning of a 6-2 Padre victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. If I wasn't a Met fan, I'd feel bad for the Padres. Or any team really.
September 24 - Padres closer Trevor Hoffman records his 479th career save, breaking the record held by Lee Smith since 1993. Never threw a no-hitter though.
September 25 - The Minnesota Twins beat the Royals by a score of 8-1 to clinch a spot in the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. Incidentally, the Royals are witness to opposing teams' celebrations in consecutive games after watching the Tigers clinch against them the previous day. The Royals are so motivated by this they force themselves out of contention by Memorial Day the following season.
October 1 - Future Yankee Joe Mauer becomes the first catcher to win the AL batting championship, with a .347 average.
October 3 - Frank Thomas, 38, becomes the oldest player to have a multi-homer game in the postseason, hitting two home runs to lead the Athletics past the Twins. Additionally, he becomes the player to go the longest between postseason home runs, having spanned 13 years since his previous postseason home run with the White Sox in 1993. Speaking of old people, El Duque hurts himself when he tries to walk or something. He's out for the playoffs.
October 4- The Two Dodgers out at home on the same play game. John Maine pitches well enough and becomes a hero.
October 6 - The Oakland Athletics complete a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS, ending a run of six consecutive postseason series defeats. Moneyball!
October 7 - The Detroit Tigers defeat the New York Yankees winning the ALDS three games to one. The Yankees have now lost three consecutive postseason series. The New York Mets complete a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS despite losing Pedro and El Duque less than a week before the start of the postseason. What planet is this?
October 11 - Days after his Yankees are eliminated from the baseball postseason, pitcher Cory Lidle is killed when the plane he is piloting crashes into a Manhattan apartment building.
October 12- The Mets win Game 1 of the NLCS over St. Louis 2-0, thanks to a Tom Glavine gem and Carlos Beltran's home run. I was at this game. (The Mets are 4-0 lifetime in the playoffs when I am in attendance. Your welcome.) Pujols would bitterly remark after the game that Glavine "isn't even that good." A wahmbulance arrives shortly thereafter.
October 14 - The Detroit Tigers complete a 4-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics and head to the World Series for the first time since 1984. Detroit's Magglio Ordóñez hits a three-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth of Game 4 for the win and the AL pennant. Moneyball?
October 19 - The Endy Catch. The Wainwright Curve. The Sad. This is planet Earth.
October 27 - The St. Louis Cardinals defeat the Detroit Tigers 4-2, winning the World Series 4-1. Their 83 regular-season victories is a new record for the fewest by a Series champion. A minor incident takes place in the Cardinals clubhouse when champagne short circuits Albert Pujols during the postgame celebration.
November 15 - The Boston Red Sox file the highest bid, $51.1 million, in the posting system and win the rights to negotiate with Seibu Lions pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. Matsuzaka has a gyroball among his arsenal of pitches and, while playing for champions Japan, was MVP at the 2006 World Baseball Classic. Gyroballs? In a word: delicious. In two words? Really delicious. Boston would sign him a month later.
November 19 - The Cubs sign free agent Outfielder/Second Baseman Alfonso Soriano to an 8-year, $136 million deal. The signing is the largest in Cubs' history. Soriano is too busy counting his money for the next few years to bother hitting for average.
December 29 - The San Francisco Giants announce the signing of much sought-after lefty Barry Zito. The seven-year, $126 million contract is the largest ever for a pitcher, and includes a club option for 2014. Moneyball!