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 look at 2008.
January 8 - Closer Rich "Goose" Gossage and his former manager with the San Diego Padres, Dick Williams, are elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. I'm pretty sure Dick Williams had a nickname too.
January 29 - The Minnesota Twins agree to deal Johan Santana to the New York Mets for outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Deolis Guerra, Philip Humber and Kevin Mulvey. Brian texted me in response "We're going to the World Series!' True story.
February 4 - Andy Pettitte meets for nearly three hours in a closed-door interview in Washington, D.C. with lawyers from a congressional committee investigating the use of performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. After the Mitchell Report's release in December, Pettitte confirmed Brian McNamee's testimony that the hurler had twice used human growth hormone during the 2002 season while recuperating from injury. Like being called the principal's office.
February 13 - Roger Clemens testified under oath at a Congressional hearing that he has never used performance-enhancing drugs. "If I took drugs, than Grizzly Adams had a beard!"
March 17 - The Dodgers depart their Dodgertown complex in Vero Beach, Florida after 60 years of use. Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda manages the team in its final week's games, as regular manager Joe Torre is with the portion of the club that traveled to China. Lasorda's efforts to stage a coup are quite unsuccessful.
March 18 - The New York Yankees play an exhibition at Virginia Tech's English Field to commemorate the April 2007 campus shootings.
March 25 - Opening Day takes place on the earliest date in history, with the Boston Red Sox defeating the Oakland Athletics 6-5 in 10 innings in Tokyo, Japan. No ties for Japan!
March 30 - In the first ever game played at Nationals Park, on Opening Night, President George W. Bush throws out the first pitch and Ryan Zimmerman hits a walk-off home run to give the Washington Nationals a 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves. Brian said following the game "Break up the Nationals!" True story. (He might have been facetious in this instance.)
April 8 - Chase Utley of the Phillies ties a major league record by being hit by pitches three times in a 5-2 win over the Mets.You'd think he'd get the message, that gelled jerk.
April 12 - The home run ball which Barry Bonds hit for his record 762nd and final home run is auctioned for $376,612 to an anonymous bidder. His name? Lucifer.
April 24 - A David Ortiz Red Sox jersey which was exhumed from the construction site of New Yankee Stadium eleven days earlier after a foiled jinx attempt is auctioned for $175,100, with the proceeds going to a Red Sox-affiliated charity. This news story brought about one of the greatest Onion headlines of all-time.
May 10 - In his fifth try, Greg Maddux of the Padres becomes the ninth pitcher to win 350 career games, with a 3-2 decision against the Rockies. Kent Mercker gets mad at a "Wheel of Fortune" contestant.
May 12 - Indians second baseman Asdrúbal Cabrera turns the 14th unassisted triple play in major league history in the second game of a home doubleheader against the Blue Jays. Ron Hansen, who accomplished the feat in 1968, is in attendance as a scout. Hansen would show Cabrera the secret handshake following the game.
May 17 - Chan Ho Park of South Korea, Hong-Chih Kuo of Taiwan and Takashi Saito of Japan combine to pitch the Dodgers to a 6-3 win over the Angels, marking the first time that pitchers from three different Asian countries have appeared in a game for one team. Kind of racist that Baseball keeps track of this.
May 20 - 12-time All-Star catcher Mike Piazza announces his retirement. His mustache would wait until after the season to retire as well.
May 25 - Geremi González dies at the age of 33 after he is struck by lightning. Holy shit.
June 16 - The final Hall of Fame Game, between the Cubs and Padres, is canceled due to rain and from the players exhibiting whogivesashititis.
June 17 - At 3:15 AM Eastern Time, the Mets announce the firing of manager Willie Randolph and two coaches while the team is on the West Coast, and name Jerry Manuel interim manager. This was after a win by the way.
June 18 - Francisco Rodriguez of the Angels allows the tying run in the ninth inning against the Mets, ending his club record streak of 25 consecutive saves; the Mets win 5-4 in 10 innings. Omar Minaya rewards K-Rod with a contract in the off-season. At a reasonable hour no less!
June 23 - Félix Hernández of the Seattle Mariners became the first American League pitcher since the designated hitter rule went into effect in 1973 to hit a grand slam, off New York Mets ace Johan Santana, in Seattle's 5–2 victory. it is also the first home run ever by a Mariners pitcher. Johan just had to laugh about it, in between his tears.
June 25 - Shawn Chacón of the Astros grabs general manager Ed Wade by the neck and throws him to the ground during a confrontation, resulting in his release immediately. I'm sorry, I meant to say resulting in his release FIVE DAYS LATER.
June 30 - Nick Swisher homers from both sides of the plate for the second time in the month, including a grand slam batting right-handed, as the White Sox beat the Indians 9-7. Swisher probably said something crude and not at all funny about it afterwards.
July 12 - Bobby Murcer passes away at the age of 62.
July 15 - The American League wins the 79th All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, 4-3; the AL puts the winning run in scoring position in every inning from the 10th through 13th, finally scoring Justin Morneau on Michael Young's sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the 15th inning.Now they're just openly mocking the NL.
July 27 - Two days after tying the previous mark, Brad Ziegler of the A's sets a major league record with 27 consecutive shutout innings to begin his career, breaking the record of 25 set by George McQuillan with the 1907 Phillies. THE George McQuillan?!
July 31 - Major deals made before the trading deadline include Manny Ramirez being sent from the Red Sox to the Dodgers, Jason Bay going from the Pirates to the Red Sox, and Ken Griffey, Jr. being traded from the Reds to the White Sox. Yankee fans are really happy until they remember they traded for Ivan Rodriguez the day before.
August 12 - The Red Sox beat the Rangers 19-17, blowing a 10-0 first-inning lead when the Rangers take a 15-14 lead in the sixth inning but coming back to win with four runs in the eighth. David Ortiz hits a pair of three-run homers in the first-inning barrage, Marlon Byrd ties a Texas record with five hits in a nine-inning game, and Scott Feldman of the Rangers becomes the first pitcher since August 3, 1918 to give up 12 runs without being charged with the loss. Well that's something to be proud of.
August 14 - In the Rays' 7–6 victory over the host Athletics, B. J. Upton hits an RBI double in the ninth inning off reliever Brad Ziegler to end his record scoreless streak at 39 innings. Alyssa Milano immediately dumps him.
August 17 - In the Mariners' 11-8 loss at Minnesota, Seattle's R. A. Dickey ties a modern major league record by throwing four wild pitches in the fifth inning. That's new Met R.A. Dickey to you. In the Rays' 7-4 win at Texas, Josh Hamilton of the Rangers is walked intentionally with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, only the fifth known use of the strategy since 1900, further proving that Joe Maddon is completely egotripping +1.
August 28 - The use of instant replay begins in Major League Baseball. Welcome to 1990, 2008.
September 13 - Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez records his 58th save of the season, breaking the single-season record set by Bobby Thigpen in 1990. "Now I can coast through the next few years!" he said.
September 15 - The Brewers, citing a late-season slump amid a postseason race, dismiss manager Ned Yost and name third base coach Dale Sveum as interim manager. I guess he was NOT in fact the Yost with the Most. (Shakes head.) Sorry.
September 20- The Tampa Bay Rays clinch their first postseason berth in franchise history with a 7-2 victory over the Twins. Has the sky always been green?
September 21 - The Yankees defeat the Orioles 7–3, in the final game played at Yankee Stadium. Andy Pettitte is the winning pitcher and teammate José Molina belts the last home run in the storied ballpark. God is shown in the stands crying.
September 27- With the Mets facing playoff elimination, Johan Santana on three days rest and with a bad knee throws a complete-game shutout against the Marlins. Santana then brokers peace in the Middle East, "for funsies".
September 28- The Milwaukee Brewers win the National League wild card berth by defeating the Cubs 3-1 while the Mets simultaneously lose 4-2 to the Marlins. It is the first postseason appearance by the Brewers since 1982. The Mets, in their final game ever at Shea Stadium, are eliminated from the postseason on the final day of the regular season for the second straight year. What? Surely I'd remember that..
September 30 - The Chicago White Sox defeat the Twins 1-0 in a one-game playoff for the AL Central division title. The White Sox and crosstown Cubs both reach the postseason in the same year for the first time since 1906. The Twins decide then and there to make sure they win a one-game playoff next season.
October 16 - The Philadelphia Phillies win their sixth National League Championship and advance to the World Series with a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Game Five of the 2008 National League Championship Series. Way to go Torre. Trailing 7-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning and facing a 3-1 series deficit, the Boston Red Sox come back to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-7. It is the largest successful postseason comeback since Game 4 of the 1929 World Series, and the largest ever for a team facing elimination. Oh those same old Rays! I knew it...
October 19 - The Tampa Bay Rays advance to the World Series for the first time in their history, beating the Boston Red Sox 3-1 in Game Seven of the 2008 American League Championship Series. Hey look, four horses are coming this way...
October 29 - Game 5 of the World Series is resumed at Citizens Bank Park in the bottom of the sixth inning after having been suspended October 27 because of rain. The Phillies win the game 4-3 to win their first title since 1980. Pitcher Cole Hamels is named World Series MVP. Even though the Phillies saved us from the apocalypse, I'm still depressed.
November 17 - It is announced that baseball's legends and old-timers will play in a new Hall of Fame Classic game beginning in 2009. The inaugural Hall of Fame Classic will be held on Father's Day, June 21. The game replaces the Hall of Fame Game, which was discontinued this year after 68 years because it was fucking pointless.
December 19 - Dock Ellis passed away at the age of 63. He once threw a no-hitter on LSD. It went something like this.