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 finish up the decade with 2009. Please, save your applause for the conclusion of this post.
January 13 - Trevor Hoffman, the current all-time saves leader, signed a one-year $6 million deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Hoffman=Roger Sterling, Padres=Mona, Brewers=Jane.
January 22 -Jeff Kent announces his retirement after 17 seasons. He hit more home runs than any other mustached second baseman in major league history. The trophy for this is kind of creepy.
February 8 - Andruw Jones signed a one-year minor league contract offer from the Texas Rangers. Jones' deal will pay him $500,000 if he makes the major league team. He will also have the chance to make $1 million in incentives throughout the season. Did I mention Oliver Perez got paid 12 MILLION A YEAR?!
February 9 - Alex Rodriguez admits in an interview to ESPN's Peter Gammons that while with the Texas Rangers during the 2001-2003 seasons he used performance-enhancing drugs. Gammons shakes his head and says "Oh Alex Alex Alex...you were always my least favorite son."
February 18 - Ken Griffey Jr. returns to the Seattle Mariners, agreeing to a one year deal that includes a $2 million base salary and up to $2.5 million in incentives based on at-bats and attendance. Griffey shatters his wrist as he signs the contract. The demolition of Shea Stadium is completed. 5000 black cats are now homeless.
March 10 - For the second time in three days, the Netherlands upsets the heavily favored Dominican Republic at the 2009 World Baseball Classic. The Dutch advance to the second round and the Dominicans are eliminated. To get them to feel better the Dutch offer a "very generous" amount of marijuana.
March 22 - Team USA is eliminated from the World Baseball Classic with a 9-4 loss to Japan in Los Angeles, California. It took awhile, but Japan finally gets revenge for WWII.
March 23 - After having missed the entire 2008 season with right shoulder problems, Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling announces his retirement from baseball somewhere in the middle of a 40,000-word blog post. Japan wins the 2009 World Baseball Classic with a 5-3 victory over Korea in ten innings. Ichiro Suzuki hits a two-run single in the top of the tenth inning with two outs for the winning runs. Daisuke Matsuzaka was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player for the second time. Dice-K posted a 3-0 record with a 2.45 ERA in the tournament. Kim Jong Il prepares the guillotine.
March 31 - The Detroit Tigers released OF/DH Gary Sheffield after batting only .178 (8-for-45) during Spring training. He goes on to sign a one year deal with the New York Mets on April 1. Of course he does.
April 9 - In the early morning hours after pitching six shutout innings against the Oakland Athletics, rookie Angels starter Nick Adenhart and two others are killed when the car in which they are traveling is struck by a drunk driver. The series finale with Oakland that evening is subsequently postponed.
April 13 - The San Diego Padres's Jody Gerut hits the first home run at Citi Field in the very first at-bat in the New York Mets' new home. The Mets lost their first game at Shea too so uh I'm not worried. Harry Kalas, play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies, dies of a heart attack after collapsing in the broadcast booth at Nationals Park before the game with the Washington Nationals.
April 16 - The New York Yankees play their first game at the new Yankee Stadium, losing to the Cleveland Indians 10-2. Only 10 runs?
April 17 - Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals both take the field wearing home uniforms with the team name spelled "Natinals." The players changed into jerseys with the correct spelling during the game when the error was caught. Dunn and Zimmerman daydream that one day when their jerseys are misspelled it'll read "Bravs."
April 18 - The Cleveland Indians rout the New York Yankees 22-4 at the New Yankee Stadium.That's more like it.
April 26 - Boston Red Sox centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury stole home against Andy Pettitte and the New York Yankees at Fenway Park in the bottom of the fifth inning of the Red Sox's 4-1 victory. It was the first steal of home by a Red Sox player since Jose Offerman did so on the front end of a double steal on August 30, 1999. Offerman is PISSED.
May 7- Major League Baseball suspended Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez for fifty games for use of performance enhancing drugs. The Dodgers lose their first game without their star left fielder 11-9 to the last place Washington Nationals, ending their thirteen game home winning streak to start the season. Manny is at home, staring at the laundry. At Fenway Park, twelve batters came up and all 12 scored before the Boston Red Sox made its first out more than a half hour into the bottom of the sixth inning of a 13–3 win over the Cleveland Indians. My friend Shari was at this game texting me if this was some sort of record. It was, the Red Sox broke the American League record of 11 runs in an inning before making an out, set by the 1925 Detroit Tigers, who scored 11 runs in the sixth inning in a 19–1 win against the New York Yankees on June 17, 1925.
May 17 - After the Cleveland Indians batted in the top of the first inning at Tropicana Field, Indians manager Eric Wedge called the umpires together to question the Tampa Bay Rays' lineup. The lineup card showed Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria both at third base (Longoria was supposed to be the designated hitter). Joe Maddon's lineup card mixup results in Rays starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine being used in the third spot of the order. With the Rays up 6-3 in the fourth inning, Sonnastine doubles in a run. Joe Maddon: Genius.
May 20 - Dontrelle Willis pitches 6.1 innings of one hit ball to earn his first victory since September 25, 2007, and his first in a Detroit Tigers uniform. It took "The D Train" a year and a half to run again? Shouldn't he play for the New York MTA then?
May 29 - Clint Hurdle is fired as manager of the Colorado Rockies making him the second manager fired this season. He will be replaced by former Dodgers and Pirates manager Jim Tracy. This works for some reason.
June 3 - In a surprise move, the Atlanta Braves release pitcher Tom Glavine. Since returning to the Braves, Glavine made only thirteen starts in 2008, and had yet to pitch at the major league level in 2009. The previous night, in his third rehab start, Glavine threw six scoreless innings for the Class-A Rome Braves, and proclaimed himself ready to pitch in the majors again. Instead, the Braves called up top prospect Tommy Hanson to start that weekend against the Milwaukee Brewers.This is kind of really funny to me.
June 4 - The San Francisco Giants' Randy Johnson pitches six innings to become the 24th pitcher in Major League history to win 300 games, limiting the Washington Nationals to an unearned run and two hits in the Giants' 5-1 victory. Okay fine but after this, THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER 300 GAME WINNER EVER AGAIN. Right?
June 11 - With the score tied at 3 in the tenth inning at Progressive Field, the Cleveland Indians' Shin-Soo Choo singled sharply up the middle straight toward a flock of seagulls who were lounging in center field. Kansas City Royals centerfielder Coco Crisp misplays the ball when it deflects off a seagull flying away. On the play, Mark DeRosa scores the winning run for the Indians. One can say DeRosa ran, he ran so far away. One can also not say that.
June 12 - With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the New York Mets leading the Yankees 8-7, Luis Castillo drops a routine fly ball that allows the tying and winning runs to score for the Yankees. It goes down as Francisco Rodriguez's first "blown save" of the season, and when I realized this year was already over.
June 14 - The 1909 World Series' 100th anniversary was celebrated, when the Tigers and Pirates played each other in Pittsburgh. Both teams wore throwback uniforms similar to those worn in 1909. The stadium's public address and sound systems were also turned off, simulating the game conditions in 1909. In the spirit of simulating conditions from a century ago, the Pirates won the game.
June 17 -Ivan Rodriguez sets the record for the most games caught in the place his career began as a 19 year old rookie. The Houston Astros lose Pudge's 2,227th game caught 5-4 to the Texas Rangers in ten innings in Arlington, Texas. Did somebody just pop bubblewrap? No wait, Ivan Rodriguez just stood up after crouching.
June 30 - Trailing 10-1 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, the Baltimore Orioles score five runs in the seventh inning and five runs in the eighth inning to defeat the Boston Red Sox, 11-10. The Orioles' comeback represents the largest comeback in team history, and the largest comeback of a last-place team over a first-place team in Major League Baseball history. That's a backhanded record if I've ever heard of one.
July 14 - The National League wins the All-Star Game. And it's Opposite Day. Seriously, the American League never loses an All-Star Game in this decade.
July 15 - Pedro Martínez signs a one year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. Of course he does.
July 23 - At U. S. Cellular Field, the Chicago White Sox's Mark Buehrle pitches a 5-0 perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays. DeWayne Wise, brought into the game in the ninth inning for defensive purposes, makes a spectacular catch to rob Gabe Kapler of what would have been a home run leading off the ninth. The perfect game is Buerhle's second career no-hitter and the second perfect game in White Sox history. Charlie Robertson pitched the first in 1922. Buehrle becomes the sixth pitcher to hurl both a perfect game and another no-hitter (which occurred in 2007), joining Cy Young, Addie Joss, Jim Bunning, Sandy Koufax & Randy Johnson. Following the game, Buehrle receives a congratulatory call from President Obama. The Mets have still not thrown a no-hitter.
July 24 - The St. Louis Cardinals acquired Matt Holliday from the Oakland A's for minor leaguers Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen and Shane Peterson, to make their defense airtight I'd imagine.
July 27 - The Washington Nationals' Josh Willingham hits two grand slams in a game, the 13th player all-time to do so. The New York Mets fire Vice President for player development Tony Bernazard, who among other things wanted to fight minor leaguers shirtless. The Mets are now worse than the Nationals.
July 28 - Mark Buehrle retires the first seventeen Minnesota Twins he faces. Factoring in the perfect game he pitched in his previous start and the final out he recorded in his July 18 start against the Baltimore Orioles, Buehrle retired 45 straight batters—a major league record. A walk to Alexi Casilla in the sixth inning ends his streak. The following batter, Denard Span, singles for the first hit.They did not receive Christmas cards from the Buehrles this year.
July 29 - The Philadelphia Phillies acquire pitcher Cliff Lee & outfielder Ben Francisco from the Cleveland Indians for right-handers Jason Knapp & Carlos Carrasco, shortstop Jason Donald & catcher Lou Marson. Cole Hamels cries, and not because he just read "Twilight" again.
July 30 - The New York Times reports that Manny Ramirez & David Ortiz were among the 104 Major League Baseball players to test positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003, according to lawyers with knowledge of the results. This was in the "Stuff You Know Already" section.
July 31 - The San Diego Padres strike a 4-for-1 deal with the Cubs' cross-town rivals, the Chicago White Sox, for Peavy. The White Sox send left-handers Aaron Poreda & Clayton Richard and right-handers Dexter Carter & Adam Russell to San Diego for Peavy. The two clubs had struck a deal for Peavy on May 21 that reportedly also included Poreda & Richard, however, Peavy invoked his no-trade clause to block a potential trade. Peavy immediately changes from a Padres arm cast for a White Sox arm cast.
August 14 - Felix Pie of the Baltimore Orioles singles and triples in Baltimore's seven-run seventh inning of their 16–6 win over the Los Angeles Angels, to become the seventh player to hit for the cycle in the season. Cycles are totally boring now. You're boring me cycles.
August 18 - The Angels defeated the Indians, 5–4, at Cleveland. Each of the nine players in the Angels' batting order came out of that game with a season's batting average of .300 or higher. It's the first time since 1934 that any major league team has finished a game-at least 100 games into a season-with each player in its starting batting order hitting .300 or better.Too bad they had to go ruin their fun by playing in the postseason.
August 23 - In the ninth inning of a 9-7 victory over the New York Mets at Citi Field, second baseman Eric Bruntlett of the Philadelphia Phillies turns the 15th unassisted triple play in Major League history. He catches Jeff Francoeur's line drive for the first out, doubles Luis Castillo off second and tags out Daniel Murphy for the final out. Bruntlett's feat was only the second unassisted triple play to end a game, Johnny Neun having turned the other, on May 31, 1927. It was also only the second unassisted triple play turned by a second baseman in National League play, Mickey Morandini having turned the other, on September 20, 1992. Oh that was fun.
August 25 - Four days after being claimed on waivers by the Boston Red Sox, Billy Wagner was dealt by the New York Mets to Boston for two players to be named later. Wagner had just returned to the Mets from Tommy John surgery that cut short his 2008 season, and had only made two appearances in 2009. Too bad he wanted to be an Atlanta Brave this whole time.
August 28 - The Los Angeles Angels acquire left-hander Scott Kazmir from the Tampa Bay Rays for prospects Alexander Torres, Matthew Sweeney and a player to be named later.Did he mess with Joe Maddon's whale sounds CD or something?
Ichitember 11 - With a single off Chris Tillman to lead off the third inning, Derek Jeter collected his 2,722th career hit to pass Lou Gehrig as the all-time Yankees hit leader. Lou Gehrig had a lot of intangibles you know.
Ichitember 13 - In the second inning of the second game of a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers, Ichiro Suzuki hits a slow grounder to Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus that he legs out for a single. It is his 200th hit of the season, giving him a MLB record nine consecutive 200 hit seasons.
Ichitember 18 - With two outs in the ninth inning, and Mariano Rivera on the mound for the Yankees, Mike Sweeney hits a double, followed by a first-pitch home run by Ichiro Suzuki to give the Mariners a 3-2 victory. It is the first walk off home run of Ichiro's career.
Ichitember 23 - The Atlanta Braves announce that manager Bobby Cox will retire from his managerial position at the conclusion of the 2010 season and immediately enter into a five-year contract that will enable him to continue serving as a consultant with the organization. Out of habit he will try to get himself ejected from board meetings.
Ichitember 26 - Ichiro Suzuki is ejected or the first time in his professional career, ending a streak that Suzuki started in 1992 as a rookie with the Japan's Orix BlueWave. It happened in the top of the fifth inning of the Mariners' eventual extra-inning 5–4 loss to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, and was also the first ejection of a Mariners player, coach or manager this season. The umpire that threw him out is still in hiding.
Ichitember 30 - Justin Maxwell of the Washington Nationals became the second player (and the second rookie) to hit a walk-off grand slam against New York Mets closer Francisco Rodríguez this season. Everth Cabrera of the San Diego Padres did that on August 7. The only other pitchers in major-league history to surrender two game-ending grand slams in one season were Satchel Paige (1952), Lindy McDaniel (1963) and Lee Smith (1995). What elite company K-Rod!
October 3 - In the early morning hours, following an 0-4 performance in a 8-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox the previous night, Miguel Cabrera is picked up by Birmingham, Michigan police after a 911 call from his wife, Rosangel. The couple began fighting when Miguel came home intoxicated talking on the phone, and woke up their child. That evening, Cabrera goes 0-4 and strands six runners in the Tigers' 5-1 loss to the ChiSox. It's not like you're fighting for your playoff lives or anything.
October 4 - Mark Reynolds of the Arizona Diamondbacks strikes out three times, setting a new season record of 223 strikeouts in a season. Did you feel that huge breeze?
October 6 - The final regular season game in the Metrodome may have been the best. The one game division playoff between the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers goes extra innings, 4-4. Both teams score a run in the tenth before an Alexi Casilla single in the twelfth inning scores Carlos Gómez from second to give the Twins the 6-5 victory. They become the first team in Major League history to win the division after trailing by three games with four to play. They are also the first team in MLB history to make the playoffs in the final year of their stadium. The Twins are also responsible for getting Chip Caray fired. They're heroes.
October 8 - Los Angeles Dodgers took advantage of a crucial error by Matt Holiday with two outs, bases empty in the bottom of the ninth inning, to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals 3–2.Brett Wallace chokes on a pretzel from laughing and eating at the same time.
October 9 - The New York Yankees stormed past the Minnesota Twins in Game 2 of their division series, tying it in the ninth inning on a two-run homer by Alex Rodriguez and winning in the 11th, 4-3, on a blast down the left-field line by Mark Teixeira, and with help from a terrible call.
October 20- The Yankees are aided in the ALCS by the worst call in the history of baseball.
October 26 - The St. Louis Cardinals announced the re-hiring of Tony La Russa as manager for 2010, and the surprise hiring of Mark McGwire as hitting coach replacing Hal McRae. McGwire is also surprised by the hiring, since he had a blank resume. "No past, no resume," McGwire didn't say.
November 10 - MLB general managers failed to take a vote on expanding instant replay following a postseason filled with blown calls by umpires, said Jimmie Lee Solomon, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner's office and idiot.
November 23 - Joe Mauer of the 2011 New York Yankees became only the second catcher in 33 years to win the American League Most Valuable Player Award, finishing first in a near-unanimous vote.
November 24 - Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals received his third National League MVP Award, tying eight others who also had three. Only Barry Bonds has more with seven.A victory for robots everywhere!
November 30 - Derek Jeter was named the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, becoming the first member of the New York Yankees to win the prestigious award. Good to see a Yankee get some publicity.
December 7 - Umpire Doug Harvey and former manager Whitey Herzog were elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. I hope they argue during the ceremony.
December 23 - Major League Baseball ensured its first decade of labor peace since the 1960s by agreeing to a five-year contract with umpires. Well they've done such a good job...
It was a pleasure to look back at the last ten years with you lovely cats. It should be easier when I do this in 2019 with my Pujolsbot, who will undoubtedly do all of the typing for me.