Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Favorite Moments of the 2009 MLB Season

Well, you probably know what my top moment of the season was,
but the other 4 may surprise you. Especially, since 3 of those have to do with the team from San Francisco.

* Honorable Mentions:
- Ken Griffey, Jr. returns to Seattle
Yeah, I’m a sentimental old fart, but it was cool to see Junior go back to where it all began. A sure-fire HoFer, I’ve always admired “The Kid”—who turns 40 this week! Man, we’re getting old—and like everyone else, wonders what he could’ve done had his body held up.

- Dave Trembley channels Earl Weaver
Obviously, Orioles fans know their manager way more than I do, but the hot-tempered Baltimore skipper seems like a nice guy who just has no patience for umpires making crappy calls. And clearly does not hesitate to make his colorful displeasure be known. And with so many blown calls this season I sure enjoyed seeing Trembley letting them have it.

And now, my Top 5 favorites:

5. Randy Johnson wins his 300th game
Never liked this cat. But 300 wins is such a milestone—and arguably, one we won’t see again in our lifetimes—that I just had to watch this game. And give the 46-year old Big Unit his props.

4. Tim Lincecum throws a 15-strikeout, complete game
The Freak! My fave active non-Yankee player is a kid whose non-descript presence off the field once had him stopped by his home park’s security, not knowing who he actually was. But when he’s on the mound…well, you can just ask the NL hitters about his dominance. Especially the 15 Pirates he whiffed on July 27th.
A Cy Young winner (repeat!) and a two-time All-Star in his first 3 seasons in the big tent, the one Giants fans call “The Franchise” was once again, awesome.

3. Jonathan Sanchez pitches his first no-hitter
With Randy Johnson on the DL, Sanchez got a chance to start for the Giants and pitched a no-walk, 11-strikeout beauty, which only missed being a perfect game due to an eighth inning error by 3B Juan Uribe.
But what made it extra special was his dad, Freddy Sanchez, flying out from Puerto Rico to see his son start in the majors for the very first time. To see the old man in the stands visibly emotional and then crying like a baby when his son scored the no-no was a great moment, to say the least.

2. Mark Buehrle’s perfect game
All it took was two hours and three minutes. Oh, and yeah: a masterful performance by the White Sox ace who, aided by some solid defense—including most prominently, the stellar ninth inning, game-saving, home run-stealing catch by CF DeWayne Wise, who had been inserted for defensive purposes just moments earlier—got 27 clean, consecutive outs against the Tampa Bay Rays. That he is not one bit superstitious about these things—deep into the game, he approached 3B Gordon Beckham on the bench, inquiring as to what he thought Buehrle's chances for a no-hitter were, much to the Sox rookie's dismay—makes the whole thing even cooler.

1. Yankees win World Series championship no. 27
Yeah, but you knew that already. The icing on the cake was seeing my fave bunch of Yankees since the days of Reggie, Bucky, Willie, and Guidry—and of course, “Sweet Lou” Piniella—win it all. (Being present at the new House for one of the 15 walk-off wins, A-Rod shutting the pie holes of the naysayers during the post-season, and Johnny Damon's double steal in Game 4 of the World Series, were all pretty sweet.)

* (Technically, the debut of the MLB Network was not part of the baseball season, but it sure was insanely addictive during the months of January-March. And since I’m only a fan of one sport, MLBN drastically reducing my ESPN viewing time—except for the Dominican Winter Baseball League on ESPN Deportes—is a much appreciated service.)

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