The Best Baseball Stories of 2010

Originally published in The Tigers Den Blog | 31 December 2010

Armando_GalarragaEverywhere you look, bloggers are writing their lists of best baseball stories of 2010. I’ve probably read about 30-35 of them in the four hours I took doing research. These are always fascinating posts, simply because with the amount of articles out there, it becomes very easy to gage the public perspective of things. If blogger John in Arkansas is saying the same thing as Joe in Miami, who agrees with Spencer in Oregon, and Mike in Maine, then we have a pretty good idea of what kind of impact certain stories had on the greater public.

In almost every single list I read, Armando Galarraga and the Imperfect Game lead the way in top storylines of 2010. Everyone loves to love a good sport, and Galarraga and Jim Joyce were perfect examples of that. If you’re reading this, then I assume you know exactly what happened and to break it down would be an insult to both our time and energy. If, by chance, you would like a refresher, or to just reread what happened, follow this link, as well as this one.

 I learned a lot in 2010; about baseball, about life, about myself. The Galarraga experience was certainly a part of that as well. For those of you who don’t know, I began the year a member of the popular union, The Unemployed of Michigan. Thankfully I was hired by a company part time a few months in, and somehow have made my way up the corporate ring rather quickly. The result of which limits my time as a blogger (what I mean is that I wish I could post every single day, but due to my schedule am limited to a post or so every week), but no matter how many times I post, I appreciate Bloguin, the platform and the opportunity Ben, Derek, and Dave have given me.

Anyway, now that I’m done rambling about myself (something I never like to do, but find myself doing it every now and then) I’ll get back to my final words of 2010.

Assuming that most of us agree that the top baseball story of 2010 was Armando Galarraga and his Imperfect Game, what were the other top stories of the year? And no, we don’t list the top five or ten, we just appreciate a good storyline…

Rookies take center stage of the 2010 season

Jason_Heyward_2I think it’s fair to say that one of the most exciting aspects to following sports is to identify the next hall of fame player, and, obviously, one of the key ways of doing that is following the rise of young rookies. Headlining this year’s group is obviously Jason Heyward, the author of the opening day blast off of Carlos Zambrano (I remember coming back from the gym just in time to watch the game begin. My wife was rolling her eyes the entire time, then when Heyward hit it she looks at me and goes, ‘did you know that was going to happen?’), but the list kept growing and growing as the year continued, and in the end it turned into a long laundry list of names.

Stephen Strasburg…Buster Posey…Austin Jackson…Mike Leake…Ike Davis…Justin Smoak…Brennan Boesch…Jon Jay…Starlin Castro…Ivan Nova…Craig Kimbrel…Drew Storen…Jason Donald (yes, the offender of the imperfect game)…Danny Valencia…Mike Stanton…Jose Tabata…Carlos Santana…Pedro Alvarez…Sam Demel…Alex Sanabia…Barry Enright…Wilson Ramos…Travis Wood…Lorenzo Cain…Will Rhymes…Logan Morrison…Domonic Brown…Mitch Moreland…Lucas Harrell…Ryan Kalish…Brett Wallace…Jeremy Hellickson…Peter Bourjos…Chris Sale…J.P. Arencibia…Mike Minor…Chris Carter…Aroldis Chapman…Danny Espinosa…Desmond Jennings…Freddy Freeman…Yonder Alonso…Mark Trumbo…Hank Conger…Kyle Drabek…and these are just the well known names.

That’s quite a few for one season, and honestly, a big reason why these huge contracts a being thrown around. Teams have a lot of hot talent coming up that can be controlled for years…why not try to land a big name free agent? Key point being a team like the Washington Nationals. They tossed $126 million at Jayson Werth, a player who has never actually had over 100 RBI in a single season. If your organization has a half dozen potentially major league players, why not try to reel in a big fish?

Alex Rodriguez hits his 600th home run

I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this. It does take a lot of talent to hit 600, I’ll give him that.

Roy Halladay proved he really is the best pitcher in the big leagues

Two no-hitters. A perfect game in the regular season and a no-hitter in his first career playoff game prove that. I don’t think there will be very many writers arguing about his hall-of-fame credentials like they are doing to Jack Morris.

The Padres and Reds proved that you don’t need money to win

Sure it helps, but it’s true, you don’t need money to win in the Big Leagues. Everyone knows about the Rays, but everyone also knows that the Rays may struggle in 2011 because of a lack of money. So, while low budget teams don’t need to write their seasons away in April, they are still at a disadvantage when it comes to staying competitive.

The Giants proved that pitching really does win championships

Tim_LincicumIt’s harped on every single year, and every single year we have to be reminded again that in the end, the team with the best pitching wins. This is year it was The Freak and The Beard who headlined
a team of thong wearing, rookie slugging, pot-headed swearing bunch of cowboys into baseball immortality. And that, is a great storyline for our national pastime.

Of course, the last story is certainly not the least

The Texas Rangers emerge from Bankruptcy and on the
bravado of the greatest pitcher of the late 20th century, make it to the World Series for the first time in franchise history

It’s such a good story that it deserves two lines of bolded text. From Nolan Ryan’s impact on the team to Ron Washington’s admitted cocaine use, to Josh Hamilton’s MVP year, the Texas Rangers became another reason to love baseball. Storylines in this game are different in football and hockey and basketball because the season is so long, there is so little one player can really do to a team’s playoff hopes that a group of things, not just one, have to happen to make a season special. That’s what the Texas Rangers were in 2010, they had stories coming out of their ears, and in the end, how was it not worth it?

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