From Jason Stark at ESPN, here are his highlights, lowlights, and year end awards from the past year in baseball. Some of the funnier items:
With the bases loaded in the ninth, a four-run lead and Mr. Home Run Derby himself, Josh Hamilton, heading for home plate, Maddon knew exactly what had to be done — even if no American League manager had done it in over a century.
He intentionally walked Hamilton — with the bases loaded. And lived to tell about it. The next hitter, Marlon Byrd, whiffed for the final out. And we’d just witnessed another great moment in managerial genius.
“No, not really,” Maddon told Year in Review. “Just managerial imagination.”
The Tigers whiffed Angels rookie Sean Rodriguez on Sept. 4 — on a 4-and-2 pitch — when everybody lost track of the count, including the umpires and Rodriguez. “That’s a new trick of ours,” manager Jim Leyland said.
One of the Craziest Games of the Year: Don’t Walk This Way — Sept. 5: A’s 11, Orioles 2. Last year, on the day the Orioles announced they were bringing back interim manager Dave Trembley, they lost a 30-3 game. This year, the day they announced they were extending Trembley’s contract, they allowed an eight-run inning — on one hit. How’d that happen? How ’bout six walks, including four with the bases loaded, plus a hit batter and a grand slam — by a guy (Rajai Davis) who had entered the game as a pinch runner. So the Orioles became the first team since the 1959 A’s to give up eight runs in an inning on one lousy hit, and the first since the 2004 Dodgers to issue four bases-loaded walks in an inning. And loyal reader Eric Orns reports that Davis was the first guy to hit a slam in an inning he started as a pinch runner since Gene Stephens did it for the Red Sox on July 13, 1959 (after running for Ted Williams). “I’ve never seen an inning like that,” Trembley told the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly. “Ever.”
Here’s to a great October and November playoff season!!