Monday, December 31, 2012

Hot Stove New Year's Eve Edition!

Quote of the Day

"I think after this year, everyone will think a lot differently about what type of player Stephen is and the impact he can have on a division contending team."

-- Scott Boras on his client, Stephen Drew. 

 But sorry, I will still think of Drew about the same in 2013 as I did in 2012.  Which is an oft-injured, average-hitting, decent-gloved shortstop that will be exactly that for the Red Sox.  

Boras hyperbole level = 8

Welcome to the last Hot Stove of 2011 baseball fans. It's still a slow week but as we close the chapter on 2012 and look forward to 2013, we're still gonna recap some of our favorite moments from an epic 2012 season in baseball and hope you can join in the discussion. 

It was a season to remember and if you will look back at 2012 with fondness (talking to YOU Giants fans), bitterness (Rockies/Padres/Marlins/Mariners fans?), happiness (playoff contenders), disappointment (any team that got eliminated last two weeks of September), or unfathomable sadness (Cubs fans but like, every New Year) and even puzzled bewilderment (Philip Humber?) you will NEVER forget 2012. Cheers! 

Here's to friends, family, and baseball! 

Some of our favorite and not-so-favorite moments 

• Baseball kicks off in Japan with the Mariners vs. the Athletics. Because if anyone's earned the right to piss of all of us for forgetting to set our Fantasy Baseball lines up 20 hours early, it's Ichiro

• The Marlins opened a brand new era of mediocrity with a new, taxpayer-funded ball park. It looks awesome but the team finished dead-last in the NL Central.  Somewhere opening night, Jeffrey Loria jumped into a pile of cash ala Scrooge McDuck while throwing at a dartboard of Marlins players, titled "Who to Trade Next?" 

• Speaking of Miami, Ozzie Guillen probably shouldn't start off sentences in a city with a large Cuban and Cuban refugee population with, "I love Fidel Castro." Just like you don't walk into a bar on South Side of Chicago and start with, "I love Ozzie Guillen." Or walk into my house and start with "I love the New York Yankees." 

• If anyone didn't know who Philip Humber was, they did by the time he tossed baseball's 21st perfect game on the 21st of April proving again that you don't have to have the stuff of David Price to toss a perfecto, just the luck of Dallas Braden. 

• "Father Time" Jamie Moyer proved once again how abso-freakin-lutely pointless wins are as a statistic winning at age 49 and unknowingly giving all children universal permission to call their dad's "wussies" after quitting a game of catch early. 

• Mariano Rivera tears his ACL in early May shagging fly balls in batting practice and was lost for the year prompting Tiger fans begging to have Papa Grande go out for a few shags of his own. 

• Josh Hamilton smacked four home runs in one night in May. He had seven the last six weeks of the season. 

• Jered Weaver no-hit the Twins in May which was kind of like no-hitting the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Herbert Hoover Middle School traveling team. 

• Watching Albert Pujols try and hit a home run in April was like watching Dontrelle Willis try and hit the strike zone ever. Pujols took until May 6th to smack his first home run with his new team in Los Angeles. 

• On April 28th, both Bryce Harper and Mike Trout were called up to the Nationals and Angels respectively. If I need to explain what happened after, then you really don't need to be visiting this blog. No offense. 

• The Dodgers finally got someone to buy them but that person was Magic Johnson and friends so expect them to become the Yankees of the NL as soon as Magic figures out that there's no salary cap in baseball which he apparently already has this offseason. 

• Aaron Hill of the D-Backs hit two cycles in June, and inventing the oh-so-cool-new-never-to-be-used-again baseball term "Bi-Cycle." 

• Kerry Wood stepped to the mound against the White Sox in May and ended his career the same way he began it . . . with a strikeout. God speed Kerry Wood, may your next career in State Farm commercials be injury free. 

• A-Rod hit his record tying 23rd grand slam. It was the 1st non chemically-enhanced grand slam of his career. ZING! 

• After 35 one-hitters, Johan Santana finally pitched the New York Mets' first no-hitter. If the best thing that Santana gives to the Mets is that no-hitter it would be a $137.5 million no-hitter. Congrats Mets. 

• Then the Mariners decide to tag team a no-hitter of their own against the Dodgers by six pitchers getting in on the 10th combined no-hitter in baseball history. 

• Prince Fielder won the home run derby, still my favorite All-Star event becoming the first player to win the event in each league. 

• Justin Verlander's evil, elaborate plot to clinch the World Series in Detroit began when he allowed the National League to have the first five runs in the All Star game in Kansas City.  It backfired when the SF Giants won World Series games one and two so Verlander pushed his plan to 2013

• The All Star game in Kansas City was so successful that Royals owner David Glass, intrigued by what it was like to watch talented baseball teams promptly traded their entire farm system for James Shields. 

You can be perfect. . . in baseball!

• Matt Cain followed Humber by tossing a dominant perfect game against the Houston Astros. And Felix Hernandez followed later against the Rays. So make that three perfect games of the 23 in history in 2012. Pitchers must be like, "PED testing is f******g awesome!"

• Speaking of PEDs, Melky Cabrera must not have got them memo testing positive about a month after winning the All-Star Game MVP and leading the league in batting. Then again after hearing this:

You might see how some instructions about the MLB drug policy may have been lost in translation. Literally. 

• Clay Buchholz struck out the side on nine pitches which isn't that big a deal considering I've done it like, five times on MLB The Show 11 (and it was on Hall of Fame)

• Billy Hamilton, a prospect in the Cincinnati Reds organization, stole 155 to set a new baseball record. Rickey Henderson then released a statement saying he was planning to come out of retirement to "defend the record." Which was a problem considering that Henderson wasn't even the previous record holder and that second part didn't actually happen. (It sounded funnier in my head, I promise)

• Homer Bailey of the Reds threw the 7th no-hitter of the year in late September. I have nothing funny to follow that one up. 

•  The seven "no-no's" in a year were the most since 1990.  Including three perfect games, 2012 truly was the "Year of the Pitcher" and with all the young talent on the mound, expect a few more in 2013

• Oh yeah, the Red Sox shed $1 billion dollars in a trade that sent pretty much every star (Gonzalez, Crawford) they had just acquired plus Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Dodgers. Anyone else think it would have been hilarious if Nick Punto was the deal breaker?

• No but seriously, can you imagine that conversation between GM's Ned Coletti and Ben Cherington?

COLLETTI: "I don't know Ben, that's a lot of future salary to take on."
CHERINGTON: "C'mon Ned, you gotta do me this favor, just once. Hey, I can even throw in Nick Punto."
COLLETTI: "Deal." 

• The Rangers collapsed losing seven of their last nine games including getting swept by the Athletics. What's worse than blowing a five game lead with nine to play? Blowing a three game lead with four to play (damn you 2009). Blame the caffeine I guess. 

• The Orioles made a 24 game improvement on 2011 to make the postseason for the first time in 15 years, the Nationals brought playoff baseball back to DC for the first time since the Roosevelt Adminstration and the As proved again that "Moneyball" still works. 

• Miguel Cabrera won the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 and won the AL MVP over Mike Trout. Take that sabermetricians. 

•  Buster Posey caught fire during the second half of the season to win the NL MVP award, though my vote would have gone to Marco Scutaro.  

• David Price narrowly beat out Verlander for the AL Cy Young, RA Dickey used a fluttering knuckleball to capture it on the NL side.

• Guess who won the Rookie of the Year Awards? Just guess, take a wild guess. You can do it, just guess . . .  

• Bob Melvin and Davey Johnson won Managers of the Year award, also known as "Who Took a Crappy Team and Made it Decent in One Year" award. 

• We got to have a great discussion about what constitutes as an "infield fly rule" in the NL Wildcard game. We also got to have a great example on why Atlanta is literally a trashy city. See for yourself:

• Jason Werth literally had the season on his shoulders and he delivered with an epic 13 pitch at bat

Fan captures Werth's at-bat from the front row

• And apparently Raul Ibanez was able to talk to Werth about how to do that, because he did the same thing twice in the same game in the ALDS against the Orioles.

• The Nationals had the NLDS locked up, up 6-0. . . until they didn't. The Cardinals rallied in epic fashion in the deciding Game 5, stunning the home crowd and reminding them that it takes someone who's been to October baseball to win in October. Nationals have a lot of learning to do about playoff baseball and they got a lesson in rallies. NEVER SAY DIE!

• Tiger's beatdown the Evil Empire in a four game sweep to make it to the World Series for the first time since 2006. I love it when my team wins the pennant, but over New York? In a sweep? At home? The only thing else I could have asked for would be . . . 

• Well, I couldn't get a World Series as the Giants led by Kung Fu Panda swept the Tigers to claim their second championship in three years. Pablo Sandoval was named MVP as he joined Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols as the only players to hit three home runs in the Fall Classic.

• The Full Count was founded as a baseball blog for us to first talk about the game and second to entertain you.  

Well, that's about it for a recap.  But we always want to hear from our readers.  What are some of your favorite moments that happened this season?  What are you looking forward to most in 2013?  Are you aware that the Yankees are the worst thing in baseball?  Which baseball player to you have a man crush on?  Or simply a crush on if you're a female reader?

So many questions to answer.  

Share with us and stay safe tonight! 
Happy 2013!