ANAHEIM, CA: Albert Pujols speaks at a public press conference introducing newly signed Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim players Pujols and C.J. Wilson at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Baseball In 2011: A Round-Up Of Round-Ups

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Baseball In 2011: Five Stories You've Already Forgotten

Baseball seasons are long. So damned long. So many games. It's beautiful. It's awful. It's glorious. It's painful. It's amazing. The 162-game season needs to die; long live the 162-game season.

And there are some stories you'll never forget. Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, for example, will be a game that will inspire baseball writers in 2111, just one year before music is outlawed. But there are all sorts of stories that are used as chum in the daily baseball news cycle. Here are five that were a big deal at the time, but you've already forgotten:

5. Will Luis Castillo Report????
Luis Castillo was released by the Mets. Chase Utley's knee melted. The Phillies, desperate, signed Castillo to a minor-league deal, and he took his sweet time reporting. In retrospect, it was only an extra day. Not sure what people were freaking out about. But at the time, it was a big deal.

He eventually showed up, played like an old Luis Castillo, and was cut. He did have a fallback plan, but this is the first time you've thought about this incident since then.

4. Dan Uggla's Hitting Streak
Dan Uggla is a career .258 hitter. He finished the 2011 season with a .233 average. Somehow, he managed to work in a 33-game hitting streak. And we all followed it at the time because hitting streaks over 30 games are always rare and newsworthy. But when the streak snapped, everyone just wiped their brow, feeling satisfied that the universe wasn't being ripped off its axis, and they all forgot about Uggla's freaky streak.

3. Selig: Mets Can't Wear NYPD/NYFD Caps
The Mets wanted to wear different caps on September 11 to honor the fallen police officers and firefighters on the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. MLB said no. It was a big deal, but the news faded.

But even though the news faded, it was still one of those things that wormed its way into your brain and chewed on your subconscious. It's things like this that make you think, "Man, what is up with that guy?" when you're prompted with little more than a picture of Bud Selig.

2. Yadier Molina Freaks Out
There were angles and alternate angles. There were videos and .gifs. There were articles about what Molina did, and what kind of meal he'd have before the execution. There were whispers of umpire-bumpers on the grassy knoll behind the on-deck circle.

Yet all you remember now is, man, Yadier Molina sure handled that poorly. It hardly came up during the Cardinals' crazy run through the postseason.

1. Alex Rodriguez Has a Cousin, Or Something, and He's Totally Bad News and MLB Is Worried
Here's the headline:

MLB resolves Yuri Sucart issue

Here's the lead paragraph from the ESPN article:

The matter regarding Alex Rodriguez's cousin being at the New York Yankees' team hotel has been resolved, Major League Baseball said Thursday.

With that lead-in, can you honestly recall the rest of the story? Like, any detail of why this was news? Exactly.

Alex Rodriguez is news when he's dating Cameron Diaz, he's news when he's getting a blood slurry injected into his knee, and he's news when his cousin hangs out at his hotel. The good news is that our brains are wired to forget about this stuff. Hooray!


REBILAS: Best Of 2011 In Photos

Mark J. Rebilas is a professional photographer based in Phoenix, AZ. There are a lot of photographers who take great pictures about baseball. Only Rebilas, though, has a "Best Baseball Photos of 2011" entry up on his website. So just by judging on his "best-of" photos, I'm just going to assume he's the best baseball photographer of our generation.

Well, what was left of our generation before the apocalyptic dust storm that swallowed us all.


The whole entry is fantastic, including a mega-Joe Mauer spitting out the small tributary he swallowed, and Jim Thome pretending he sees a seven-point buck rounding first. Or maybe he actually sees Joe Buck. He reacts appropriately either way.


2011 In Review: Books And Quotes

These two don’t necessarily go together — books and quotes — but I’m going to force the proverbial square peg into the round hole anyway.

Baseball America’s James Bailey reviews his choices for the top 10 baseball books of 2011. Truth be told, I have not read any of the books listed, but I have heard glowing reviews of Chad Harbach’s novel “The Art Of Fielding”, and Craig Robinson’s work at Flip Flop Fly Ball is always outstanding and I think I’m going to have to get that one.

At Fangraphs, David Laurila has compiled a list of the best quotes of 2011; more than a Top Ten list, there are 39 quotes from his own FanGraphs Q&A 2011, arranged in chronological order. This one is my favorite:

“I remember seeing [former Angels catcher] Bob Boone that winter. Bob said that he was watching on TV when the ball went through Bill Buckner‘s legs, and he jumped up and yelled, ‘How does that feel? how does that feel?’ What happened to us is what had happened to them.” — Dwight Evans, December 2011

Which shows you that baseball players aren’t just automatons; they feel everything that fans feel… except they’re right in the middle of things, making them happen, or not happen, as the case may be.

Happy New Year.

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