A few years ago -- maybe in 2004 or something -- there was an Ozzie Guillen/Fidel Castro fiasco. Do you remember that? It was a big deal. A really, really big deal. It was the kind of thing that made reporters scurry around, looking for scoops and quotes, quotes and scoops.
Man, we couldn't get enough about that Guillen/Castro thing.
Then a funny thing happened. No one remembered and/or cared. People in Miami, sure. Cuban immigrants with a reason to remember and care, certainly. But the general baseball-loving population went back to labeling Ozzie Guillen as more of a general jackass than a politically relevant jackass. By the time the first half of that season -- 1997, I think -- ended, it was a forgotten story. A co-worker wrote about it as one of the forgotten stories of the year, which hadn't ended yet.
This is one of those collections. A lot of baseball news happens over 365 days. Some of it seems important at the time. Some of it doesn't, but you pretend it's a bigger deal against your better judgment. Here are the stories from 2013 you've probably forgotten. For example, do you remember when the Nationals auctioned off Bryce Harper's Opening Day jersey? And he was upset about it? Remember? No, I don't either. But I spent a lot of time writing about it.
Bad boys, bad boys
The odds are outstanding that you just did an "Ohhh, yeaaaah" with both of those. Seemed interesting at the time. It really wasn't interesting. Also, getting suspended for synthetic weed is like getting arrested for a DUI after eating a glossy, full-page Michelob ad.
Bryce Harper, lightning rod
Do you remember when Bryce Harper was ejected for waving his arms in the air? How about when he ran face first into Dodger Stadium's outfield wall? How about when that collision made Harper overcorrect in the late innings of a taut game between two certain contenders?
Those mini-episodes all happened in May. It's like we're all so conditioned and eager to grumble about Harper. He's the fetch of Major League Baseball. Stop trying to make Jerk Bryce Harper happen. It's never going to happen.
Manny Ramirez on the Rangers
On September 10, Joey Butler DH'd for the Rangers. They lost by a run. Just a couple of months before, the Rangers signed Manny Ramirez out of Taiwan, ostensibly to help with DH duties if he was capable.
The Rangers missed the playoffs by a game. Would they have won the World Series if they had installed Ramirez as the permanent DH? Almost certainly. That's just math. But the important thing is that you're thinking, "Wait, Manny was in the Rangers' organization this year?"
Ian Stewart's big yapper
I'll wait for you to look Stewart up on Wikipedia. Right, right, the guy who used to be on the Rockies. Well, he lashed out against his employers and lost his job. The tweets were inflammatory at the time, and they were never a good idea at any point. But it's possible -- just possible -- that they didn't mean a damned thing in the big picture. Disgruntled employee says things he regrets is a popular genre. I guess we're just not used to them in baseball.
Robert Coello's new pitch
I googled him, too. In the first half, though, Coello was throwing some weird forkleball and getting outs.
Weird. Then he had shoulder problems shortly after. So awful. I would have liked to see that pitch a few hundred more times.
Yu Darvish threw 130 pitches
Well, of course he did. But at the time, it was a mini-controversy. And if you're looking for a lesson in causation/correlation, guess what kind of firestorm there would have been if Darvish hurt himself shortly after. Oh, man. There would have been heck to pay. Absolute heck. As is, Darvish was fine and no one remembers the 130 pitches.
Trevor Bauer was a thing
He still might be, you know. He's young, and he has a lot going for him. The Indians aren't giving up, that's for sure. For a while, though, everything he did made news. He was up, he was down, he was underrated. He was rated. He was stubborn, he was misunderstood. We had a StoryStream™ about his foibles, even
Turns out he was a young pitcher, with all of the baggage that brings. He couldn't find the strike zone in 2013, which was very young pitcher of him. Why were we falling special attention to him in the first place? Was it the part where he was aping Tim Lincecum's delivery and motion? Well, say, about that …
The World Baseball Classic
I'm guilty. I loved quibbling about the rosters, about the rules, and about the actual games. The WBC is a baseball oasis in the middle of a winter desert, and every time it pops up, it seems like an unambiguously good thing.
Nine months later, it feels like a fever dream. Was there really honkbal? Did I honkbal? What about my loved ones, did they honkbal? Good god, no, what about the honkbal?
I knew I'd care less about the WBC than I would about the majors when it was all over. I don't think I was prepared for this much less. There was a World Baseball Classic this year? And I was there? Well, I'll be ...