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Mound Visits End of Season Awards!

Good dogs, bad mascots, best fight moments, worst first pitches, and more.

Welcome to the last Mound Visits of the season! Instead of the normal rundown of things that happened this week in baseball, we’re wrapping up the entire season before the playoffs. THE ENTIRE SEASON.

We’re revisiting all of the best and worst things that appeared in Mound Visits this year, which means that if it didn’t appear in this column at some point over the past six months then it’s not eligible for these “awards.” If it got a mention but it wasn’t its own item in a weekly rundown, I allowed it to be a candidate for these completely random categories I came up with on the fly. It was a long season! What do you want, science?

Here are all the best, worst, weirdest, and funniest moments from the 2018 MLB season.

Best Position Player Pitch

Not best position player pitcher, just best position player pitch. There were many position players who took the mound this season. Some would say too many. But there’s one pitch that stood above all others, and that would be this 69mph curveball from Pablo Sandoval. In a 1-2-3 inning, nonetheless!

Most Random Nicolas Cage Appearance

Nicolas Cage randomly meeting Eduardo Escobar in Puerto Rico seems like it happened eight years ago, while also feeling like it was a dream we all had together. Still can’t believe this is an actual baseball-related event that occurred.

Most Honest Mic’d Up Moment

Getting mic’d up as a professional athlete is a risky business. You could say something you regret, or sound really dumb, or forget you’re meant to be talking to the booth and space out. Many options for things to backfire. Or just be really boring!

This Mookie Betts moment was neither. It was only a spring training game (otherwise he wouldn’t have had the mic on in the first place) but a gem nonetheless.

Worst Mascot Moment

The Twins really tried to win this one with their nightmare fuel mascot competition but it’s hard to compete against the Philly Phanatic (accidentally, we think) assaulting a woman with a hot dog gun and causing facial injuries. Nice going, ya big green goofus.

Best Beltre Moment

There are candidates here. Ohhhh there are candidates. As you would expect, because Adrian Beltre is one of our most precious natural resources.

So much happened with Beltre this season including George Springer joking he was going to bunt on Beltre because he was fat or him getting a giraffe named after him at the Fort Worth Zoo. But the best moment we covered in Mound Visits was when he tried to stop a baserunner from advancing to home on a bad throw to third by straight up bear hugging him around the waist.

It’s only against the rules if it’s not Beltre doing it.

Best Over the Top Ejection

While this could have been any number of player ejections — Ron Gardenhire got double ejected! — there’s one that brought me and probably many other baseball fans more joy than all of them combined. And that’s Padres manager Andy Green making his ejection at the hands of Joe West as worth it as possible by yelling “Don’t worry, Joe, I’m leaving so you can go and get another call wrong!” on his way back to the clubhouse.

Talk about performing a public service. Thanks, Andy.

Best Animal On the Field ... or On a Player

With all due respect to the baseball goose who smashed into a video board after flying around trying to escape handlers (a very worthy baseball field animal) there was really no option besides the eagle that landed on a player.

April seems like eighteen years ago but it’s still amazing the James Paxton didn’t flip his lid when a gosh darn eagle landed on his shoulder, flapping around like everything was fine and that was right where he belonged. Good eagle, great moment.

Best Baseball Dog

There are a few options here without even digging into all the adorable Bark at the Park photos that we see throughout the year. There was the German Shepherd that just wanted to be a part of warmups, the bat dog who didn’t understand why he couldn’t just do his job, and these beauties. precious as always.

Who do you think I am? They’re all the Best Baseball Dog. Good baseball dogs.

Best LOL Mets Moment

HOW TO CHOOSE! The Mets gave us so much this year. More than I could have possibly fit into Mound Visits. At some points I purposely left them out of the column because it felt a little mean. Poor Mets.

The things I did put in included a star pitcher get hand, foot, and mouth disease, the amazing list of headlines in this post happened, and they botched a giveaway. Probably the most Mets situation was when Citi Field caught on fire and everyone got to make the same metaphor jokes. Laughter is the best medicine, except for with the Mets themselves. Nothing can cure what ails the Mets. Besides maybe just disbanding the team. Looking forward to next year, Mets!

Best Part Of The Year Of Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani’s rookie season went exactly as we all hoped — he raked, he pitched well — which makes it all the more disappointing that we won’t have Ohtani around next year as he recovers from Tommy John Surgery.

Maybe the Ohtani puppet can keep us company? Both the weirdest and best part of Ohtani’s first year in MLB, the Ohtani puppet is intensely realistic and also can hit baseballs very far. We’re best friends now.

Best Brawl Moment

This season might not have had a memorable amount of on-field brawls, although there were definitely a few solid ones. But it was a solid year for fighting in general. A quick

But we’re not going for best brawl here, just best brawl moment. And that easily came from the Red Sox-Yankees brawl early in the season when Joe Kelly and Tyler Austin lit a match that blew everything up and then Joe Kelly got held back while looking like he’d turned into a basebrawl demon with his jersey ripped open.

Like all the Boston bar fights in history possessed him at once and he was ready to unleash the sloppy.

Best Bartolo Memory

Bartolo Colon is on the same list as Adrian Beltre of people who can never leave us but probably will soon. Too soon. Like Beltre, there was a decent amount to choose from here like this fun stat from a start against the Red Sox, or how chill he was taking a perfect game late into a game, but one moment in particular stands out because of just how Bartolo it was.

Right to the stomach, and he was fine. I dubbed this the Bartolo’s Stomach is Flubber moment and that’s right in line with his entire career and personality.

Worst First Pitch

The Phanatic did have a more fun moment earlier in the season when it reacted to one of the worst first pitches of the season, by American Ninja Warrior host Akbar Gbajabiamila. The Phillies’ mascot didn’t know what to do there.

Yet even a pitch that flabbergasts a mascot like that wasn’t enough to take the title of worst first pitch of the season. That honor goes to Paul Simon himself. He bounced his first pitch, asked for the ball back (which he got, because he was Paul Simon), and then BOUNCED IT AGAIN. What a legend.

Worst Catch

Nothing could possibly surpass “The Scissoring Catch” and no catch should want to.

Worst Contraction of a Communicable Disease

Somehow, a pitcher getting hand, foot, and mouth disease wasn’t a one-off occurrence this season. Noah Syndergaard, J.A. Happ, and Brad Peacock all came down with the disease most commonly found in children at one point or another this year.

While it’s a little unorthodox to be ranking people just because they all got sick with the same thing, Syndergaard clearly wins because he broke ground first and then had a sense of humor about it.

So there you have it. The baseball season is (just about) over. Now we look ahead to the postseason and hopefully a lot more fun moments like these. But hopefully no more communicable diseases.