- With the playoffs set to dominate headlines, take a look back at all the hijinks we witnessed in September.
For six months, baseball’s biggest stars have given us countless episodes of joy. Diving catches, goofy celebrations, and everything Adrian Beltre does have made our lives that much brighter.
With the regular season ended, we’ve got one more roundup of MLB shenanigans. It’s the 2017 finale of The Fun Report.
MLB’s power couple…
...is Eireann Dolan and Sean Doolittle. Dolan is an accomplished broadcaster and writer who’s well known for her extensive charity work. Doolittle is the closer for the Washington Nationals who’s teamed up with Dolan to work with a variety of charitable causes, from LGBT groups to veterans to Syrian refugees.
They’re also funny as hell ... Dolan especially. Check out her reaction to the Nats’ praise of Doolittle’s recent dominance, and try not to laugh..
Marcus Stroman, keeping busy
The Jays ace has grown into both one of the best and most entertaining pitchers in the league.
His pre-game routine features copious dancing and even more copious gum.
His social media game features mutual admiration societies with other talented hurlers.
Hahaha I'm trying to learn that curveball!— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) September 11, 2017
Oh my god.— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) October 1, 2017
And at his best, he’s so good, he can bring the entire game to a standstill.
Football-baseball crossovers, always a crowd-pleaser
Exhibit A: Matthew Stafford channeling his childhood buddy Clayton Kershaw to audible to another play.
Exhibit B: Being a college football commentator and professional baseball player at the same time is really, really difficult.
Thumbs up for thumbs-down
Todd Frazier didn’t need long to make himself a clubhouse and fan favorite in New York. Since coming over from the White Sox in a deadline deal, he’s upgraded the third-base position by providing power, patience, and strong defense. Frazier brought so much good cheer to the Yankees clubhouse, they even held a Frazier-themed flight, complete with Frazier blankets for extra coziness.
Turns out not quite everyone is a Frazier fan, though. A gentleman bearing a strong resemblance to author George R.R. Martin responded to a Frazier home run at Tropicana Field by delivering an adamant thumbs-down. When Frazier delivered a go-ahead RBI single later in the series, he responded by turning the thumbs-down gesture into a symbol of celebration.
Over the next few days, we would learn more about our new, grumpy hero. For one thing, he was a Mets fan, which would explain his aversion to Yankees good times. For another, he was an advocate for responsible governance and an opponent of handouts to professional sports teams, which is awesome.
However the Yankees fare in the postseason, we’re hoping for two things. First, that the thumbs-down celebration gets at least a little more run in October. And second, that at least one bearded gentleman at your Halloween party shows up as Sexy Thumbs-Down Guy.
The oldest baseball trick in the book...
...is the hidden-ball trick. A staple of sandlot ball, and the apple of Billy Heywood’s eye, you rarely see it attempted in a major league game. And it’s even less likely to actually fool a big league player.
Unless, of course, you’re as smooth as Ryan Goins.
We might have to retract all those nice things we just said about Todd Frazier after watching the full video.
And we might have to award Goins Game of the Year honors for pulling off both a hidden-ball trick and a grand slam in the same game.
When Shane Livensparger rung up Scooter Gennett on a called strike three in one September game, he set off a delightful chain of events that in turn set up the GIF of the year.
First, Gennett slammed his batting helmet on home plate. Then, Livensparger tossed Gennett from the game. That prompted Cincinnati manager Bryan Price to bolt out of the dugout and go argue with Livensparger and crew chief Jerry Layne. One problem: The strikeout and ejection had ended the top of the seventh inning, meaning the Kabuki theater of patriotism that is God Bless America during a baseball game was about to start.
Hilarity quickly ensued.
Catches of the Month
Kevin Kiermaier is a top candidate for every best catch award every time he steps on the field. The two-time Gold Glove award winner might’ve been considered the favorite to win a third straight trophy is not for injuries limiting him to 98 games this year. Still, on a per-game basis, you won’t find anyone better in the outfield than Kiermaier. And you won’t find many catches better than this one.
That said, the Tigers have an up-and-coming prospect who might be even better. Granted, he doesn’t actually play an official position. Then again, he doesn’t need a glove to make great plays either.
Giancarlo Stanton needs better aim
Sure, the Marlins slugger cranked 59 homers this season, tying him with Babe Ruth for the ninth-highest total in major league history. But as nearly decapitated teammate Dee Gordon can attest, Stanton still needs to work on his sense of direction when it comes to the blisteringly hard drives that explode off his bat.
Every other first-grade teacher, you’re on notice!
At least until you can match what Astros outfielder George Springer’s first-grade teacher did last week. When New Britain, Connecticut native Springer came to Fenway Park for a regular season-ending series against the Red Sox, he was greeted by a welcoming sign, a big hug...and a plate of cookies.
One more Beltre for the road
You won’t find a more enjoyable pitcher-hitter matchup all season than Felix Hernandez taking on his buddy, Fun Report MVP For Life Adrian Beltre.
I’m already starting a petition for Beltre to play forever.