Top Nine Stories in MLB 2012
By Lou DiPietro
It seems like just six months ago everyone was excited that baseball was back, but, alas, the end of the 2012 MLB regular season is already upon us. There have been many great (and not-so-great) stories told this season, but after 180 days of ballin', these are certainly nine of them.
METS MAKE HISTORY
2012 was a tough year in Queens, but Mets fans saw Johan Santana throw the team's first no-hitter, David Wright set the franchise hits record, and R.A. Dickey become the first knuckleballer to win 20 games since 1980 -- and saw all three happen at Citi Field, no less.
It was a bad year for those without a filter. Ozzie Guillen and Bobby Valentine's mouths may run them out of jobs after less than stellar freshman campaigns, Yunel Escobar got suspended for some offensive remarks, and Dmitri Young was literally arrested for a hate crime. If only every MLB team had a swear jar…
THE FALL AND RISE OF L.A.
At the end of 2011 the Dodgers were a cash-strapped, lame-duck franchise, their fate in the balance of the McCourts' nasty divorce proceedings. But 2012 brought new owners, about $8 billion in new payroll, and an improvement in record. It might not mean a postseason berth, but it's progress nonetheless.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
Mike Trout had an MVP-caliber rookie year, Bryce Harper showed he belonged, Yu Darvish was every bit the ace as advertised, and Manny Machado was solid in a late-season call-up. Yes, folks, the future looks bright for the next generation of Major League studs.
THE FUTURE IS NOW
Speaking of futures looking bright, did anyone have the Orioles, Athletics, and Nationals in the playoff hunt, let alone making the postseason? Probably not, but all three proved that their futures are very bright and made the first year of dual wild cards even more interesting.
THE STREAK CONTINUES…BARELY
As late as 110 games into the season, the Pirates were 63-47 and making people believe they could not only end their long losing history, but make the playoffs as well. Alas, they faded down the stretch and failed to do either, but hope springs eternal for 2013.
TRIPLE THE CROWN, DOUBLE THE FUN
Matt Kemp and Josh Hamilton's hot starts led to a lot of Triple Crown discussion, but come October, it was Miguel Cabrera and Ryan Braun who were both in the thick of coronation talks -- and by the time you read this, Miggy might've taken the first Crown since 1967.
THE CAPTAIN'S COMEBACK
Derek Jeter's line through 160 games: .316 average, 15 homers, 58 RBIs, 31 doubles, 99 runs scored, a .793 OPS, and a Major League-leading 213 hits. Anyone else still think he's done?
CHEAPER BY THE TENS
The addition of a second wild card has been the hot topic all year, and the races have shaken out exactly as baseball hoped. Plus, without the second wild card, we'd be deprived of seeing the defending champions try to repeat, and that's a shame in any sport.