It’s that wonderful time of the year – the beginning of a New Year, full of new hope and resolutions that will probably be forgotten by the time pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training. Well, it’s also a time to look back at the best moments from the 2013 MLB season and reflect on a great year. Here are the top 13 highlights of 2013 in my book, in no particular order. Some were good, some great, and some not so great
13.) Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Wild Card one-game playoff to return to the playoffs for the first time in 21 years – I’m not going to lie, I jumped on the Pirates bandwagon after getting to go to a game in August. And I was very impressed when they beat Cincinnati to make their 1st postseason appearance in 21 years. They ended up losing to the Cardinals in 5 in the ALDS, but they showed the future is bright in Pittsburgh.
12.) “This is our bleeeeeping city!” – David Ortiz came out in his 1st game back from injury and made an emphatic statement before the Red Sox April 20th game against the Kansas City Royals. The Red Sox would win the game 4-2 on a Daniel Nava 3-run home run in what would be a defining moment in the Red Sox season.
11.) Mariano Rivera retires – Mo announced his retirement before the 2013 season started, and got some memorable sendoffs including a loud standing ovation at the All Star Game, a chair made of broken bats from the Twins, and many others.
10.) Biogenesis – Plenty happened in 2013, and not all of it good. The Biogenisis scandal broke over the summer and implicated at least 20 players, including Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez. Some, like Ryan Braun, accepted the suspensions, but A-Roid is still fighting his 211-game suspension.
9.) Walk-off City – One of the highlights of the Red Sox magical season was their 11 walk-offs in 2013, the most memorable being Jonny Gomes which he celebrated by punting his helmet.
8.) The emergence of Yasiel Puig – There has been no shortage of young talent coming up and making a big name for themselves in the past couple of years, and the most recent phenom is Yasiel Puig of the Los Angles Dodgers. He was one of the catalysts of the Dodgers turn-around, showing a lot of raw ability in the process, albiet with an inflated ego as well.
7.) High Five City – If you had told me that Koji Uehara would been the Red Sox closer in March, I would have laughed. But, after both Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan went down with season ending injuries, Koji stepped up and filled the closer’s role brilliantly…and bringing his high energy high-5’s.
6.) Slamming Their Way into the World Series – David Ortiz and Shane Victorino both hit crucial grand slams en route to the Red Sox knocking out the Detroit Tigers. David Ortiz’s came in game 2, with the Red Sox facing a 2-0 ALCS deficit going to Detroit to tie the game at 5, and Shane Victorino hit a grand slam in game 6 to send the Sox to the World Series to face the Cardinals.
5.) Strange endings – The World Series between the Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals had some firsts. In game 3, the game ended on an obstruction call and in game 4, the game ended on a pick-off. Both were firsts for a World Series game.
4.) Jonny Gomes Homer in Game 4 – In what was a theme for the Red Sox for much of the postseason, Jonny Gomes picked his spot after struggling for most of the postseason and dropped a 3-run home run in game 4 of the World Series.
3.) David Ortiz tears up Cardinal pitching – David Ortiz could not be stopped in the 2013 Fall Classic, reaching base 19 of 25 times and htting at a .688 clip (11-16) en route to winning the World Series MVP.
2.) #GetBeard – No doubt one of the trademarks of the 2013 Red Sox was their beards, which spawned “Fear the Beard” T-Shirts and $1 Beard Night in September, where fans could get tickets to a game if they showed up with facial hair (which didn’t have to be real). Hey – clearly those beards had magic power or something – they won it all this year.
1.) “Boston Stronger than ever -” Boston put the finishing touches on a magical season on October 30th, a little over 6 months removed from the tragic events of Marathon Monday on April 15th. This team could be described as the “Team of Destiny,” as everything seemed to go their way this season. Maybe it was the magic beards, or maybe it was the force, but everything seemed to go their way this year.
- Conor Frederick is a Staff Writer for ProSportsExtra.com¬†
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