The Best First Third

It occurred to me the other day that this might be the most story-filled first third to a season ever. Consider how much excitement has already been packed into the year:

  • A no-hitter by Ubaldo Jimenez, who happens to be 12-1 with an ERA so small you can barely see it.
  • Arguably he worst call in the history of sports, and certainly the most memorably botched  call in regular season baseball history by Jim Joyce costs Armando Galarraga a perfect game on the 27th out.
  • Perfect games by baseball’s best and angriest pitchers respectively in Roy Halladay and Dallas Braden
  • The hilarious drama between the aforementioned Braden and Alex Rodriguez
  • The accusation that all-time great  Ken Griffey Jr slept through a pinch-hit opportunity followed weeks later by his quiet retirement
  • Griffey teammate Milton Bradley exits the  Mariner clubhouse mid-game.
  • Strasburgmania enters
  • Jose Lima exits
  • And all the other stuff I missed

See how much has happened? So tell me. Are these the most exciting two and a half months to ever open a baseball season, or is my giddiness unfounded?

10 Responses to “The Best First Third”


  • Good point. It really has been a great season so far. And its shaping up to have some excellent races. Every single division has teams 2.5 games out or less. Should be a nice summer.

  • Maybe it’s just me, but the quality of the list seems to fall off rather dramatically after the first three items.

    I long for return of the days when we knew how to distinguish between “news” and “gossip.”

  • Thanks for the comments. I can’t believe I missed Heyward. Regarding gossip…I see what you mean but I still consider the stories I listed above newsy. Especially Junior’s retirement.

  • This Daniel Nava story is pretty damn compelling, too.

  • Heyward, for sure. Mike Stanton could even be thrown in there with his minors stats. The struggles of last year’s Cy Young winners, Lincecum and Greinke. And one of the oddest, all the trouble with Phillies fans….vomiting on eachother, getting tazed, children drinking beer. This has been a great season and I can’t wait to follow all the tight races as Paul pointed out.

  • I feel like the last few years, MLB has always posted some end-of-year roundup about how awesome and unique the year was.

    And to a point, they’re right–they /are/ awesome seasons–but I’m not sure how to pick and choose between them.

  • I feel like many seasons of yore may have been as story-filled or exciting, but the 24-hour news cycle just hadn’t yet been invented. The only stories that would have been really big in the past would have been the perfectos and the blown call. Still, I’ve been sated by this season–it’s been damn exciting. Let’s just slow the hyperbole train down.

  • This is a ridiculous post. MLB seasons aren’t spoken or thought of in thirds, to start with. Such a “mark” smacks of desperation.
    The pitching stories are fascinating so far — maybe that should have been the focus. After all, Milton Bradley going nuts is an annual story.
    Another annual story that is so boring no one talks much about it: Roy Halladay is leading the league in complete games. He’s done it five times before, including the season he broke his leg and made only 19 starts. He just turned 33 years old, yet he is the MLB active leader in complete games, finishing 54 of his 300 starts (18%). Number two is Livan Hernandez, who has finished 48 of 424 (11%). Jamie Moyer is third (33/621=5.3%). Wakefield is fourth (32/431=7.4%).
    Halladay has five complete games already this year, and it’s only June. That’s quite a story in an age of pitch counts and one-inning closers.

  • Thanks for the comments.

    Ember, Why must you be so level-headed?

    Andy, I think the Griffey story is big in any season, and possibly the Strasburg story too. You make a fair point about the news cycle, though.

    Terry, I’m not sure what’s desperate here. I’m excited about the baseball season we’ve had so far. I imagine you arrived here via Rob Neyer’s link. If you keep reading PnP — and I hope you do — you will learn that we aren’t in the business of creating stories where they ain’t, providing timely analysis, or writing lists just to build up traffic. We just enjoy baseball a hell of a lot.

    As far as the pitching stories — yes they are fascinating. And yes Roy Halladay is amazing. I actually wrote about complete games about a year ago:

    http://pitchersandpoets.com/2009/04/22/the-decline-and-fall-of-the-complete-game/

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