We’re finishing up Dugout Dish’s Top 10 Project with the top 10 moments submitted by fans. Here’s to more memorable baseball moments in the future!
10. Yasiel Puig and Amir Garrett take on the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- Minutes after word broke out that Yasiel Puig had been traded to Cleveland, Amir Garrett charged the Pittsburgh Pirates’ dugout with no looking back. Garrett decided to single-handedly take on the entire Pirates team after tensions continued to rise throughout the entire game. In the seventh inning, Pirates pitcher Keone Kala threw at Derek Dietrich (which a mutual dislike stems from an earlier situation in the season.) Puig disagreed with a call. Reds’ manager David Bell was ejected (which he would make a mad dash toward the brawl from the clubhouse.) Bell was wrestled to the ground by Pirates hitting coach Rick Eckstein after charging Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle. Yeah, it was a mess but one that we will never forget.
9. The 2019 Home Run Derby.
- The 2019 Home Run Derby broke record upon record. Pete Alonso, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Joc Pederson, Alex Bregman, Matt Chapman (replaced Christian Yelich), Josh Bell, Ronald Acuña Jr., and Carlos Santana competed. The longest home run of the night, amongst the total 312 hit by the 8 players involved, covered a distance of 488 ft (148.74 m), and was hit by the runner-up, Guerrero Jr. Guerrero also set a new single-round record with 29 home runs in the first round. The total tally of 312 home runs is the most in the history of the event. Pete Alonso took home the win and $1 million for winning the Derby. He pledged that he would donate 5% of his winnings to the Wounded Warrior Project and another 5% to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Alonso’s total of 57 homers was the third most ever hit in a Derby, and although that was 34 fewer than Guerrero, he beat him when it counted.
8. Bomba Squad meets Rally Squirrel.
- The Minnesota Twins gained a new mascot in the month of August, known as the iconic Rally Squirrel. The squirrel, or a member of the squirrel family has blessed the presence of many baseball teams throughout the years — but the Bomba Squad played on it. The squirrel remerged on that next night in the fifth, scampering from short right field through Max Kepler’s legs as he took his lead from first base. The Rally Squirrel was a thing, complete with (of course) a Twitter account. By that Thursday, three online clothing companies pushed squirrel-themed T-shirts. Miguel Sanó was even found nursing a stuffed animal squirrel in the dugout. While the real squirrel vanished, the memories will forever last in our hearts.
7. Aristides Aquino surges in August.
- Aristides Aquino was the first Cincinnati Reds player with 13+ HR in a calendar month since 1999. Becoming the fastest in Major League history to reach the 15-homer mark, Aquino did it in only 122 plate appearances. After just one month in the big leagues, Aquino’s at-bats became a must-watch for Reds fans. The rookie finished the Labor Day weekend leading MLB in homers and RBIs since he was promoted on Aug. 1, 2019. He was named National League Player of the Week for Aug. 5-11, marking the only time this season a Reds player has earned the honor. The Punisher can only go up from here.
6. Stevie Wilkerson earns his first save as a position player pitching.
- On July 26, Stevie Wilkerson recorded a save for the Baltimore Orioles. He became the first position player to record a save — like, ever. Position players pitching (which I’m very fond of) began around 1969, yes, 50 years ago. It took exactly 50 years for a position player to record a save as a pitcher. Wilkerson had pitched twice already in the month of July, appearing with the Orioles down 16-2 on the 12th and 16-6 on the 20th, giving up only one run over his three innings of work. But he was not expecting to emerge as Baltimore’s closer on that fateful six-plus hour night of baseball. The only man standing in the way of Wilkerson’s save? Albert Pujols. A weak hit to center ending the game and sealed Wilkerson’s fate into the weird and memorable history books of baseball.
5. 10-run inning for the St. Louis Cardinals against the Cincinnati Reds.
- Literally thirty-two minutes after the Cincinnati Reds headed into the sixth inning with a seven-run lead against the St. Louis Cardinals, things shifted in favor of the visiting birds. 13 batters against three Reds pitchers. Yes, 13 batters. There were eight hits, one walk, one error and one massive blow when outfielder José Martínez hit a go-ahead, three-run home run over the wall to put the final dagger into the Reds, completing the 10-run inning. This wouldn’t be the only time St. Louis scores 10 in an inning. Adam Wainwright had given up seven runs and asked his teammates to lift him up as he walked off of the field. And that’s exactly what they did.
4. Paul Goldschmidt returns to Chase Field.
- When former Arizona Diamondback Paul Goldschmidt returned to Chase Field, all eyes were on him — even when he pushed Dexter Fowler out on to the field to be with him during the highlight reel before Game 1. The Diamondbacks honored Goldschmidt with a tribute video before the game and allowed him and his family to spend time on the field before everyone else warmed up. He also received an ovation before his first at-bat in the first inning, when he drew a walk. Hitting a home run in the third inning, Goldschmidt gave the Cardinals a 4-1 lead that would result in a 9-7 victory.
3. Christian Yelich and Yeli, the dog.
- During Opening Weekend, 6-year-old Lola and her 4-year-old sister Libby held up a sign that read, “Yelich, hit a home run and my dad buys me a puppy!” After hitting the home run, Yelich surprised the family with an 11-week-old mini doodle. Michael Labodda and his wife, Jessica, were in on it for their daughters picking out the perfect pup. Yeli, the dog will not only be a lifelong friend to the girls but will help Lola in more ways than one. Lola has type 1 diabetes, meaning her body can’t produce enough insulin, and the hope was to eventually train Yeli as a diabetes alert dog. Baseball and puppies, name a better duo. Oh, you can’t.
2. Pete Alonso hits his 53rd home run.
- When Pete Alonso broke out for his rookie season, many assumed that Christian Yelich or Cody Bellinger would reign supreme when it came to leading the league in home runs. Little did anyone know how much punch Polar Bear Pete actually has at the dish. Breaking Aaron Judge’s Rookie record on September 28, Alonso stood at first base with tears streaming down his face. All of Citi Field stood and watched, celebrating the emotional moment with him.and as of tonight, he’s the reigning NL Rookie of the Year.
1. The Washington Nationals are World Series Champs.
- There isn’t much to say that I could just say in the title. The Washington Nationals made history this season. They were the improbable team. The last men standing up the stadium lights. The 2019 Nationals are the kind of team that makes people fall in love with baseball. The kind of team that generations will talk about. The Legend of Baby Shark will never die.