As the year is ending, there are going to be a lot of lists like this one. But I wanted to think back over the last ten years and look within, at some emotional moments. Some moments were happy, some sad, some were even bittersweet. But I wanted to boil this list down to my Top Ten Most Emotional MLB Moments from 2010-2019. (This list will be in no particular order.)
ALEX RODRIGUEZ’S LAST GAME/RETIREMENT
This one was one of those bittersweet moments. Alex Rodriguez has long been my favorite player. And despite all the ups and downs that brought forth, A-Rod was still my guy. A-Rod would play his last game on August 12, 2016. And what made that day so significant was I made tickets to that game. But the tickets weren’t purchased after the announcement that Rodriguez would play his final game that day.
The tickets were actually purchased a couple of months before as a birthday gift for my godson. Yet it would be a gift to me in the end. As I would witness live the thunder-clapped ceremony and booming double that would accompany Alex Rodriguez that night. I was sad to see my favorite player go, but I was happy to be there to see A-Rod run out to third base in the top of the ninth and be able to embrace that moment.
MARIANO RIVERA’S FINAL GAME/RETIREMENT
When Mariano stepped up to the podium in Tampa, Florida, in 2013 to announce he would retire at years end, it was difficult to hear. As a Yankee fan, Mariano was all that I truly knew when it came to winning and closing out games. So fast-forward, and Mariano is on the mound throwing his final pitch, and then Andy Pettitte (who was also retiring) and Derek Jeter make there way to the mound to make the pitching change. Mariano smiled and laughed a bit until Andy embraced him. Rivera would then breakdown, and as the tears are down Mariano’s face, so too the same tears ran down the faces of every Yankee fan that night, myself included.
DEREK JETER’S FINAL GAME/RETIREMENT
Much like Mariano, Derek Jeter would also inform the world of his retirement so that fans could brace for the impact of a Yankee Universe without the Core 4. Growing up, the only shortstop I had come to know in the Bronx was Derek Jeter. Jeter was a staple in the Yankee infield. I mean, think about the entire time Jeter was in the Bronx, Boston had about seven hundred different shortstops. So seeing the final game for The Captain was yet another bittersweet moment. Derek was not the player he once was, but he was still my Captain on my favorite team, and he was in the final moments of his playing career. And in prototypical Derek Jeter fashion, the game and a Yankee win came down to the Jeter. A “Jetarian Swing” to right field would have the winning run come across the plate, and the Yankees WIN.
FIRST MARLINS GAME AFTER PASSING OF JOSE FERNANDEZ
One of the most gut-wrenching and saddest moments that I’ve ever witnessed was the first game the Marlins played after the passing of their Ace, Jose Fernandez. The entire team was decked out in Fernandez #16 jerseys and tears in their eyes. Watching Dee Gordon hit the biggest and honestly the most important homerun of his career with tears engulfing his eyes as he ran the bases broke the hearts of baseball fans all around the world.
CHICAGO CUBS WIN WORLD SERIES
It’s no secret that I am a Yankee fan. But first and foremost, I identify as a baseball fan. And being a baseball fan, I study and appreciate the history of the game. When the Chicago Cubs broke the 108-year “Curse of the Billy Goat” and won the world series in an epic 7-game encounter with the Cleveland Indians. And with that World Series win, Theo Epstein has cemented his plaque in Cooperstown in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
GERRIT COLE SIGNS WITH NY YANKEES
Although this was a more recent moment, it’s one that has huge significance to close out the year and decade. Gerrit Cole is arguably the best pitcher to hit the free-agent market. And we’ve covered Cole quite a bit already in this site. But the moment that news broke about Gerrit signing with the Yankees, an 11-year journey was finally complete. And it was a jubilant day for Yankee fans, myself among them.
AARON JUDGE’S ROOKIE CAMPAIGN
When the 6’7″ Aaron Judge made his debut on August 13th of 2016, no one was sure that Judge would last. During that brief 2016 cameo, before an injury took away the rest of the season, Aaron Judge was striking out 50% of the time. YIKES!!! That’s not something that can hold up in Major League Baseball. But during the 2017 season, Judge would make some incredible adjustments. Those adjustments would then produce moment after moment and blast after blast leading to a rookie record 52 homeruns. This breakout performance would spark the minds of Yankee fans everywhere. And it all started this decade.
CC SABATHIA’S LAST PITCH/JOE GIRARDI’S REACTION
When watching this latest playoff series for the New York Yankees, our veteran leader, CC Sabathia, would throw the final pitch of his career. Sabathia would give the Yankees everything he had and literally pitched until he no longer could. But the even more emotional moment was that night on MLB Tonight, CC’s former manager, Joe Girardi, would speak about CC. And the emotion that poured out of Girardi brings tears to Joe’s eyes. And the ordinarily stoic Girardi would show a vulnerability that brought tears to Yankee fans’ eyes everywhere.
MIKE TROUT SIGNS EXTENSION WITH LA ANGELS
Now this entry is based on pure shock. Outside of the astronomical amount of money, that is $430 Million (& arguably I’d say it’s a discount) Mike Trout signing an extension to become a career Angel effectively. If you’ve spent any time reading this site or listening to me speak about Mike Trout, I’ve made it very clear that he’s the best player that we have ever seen. Yet sadly, the best player on the planet has only ever made the postseason once. The Angels have made several attempts to out some moved together to get Trout to the playoffs. But nearly all the moves they’ve made have backfired. The Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton contract have stifled the Angels financial flexibility over the last several years. And because of that it seems as if they have been unable to fill out a team around Trout. Making the extension all the more a strange and shocking thing.
THE END OF THE WORLD SERIES, EVERY SEASON
For anyone that knows me, it’s no secret that I’m a huge baseball fan, and that I don’t pay attention to any other sport. So when the World Series is over it brings about feelings of sadness but also hope. The end of the season brings about reflection much like the end of the year.
So as the year closes let me know your list of emotional MLB moments down in the comments below.