After a very fun run to a World Series by the Giants, the Royals surprising everyone, the epic collapse of the Oakland A’s, and much more, there are plenty of things to be thankful for during this Thanksgiving for MLB fans. This past season saw some amazing things and this offseason has already brought a few surprises.
Here are 4 things you should be thankful for this Thanksgiving as an MLB fan:
The World Series went 7 games:
After incredible Wild Card games, Division Series’, and Championship Series’, it only felt right for two wild card teams to end up making it all the way to a decisive game 7. The Giants had their backs up against the wall, but in the end Madison Bumgarner turned in an all time historic performance. What he did in that series was unmatched from almost any other performance maybe other than Don Larsen’s perfect game. But nonetheless, when his team needed him, he came through more than anyone could think. Billy Butler even said something along the lines of “I didn’t know one person could win a World Series like Bumgarner did for the Giants.” Moments like this write history books and this was one of those performances that will go down in those record books and be inked in baseball history forever.
The regular season came down to game 162
After the end of a 162 game regular season, people are always saying that not every game counts. Well, for the Mariners, every game did count because they ended up missing the playoffs by one game. The A’s were on the verge of one of the biggest collapses in MLB history, but ended up getting a win on the final day of the season to push through to the Wild Card game. As a baseball fan, this is all you can ask for. It wasn’t like a few years ago when the Rays came back from a bunch of runs back to win it on a walk off, but I promise you that in Seattle, it was as if the Mariners actually had made it because that last series was at Safeco Field felt like a playoff series against an Angels team that had nothing to play for.
The Playoffs featured some different teams
In past years, it felt like baseball was getting very repetitive. It was the Red Sox, Cardinals, Yankees and so on. This year though, was a bit of a relief to fans, like me, who were sick of the same teams making it all the way. I know the Giants have been there 3 times in the past 5 years, but because they were playing a team who hadn’t been there since 1985 in the Royals, it kind of took that element out. Being able to see teams like the Orioles, A’s, Royals, and Pirates able to make the playoffs was good to see for the growth of baseball. The main teams will always be there, but I like to see some parity in baseball where there are other teams in the mix and contending for the Postseason and doing decently well. Even the Dodgers can enter into this conversation because before 2013, they hadn’t been in the playoffs since 2009. There are teams that will be knocking on the door for next year like Seattle, potentially the Cubs (!), the Pirates look to make it back, and there always seems to be a surprise team in contention.
Free Agency has gotten off to a bang
With the two big signings of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, the Red Sox have made a huge footprint on this offseason so far. These two were arguably the best free agents on the market this year and the Red Sox were able to sign both. In past years, we haven’t seen too much movement this early before the Winter Meetings. This year we have seen the aforementioned duo of Ramirez and Sandoval going to the Red Sox along with the D’Backs landing the heralded Cuban OF Yasmany Tomas, the White Sox landing Adam LaRoche, and the A’s snatching Billy Butler. This is good for baseball that players are signing so early because unlike the NBA and NHL, free agency is spread out over the whole offseason instead of concentrated in about 2 weeks. People like action in free agency and people have definitely gotten that early this year. This is just the beginning of what should be a fun offseason in the free agency realm.
This Thanksgiving, just think about how lucky America is to call baseball our own sport. While it may not be in season, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of storylines and plenty to be thankful for in this beautiful sport we like to call baseball.
Have a great Thanksgiving!
Seattle sports fan and MLB writer for International Sports Hub