The Mets’ big-money futility, Julio Rodríguez’s feat and more Strange But True reader favorites

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We walk each play penning down nan Strangest But Truest feats of this and each twelvemonth successful our notebook. It’s what we do. Who nan heck knows why?

It’s a nosy process. It’s a time-consuming process. It’s astir apt nan astir ridiculous point immoderate shot writer successful nan world makes clip to do each azygous day. But we’ve built this Strange But True monster. Now we person nary prime but to provender nan beast.

But here’s nan existent deal: We couldn’t do it without you, our readers. You show america each nan clip that you emotion this stuff. So we unrecorded to make you happy. But this is nan champion portion of this — nan portion wherever you tell us what your individual Strange But True highlights of nan twelvemonth were.

You had truthful galore awesome ones. Wish we could person gotten to them all. But each 1 of nan Strange But True Reader Favorites to travel is fantastic. We admit that you took nan clip to occurrence them astatine us. We admit that you publication this worldly astatine all.

So thanks! And Happy New Year! And present we go, pinch this year’s version of nan Strange But True Reader Favorites of 2023.

Highest payroll of each clip — by astir $60 cardinal finishes 12 games nether .500. Kevin H.

You cognize what, Kevin? It would person been truthful easy to walk for illustration half of this Strange But True extravaganza this week conscionable pounding connected everything that made nan Mets’ play truthful bizarre. We were considerately trying not to spell there, for nan liking of each those Mets fans we cognize who person endured capable pain. But since you asked…

Mets’ payroll this year: $343.6 million*

Gap betwixt Mets’ payroll and adjacent biggest ever: $65.6 million*

Mets’ grounds this year: 75-87

Average grounds of nan adjacent 4 biggest payrolls ever: 100-62

(*-according to Spotrac)

At immoderate rate, aft re-reading your question, we deliberation you were asking: How uncommon is it for nan squad pinch nan biggest payroll successful shot to person a grounds arsenic disfigured arsenic nan train wreck these Mets rolled up? Good one! So we asked that very mobility of our friends from STATS Perform.

You should cognize that it’s tricky because location is nary definitive nationalist root connected shot teams’ payrolls. So STATS decided to usage figures from Baseball-Reference and The Baseball Cube. Works for us. But nary matter what root you usage … it had been a while.

Last clip nan biggest spender successful MLB vanished 12 games nether aliases worse: Al Leiter’s 1995 Blue Jays ($49.8 million!) staggered backmost from nan onslaught and someway vanished 32 games nether (56-88).

Biggest payroll earlier these Mets to decorativeness 12 games nether aliases worse: Gorkys Hernandez’s 2018 Giants had a $208.5 cardinal payroll and vanished 16 nether (73-89). So nan 2023 Mets outspent them by $135 million!

There’s a batch much there. It was tempting. But it’s Be Nice to Mets Fans Week. So that’ll do it for nan Mets-bashing information of this Reader Favorites column. Now backmost to measurement much nosy topics.

Josh Naylor pinch 3 consecutive days of go-ahead 8th-inning homers. — Evan B.

Here’s your Guardians goosebumps typical for 2023. Jim Thome ne'er launched go-ahead, late-inning agelong balls 3 days successful a statement successful Cleveland. Albert Belle ne'er did that. Rocky Colavito? Nope. Not him, either. But connected May 12, 13 and 14, Josh Naylor was The Man.

Josh Naylor has had a go-ahead location tally successful nan 8th inning successful THREE STRAIGHT GAMES.#ForTheLand

— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) May 14, 2023

So what’s truthful Strange But True astir that? Go-ahead location runs three days successful a row in nan eighth inning? How galore different players successful nan live-ball era person ever done that? The Elias Sports Bureau has gone there. Let’s spell pinch … none!

Rowdy Tellez closing retired a playoff clincher and giving nan property convention of nan twelvemonth afterward. — Spencer J.

Spencer! You’re nan MVP of this file conscionable for bringing that up. Look, we had 115 position players transportation successful alleviation this season. It’s truthful easy to area retired erstwhile they travel strolling into nan game. But not successful this game.

It was Sept. 22. The Brewers — up, 16-1 successful nan ninth — conscionable needed to get 3 outs earlier they gave up 15 runs, and they were going to clinch a spot successful nan postseason. So what much logical prime to effort to nail down those 3 outs and not springiness up 15 runs than … Rowdy Tellez, beloved first baseman turned clincher-nailer-downer? Could he spell wherever men for illustration Rollie Fingers and CC Sabathia person gone before? He could. He did.

So what’s truthful Strange But True astir that? How galore position players successful history person ever gotten nan last retired of a playoff clincher, you ask? Yessir, that would beryllium one: The one, nan only, Rowdy Tellez.

Jakob Junis throwing nan shot successful nan outfield, yet still getting nan out. — Peyton’s S.

Oh, wait. Peyton’s S. besides mightiness beryllium successful nan moving for MVP of this column, because we emotion this play! Has to beryllium nan Strangest But Truest pop-up of 2023. Not moreover accepting different nominations.

This shot sailed into nan entity connected June 16, successful nan 11th inning of a Giants-Dodgers crippled that was astir to get weird. If you don’t retrieve what happened next, we tin thief pinch that. The Jon Miller telephone connected KNBR Radio is epic.

Here's Jon Miller's unthinkable power telephone of Friday's incredibly bizarre play successful nan 11th inning 📻

"Man, that was conscionable disgraceful!"

— KNBR (@KNBR) June 17, 2023

“What is happening?” Jon Miller asked. And that seems for illustration benignant of a loaded mobility successful retrospect.

So what’s truthful Strange But True astir that? Best measurement to sum it up is: You conscionable saw 32 seconds of pop-up madness featuring nan aforesaid feline (Giants reliever Junis) throwing nan transportation that started this escapade and past signaling nan putout that ended it.

Not to mention that, according to Statcast wizard Jason Bernard, it was besides nan first play in nan Statcast era (2015-23) to nutrient 2 errors on a shot pinch a zero deed probability. The full point was truthful goofy, we really tracked down Junis to fto him cognize what he’d been portion of.

“You know, it’s conscionable 1 of those weird, weird things you don’t really believe excessively often,” he said.” I don’t deliberation anybody thought, erstwhile that shot went up successful nan air, that that was astir to happen.”

Well, we dream not!

Derek Law, pitching for Cincinnati against Atlanta connected April 10, his last line: Zero innings, 2 runs charged, 1 transportation thrown. I deliberation he whitethorn person been nan first pitcher ever to decorativeness his time pinch much runs than pitches. — Peter R.

It’s a Strange But True box-score classic, each right. Derek Law arrives connected nan mound, inherits a Zombie Runner connected second, dishes up a game-winning location tally to Sean Murphy connected nan first transportation he flips up location and correct you are, Peter. His statement went for illustration this:

2 runs, 1 pitch!

So what’s truthful Strange But True astir that? Here we go. How galore pitchers successful history — by which we evidently mean Zombie-Runner history (2020-23) — person ever had an outing for illustration this one, featuring conscionable 1 transportation but much runs than pitches? Derek Law makes up nan full list, because of people he does.

Has location ever been a 90-win section champion for illustration nan 2023 Houston Astros? They won ONE extra-inning crippled nan full regular play (and mislaid 8). — Jay C.

This is fantabulous activity by Jay, conscionable to punctual america that it wasn’t only nan Padres who cornered nan marketplace connected Zombie Runner extra-inning futility successful 2023. The Padres whitethorn person almost made it done nan full play earlier they yet won their first extra-inning game with 4 games near successful nan season. But…

It was nan Astros who did thing measurement much Strange But True. They went 1-8 successful other innings but still won 90 games and their division. And that doesn’t hap much. By which we mean … not astatine all.

So what’s truthful Strange But True astir that? Has location ever been a first-place squad — successful nan division-play era aliases World Series era — that only won 1 extra-inning crippled each season? Nope! The aged grounds was two, by nan 2007 Cubs (2-8), nan 2007 Red Sox (2-5) and 1998 Braves (2-4). Well, not anymore!

J-Rod’s tally of 4 consecutive four-hit games was an insane agelong of highest capacity and entertainment. — Ian S.

What do group emotion to show you astir baseball? It’s a crippled of failure, right? So really travel cipher told nan Mariners’ charismatic leadoff stone star, Julio Rodríguez? Let’s relive those 4 games Ian conscionable dropped connected us:

Aug. 16: 4 hits

Aug. 17: 5 hits

Aug. 18: 4 hits

Aug. 19: 4 hits

Holy DiMaggio. That’s 17 hits! And since cipher retired location has ever seen a feline get 17 hits successful 4 games (not counting, like, tee-ball), beryllium backmost and watch each 17 hits pinch your ain eyeballs, because why not?

Julio Rodríguez had SEVENTEEN hits successful his past 4 games and I cognize that sounds intolerable but location is video.

Do not expect to spot this hap again successful your lifetime.

— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) August 20, 2023

So what’s truthful Strange But True astir that? Only 1 different subordinate successful nan modern era — Milt Stock, for nan 1925 Brooklyn Robins — has ever ripped disconnected 4 hits aliases much 4 games successful a row. And moreover Milt Stock didn’t operation successful a five-hit crippled successful nan mediate of each that. So wow. But also…

Here’s 1 much Strange But True point we noticed that cipher other seemed to latch onto. Julio besides had a agelong successful location that went for illustration this:

Single, single, single, single, single, double, homer, single, homer, single, reach connected E-6, single, single, single, single, single, double

Now obviously, we’re ignoring a mates of strikeouts and not deducting points for nan error. But here’s why we mention that. Because that’s 17 balls successful a statement that Julio put nan shot successful play in which he reached base 17 times successful a row!

Baseball-Reference’s astonishing Katie Sharp plowed done nan site’s full database. And who other did she find had ever reached guidelines 17 times successful a statement erstwhile putting a shot successful play? Nobody. So Ian, acknowledgment for bringing that up!

Evan Carter appearing successful each crippled of a World Series playoff tally and will still beryllium considered a rookie adjacent year. — Forrest D.

We’re still successful awe complete what Carter did successful that postseason, Forrest. He was 21 years old. He’d been successful nan large leagues for 3 weeks erstwhile this Octoberfest began. Then each he did was deed .306/.413/.645 for The Team that Won nan World Series. Woah.

So what’s truthful Strange But True astir that? Of nan first 21 times Carter ever came to bat successful a postseason game, he reached guidelines successful 13 of them. And did you cognize he has already been connected guidelines much times successful nan postseason (30) than Ken Griffey Jr. (29)? So, that Evan Carter October was arsenic Strange But True arsenic it gets. But…

In nan annals of Stuff Guys Did Before They Had a Shot to Win Rookie of nan Year, will anybody apical Randy Arozarena?

  • Played successful nan 2019 regular play AND postseason for 1 squad (the Cardinals).
  • Got traded that wintertime to a different squad (the Rays).
  • Didn’t get backmost to nan large leagues successful 2020 until Aug. 30.
  • Then went disconnected and deed 10 location runs successful nan postseason, meaning …
  • He deed 10 postseason homers earlier he deed his 10th regular-season homer.
  • And then, nan adjacent year, won a Rookie of nan Year grant AFTER winning an ALCS MVP award.

So Evan Carter: Amazing. But Randy Arozarena: The GOAT successful nan Pre-Rookie Hall of Fame.

‘Down goes Anderson! Down goes Anderson!’ — Michael C.

Don’t show america we request to explicate this. Two words: Tom Hamilton!

One infinitesimal past Aug. 5, nan superb Voice of nan Guardians was conscionable doing what he does, describing a shot crippled complete nan radio. The next, José Ramírez versus Tim Anderson — and their friends — had busted out, and presented him pinch nan wildest shot conflict of nan 21st period … for nan adjacent 14 minutes.

Did Tom Hamilton emergence to that occasion? Ha. Is that a rhetorical question? Greatest. Call. Ever.


— Baseball Quotes (@BaseballQuotes1) August 6, 2023

So what’s truthful Strange But True astir that? We wrote astir 90,000 words connected that fracas afterward, trying to reply that question, because of people we did. Feel free to read them all. We won’t complain. But we couldn’t make it activity without talking to Tom Hamilton. He’s nan best.

He went to a shot crippled 1 night. And adjacent point he knew, he was describing nan Thrilla successful Manila. Just doing what came naturally, he said pinch a laugh.

“You’re virtually doing play-by-play,” Hamilton said. “It conscionable happened to beryllium a different athletics than nan 1 I started nan nighttime doing.”

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(Top photograph of erstwhile Mets head Buck Showalter, Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso: Al Bello / Getty Images)

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