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These were 10 moments from August that reminded us why baseball is the greatest

With August in the rearview mirror, there is now only One. Month. Left. That's horrifying. While the last month of the baseball season promises plenty to get excited about, with 17 teams four games or fewer away from a playoff spot, it does mean that the harsh cold of winter is soon coming. 
Before we leap headfirst into the pennant race, let's look back at the hot, hot heat from the month of August.
Note: All stats as of Aug. 31.  
Joey Votto is just like you and me -- he gets upset at work, he checks baseball stats for inspiration and he knows the joy of ordering 51 pizzas for someone.

Of course, the biggest difference is he's one of the greatest hitters you may ever witness. After struggling through the early part of the season, Votto has once again turned into a baseball-mashing machine -- aided by his online baseball research. Since June 1, Votto has hit .375/.495/.609 with 13 HRs. He upped that in August, when he hit .400, and, perhaps more surprisingly, picked up two triples. You don't see that from first basemen very often. 

Also, great pants. 
While baseball won't return to the Olympics until 2020, the world of baseball and international competition still crossed over. When Michael Phelps accepted one of his gold medals, he started cracking up as the Orioles fan tradition of shouting "oh!" during the National Anthem broke out: 

After lapping the competition in her own swim meets, Katie Ledecky made Bryce Harper carry her medals while she tossed out the first pitch: 

And US gymnastics captain Aly Raisman nearly put David Ortiz's back out when she handed off her medals. 

Which begs the question: When baseball's back in 2020, who will carry whose medals? 
Birds? Fine, we get it. We can do nothing to stop your aerial assault. Squirrels? Hey, fine, whatever. Rabbits? That's adorable. 
But when this goat interrupted a State College Spikes game to slowly saunter across the field -- as if to say, "You guys do you. I'm just living my truth" -- well, that was a little different. 

Maybe instead of midgame mascot races, we could just have petting zoo stoppages. 
Of course, the animal that really owned the month was the Royals' rally mantis. This mantis was so photogenic, some believed it was fake when it first appeared atop Billy Burns' cap like something out of a charming children's movie.

He soon became the symbol of a team that -- also quite like a movie -- started a nine-game winning streak that thrust them back into the postseason picture. Kauffman Stadium was transformed, with fans making the park look like a set from a Roger Corman B-movie.

Unfortunately, life is short and the mantis passed on to another realm. There was a lot of mourning. Danny Duffy made a tribute video. Billy Burns stayed up all night hoping to will him back to life. 

Soon, another mantis showed up. Is it the same one -- his soul transmuting into another insect's body? Is it son of mantis? We can't be sure -- though the Royals aren't taking any risks this time around and are keeping this mantis in more secure housing. 
Trumbo has always been good at hitting home runs. Operation Trumbo Drop has topped 30 home runs twice before in his career, but as part of an Orioles lineup afflicted with dingeritis, he's topped 40 home runs and will likely lead the Majors when the season is over. 
Of course, he topped even the most giving of homerific expectations when he went yard in seven consecutive at-bats

When the streak ended, it was probably less because he couldn't hit another dinger and more because he started feeling bad for the pitchers. 
The Cubs started the year on a tear, winning 17 games in April and holding a nine-game division lead in the middle of May. They were juggernauts. 
But baseball has a long season, and it's hard to keep rolling at a .750 winning percentage. In fact, the Cubs were under .500 in July, going 12-14. Was that the end of the chosen team?
When the calendar flipped, the rest of the league was put on watch. The Wrigley Fielders went 21-6 in the month. Kris Bryant went on a homer binge, finishing August at 35 and putting himself in a dead heat for the National League home run title. 
Just watch how easily he hit this one that made the fielders and runners pause to admire it. 

Meanwhile, Jon Lester, John Lackey and Kyle Hendricks all posted ERAs below 2.00 for the month. And, thanks to Hendricks' amazing changeup, he may even walk away with the NL Cy Young Award as he leads the Majors with a 2.09 ERA.

Every other team: It's time to cower in fear. 
Relievers are hired for not allowing runs in key moments. However, Britton might be making it look a little too easy. Thanks to an upper-90s sinker that batters either whiff on or hit straight into the ground, Britton went 43 consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run. before giving up one to the Nationals on Aug. 24.

With the Orioles' rotation struggling this year -- four starters have made over 10 starts with ERA's 5.30 or higher -- Britton's 0.67 ERA and ability to completely decimate the opposition is a big reason why the team entered the last day of the month in possession of a Wild Card spot.
The goal of every Minor Leaguer is to make the Majors. What better way is there to get your boss' attention than by making an absolutely outrageous, insane, back-breaking catch?
Tigers prospect Dixon Machado decided to harken back to the days before baseball gloves were used and ended a game by going with a barehand. Watch as he snatched the ball out of the air the same way you would snag apartment keys being thrown out a window. 

Rockies outfield prospect Raimel Tapia basically ran a 5K across two straight batters: 

And Angels Minor Leaguer Zach Welz said, "Wall? Where we're going we don't need no stinkin-- Aaaah!" 

Of course, all of that really is just practice for the Major League level as Andrew Benintendi showed with the Red Sox: 

At first glance, the name 'Gary Sanchez' seems like one you might make up when trying to lie your way into some party. Routine, yet unique, it was the perfect alibi to try and get by bouncers as you say, "Oh yeah, Rick knows me. Ask Rick." 
Not anymore. 
After a one game trial in May, the four-time top 100 prospect made his Major League return on Aug. 3 and immediately started hitting, picking up a base hit in each of his first four games. Of course, you're here for the power, and Sanchez cracked 11 home runs in the month of August.That includes two multi-homer games, helping to make him the first rookie to win back-to-back Rookie of the Week awards.
He's hit short ones, going opposite field with more of a poke than a blast.

He's hit massive shots that threatened to drive straight through the sun.  

While Yankees fans may remember Shane Spencer doing something similar in 1998, not only is Gary Sanchez a better prospect than Spencer was, the sheer strength that he's put on display is proof that gravity is merely a concept. 
While only 30 players in Major League history have ever picked up 3,000 hits, just one of them has done it after making his Major League debut at the age of 27: Ichiro. Facing the Rockies on Aug. 7, baseball's cross-pacific superstar fulfilled a base hit destiny that started in 1992 when he collected his first of 1,278 Japanese hits. 
Coming up in the seventh inning, Ichiro could have just hit a single, stood on first base and accepted the applause. Instead, he tripled off the wall -- nearly homering -- to prove everyone who ever said "Ichiro could win the Home Run Derby" right along the way. 

Everyone, and I mean everyone, wanted to party with Ichiro. 

With only one month of the regular season left, and races getting tight, it's time to use those sick days and spend all your time watching baseball. After all, you don't want to miss a single play the rest of the way.