Home run H-O-R-S-E, more Orbit dancing and 8 other MLB occurrences we hope to see in 2016
The Hot Stove is flickering. The cold weather is here. Players are flipping giant tires instead of bats. But take heart! The calendar has flipped to 2016 -- which means it's officially next year. To help you start getting excited for all the baseball we have ahead of us, here are the 10 things we hope we see in the 12 months to come.
A home run for Bartolo
Everyone's favorite Pitcher Who Rakes had a big year in 2015 -- not only did he eclipse his career high in hits, but he showed off the power and speed that makes him truly unparalleled at the plate:
So what could Bartolo possibly do for an encore? He could go yard, that's what. Preferably off the Citi Field apple, but we're not picky.
A game-long anthem standoff
Intrepid standers across the league pushed MLB's pregame shenanigans to new heights -- only to be one-upped by a pair of ABL bullpens who refused to blink until the third inning.
No less than America's standing as the world's preeminent standoffers is at stake, gentlemen. You have the equipment. You have the facial hair. Ninth inning or bust.
A walk-off buzzer beater to win the Home Run Derby
We were this close to seeing this perfect storm of dinger dramatics last season, as Todd Frazier almost sent the home crowd into a frenzy with a deep fly ball that just beat the clock:
Alas, the winds of fate blew it back in, and we were forced to wait another year. The Midsummer Classic comes to San Diego in 2016, and with any luck, another hometown hero -- Matt Kemp, maybe? -- will walk it off.
The history of dance, via Orbit
Orbit's rendition of the "Single Ladies" dance was the barometer by which all other mascot shenanigans were measured last season. Gaze upon it, if your eyes can handle its majesty:
The only reasonable expectation for a furry green alien with those kinds of moves? The entire history of dance, from the dawn of man to the present day. (Maybe not dabbing, though. That's so 2015.)
Will Ferrell takes his game to the next level
Will Ferrell took Spring Training by storm when he played an inning at all 10 spots for 10 teams. But what about all the different aspects of the MLB experience? Can he evaluate talent? How are his hot dog-selling skills, anyway?
So, we present a humble request for Spring Training 2016: Instead of just handling all 10 positions on the field, how about all the ones off of it? For one day, Ferrell will act as general manager, manager, first-base coach, PA announcer and food vendor. Just be warned though, Will: The Lemonade Guy is a hard act to follow.
Giancarlo Stanton and Kyle Schwarber play home run H-O-R-S-E
For these two sluggers, merely blasting one out of the park wasn't nearly enough -- when you have the kind of power that can clear an entire stadium, some style points are necessary. So Giancarlo took aim at camera wells, while Schwarber went for scoreboards:
Since both players can clearly hit a ball wherever they want whenever they want, structural integrity be damned, how about a game of H-O-R-S-E? Giancarlo hits one left-handed, Schwarber comes back with one Happy Gilmore style. Make it happen, guys.
Jonny Gomes starts a game … as a pitcher
Jonny Gomes may excel at emceeing and carrying the American flag, but his true calling is clearly on the mound. Just look at the performance he put together against the Yankees.
The form! The movement! The casual disregard for conventional pitching mechanics! Gomes is clearly ready for a role in someone's rotation in 2016. He may come up with pitches we haven't even invented yet.
Two words: Bat jousting
Just picture it: The seventh-inning stretch, fans taking a brief break from the action to get up, take a walk, maybe grab some snacks. But wait! Two mascots on horseback! And are those … padded bats they're holding? In our perfect world, this is but the first stage in an American Gladiator mascot obstacle course, but we'll settle for a jousting match for now.
A fan catches a baseball in his pocket
Fans made all kinds of grabs last season -- in their beer, in their popcorn, in a box, with a fox. But one receptacle has remained elusive, the white whale of would-be souvenir grabbers: Pockets. Sure, they're convenient for wallet holding, but catching a baseball? That's a whole different level of skill.
So we're issuing an open challenge: The first fan to snag a souvenir on their waist will be named the True Fan Catch Champion. (First prize are these two baseball gloves.)
Mandated clubhouse pets
The 2015 non-waiver Trade Deadline featured all kinds of wheeling and dealing -- Troy Tulowitzki and David Price both changed teams, and Justin Uptonmade us all think he did. But only one team could truly claim transaction victory: Josh Reddick and the A's, who went out and acquired Chuckie, the clubhouse chinchilla.
Chuckie the Chinchilla. New clubhouse addition pic.twitter.com/QUBZA4KBtj— Mr. Irrelevant (@RealJoshReddick) July 31, 2015
Since nothing brings us together quite like adorable animals, let's see this become mandatory in 2016. We hear the Cubs already have their eyes on a flamingo.