Here's what the Cut4 staff is thankful for this Thanksgiving
In addition to discovering new and improved ways to stuff our stomachs with turkey, Thanksgiving is a time for contemplation and reflection -- a day to step back and take stock of all the positive influences in our lives.
All due respect to our friends and loved ones, there's no positive influence quite like baseball. So, in observance of this special holiday, we here at Cut4 present the reasons we're most thankful for the year that was in MLB.
Michael Clair: Stirrup socks
Sure, there are other beautiful things on the field that you see much more often: a gorgeous swing that sends baseballs into the cosmos, a slider that exists in five dimensions, a perfectly brimmed baseball cap. But the stirrup sock -- that completely-unnecessary-in-today's-society strip of fabric stretched over a white sanitary sock -- is something that belongs solely to baseball. Brad Miller, Sean Gilmartin and Francisco Lindor are all proponents of the look. While they may be outnumbered by the guys opting to pull their cuffs down or those who go with the single-colored tube sock, a stirrup makes everything look so much better. All hail the stirrup sock.
Ben Cosman: Adrian Beltre
I'm thankful for Adrian Beltre. In his 19th MLB season and at 37 years old, Beltre batted .300/.358/.521 with 32 home runs. He led the Rangers in fWAR (6.1, nearly doubling second place), won his fifth Gold Glove and even received a single first-place vote for American League MVP. And he did all of this while having more fun than anyone on the diamond. I mean, just think of the GIFs he gave us this year:
Dakota Gardner: The next generation of Red Sox vs. Yankees
David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez played their final games in Boston and New York in 2016, but the future of baseball's most famous rivalry is safe. Young players like Mookie Betts and Gary Sanchez showed that they more than belong in the bright lights. Betts put together a campaign that nearly won him an MVP Award in just his second full season, while Sanchez just missed out on the AL Rookie of the Year Award. Players come and go, but Red Sox vs. Yankees is forever.
Adrian Garro: The jump shot helmet toss phenomenon
There are few situations more ripe for celebration than a walk-off homer. From a hitter's perspective, it's the apex of individual success. From the pitcher's perspective, well, it's … not. The 2016 season gave us a new method, thanks to A's slugger Khris Davis and the Mariners' Adam Lind. Rounding the bases, approaching a frothy throng of your teammates waiting to erupt in raucous delirium? That's fun. But pulling up and firing off a helmet jump shot is a step above.
Gemma Kaneko: Ichiro Suzuki
Over the past few years, many baseball fans of a certain age have had to reckon with the favorite players of their youth ... (ominous piano sound) ... retiring. But not mine. Nope, I don't have to deal with the relentless pressure of the waves of time, and neither does Ichiro Suzuki. At the age of 42, he got his 3,000th MLB hit, and who knows how many more are in store? Ichiro is coming back in 2017, which means I already know what I'm going to put on this list next year.
Chris Landers: October baseball
This is no knock on the regular season, that wonderfully constant summer companion. But it is most definitely a marathon -- a six-month grind to separate pretenders from contenders. And then, like a blast of fall air, October arrives and the pedal hits the floor.
The 2016 postseason began with a bang and a parrot, and it never looked back. There were lights-out pitchers, and dingers, and lights-out pitchers hitting dingers. We talked about drones for 36 hours straight. Clayton Kershaw even came out of the bullpen at one point. Oh, and there was Game 7.
I'm just thankful I was there to witness it.
Corinne Landrey: Pitchers who rake
Every year, baseball delivers gloriously unexpected moments of greatness. Perhaps my favorite form of surprise glory is pitchers succeeding in the batter's box. This year, I'm thankful for the successful offensive exploits of guys like Noah Syndergaard , Yu Darvish , Jake Arrieta and many more. But mostly, I'm thankful we were finally able to witness a Bartolo Colon dinger.
Matt Monagan: All of the old baseball men
I am thankful for 40-year-old David Ortiz putting up the greatest final season in MLB history. For 39-year-old catcher David Ross fully embracing his "Grandpa Rossy" nickname, hitting a big Game 7 homer and being part of a historic Cubs World Series victory. For 39-year-old Carlos Beltran posting his best OPS in five years and highest dinger total in three. For 42-year-old Ichiro Suzuki continuing to defy the odds and pass milestones we never thought possible. And, of course, for 43-year-old Bartolo Colon playing every game with a smile on his face and hitting one of the best home runs ever:
These guys make growing grey and aged feel OK.