It's time for us to vote on the first of the 2014 SB Nation Awards. There are six categories, which were introduced last week, and we'll begin with the Funniest A's Moment of 2014.
We have nine contenders. There is a poll at the bottom, and your task is to choose your favorite moment and vote for it. That's so easy that a caveman could do it. (Hey, Derek Norris takes offense to that!)
Freiman stands next to Altuve
It's not new, but it's a classic. And it happened again this year.
Long live Jose Altuve/Nate Freiman side-by-side pics. #Athletics #Astros pic.twitter.com/Q9HmY8frrd— Adrian Garro (@adriangarro) July 23, 2014
One guy is 6'8, the other is 5'5. It's not just that Freiman is really tall, or that Altuve is really short. It's that they're both of those things, right next to each other.
Nate Freiman is 6'8". Jose Altuve, not so much. #Athletics @6FootN8ion pic.twitter.com/FPDSbqzM8M— 0|\/|6 |\||(k 1337 (@dtnick) July 23, 2014
Coco says no-no to fireworks
The Angels have an annoying custom of setting off fireworks whenever one of their players hits a homer. I don't know if it's for every single one, but if not then it's for the vast majority of them. In June, Coco Crisp robbed a homer from Josh Hamilton, but it was tough to tell live -- even Ken Korach thought the ball had gone out. Among the people fooled was the Angel Stadium pyrotechnics guy, who set off the fireworks, only to find out that he was a bit premature. Don't worry, fella, it happens to lots of guys.
Here's the full video (the important part is at the end):
I wasn't going to do this because I didn't want to skew the vote, but screw it. I'm totally voting for this one.
Sean Doolittle pinch hits
On June 22, things got a bit interesting for the A's. First baseman Kyle Blanks exited after two innings with what turned out to be a season-ending injury. Bob Melvin used a pair of pinch hitters, the latter of which (John Jaso) hit the game-tying homer off of Boston closer Koji Uehara with two outs in the ninth. The last bench player was used as a defensive replacement in the 10th.
But then, Derek Norris got hurt later in the 10th and had to leave. Stephen Vogt moved to his third position of the day, Nick Punto wound up in right field, and the DH was pulled to play the field. Unfortunately, that meant that the pitcher was due up third in the bottom of the frame. With no position players left to pinch hit for Fernando Abad, Melvin called on the next-best thing: a pitcher who used to be a position player.
That's former first baseman Sean Doolittle, beard and all, taking his hacks against an All-Star closer. That's hacks, plural, because he took exactly two swings (one was cut from the above video); the latter resulted in a groundout to second. But can you imagine if the closer had started the game-winning rally on offense? Just the fact that we got as close as we did to that possibility is awesome.
For his part, Doolittle was just hoping not to strike out.
Let there be light ... in 38 minutes.
The A's take a lot of flak for their stadium. Their old, broken-down, literally poopy stadium. Many A's fans have a fond attachment to it, but to the rest of the league it's kind of gross. Its reputation didn't exactly improve this year.
In April, a game at the Coliseum was postponed because the team didn't tarp the field prior to an unexpected-but-maybe-you-should-have-expected-it rainstorm. Then, in June, with the Yankees in town, there was an electrical problem and the lights went out. Those stadium lights take a while to turn back on, so play was stopped for 38 minutes.
And it had to be right when the popular rich kids were in town. Watching us. Judging us. We can't get no re2pect, I tells ya.
Lew Wolff isn't afraid to poke fun at himself and idea that he's behind all the Coliseum's infrastructure issues: pic.twitter.com/Y0VS5Vjjpz— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) June 15, 2014
It's our dump, dammit. Hey, at least it wasn't poop in the dugout.
Put me in, coach!
The very next day, Derek Norris got hit on the hand by the backswing of a Yankees hitter (sound familiar?). Although he ended up staying in the game, the trainers spent a few minutes checking him out on the field before they cleared him. In the meantime, it was nice to know that the other catchers were ready to answer the call.
Nice try, fellas.
Jaso wins the catcher race narrowly over Vogt, but it's all for naught as Norris is able to stay in the game. pic.twitter.com/1zABxASba9— Raj Dhillon (@runscreatedplus) June 15, 2014
Did I mention that the Coliseum is not an ideal facility? Turns out we have vermin living in it as well. Fortunately, they're on our side.
In an August game against the Rays, the possum wandered onto the field and sparked a game-winning rally in the 10th. Yes, it was the possum's doing. No, it wasn't because Grant Balfour lived up to his name by walking a pair of batters ahead of the walk-off single by Norris.
"@kfippin: Watch over us @RallyPossum! pic.twitter.com/D9PCkytuz8" I'll do my best!— Rally Possum (@RallyPossum) October 1, 2014
Note that the above tweet comes from the actual Rally Possum account, which is a thing now.
Vogt as referee
This one might be cheating, because it was intended as a comedy routine. But you can see why Stephen Vogt scored so well in the team's preseason talent contest (allegedly for his Chris Farley impression).
I don't know about you, but I believe in Stephen Vogt.
Good luck beard stroke
Baseball players are a superstitious bunch. You never know what might bring you good luck, so better try everything just in case.
Do what you gotta do, boys.
.@joshreddick16 rubs his teammates' beards, creates beard magic vortex leading to an @Athletics walk-off win: http://t.co/lY2FVPdsOc— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 5, 2014
If you don't vote for Coco's finger wag, this would be a good choice as well.
Eric Sogard, #FaceOfMLB
Last but not least, we have what was almost the best thing ever. Major League Baseball launched a stupid Twitter campaign called #FaceOfMLB last winter, which asked you to create as many Twitter accounts as possible and piss off all your followers by tweeting the name of whoever the most popular player on your team was. This was supposed to somehow determine the Face Of MLB. Of course, that's not how Internet voting works. Give us the power, and we WILL ruin your election by voting for a cat.
Well, there wasn't a cat to vote for, so the next-closest thing was Eric Sogard. He made it all the way to the final showdown with David Wright of the Mets, and he was on pace to win until thousands of votes mysteriously poured in from Southeast Asia at the last second. Definitely no funny business there. The lack of real outrage over the rigged election showed just how much everyone didn't care about the promotion. Man, I hope they do it again next year.
Alright, there are your options. Let's