13 Favorite Moments from the 2018 MLB Season (VIDEO)
From jaw-dropping catches to walk-off homers, the 2018 Major League Baseball season was full of memorable highlights that left fans eager for the next season. Luckily, the smell of hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jack is right around the corner as Opening Day is swiftly approaching. Before the 2019 season kicks off, let’s revisit some of our favorite moments from the 2018 season.
The first pitch of the regular season is tossed on Thursday.
Alex Bregman’s walk-off pop-up
San Diego Padres v. Houston Astros, April 7
You’ve heard of a walk-off home run, but what about a walk-off pop-up? In an extra innings thriller, Astros’ third baseman Alex Bregman hit the ball high in the air, yet right in front of home plate. For most, it would be a routine out; however, Padres’ first baseman Eric Hosmer overran the ball and it landed behind him, allowing the Astros to score and win 1-0.
Ramón Laureano’s double play from center field
Oakland Athletics v. Los Angeles Angels, August 11
Oakland's Ramón Laureano had only been in the majors for eight days when he made this spectacular play from center field. He caught the ball on the warning track and threw it 321 feet to first base for the double play— no cutoff man needed!
David Bote’s walk-off grand slam
Washington Nationals v. Chicago Cubs, August 12
Not even a Hollywood script could’ve been written better than this: bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, two outs, Cubs down 3-0. Bote walked up to the plate to pinch hit. With the pitch count at 2-2, Bote smoked the ball out over center field leading the Cubs to a 4-3 victory over the Nationals.
Umpire catches bat flip
Minnesota Twins v. Detroit Tigers, August 16
Tigers’ Nicholas Castellanos hit a home run in the first inning that called for a pretty impressive bat flip, which was then subsequently caught in mid-air by the home plate umpire, truly making it one of those “you have to see it to believe it” moments.
Nun throws perfect first pitch
Kansas City Royals v. Chicago White Sox, August 18
An avid White Sox fan, Sister Mary Sobieck of Marian Catholic High School shocked everyone when she threw the ball right down the middle of the plate. Before her pitch, she showed off a little too, rolling the ball up her arm for some added flair.
Ronald Acuña Jr’s homerun streak
Boston Red Sox v. Atlanta Braves, September 5
The then 20-year-old Atlanta Braves rookie became a force to be reckoned with during the 2018 season. He sparked a home run streak after the All-Star break when he hit homers in five consecutive games—the youngest major leaguer to ever do so. He hit eight leadoff home runs during the season, setting the record for the Braves and falling just one short of tying the MLB record. It was no shock that he won the National League Rookie of the Year.
Trevor Story’s 505-foot home run
San Francisco Giants v. Colorado Rockies, September 5
Rockies’ shortstop Trevor Story hit not one, not two, but three home runs during the September 5th game against the Giants. His 505-foot homer ended up being the longest home run ever recorded by Statcast—a tool implemented into MLB four years ago to measure statistics such as catch probability, home run length, speed, etc.—beating Giancarlo Stanton's record by one foot.
Stephen Strasburg’s pitch hits batter, catcher and umpire
Washington Nationals v. Philadelphia Phillies, September 12
Football has the double-doink—read: Cody Parkey’s missed field goal that advanced the Philadelphia Eagles to the next round of the NFC playoffs—but baseball has one better: the triple-doink, although this one isn’t quite as devastating. Nationals’ pitcher Stephen Strasburg’s pitch first hit Phillies’ batter Jorge Alfaro, then ricocheted off of him to hit the catcher, Matt Wieters, in the neck before the home plate umpire, Hunter Wendelstedt, fell victim as well. Talk about one tricky pitch.
Christian Yelich cycles twice in one season
Cincinnati Reds v. Milwaukee Brewers, September 17
Brewers’ outfielder Christian Yelich solidified his MVP candidacy—he later won the award, too—when he cycled for the second time against the same team in the same season— you bet that’s the first time in baseball history! He even met the fan who caught his home run and traded the ball for a signed bat.
Colorado Rockies v. Los Angeles Dodgers, October 1
Milwaukee Brewers v. Chicago Cubs, October 1
The 2018 season marked the first time ever that two division tie-breakers needed to be played during the same season. The battle for the title in the National League West and the National League Central was on. The winners of each game would go on to play in their respective National League Division Series (NLDS). The losers had to battle it out the next night in the National League Wild Card—a win-or-go-home game. In the end, the Dodgers were crowned champions of the NL West, and the Brewers upset the Cubs in the NL Central.
The never-ending Wild Card Game
Colorado Rockies v. Chicago Cubs, October 2
The Wild Card Games played between the Rockies and the Cubs were definitely wild. This game was tied 1-1 from the eighth inning on. Then came the hug in the bottom of the 11th inning when Cubs’ Javy Baéz prevented—or did he?—the Rockies’ third baseman from completing a double play with a hug. It was dubbed "hug-gate" by baseball fans, and everyone was left scratching their heads. Rockies’ catcher Tony Wolters came through with an RBI single during the top of the 13th inning that sealed the win for Colorado.
The longest game in MLB postseason history
Boston Red Sox v. Los Angeles Dodgers, October 26
Game three of the 2018 World Series clocked in at seven hours and 20 minutes and lasted 18 innings. The back-and-forth game ended with a walk-off homer by the Dodgers’ Max Muncy that cut the Red Sox’s two-game lead over the Dodgers down to just one.
Position players pitching
The concept of having a position player pitch during a game is nothing new in MLB, but it just seemed much more popular last season. The New York Yankees even had catcher and first baseman Austin Romine pitch during a blowout game against the Red Sox in the ALDS with the Yanks losing 16-1. Some of the pitching performances were pretty good—looking at you, Charlie Culberson—while others were ... well, let’s just say they wouldn’t be in any talks for the Cy Young Award.