Top 7 most ironic moments of the 2019 season


by - Columnist -
John Hefti - USA Today Sports
John Hefti - USA Today Sports

I’m a person who always finds at least some humor in irony- that is unless I’m the one victimized by the irony. Misfortune or tragedy are never things to laugh at, but sometimes you have to chuckle at the victimless crimes, or you’ll just end up screaming at the insanity of it all. With it having been another slow news day, I decided to list my top-7 most ironic moments of the 2019 season.

7. Joe Maddon’s circus. After Theo declared in 2018 that every game in 2019 needed to be played like it was a “Game-163,” Joe Maddon showed up to spring training with what amounted to a three-ring circus. Dunk tanks, clowns and magicians, lined a baseball complex turned big top, but the most fun manager in baseball was only setting the stage for one of the most non-fun seasons in recent year's past.

6. Clint Hurdle’s termination. Normally I wouldn’t find any humor in someone being terminated, but how could you not chuckle at Hurdle? Here’s a guy who “leads” his team to a fifth-place finish, then announces triumphantly to the press that he shall return, only to be told by ownership that he was fired with one game left to play. The Pirates gave Hurdle the option of managing the team for their last game, but apparently, he had some sort of hissy-fit and stormed out of the clubhouse.

5. Increasing the pace of play seems to be slowing down the game. If there is a sole mission for Baseball Commissioner, Rob Manfred, it’s to shorten the game to about 2.5 hours, so that the attention span-challenged can enjoy the game. There’s only one problem: If you like baseball, you like it, whereas the game is still going to be boring for those who don’t like it, no matter how quickly you play it.

Every time the Commish finds a new way to speed up the game, managers and players find new ways to circumvent the process, slowing things down even more. The pitch clock is theoretically going to speed up the process, but the pitcher is the one under a time limit, not the batter. What happens now when pitchers work fast? Batters step out of the box to slow him down.

4. Yu Darvish could leave. After a catastrophic 2018 season, Yu Darvish had a single objective this season: Win the fans over, by showing them he was worth the money he was being paid. Darvish started out the year with crazy amounts of walks and wild pitches, but by the end of the season, he was just about the most beloved guy on the pitching staff. Now, Darvish can opt-out of his remaining four years with Chicago (likely won't), should he choose to test the free-agent market, with a chance to up the ante on the $81M the Cubs owe him. The irony? Going from trying to prove his worth, to a position where he can now attempt to prove he’s worth even more.

3. Joe Maddon will likely be employed before the Cubs announce their next manager. While a lot of the fans kicked and screamed over the possibility that the Cubs would (and did) terminate their relationship with Joe Maddon, Maddon is now on the brink of employment with the Angels, has other viable options and may now get offered an interview with the Dodgers. Meanwhile, the Cubs are interviewing people left and right, trying to replace the guy who everyone worried about.

2. Tyler Chatwood turns it around, and then Joe Maddon doesn’t use him. After leading the National League (and as I recall, all of MLB, in walks last year), Tyler Chatwood turned it around so much this season that he looked like a different guy. He found command and control while proving himself worthy of everything from starting to closing, and how does Maddon thank him? Buries him in the bullpen for days on end, while the same handful of pitchers lose games, day in and day out.

1. The Nationals are in the NLCS and Bryce Harper’s watching from his living room. OK, now THIS is funny. Bryce Almighty smirked at the Nationals $200M offer last year, knowing that mega-agent Scot Boras would get Harper far more than that. As Philadelphia built their version of some (theoretical) super-team, spending crazy amounts of money, the Nationals sat back, blew Bryce a kiss goodbye, and quietly won one of the wildcard spots.

After doing away with the Brewers in a wildcard game and then the Dodgers in the NLDS, Washington now starts dealing with the Cardinals for a chance to go to the World Series.

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Tags: Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood, Joe Maddon
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