September is Elimination Month, and the cuttings are well underway. Currently, eleven teams have been knocked out of the playoff hunt, and at least one more probably won’t make the rest of the week. (Sorry, Best Fans.)
You have to admire the players who will keep going out and taking part in games for a couple of weeks of rank irrelevancy. Then, when their seasons are over, they’ll watch as MLB, writers, and others give honors and recognition to the teams and players who make it deep into October. How can you not acknowledge the heart and effort these losers show day in and day out in late September? I say we give these Rodney Dangerfields the respect they deserve for showing up and at least phoning it in.
Join me in honoring the Best of the Worst in handing out the inaugural FI Participation Trophies to the teams bringing up the rear. In reverse order of elimination, here are your 2016 September Heroes:
V. Oakland Athletics (9/9) — Sadly, the A’s season relevancy ended before Billy Butler’s, but they still have a chance to play spoiler since the Yankees signed Butler for “bench depth.” On the upside, Oakland fans can get a head start on fall festivities. What kind of rum goes with pumpkin spice?
IV. Atlanta Braves (9/5) — Aside from Drunk Chipper Jones, who didn’t see this coming? Frankly, this one probably strikes you more like how did they hang on so long? So long, Atlanta. Fiddledeedee!
III. Minnesota Twins (9/3) — Hug a Twins fan, y’all. Their irrelevancy came early and brutally this season. That means twenty bajillion more weeks of winter. Prince is dead. Holiday lutefisk is coming. Hug a Twins fan, y’all.
II. Milwaukee Brewers (9/2) — The Brewers are eleven games up on the Twins but beat them to elimination. Additionally, Milwaukee’s robust .447 winning percentage puts them ahead of nine other MLB teams. How, then, to account for the early cut? Two words: Da Cubs.
And finally, last but not least, baseball fans, here’s your 2016 First Participation Trophy winner:
I. Cincinnati Reds (9/1) — The first Cubs casualty. Their 32-33 home split didn’t help either. Jay Bruce could’ve gone to anyone else and played more relevant baseball in September than his old teammates. Lucky guy. Maybe we’ll start a pool on whether Votto gets his VISA renewed this off-season. Must be the ASG jinx, you guys.
Congratulations, Little Red Machine!