Baseball proceeds whether we are ready or not.
In the past few weeks, other duties put me behind staying up-to-date with the Box-Toppers daily blog and I have been scrambling to catch up. I fell behind three weeks and three days ago, on Aug. 13 and only caught up today (Monday, Sept. 7) with yesterday’s games.
Usually when a person falls behind doing something, it’s best to just move ahead and ignore most of what was missed. But when you’re trying to keep comprehensive track of the baseball season, to assess and evaluate teams and players across an entire season, it is a mistake to simply ignore a chunk of the season, simply due to lack of convenience or lack of attention. So I’ve gone back and picked up the days I’ve missed, posting each day’s summary in the blog, even if was sometimes more than a week late.
During my catch-up phase, I did not post daily highlights to Box-Toppers’ Twitter and Facebook feeds. Instead, I’ve opted to post a summary of highlights of what was missed in the interim while I wasn’t posting to social media here in this post, with links to the relevant posts in the Box-Toppers blog:
New Box-Toppers leaders—Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta took over the lead in Box-Toppers season player rankings on Saturday, Sept. 5. Arrieta has 21.1 Box-Toppers points and passed previous leader, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who took the lead Wednesday, Sept. 2. (Kershaw has 20.7 Box-Toppers points.) Previously, Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom led from July 26 to Sept. 1. He currently ranks third with 19.4 points.
Arrieta picked up 6.7 Box-Toppers points during the catch-up period (Aug. 13 to Sept. 6), including earning Player of the Day honors twice—on Sunday, Aug. 30 (when he pitched a no-hitter) and on Sept. 5.
New American League pitching leader—Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel took the lead among AL pitchers on Sunday, Sept. 6 with 19.4 Box-Toppers points. Previously, Blue Jays pitcher David Price led AL pitchers. He currently ranks second among AL pitchers with 19.1 points.
New American League batting leader—Edwin Encarnacion of the Blue Jays took the lead among AL batters on Saturday, Aug. 29 with 10.4 Box-Toppers points. Previously, Mike Trout of the Angels led AL batters. Trout currently has 10.0 Box-Toppers points and ranks second among AL batters.
New National League batting leader—Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies took the lead among NL batters on Thursday, Sept. 3 with 11.5 Box-Toppers points. Previously, Yoenis Cespedes of the Mets took the lead among NL batters on Friday, Aug. 21 with 9.9 points. Before that, Randal Grichuk of the Cardinals led NL batters. He currently ranks fourth with 9.5 points.
New Box-Toppers team rankings leader—The Kansas City Royals took over the lead among teams at the last Box-Toppers team ranking report, as of Thursday, Sept. 3. The St. Louis Cardinals rose to top NL teams. For three weeks previously (Aug. 13, 20 and 27), the Pittsburgh Pirates were the top-ranked team. The Pirates ranked third as of Sept. 3.
Notable—Here are some notable achievements by players that happened during the catch-up phase (Aug. 13 to Sept. 6):
- Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw was the first player with 20.0 or more points this season, earning it on Wednesday, Sept. 2, the same day he took the Box-Toppers points lead. Kershaw, who led players in Box-Toppers points in three of the past four seasons (2011, 2013 and 2014) and led National League pitchers the past four seasons, has now exceeded 20.0 Box-Toppers points for five straight seasons. Kershaw also rose to 15th place in Box-Toppers points among all players since 1995, when Box-Toppers record keeping began. He has 154.3 career Box-Toppers points.
- Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon rose to 22nd place among all players in Box-Toppers points since 1995. He earned Player of the Day for Monday, Aug. 31, giving him 138.5 Box-Toppers points.
- Michael Cuddyer of the Mets extended to 12 the number of consecutive seasons in which he’s earned at least 1.0 Box-Toppers point on Sunday, Aug. 30.
- Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke earned 3.0 Box-Toppers points during the catch-up period and is currently ranked sixth among all players with 18.0 points. In addition, with his point earned Tuesday, Sept. 1, Greinke has 143.7 career Box-Toppers points and ranks 21st among all players since 1995, when Box-Toppers record keeping began.
- Astros pitcher Mike Fiers pitched a no-hitter on Friday, Aug. 21, earning Box-Toppers Player of the Day honors.
- Carlos Beltran of the Yankees earned Box-Toppers points in his 17th straight season, tying the record for the longest-active season streak on Friday, Aug. 14.
Debuts—Twenty-three players made their Box-Toppers debut during the catch-up phase. Here is the list with links to the blog post for the day they made their debut with more information:
- Delino DeShields of the Rangers, Friday, Aug. 14.
- Twins pitcher Tyler Duffey, Saturday, Aug. 15.
- Addison Russell of the Cubs, Saturday, Aug. 15.
- Ryan Strausborger of the Rangers, Sunday, Aug. 16.
- Cole Gillespie of the Marlins, Tuesday, Aug. 18.
- Greg Bird of the Yankees, Wednesday, Aug. 19.
- Aaron Altherr of the Phillies, Wednesday, Aug. 19.
- Rockies pitcher Yohan Flande, Thursday, Aug. 20.
- Blake Swihart of the Red Sox, Friday, Aug. 21.
- Phillies pitcher Jerad Eickhoff, Friday, Aug. 21.
- Yankees pitcher Luis Severino, Saturday, Aug. 22.
- Darnell Sweeney of the Phillies, Saturday, Aug. 22.
- Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola, Sunday, Aug. 23.
- Stephen Piscotty of the Cardinals, Sunday, Aug. 23.
- Indians pitcher Jeff Manship, Wednesday, Aug. 26.
- Phillies pitcher Adam Morgan, Sunday, Aug. 30.
- Adam Duvall of the Brewers, Monday, Aug. 31.
- Rockies pitcher Simon Castro, Monday, Aug. 31.
- Darin Ruf of the Phillies, Tuesday, Sept. 1.
- Marlins pitcher Justin Nicolino, Tuesday, Sept. 1.
- Hernan Perez of the Brewers, Thursday, Sept. 3.
- Rays pitcher Xavier Cedeno, Saturday, Sept. 5.
- Nationals pitcher Felipe Rivero, Sunday, Sept. 6.
So what was I doing that was keeping me from Box-Toppers? I served as a volunteer coordinator for our local high school band’s major fundraiser. Over the course of the 11-day Iowa State Fair, I helped wrangle nearly 300 student and parent volunteers to fill 550 volunteer spots to serve ice cream and shakes at the fair’s Dairy Barn.
It’s a task that requires a few months of preparation to set up—to get volunteers signed up, to comply with various red-tape regulations and to develop and implement logistics to make it all work. But when the fair starts, the task can sometimes become even more time-consuming. As soon as the fair started on Aug. 13, Box-Toppers fell to the wayside.
My last “on-time” post was Thursday, Aug. 13, covering the games of Wednesday, Aug. 12. The very next post was more than a week later on Friday, Aug. 21, covering the games of Thursday, Aug. 13. After the fair ended on Aug. 23, I kept plugging away, finally catching up two more weeks later.
The fundraiser went well, by the way. All our volunteers made it, worked hard, had a little fun (and a little ice cream) and raised a lot of money for our high school band program. It was my fifth and final year of coordinating volunteers for the fundraiser. And though it put me a little behind updating the Box-Toppers blog, it was a lot of fun and now that it’s over, tremendously satisfying.
And now, with my attention returned more fully to baseball, onto the homestretch of the season …