One word to describe yesterday?
It was the most insane trade deadline in recent memory. Multiple teams embraced a complete fire sale and even more clubs went full-blown manic shopping mode for this season. Then, after all this drama ended at 4 p.m., we had 15 games filling the night slate.
For those of you who couldn’t stay on top of every little twist and turn on Friday, here are the best highlights.
Teams May Fall Apart, but the W Flies Forever
In an extremely bittersweet moment for the city of Chicago, the Cubs said farewell to some of their most iconic modern players. Ever since the Cubs drafted Kris Bryant with the 2nd overall pick of the 2013 draft, fans had sky-high expectations.
And somehow he exceeded them.
In 2014, he was named Baseball America‘s Minor League Player of the Year. The next year, he was the NL Rookie of the Year. Finally, in 2016, the MVP-winning Bryant brought a World Series title to a team that had been starved of championships for over a century.
He did it all with a smile on his face.
All smiles, @KrisBryant_23 knew the drought was over. https://t.co/n0VCRrjUCV #WorldSeries #Champs pic.twitter.com/ZfR4xGGG0F
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) November 3, 2016
But unfortunately for Cubs fans, that team would eventually have to split up. Yesterday, Bryant got the news: he was going to San Francisco. Here is his reaction.
The moment Kris Bryant was traded. He was crying. What an emotional moment. pic.twitter.com/0cSnTfSh71
— Cubs Live (@Cubs_Live) July 30, 2021
Unfortunately for Cubs fans, Bryant wasn’t the only team icon that would be saying goodbye.
Anthony Rizzo, another cornerstone of that championship team, got traded away to the Yankees. And in his first game with the Bronx Bombers, he hit an absolute moonshot.
Anthony Rizzo wasted no time hitting homers for the Yankees 💥
(via @Yankees) pic.twitter.com/tpgX78lvpq
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 31, 2021
Despite wearing a jersey saying “New York,” his Chicago flag-themed batting gloves showed he would always love the Windy City.
rizzo's batting gloves 🥺 pic.twitter.com/I8eOvqgNxs
— Cut4 (@Cut4) July 31, 2021
You may be able to take these players off the Cubs, but you can’t take the Chicago out of their blood.
Don’t Forget About the South Side!
Meanwhile, that other Chicago team had quite an eventful day of their own.
First, they had some big acquisitions like getting Craig Kimbrel to create arguably baseball’s deadliest bullpen duo with Liam Hendriks. Then, there was this insane home run by Yoán Moncada as Cleveland’s outfield did their best Jose Canseco impersonation.
Yoán Moncada wins on the pinball machine!@ymoncada19 | @NBCSChicago pic.twitter.com/bIcuQF8dnb
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 31, 2021
Later on, in a huge bases-loaded situation, benches cleared after James Karinchak plunked José Abreu in the helmet with a 96 MPH fastball. Abreu was wobbly, and Karinchak looked immediately shaken up as well. It was a pretty scary scene, but you can watch what happened right here. Tony La Russa sprinted out (I guess that’s the proper term here) to immediately check on Abreu and keep Roberto Pérez at bay.
Despite the scary scene and obviously high tensions in the moment, Abreu and Karinchak were able to hug it out.
To cap it all off, AL Cy Young candidate Lance Lynn appeared in the post-game press conference with a statement of his own.
Lance Lynn is ready to fight for Britney #FreeBritney pic.twitter.com/6mkVUsePQ1
— Barstool Chicago (@barstoolchicago) July 31, 2021
The Yankees Outfield Has Reached New Heights
Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Gallo hit the ball hard and far. They are also massive human beings. Just how huge are they?
Yesterday, they all played in the outfield for the first time together. Their combined height is tied for the tallest trio ever. Who else holds the record?
This group would tie the Outfield Height record.
Mariners OF in ninth inning on 10/3/1993:
Randy Johnson 6’10” (yes, that one)
Ken Griffey Jr. 6’3”
Dan Howitt 6’5”
= 19’6” https://t.co/RgAVpg3vxu
— Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats) July 29, 2021
Randy Johnson?!?! It happened in just one inning of the meaningless final game of 1993 when the Mariners were well out of playoff contention. Unfortunately, no batted balls found their way to Johnson. He did set a record by becoming the tallest position player ever.
Oh, by the way, here’s a photo of a clean shaven Gallo. Thoughts?
Here's Joey Gallo. pic.twitter.com/UgjJffwwxX
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) July 30, 2021
Danny Duffy Helps Out a Fellow Kansas Citian
The Cubs and Nationals weren’t the only teams that traded away some lifelong, home-grown stars: the Royals parted with their 11-year veteran Danny Duffy.
Kansas City has been Duffy’s home since he was drafted out of high school in 2007. He was with the Royals from the dark years of the early 2010s to the exuberant highs of 2014/2015 to the lackluster present day. For the first time in Duffy’s professional career, he will now wear the uniform of another organization (the Los Angeles Dodgers).
One instagram user, @eric__a__fain, posted about a heartwarming encounter he had with Duffy during his final days in Kansas City.
What type of person is Danny Duffy? This was posted today by a Kansas Citian: pic.twitter.com/AJLenVm445
— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) July 30, 2021
It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again
Player-fan interaction is the best. It’s what I’ve always loved most about the experience of going to a baseball game. If you are in Atlanta and want to have a special moment like that, I know exactly where you have to sit.
Remember earlier this season when a young fan robbed Kole Calhoun of a catch and immediately earned Calhoun’s respect? Well something similar happened in that exact same spot yesterday with Joc Pederson.
Joc Pederson bonks a young fan on the head after making a nice catch in foul ground. pic.twitter.com/TPblqRZGqE
— Major League GIFs (@MajorLeagueGIFs) July 31, 2021
Now you know: want to get the attention of your dream right fielder? Go to Atlanta!
Just How Historic Was This Deadline?
It seemed like every other team either shipped away or acquired an All-Star. And that’s because it’s true.
Six teams (ARI, CHC, MIN, PIT, TEX, WSH) traded a 2021 All-Star, while nine other clubs (BOS, CWS, LAD, MIL, NYY, PHI, SD, SF, TBR) got one. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 10 All-Stars who changed teams is the most ever in just one year.
10 players who made the 2021 All-Star team were traded this season.
According to @EliasSports, that is the most All-Stars to change teams in a single season ever. pic.twitter.com/FGchA5ecRq
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 30, 2021
The Jerseys in Savannah Are Bananas
The Savannah Bananas like to go… well, bananas. Their unique traditions and promotions have earned this Coastal Plain League team comprised of college players a lot of media publicity.
Yesterday, they debuted some new apparel that is truly in your face.
Taking Name, Image, and Likeness to a whole new level.
Bid on your favorite player's authentic, game-worn jersey tonight from 6-9pm here: https://t.co/BUb3IRZKai pic.twitter.com/KuSdJ1Bhpu
— Savannah Bananas (@TheSavBananas) July 30, 2021
Yes, those are jerseys made up entirely of their own faces.
NIL x Bananas Collection Auction is LIVE!
Bid on your favorite player's authentic game-worn jersey. The auction is live until 9pm tonight. You can bid here: https://t.co/t8COHSeXhs pic.twitter.com/YlSQxl6FSM
— Savannah Bananas (@TheSavBananas) July 30, 2021
I like the creativity, but let’s not give New Era any new ideas.
Photo by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns of Twitter)