As we approach game 162 across Major League Baseball, let's take a look back on some lighter moments from the year that was.
La Tortuga finds 2nd gear
Fans of every sport love to see themselves reflected in the game. That's why the everyman at the bottom of the roster, or the big guy, or the oddball, tends to develop a cult following.
Enter Willians Astudillo: the Minnesota Twins utility man who is listed - perhaps generously - at 5-foot-9, 225 lbs. His mad dash around the bases made him a viral hit earlier this season, solidifying himself as a Big Guy Icon.
"I just wanted to show that chubby people also run," Astudillo said, according to Jarrid Denney of MLB.com.
This new-era Bartolo Colon is one of the more statistically fascinating players in baseball, too. Astudillo has never struck out more than 20 times in a full season, and never walked more than 19 times. Over nearly 3,000 plate appearances covering all levels of pro ball, Astudillo has just 81 strikeouts.
Giancarlo Stanton struck out for the 81st time this season on June 8, after just 264 plate appearances.
Speed might not be what keeps Astudillo in the bigs, though. Of the 569 players measured by Statcast in 2018 for their sprint speed, Astudillo ranks 530th.
DJ Stewart's Little League homer
The Orioles have been eliminated from playoff contention since approximately March 31, but there are still some fun moments to pull from the wreckage - such as Stewart's Little League homer against the Toronto Blue Jays.
After Stewart pulled a liner into right field, which should have only been a single, the Blue Jays missed their throw to second base. As Stewart advanced to second, the Jays then blew their throw to home, which rolled into the dugout and allowed Stewart to come all the way around.
That's probably not what he had in mind for his first MLB hit.
"You run through things many times in your head about how you think it's going to go, but that's the great thing about this game: You never know what it will bring you," he told Rich Dubroff of MLB.com.
Orlando Arcia's two-run double … on a bunt
To quote a television and broadcast legend: That escalated quickly.
Arcia's two-run double was one of the season's rarest base hits, whether it was intentional or not.
The bunt double came on a 94-mph fastball nearly a foot outside of the strike zone, almost shoulder level with Arcia in his stance. It left his bat at 46 mph and traveled a whopping 51 feet.
That's usually not a recipe for a two-run double.
The menu music from the video game "Halo" is a classic. If you've played the game, chances are you've also stood in a room with an echo and sang the song.
During a rain delay, Brock Holt did just that.
This wasn't Holt's first musical contribution to the 2018 Boston Red Sox season, either. In a rain delay earlier this season, Holt kept the clubhouse entertained with some Hootie & the Blowfish.
Servais' new 'do
Servais told Diaz he'd get a haircut to match the closer's unique design if he managed to reach 50 saves, and held up his end of the bargain when the milestone was achieved.
The 51-year-old picked the wrong guy to bet against, as Diaz will finish the season with a double-digit lead on Craig Kimbrel as the MLB saves leader.
Twins go for the Triple Crown
Rookie hazing has been around the majors for years, but it's rightfully been toned down over the past decade. Former pros have plenty of wild stories from the '70s and '80s, but teams are still finding ways to break in the young guys.
One of the more common initiations is to make the rookie pitchers walk to the bullpen with children's backpacks. Usually, they're pink or have a children's cartoon character on them.
The Twins had something different in mind. They ran a Triple Crown, dressed as horses and jockeys.
Their first race, the "Twins Derby," took place on Sept. 16 to kick off the three-race event. The "Twinsness," named after the Preakness Stakes, followed on Sept. 19. Finally, the "Twinsmont Stakes," their version of the Belmont Stakes, wrapped up the event this weekend.
When rookie initiations involve more thinking than "make them wear something pink," everybody wins.
Sister Mary Jo
The Chicago White Sox have plenty of young talent and it may just be another season or two before they turn things around and become a consistent contender.
Chicago isn't lacking young talent on the mound, but its best pitch in 2018 came from Sister Mary Jo, who became an instant sensation.
"As an athlete, you gotta be all in," she told Jesse Kirsch of ABC Chicago. "And I knew that my coaches and my teammates, when they saw that, they would be like, 'You gotta do the real thing,' and it's all or nothing. I had to do it from the top."
The pitch was one thing, but the cool factor of Sister Mary Jo was really born with her pre-pitch warmup. She tossed the ball into the air, straightened her arm to bounce it off her bicep, and caught it smoothly.
"I had to do something to take my mind off it," she said. "It's too awkward to just stand and throw from the jump and I had to just do something to put me in motion."
This weekend, Sister Mary Jo got back in the habit with a return to the mound. She also met Chicago Bulls star Jabari Parker, who might have been the second-biggest celebrity on the field that day.
Yes, John … that's the camera
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is one of the most unique and genuine people in the game, and he's never been one to shy away from having fun with the media.
In Kansas City earlier this season, Gibbons was finishing up a dugout chat with head athletic trainer Nikki Huffman. When he got up from the bench, he noticed Sportsnet's Hazel Mae was taping a segment with the camera facing down the dugout.
It's not uncommon to see Gibbons have a playful back-and-forth with a broadcaster shooting a video at the ballpark, or give a nudge to a reporter on their phone doing a radio interview.
Come to think of it, this might have been Major League Baseball's version of the 2017 BBC interview when Robert Kelly's children burst through the door in grand, hilarious fashion during a live segment:
The Goose is on the loose …
The Detroit Tigers' season has gone how most expected, which isn't good news. Through the drudge of summer, the Tigers, like many other teams, had to find something light to pass the time.
That came in the form of a goose, which interrupted a Tigers game earlier this season during a rain delay. When members of Detroit's grounds crew tried to chase the goose away, it flew into a video board and crashed into the bleachers.
From there, the legend grew. Over the next few games, the Tigers added a replica goose to their dugout.
On their big video board in left field, a dramatic video would play between innings with crashing thunder and music. Video of the goose slowly emerged with the words "One Goose."
On June 2, as Detroit scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a tie against the Blue Jays, the Tigers fans in attendance chanted, "Goose! Goose! Goose!"
The legend eventually fizzled, of course, and the goose-fuelled winning streak came to an end, but the Tigers stayed loyal to their new unofficial mascot.
Very Good Boy develops pitch framing
Bark at the Park night is always a highlight, but this one in Miami had a particularly special first pitch.
Notice how the dog behind home plate takes a pitch that looked to be outside and framed it to the center. Look for the Miami Marlins to give this sabermetrics darling more starts with pitchers who have lots of tailing movement on their pitches.
Statcast is the latest and greatest way to measure the game of baseball. Sometimes, that's a good thing. Other times, you'd prefer to just read that Mike Trout hit a home run, not a "417-foot shot to right field with an exit velocity of 103.9 mph and a launch angle of 31 degrees."
One area where there's no argument is when Statcast turns its eyes on dogs at an Orioles game to measure things like "Good Boy Probability."
These dogs grade out well in all modern analytics models while also passing the old-school eye test.
Has a Mets player hit the DL with a Splinter yet?
Fenway Park is many things. It's Holy ground for baseball purists, one of the most recognizable buildings in professional sports, and home to arguably the best team in baseball.
It also opened in 1912. Sometimes, you can tell.
Rats aren't uncommon at Fenway Park. In fact, I once had one the size of a kitten try to board an elevator with me when the Blue Jays were playing a series in Boston. It's a little more rare for them to find their way onto the field and steal the show, though.
"The thing was, he was a nice rat," New York Mets first baseman Dominic Smith told reporters, including Tim Healey of Newsday. "He wasn't trying to get anybody. He was trying to run. There are some mean rats out there."
Later that week, the Red Sox players briefly adopted a rat skeleton as their mascot and cameras caught them feeding it sunflower seeds. Naturally.
Major-league players have made headlines for the wrong reasons when it comes to social media in 2018, but plenty of current and former players are still earning some laughs.
Here are the top 10 tweets by players in 2018:
10) Noah Syndergaard
Syndergaard hit the disabled list with hand, foot, and mouth disease earlier this season, prompting some jokes from his teammates and even Syndergaard himself.
9) Brandon McCarthy
Ronald Acuna has been the headliner in Atlanta, but the Braves have rolled out plenty of young prospects en route to their surprise playoff berth. With Atlanta's athleticism and young pitching, it's suddenly set up to be an NL powerhouse again.
8) Trevor Williams
Williams, seen here, just moments before explaining he doesn't know anyone named Abby. He promises.
7) Brett Anderson
Few pitchers have traveled a longer road over the last decade - literally and figuratively - than Anderson. His ability to laugh at himself seems to help.
6) Sean Doolittle
Proud Star Wars nerd Doolittle would prefer a more literal incarnation of fantasy football.
5) Trevor Williams
Another one from Williams. Somewhere, a minor-league team will repurpose this as a promo night in 2019.
4) Trevor Bauer
Bauer took a break from arguing with fans and proving his superior brain size to drop this gem. Heck, he even looks like that Cleveland pitcher, too.
3) Dan Haren
Haren gets a lot of jabs in on himself for a pitcher with a career ERA of 3.75. Maybe he's talking about 2013 when he posted a 4.67 ERA with the Nationals?
2) Jose Canseco
From the artist of other great tweets, such as "Nature is so weird" and "Never milk a one-teated goat," Canseco delivers with an offer to be a Canseconaut in the Space Force. His twitter is a journey that leaves you questioning the sobriety of either Canseco or yourself.
1) Smashmouth & Sean Doolittle
Doolittle is a friend to all on Twitter, including the band Smashmouth. Nearly 20 years after the release of their 1999 hit "All Star," it's finding new life with All-Star Game announcements.