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A Complete Review of the 2021 MLB Season

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The MLB (Major League Baseball) regular season has officially wrapped up and one of the most memorable campaigns in recent history is in the books. From a jaw-dropping trade deadline day to the Cardinals 17-game win streak, there were dozens of standout moments to make this a season for the ages.

Attention is already turning to the 2022 season and whether or not it can produce as much sports news as this one. Time will tell, but few would argue that the 2021 MLB season will take some topping when it comes to drama and headlines.

Let’s start with that unforgettable deadline, which finished on July 30. Even in the week leading up to that final deadline, 80 players had moved teams and there were seismic changes being made to the MLB landscape.

Almost every star player that could have been available was traded, some inexplicably so. In fact, a record 10 players were traded in the same season they were named to the All-Star team. That included the likes of Kris Bryant, Trea Turner and Joey Gallo.

On deadline day, the news was seemingly non-stop with updates and trades happening left, right and center. When the dust finally settled, it took fans and experts a long time to fully digest what they had witnessed.

Few teams were as busy as the Chicago Cubs during the trade period, as they offloaded a staggering amount of players, including big names like Anthony Rizzo, Bryant and Javier Baez. What made this decision even crazier was that those three players each went on to hit home runs in the first game for their respective new teams.

The silver lining for Cubs fans is that the franchise has plenty of money to spend in the near future to bolster the roster, but it wasn’t easy for them to say goodbye to some of their favorites.

When it comes to standout individual performers, it’s hard to look beyond Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani. The Japanese breakout star had been plagued by injuries in recent years but, in 2021, it all came together for him over the course of a full season.

It is difficult to overstate his brilliance this season; it truly was one of the greatest by a single player in major league history. He became the first ever player to hit more than 10 home runs and throw 100 strikeouts as a pitcher in a single season. Not even Babe Ruth managed that.

Even for people not particularly interested in MLB, the Field of Dreams game was a special moment. The first game of its kind, it was played between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees in Dyersville, Iowa where the 1989 baseball movie Field of Dreams was filmed.

The event received national attention across the US and even before the first pitch had been thrown, there was an unprecedented buzz around the game. It matched the hype, as well, with eight home runs achieved and Chicago clinching victory courtesy of a walk-off smash from Tim Anderson. The stars aligned to make it a transcendental moment for major league baseball.

One of the truly incredible moments of the season came when San Francisco Giants outfielder Mike Tauchman robbed future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols of a potential walk-off home run which would have sealed victory for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Tauchman leapt into the air at the wall and somehow plucked the ball from its trajectory before crashing back down to the ground. No one could believe what he’d managed, particularly not Pujols himself, who was left mouth agape.

The San Francisco Giants found a lot of success this season with a relatively aging squad, casting doubt on the widely-held presumption that younger equals better. With an average age of 30.6 years old, the Giants had the oldest group of position players in 2021 – but they also had the best record of the regular season.

In fact, some of their most impactful offensive players – like Brandon Belt and Buster Posey – are over the age of 33. While it’s unlikely every other franchise will try to replicate this, the Giants’ 2021 season proves that youth isn’t everything.

One of the more negative trends of the past season was tanking, wherein teams intentionally perform badly to take advantage of benefits that are granted to losing teams. Four different teams lost over 100 games in the regular season, which has now happened in each of the last two full seasons.

It’s an issue that needs to be addressed to stop teams underperforming and trying to game the system.

Overall, though, the 2021 MLB season will be remembered as a landmark one. It was a rollercoaster of tension and drama, with some decisions and events that have changed the hierarchy of the sport for years to come.

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