MLB season full of feel good stories
Cody Bellinger returned home to Arizona, playing a postseason game in Chase Field, where he made countless visits as a young fan.
Yet instead of playing for his hometown team, Bellinger was there to end the Diamondbacks’ season with a two-run home run off Zach Greinke to left field to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to the NLCS rematch against the Chicago Cubs.
This performance is just the latest chapter in Bellinger’s rookie season, which has been a surprising feel good story since the beginning.
Despite showing off his power in the California League for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in 2015, nobody thought Bellinger was going to do the same thing on the west side of Southern California in 2017.
Bellinger struggled a bit as a Tulsa Driller in the Texas League in 2016 but the power was still there. This year was supposed to be his first full season in Triple-A with the Oklahoma City Dodgers but injuries and a lack luster offense in need of a spark propelled him to the big leagues.
The Dodgers got in Bellinger what they got in Yasiel Puig in 2013, a spark that grew into a MVP caliber flame.
Bellinger is one of the many feel good stories of the 2017 baseball season. Had the Cincinnati Red made a turnaround similar to the Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, would the spotlight shine on Scooter Gennett in a similar fashion?
The Milwaukee Brewers were in playoff contention for the first time since 2011 and after batting .295 with 27 home runs and 97 RBI, one would think that Gennett would be the missing piece to get them over the top. Instead he was whisked away from the Reds and returned to his hometown to triumph on his own.
We should’ve known from Opening Day that this season was going to be special when Gennett made his limited at-bats count with a pinch-hit home run against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Then on a Military Monday, Gennett made history by hitting four home runs in a single game. From then on out, he became the hometown hero in a city searching for something to root for during the lean years.
Speaking of the military, Chris Rowley made history by being the first Army West Point graduate to pitch in the big leagues. Oddly enough it is with the lone Canadian team but MLB nonetheless.
Rowley signed up with the Toronto Blue Jays and posted a 10–3 win–loss record, 3.49 ERA, and 86 strikeouts in a career-high 123 2⁄3 innings in his first profession season with the Advanced-A Dunedin Blue Jays. He started this season in New Hampshire as both a starter and reliever. He was a candidate for the Eastern League All-Star Game before being promoted to the Triple-A Buffalo Bison.
He won his first big league start against the Pittsburgh Pirates and it was a sign for things to come in his young and promising career.
It makes you wonder what’s next. The Dodgers are four wins away from the World Series with a hand full of key players who were in Oklahoma City a year ago. Yasiel Puig was sent to OKC last August as a form of baseball behavioral rehab and he has since enjoyed a renaissance. A rookie third baseman saved the Red Sox season by sparking the offense in the second half after starting the season in Portland.
Every baseball season is full of feel good stories. They’ll be more in the coming weeks and makes fans come back for more.