The Stew’s MLB year in review: the 10 most memorable games of 2015 (Big League Stew)

Baseball had a lot to celebrate in 2015. The game was infused with talent by one of the best rookies classes we've ever seen, Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper all emerged as legitimate superstars and the Kansas City Royals went on one of the most entertaining postseasons runs in recent memory.  Many of those stories defined the season, and will be remembered for a long time. We won't forget the year when Kris Bryant debuted, when Harper finally emerged as the best player in the game and when the Royals consistently ripped the heart out of their opponents. [ Elsewhere:  The Stew's MLB Year in Review — Our favorite homers of 2015 ] While those were some of the more broad stories this season, there were also a number of individual games that stood out. We here at The Stew have picked our 10 most memorable games of the 2015 season. These aren't necessarily the best games of the year, but they are the ones we'll continue to remember long after the calendar turns.  Some of these games are notable for player performances, or feature unlikely comebacks. Others stand out due to absurd and unbelievable circumstances. Enjoy!  10. Tears flow from Wilmer Flores Someone forgot to tell New York Mets infielder Wilmer Flores that there's no crying in baseball. The Mets were at home facing the Padres when word began filtering through the stadium that Flores was part of a package the Mets were sending to the Brewers in exchange for Carlos Gomez. News reached the dugout and it clearly shook Flores. He couldn't hold back his tears when he took the field as he came to grips with leaving the organization he joined as a 16-year-old. Then, the story took an unexpected turn. The trade never transpired, reportedly nixed due to Gomez failing a physical, and Flores' tears became a rallying cry for the Mets as they made their run to the World Series . (Israel Fehr) • • • 9. The Orioles and White Sox play in front of zero fans It’s almost like a riddle: If a baseball game is played but no one is there to watch it, did it really happen? The answer, as we learned in April, is yes. Because of riots happening in Baltimore, the Orioles closed their April 30 game to the public . It was a surreal sight, and the first time such a thing had happened in MLB history. The game itself wasn’t all that thrilling, the Orioles won 8-2 after scoring six runs in the first inning. But when we’re talking about all the unusual things we saw in the 2015 season, this is definitely on the list. (Mike Oz) • • •   8. The Angels’ epic rally keeps their playoff hopes alive With the Texas Rangers needing a win to clinch the AL West on Oct. 3, the Los Angeles Angels didn’t go down without one heckuva fight. A Rangers win would have eliminated the Angels and that looked likely as the Angels headed into the ninth inning down four runs. But the Angels rallied, starting with back-to-back homers and finishing with five runs in the inning and an eventual 11-10 win . This sent the AL West race to Game 162, where the Rangers eventually clinched the division anyway. Still, what a way to stay alive for the Angels. (Mike Oz) • • •   7. Jake Arrieta's no-hitter on Sunday Night Baseball Jake Arrieta was brilliant all season for the Chicago Cubs on his way to winning the National League Cy Young award , but he was never better than on the night of Aug. 30 in Los Angeles. Arrieta fired a no-hitter against the Dodgers on national TV, a third-inning error by Starlin Castro and a sixth-inning walk keeping him from perfection, as he struck out 12 while making hitters look foolish on his way to history. Of course, it just so happened Cubs manager Joe Maddon had already planned a postgame pajama party, meaning Arrieta and his teammates celebrated in style . In a year filled with great accomplishments for himself and his team, Arrieta's no-no might just be at the top of that list. (Israel Fehr) • • •   6. Max Scherzer's near perfect game Max Scherzer nearly justified his massive contract with the Washington Nationals during his 14th start of the season. After nearly tossing a no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers in his previous game, Scherzer carried a perfect game into the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates. After making quick work of Gregory Polanco and Jordy Mercer, Scherzer was just one out away from being perfect. That’s when Jose Tabata stepped in and ruined all of it. Tabata was hit on the elbow with a pitch, ending Scherzer’s bid. It wasn’t without controversy, however. Some wondered whether Tabata had leaned into the pitch, and thought the umpire should have stepped in. The call stood, and Scherzer was able to pick up a no-hitter. Scherzer’s performance was a tremendous accomplishment, but it somehow felt like an enormous letdown. (Chris Cwik) • • •   5. A-Rod gets his 3,000th hit in grand fashion Alex Rodriguez entered 2015 as one of the most interesting players to watch, and lived up to that reputation throughout the year. His finest moment came in June. Despite all odds, Rodriguez had gotten off to a tremendous start, and was just one hit away from No. 3,000. In the first inning of a June 19 game against the Detroit Tigers, he picked up that hit in style. Rodriguez jumped all over the first pitch he saw from Justin Verlander, launching it to right for a home run. The play didn’t come without controversy. Notorious ball-hawk Zack Hample caught the ball, and it was initially unclear whether Rodriguez would get it back. The whole thing produced a wide range of feelings. Some were happy, many were angry and most were amazed at just how bizarre the situation had become. That seems fitting considering A-Rod was involved. (Chris Cwik) • • •   4. Royals' ALDS comeback staves off elimination The Kansas City Royals went on one of the most memorable postseason runs in recent memory. The team’s relentless nature at the plate led to a number of signature comebacks. This one was perhaps their finest. In Game 4 of the ALDS, the Royals went into the eighth inning down by four runs. With a loss, the team would be eliminated from the postseason by the upstart Houston Astros. By now, we already know the story. Kansas City rallied back against the Houston bullpen, slowly chipping away at the lead. The inning could have turned on a double play, but sure-handed shortstop Carlos Correa made an error, keeping the Royals alive. Alex Gordon would go on to drive in the go-ahead run on a groundout later in the frame. At that point, it was all but certain the Royals would complete the comeback. The team notched three additional runs in the ninth, and sent the Astros packing in Game 5. The rest, as they say, is history. (Chris Cwik) • • •   3. When Jonathan Pabelbon choked Bryce Harper What should have been a meaningless contest between the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies turned into one of the most memorable games of the season. In the eighth inning of the game, NL MVP Bryce Harper hit a shallow pop to left. Reliever Jonathan Papelbon took offense to Harper’s effort on the play, and began yelling at him in the dugout. Harper didn’t back down, and suddenly, Papelbon had his hands around Harper’s throat. The scuffle lasted just a few seconds, but left a lasting impression on those watching. The fight was proof that the Nationals were a mess in the clubhouse, and likely one of the reasons Matt Williams was fired shortly after the season ended. (Chris Cwik) • • • 2. Royals clinch World Series in wild Game 5 For the Royals to win the World Series, it wasn’t going to take a normal game. Normal wasn’t the how the 2015 Royals won in the postseason. Drama was their currency and they proved it in Game 5 . Down 2-0 going into the ninth inning, after Mets ace Matt Harvey had shut them down all game, the Royals got to Harvey and rallied to tie the game on Eric Hosmer’s now-famous dash home. Into extra innings the game went and in true Royals fan, the most unlikely player got the decisive hit. It was Christian Colon, who hadn’t had a single at-bat in the postseason. He had the go-ahead single in the 12th inning and the Royals piled four more runs to win the game and the series. (Mike Oz) • • •   1. The bat flip heard 'round the world Most will simply remember Game 5 of the ALDS between the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers for Jose Bautista's  incredible home run  and  audacious bat flip . But what played out before that was just as ridiculous. The game was tied 2-2 in the top of the seventh when catcher Russell Martin's routine throwback to the mound ricocheted off Shin-Soo Choo's bat and dribbled down the third base line. Before  anyone realized what happened , Rougned Odor raced home from third to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. The Blue Jays were stunned and the fans in Toronto heaped waste onto the field in protest, leading to a delay. After the game resumed, Texas committed three consecutive fielding errors in the bottom of the seventh and Bautista made them pay, launching a three-run homer to left field to put the Blue Jays in front and  send them to the ALCS . This game had everything we love about baseball, and that's why it  goes down as our game of the year .  (Israel Fehr) Editor's note: Yahoo Sports features condensed games daily during the MLB season. PREVIOUSLY IN OUR YEAR IN REVIEW : •  Best Social Media Moments •  Best Fan Moments • Our Favorite Homers More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - MLB - New York Mets News on December 31, 2015

Funniest Plays of the Year: Bartolo Colon loses hit helmet (No. 3) (Big League Stew)

Editor's note: This week, Big League Stew is counting down the five funniest plays of 2015. Come back to see who guffaws into the No. 1 spot. Here's No. 3: There are a number of reasons to love New York Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon. After being out of the league in 2010, Colon has experienced a late-career resurgence. He's done so despite the fact that he only throws one pitch, and looks like one of your uncles. The fact that he's not only effective, but still seems to be enjoying the game at age-42 just adds to that adoration.  When Colon joined the Mets in 2014, it marked the second time in his career that he would receive at-bats in the National League. His first go-around at the plate was rough. Colon notched just two hits in 2014. After those struggles, Colon vowed to get better at the plate heading into 2015. That improvement was on display almost immediately. During an April 12 contest against the Atlanta Braves, Colon stepped to the plate with a man on third. With the game tied 2-2, he had a chance to give himself the lead. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Colon delivered.  The 42-year-old shot a ball into right field for the RBI. Colon's swing took so much effort that he lost his helmet immediately after making contact with the ball. On slow motion replays, you can to see Colon smile right as the ball leaves the bat. He retains that smirk even after he safety reaches first base. As expected, his teammates love every single moment of it.  The play is proof that no one has more fun on a baseball field than Bartolo Colon.  PREVIOUSLY IN THIS SERIES •  A.J. Pierzynski tries really hard to frame this pitch •  Adrian Beltre kicks a ball foul OTHER YEAR-END MLB COVERAGE •  Our favorite homers of 2015 •  Best Social Media Moments •  Best Fan Moments More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - MLB - New York Mets News on December 30, 2015

Dave Henderson, who hit dramatic Red Sox home run, dies at 57 (Reuters)

(Reuters) - Dave Henderson, an outfielder whose home run for the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 American League Championship Series ignited one of baseball's most dramatic playoff comebacks, died of a heart attack on Sunday at age 57, the Seattle Mariners said. Henderson died at a Seattle hospital where he had a kidney transplant about a month ago, the Mariners said on their website. Henderson lived in Seattle and is survived by his wife and two sons, the team said.

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - MLB - New York Mets News on December 27, 2015

Dave Henderson, who hit dramatic Red Sox home run, dies at 57 (Reuters)

Dave Henderson, an outfielder whose home run for the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 American League Championship Series ignited one of baseball's most dramatic playoff comebacks, died of a heart attack on Sunday at age 57, the Seattle Mariners said. Henderson died at a Seattle hospital where he had a kidney transplant about a month ago, the Mariners said on their website. Henderson lived in Seattle and is survived by his wife and two sons, the team said.

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - MLB - New York Mets News on December 27, 2015

AP source: Murphy agrees to 3-year deal with Nationals (The Associated Press)

Second baseman Daniel Murphy and the Washington Nationals have agreed to a three-year, $37.5 million contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. Drafted by the Mets in 2006, the 30-year-old starred in October when he homered in a record six straight postseason games and was voted the MVP in the Mets' National League Championship Series victory over the Chicago Cubs. In seven seasons, all with the Mets, he has a .288 average with 62 homers and 402 RBIs.

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - MLB - New York Mets News on December 24, 2015

Baseball-Major League Baseball roundup (Reuters)

Free-agent second baseman Daniel Murphy reached agreement on a three-year contract Thursday with the Washington Nationals, according to reports. The Nationals will give up a first-round draft pick (No. 18 overall) in 2016 for Murphy. The 30-year-old Murphy elevated his status with home runs in a major-league record six consecutive games during the playoffs last fall for the New York Mets and was named National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player.

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - MLB - New York Mets News on December 24, 2015