All the hellos and goodbyes of the 2016 MLB season

All the hellos and goodbyes of the 2016 MLB season

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Wrigley Field in Chicago during the NLCS.Wrigley Field in Chicago during the NLCS.
Image: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images
2016%2f09%2f16%2fdb%2fjk6x_dfv.6b871By Jacob Lauing2016-11-05 22:40:58 UTC

With the Chicago Cubs' World Series victory parade on Friday, it's official: Baseball season is over.

This year brought baseball fans highs and lows, as each season does. But in 2016, it felt like we said goodbye more often than usual, whether it was premature or a long time coming. With every goodbye came an equally potent hello.

Here's the story of the 2016 MLB season.

Hello: The 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs

You've heard it a thousand times already: The Chicago Cubs won their first World Series since 1908.

This season introduced a new brand of Cubs baseball to the world, one steeped in success and pennant races, not the bad luck and misery that accompanied the franchise for the past century.

The Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years.

The Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years.

Image: Elsa/Getty Images

Whether you're a fan or not, the Cubs have arrived. Get used to it.

Goodbye: José Fernández

The baseball world suffered a punch to the gut when Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández was killed in late September. With an electric fastball and infectious personality, he was one of the brightest young stars in the game.

Players and fans around baseball mourned Fernández's loss on social media, in moments of silence and in many ballpark tributes.

Perhaps the most touching moment, though, was when teammate Dee Gordon hit a home run in the first game since Fernández's death. It happened one pitch after Gordon paid tribute to his fallen teammate by imitating his batting stance.

Hello: Young sluggers

Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story smashed two homers in his debut on Opening Day, signaling to MLB that a new wave of young power hitters had arrived.

The 23-year-old went on to hit 27 home runs in 97 games for the Rockies, but he wasn't the only rookie dropping bombs.

Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez became the fastest player in MLB history to hit 11 home runs, which he did in his first 23 games. And 22-year-old Dodgers rookie Corey Seager hit 26 home runs in 2016, the most of any Dodgers shortstop in a single season.

Goodbye: Old sluggers

Of course, with the emergence of young sluggers came the retirement of a few older ones.

Most notably, Red Sox legend David Ortiz called it quits after 20 years in the big leagues. He leaves baseball as one of the most clutch postseason hitters of all-time, having notched key hits in the Red Sox World Series runs among other hits.

David Ortiz tips his cap after his last game.

David Ortiz tips his cap after his last game.

Image: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

A couple of other big-name sluggers called it quits as well, though these two said premature goodbyes to baseball.

Texas Rangers player Prince Fielder was forced to retire mid-season at age 32. Doctors told the six-time All-Star he couldn't play anymore after his second spinal surgery. Once upon a time, Fielder hit 50 home runs in one season. His retirement announcement was emotional, to say the least.

In August, the Yankees released Alex Rodriguez, the three-time MVP and 14-time All-Star. Though Rodriguez was one of the most statistically impressive players of this generation, he generated plenty of controversy for his behavior and steroid use.

Hello: Make baseball fast again

In an ongoing effort to speed up baseball's pace of play, the league limited coaches' visits to the pitchers' mound to 30 seconds. Last year the league introduced a pace clock in between innings as well.

The updated rules come at a time when baseball's audience is getting older. Younger sports fans are resisting baseball because of its slow pace and long games.

Goodbye: Vin Scully

Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully waves to the crowd alongside his wife Sandra Hunt in October.

Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully waves to the crowd alongside his wife Sandra Hunt in October.

Image: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Famed play-by-play announcer Vin Scully dropped the mic after 67 years with the Dodgers, the longest tenure of any sports broadcaster with a single team.

He'll be remembered for his poetic broadcasting style, storytelling and the sheer longevity of his career. Scully's voice spanned generations of Dodgers baseball. He's considered by many to be the greatest baseball announcer of all time.

Hello: A new scandal

Though performance-enhancing drugs still linger in Major League Baseball, the steroid era has passed.

2016 marked the arrival of a new scandal, though, as a handful of players were suspended for violating MLB's domestic violence policy. The league suspended more than one high-profile player, including Cubs flamethrower Aroldis Chapman, Mets shortstop Jose Reyes and Braves outfielder Hector Olivera.

Just last week, Mets closer Jeurys Familia was arrested in a domestic violence dispute, though MLB hasn't suspended him yet.

Goodbye: David Ross, one of the good guys

And where there is scandal, there is purity.

MLB said goodbye to David Ross, the Cubs backup catcher who is known for his kindness. Ross announced his retirement last year, and though his stats won't jump off the page, his leadership and clubhouse presence have made significant impacts on his teammates.

David Ross celebrates after defeating the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series.

David Ross celebrates after defeating the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series.

Image: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

To cap off 15 years in the big leagues, Ross hit a home run in Game 7 of the World Series, the last game of his career and the last game of this 2016 season.

Until next year, baseball fans.

Topics: Baseball, chicago cubs, Entertainment, Major League Baseball, MLB, Sports, world series

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