Sure, cynicism is in vogue these days -- so much that it's easy to forget why we enjoy following baseball in the first place. Then one of those Kevin Costner cornfield moments comes along and puts it all back into focus.
Walk-off homers and dazzling debuts make for happy endings, but the best feel-good stories provide a touch of humanity that can't be celebrated with a shaving cream pie in the face. Sometimes it's less about baseball than about bonding with family, or achieving a personal triumph after an injury or different kind of setback.
In this week's edition of Starting 9, we reflect upon nine moments from the 2010 Major League Baseball season that left a nice, warm feeling and memories that will outlast the box score. Some of the events below barely generated a headline, but that didn't make them any less poignant or inspirational.
In case you're wondering, there are no references to Nyjer Morgan's antics, the McCourt divorce proceedings, the Florida Marlins' finances, the Tampa Bay Rays' attendance, Ken Griffey Jr.'s clubhouse nap, Carlos Zambrano's dugout blowups, Roger Clemens' legal issues, Hanley Ramirez's May loaf-a-thon, the Chone Figgins-Don Wakamatsu dugout spat, Phillies fans who vomit on their seatmates, Johnny Cueto's karate kicks, the Bryce Harper contract negotiations or the Pittsburgh Pirates' team ERA. This is strictly a Francisco Rodriguez-free zone.