It’s near on the end of the season now, which means it’s time for writers to start giving out awards to all the wrong people. Since I write a lot about baseball, I’m going to be a part of the award process this season, which I think is pretty cool. The downside, of course, is that my part of the process is pretty much limited to ridiculing it on this blog, because those crotchety old baseball dudes don’t really give a rat’s ass what I say. So I’m going to give out my own awards. Note carefully that I’m not trying to predict what the actual award people will do; I’m telling you what I would do, which is more interesting. Since fuck those guys.
Rookie of the Year (AL): Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay Rays) — Longoria was leading a pretty strong pack for most of the season, but then he went on the DL for about six weeks with a broken hand and other names started to pop up. Then he came back from the DL and hit three home runs in the same game, and all those other names popped right back down. Not to mention he’s led his team to its first-ever playoff appearance only a few short months after they locked down their first-ever not-losing season. Not to mention there’s something about his name that’s just aesthetically pleasing.
Rookie of the Year (NL): Geovany Soto (Chicago Cubs) — There’s really no competition at all. Soto has already emerged as one of the best catchers in baseball in all respects — offense, defense, leadership, you name it. He’s in his rookie year and he’s already an All-Star. At the time of this writing, Soto is batting .286, which isn’t too shabby for a catcher, his OPS of .869 ranks third among catchers, and he’s leading with 23 home runs. That should be enough for a solid ROY right there.
Manager of the Year (AL): Joe Maddon (Tampa Bay Rays) — Have I mentioned yet that the Tampa Bay Rays — the Tampa Bay Rays — are going to be in the playoffs? That feat alone should get Maddon the award; it’s no joke to take the worst franchise in baseball, with the second-lowest payroll, and turn it into a team that can capture the AL’s toughest division in the space of one year.
Manager of the Year (NL): Tony La Russa (St. Louis Cardinals) — Yes, yes, I know; La Russa is an asshole. Everyone knows that. But, asshole or not, he took a team that was widely regarded as being in a rebuilding year and kept it in contention until the last week of the season, weathering holes and injuries, and did it in the toughest division in the NL.
Honourable Mention: Ned Yost (Milwaukee Brewers) — Whoops!
Cy Young (AL): Cliff Lee (Cleveland Indians) — Lee’s 22 wins are what kept the Indians in contention even after they traded half their rotation. I don’t really have a whole lot more to say about Cliff Lee, since the whole world already knows he owns this award.
Cy Young (NL): Brad Lidge (Philadelphia Phillies) — Sure, Tim Lincecum and Brandon Webb get all the press, but Lidge is the NL’s real phenom this season. He’s been invincible so far, successfully closing out 40 games without blowing one single save. Lidge has a 1.87 ERA and opponents are batting an absurd .192 against him — neither Lincecum nor Webb can claim a sub-.200 BAA. Oh, and his team’s contending. Sorry, NL West!
Most Valuable Player (AL): Jermaine Dye (Chicago White Sox) — Well, hey, at least one member of the White Sox benefits from Carlos Quentin’s idiotic self-inflicted season-ending injury; the "other" guy who got them where they are today. Thanks, Carlos!
Most Valuable Player (NL): Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals) — Prince Fielder and Jimmy Rollins have been off this season, Alfonso Soriano spent a bit too much time on the DL, and the Giants inexplicably still didn’t resign Barry Bonds. So pretty much we’re looking at a Pujols-or-Berkman field, and Pujols gets the nod because he’s hit just a hair better this season, and he once single-handedly destroyed an entire opposing team. I mean, sure, it was just the Padres, but still.
Least Valuable Player (AL): Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees) — The curse of A-Rod once again prevents the Yankees from going to the World Series, and this time it does so in a most dramatic fashion: by elevating the Tampa Bay Rays to contending status and keeping the Yankees from even reaching the first round. Not that it’s anything mysical; A-rod’s well-documented lack of "clutch" is a major part of the problem. And this season it’s worse than usual; he was found to be the least clutch player in all of baseball. Science doesn’t lie!
Least Valuable Player (NL): Barry Zito (San Francisco Giants) — The Yankees are paying $300 million for A-rod to be not-clutch and leave his wife for gangrenous grizzled old whores, allegedly of course, but the Giants are in to Barry Zito for $127 million and all they get for their money is a few ads for designer jeans. Good ol’ Barry is 10-16 with a .273 BAA and a stunning 5.28 ERA — not to mention a K/BB very very close to 1 (114/98). Remember when this guy won a Cy Young? I wonder if his problem is the same as that of a certain other former Cy Young winner who now seems unable to pitch his way out of a burlap sack.
Asshole Award (AL): A.J. Pierzynski (Chicago White Sox) — Hey, news flash: A.J. Pierzynski is an asshole. But this year he went above and beyond the call of duty. Sure, that bit with the "passed ball" a few years ago was shady, but at least it was all within the rules. This year, though, A.J. actually resorted to cheating to try to get his lousy team a few more wins — and I don’t even mean the subtle form of cheating, like corking your bat, or the "everybody’s doing it" cheating of HGH. I mean he actually stuck out his arm and deliberately made contact with a defending player who was nothing like in his way and then hollared obstruction so he could get a free base. And he got the call, too; only a churl would suggest that there’s no coincidence that the umpire was the same one who gave him the "passed ball" call mentioned above.
Honourable Mention: Kenny Rogers (Detroit Tigers) — Hey, news flash: Kenny Rogers is an asshole. Basically he’s just here for whining about OMG YANKEES CONSPIRACY because he hates change and progress.
Asshole Award (NL): Manny Ramirez (Los Angeles Dodgers) — Manny can be really entertaining sometimes, and sometimes he can just be a gigantic dipshit. And the season-long temper-tantrum he threw to try to get the Red Sox to trade him definitely qualifies as the latter. He loafed and goldbricked and caused trouble in the clubhouse, and is undoubtedly part of the reason the Red Sox never did manage to catch up with the Rays. Of course, he’s been all sweetness and light since the trade, but that doesn’t excuse him.
Honourable Mention: Doug Brocail (Houston Astros) — I don’t normally have any issue with Doug Brocail; I don’t, in fact, normally have any thoughts about Doug Brocail at all. But he gets on here for whining about OMG YANKEES CONSPIRACY when the Astros sucked a dick or six after playing the Cubs at Miller Park.
Honourable Mention: The rest of the Houston Astros (Houston Astros) — I singled out Doug for the Yankee whining, but, seriously, guys. Get over the fantasy that those two losses to Chicago a) would have been wins if played in Turner Field and b) would have been enough to change a damn thing. You lost to Florida, and to Pittsburgh, and now you’re losing to Cincinatti. The problem is with you.