Baseball Awards

With tonight’s thrilling regular season finale, baseball will move into the postseason.  That means that I have all the information to hand out some awards.  I’m only going to do the MVP Awards, Cy Youngs, and Rookies of the Year.  They’ve already handed out Comeback Players of the Year (Aaron Hill in the AL and Chris Carpenter in the NL) and I don’t feel like running through the Silver Slugger or Gold Glove Awards.  You can do that on your own.  Let’s get started.

NL MVP – Albert Pujols – 1B – St. Louis Cardinals

This is the easiest one of all of them.  Pujols should sweep the vote to take home his third MVP Award.  Pujols’ .327 average, 47 homers, and 135 RBIs placed him third, first and third in those categories, respectively.  Pujols was on track to hit 50 homers for the first time in his career, but he cooled a bit down the stretch and hasn’t left the yard since September 9th.  Even with that stretch, Pujols was still the top player in either league.

The best player in baseball.

The best player in baseball.

Others considered:  Albert Pujols.

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All-Star Adventure (Part 3)

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Me and the World's Largest Baseball

This is part three of my continuing series on my trip to the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game.  Click here to see parts one and two.  We left off yesterday with Prince Fielder winning the Home Run Derby.

Today, we’ll start with FanFest.

Dad and I got up late and went to fix my tire (I found out a couple hours ago that my valve was leaking).  Once that was done we headed to the Edward Jones Dome where Fanfest was being held.

The first place we went was the live auction.  It was like a traveling baseball museum.  They had some neat stuff, but unless you were willing to spend over a $1,000, it wasn’t worth picking up a bidding card.  They did give me a 270 page catalog of items and suggested retail prices.  If only I had a couple thousand extra dollars. Continue reading

Some Home Run Derby Material

allAlright, now that the final list of participants has been announced, its about time to look at some of the stats so we can inaccurately predict a winner.  It kind of worked last year.
Let’s take a quick look at the participants and their season home run totals:

American League National League
Nelson Cruz (TEX) – 21 Prince Fielder (MIL) – 22
Carlos Pena (TB) – 24 Adrian Gonzalez (SD) – 24
Joe Mauer (MIN) – 15 Ryan Howard (PHI) – 22
Brandon Inge (DET) – 21 Albert Pujols (STL) – 32

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Manny Ramirez and Steroids

As you may have read before, I was supposed to write up a little story about Manny Ramirez.  But, since the weather was beautiful all weekend, I was rarely around a computer.  Also, Weller summed it up pretty well with his post:  Manny was suspended 50 games for testing positive for a banned substance.  That substance was a female fertility drug, which caused all the message boards to light up with some pretty funny jokes.

So, instead of talking about Manny’s suspension and what it means to the Dodgers, I’m going to try and take a different route.  ESPN has covered just about every other possible angle on this anyway.  So here goes:

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The Ineptitude of the Cardinals Franchise

I’m talking about the football team. The current Arizona Cardinals. The former Chicago and St. Louis Cardinals. Not the baseball team Albert Pujols plays for now.

Anyway, this is a paragraph straight from the latest Sports Illustrated, which has an article about those Super Bowl-bound Cardinals. I had to post this. It’s like 10 stats of the day in one, and just hilarious in general. So enjoy the following quoted excerpt.

“Still, coaches have enjoyed job security compared with Cardinals quarterbacks. Since 1960 the team has had 39 starting QBs. In 1950 Jim Hardy threw eight interceptions in the season opener. In late ’73 Gary Keithley had a passer rating of 0.00 in consecutive weeks. In 1981 the Cards snapped a nine-year streak without a quarterback sneak. And yet, in ’95, they allowed a 76-yard sneak to Kansas City QB Steve Bono, one of the slowest players in the league.”

That’s just downright hilarious.

A New Week Begins

Alright folks, after a short layoff to write papers and study for tests, we’re back to sports blogging.  I shouldn’t have bothered to study for the aforementioned exam.  It was about as much fun as jabbing a stick into my eye.  Or watching Tennessee play Wyoming in football.  Either one, really.

Anyway, because of school, I didn’t get to watch a whole lot of sports over the weekend.  I saw my Tigers lock up the Big 12 North division and I saw Texas destroy the chickenhawks from Kansas.  I’m also semi-aware of the NFL games from yesterday.  I know my Rams were destroyed by the now 3-7 49ers.  How did this team win two games?  I also know that Cincinnati and Philadelphia ended their game in a 13-13 tie. I don’t know what this does for playoff implications (if anything) but I’m sure Weller will break it down when he gets back from Denver.  (Yes, he’s still alive.)

Also, it was just announced that Albert Pujols won the NL MVP.  I realize I’ve never met the guy, but from all accounts, he seems like a saint.  I really like to see good people succeed.  Way to go, Albert.

dockellisNow, the real reason behind the post is a little article I found on Snopes.com a few minutes ago.  Now, some of your may already know about this, but if you’re like me, you weren’t around when the Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres while under the influence of LSD.  This is just incredible to me.  I realize it happened 38 years ago and I’m just now hearing about it, but geez.  What seems unfair to me is that I don’t have enough talent to pitch a no-hitter in Little League while this guy can go out and take some LSD and throw a no-hitter against Major Leaguers.  Just…unfair.

Though, honestly, I don’t know where I should be critical of his performance or just really, really impressed.  I’ve never had any experience with LSD, but I can imagine it would be pretty difficult to operate under such circumstances.

Deadspin has an article about Mr. Ellis from about a year ago, as well.

I suppose it’s best summed up in the baseball classic, Bull Durham:  “He’s got a million dollar arm and a five cent head.”

Cards-Cubs

Alright faithful readers, we apologize for the slow weekend, but I’ve been out of town and I think Weller is still reeling from blogging the entire draft. If you’re like me and haven’t seen a TV all weekend, you probably missed the Kentucky Derby where Big Brown became the first horse to win from the 20th gate since 1929 and filly Eight Belles had to be euthanized on the track after suffering two compound fractures in her ankles. Elsewhere, Marvin Harrison may be in some hot water and the chances of me watching any college basketball next season just got slimmer as Duke Crews and Ramar Smith were dismissed from Tennessee.

Now, onto my first Cards-Cubs experience.

As of late Thursday night, we didn’t think the game would be played since most of Missouri was getting pounded with strong storms and the forecast was for them to continue well into Friday. Here in Columbia, most of the rain came early Friday morning and then let up completely, making for a very nice day. In St. Louis, it apparently lasted a little while longer but cleared up by the time we rolled into town around five o’clock. The game time temperature was a beautiful 74 degrees and it only dropped to about 68 by the end of the night.

We didn’t bother going for batting practice, figuring the rain would force it to be taken inside. We were wrong and got there for the final two groups of Cubs hitters, but nothing ever came close to us. After BP, we milled around a bit, bought some hot dogs and beer, and made fun of all the Cubs fans with their tucked in jerseys. It doesn’t look good, guys. Stop doing it.

Anyway, our seats were great. We were directly beneath Big Mac land, four rows back from the fence. The picture to your right is our view from the seats. The batter is Ryan Theriot, since Alfonso Soriano hit the first pitch of the game to the wall in right and I was trying to get the camera out of my pocket. (Soriano’s middle name is Guilleard, by the way, who knew that.)

Adam Wainwright pitched well, giving up going 6.1 innings and only giving up one earned run while striking out five. The same cannot be said for the Cubs’ starter, Rich Hill. Lou Pinella yanked Hill after only two-thirds of an inning when Hill walked the bases loaded and then walked Yadier Molina with a full count to bring in a run. Speculation in the left field seating area was that Hill was probably hurt. We were wrong. After the game, Pinella blasted his 28-year old starter.

“Hill can’t start like that in the big leagues. Every time he starts, it’s an adventure. I don’t know what the solution is, but I can’t start him anymore.”

Pretty harsh words for a guy 11-8 with a 3.92 ERA and 183 Ks last year. Granted he has had some control issues this year, but this may have been a knee-jerk reaction. I’m hoping they pull an even more knee-jerk reaction and send him packing to a team who can fix his control issues and make a fine pitcher out of him…a team like the Braves.

The Cubs fans were about what I figured they’d be. They were awfully vocal and awfully arrogant. I still can’t figure out why. Cards fans, for their part, had no problem pointing up to the Championship banners above the scoreboard. I did think it was funny how fast Cubs fans turned on their own. After Soriano missed Albert Pujols cloud scraping pop up, several fans behind me started screaming at Soriano like he was Bartman.

Anyway, the Cards were cruising until the ninth, when Soriano pounded a cutter from Jason Isringhausen that didn’t cut. It was a no doubter that sent Cubs fans into an absolute frenzy. The same fans who had hated Soriano only a few innings earlier had a radical change of heart. I had a hard time taking them seriously. Soriano’s homer was met with mixed emotions from our crew. Roommate 1 went into a scathing rant about how Izzy was terrible and had blown a great effort from the entire team. Roommate 2 was angry at the thought of extra innings because they stopped serving beer after the 7th inning. I was okay with it because i wanted to see a Pujols hit a walk-off homerun or some free baseball. Roommate 4 was busy heckling Cubs fans and wanted to see more baseball as well.

It didn’t turn out to be Pujols providing the walk off, but we did get our free baseball. Once Brendan Ryan sacrificed Aaron Miles to third with one out in the bottom of the 11th, most of the stadium though Skip Schumaker was going to try and squeeze Miles home. That would’ve been exciting. Instead, Schumaker took Chad Fox‘s first offering deep to right center for a two-run homer.

This touched off raucous celebrations from the Cardinals fans while most of the Cubs fans hit the exits before the ball landed. No one in our crowd had ever seen a walk-off homer while not working, so this was a new experience. (I had seen Richie Sexson hit one in Seattle while working for the Mariners, so I couldn’t technically celebrate with the fans.) I tried to get pictures of the stands afterward, but my camera ran out of batteries and I didn’t get anything worth sharing.

This game was one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen walk-off hits before, but never a walk-off homer. Even without the walk-off, the atmosphere and the tension between the two fan bases was enough to make it a great time and a great game.

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