Tuesday, September 21, 2004

 

The seasons winds, it's time for the Awards...Kizner Style?

Let me just preface this by saying Barry Bonds is the greatest baseball player of my lifetime, your lifetime, and maybe, a lifetime to come.

As the season draws toward a close, pennant races heat up, titans clash, and we, the writers and the critics, debate the inevitable, the post season awards. Let me just say, picking the first 2 took me a matter of seconds, and picking the second 2, well I'm not sure, and I hope after reading this, you aren't either. Here's the first set of all my awards to come.

AL Cy Young: Johan Santana, who else can you even argue. Leading the league in ERA, and shutout innings this year. He is currently on a 30 inning shut out streak, there's just no competition. Every 5 days he pitches his heart out, and the Twins win; if that's not Cy Young, I don't know what is.
Honorable mention: Curt Schilling, who has picked up the slack in the wake of Pedro's decline. He was the first 20 game winner, and he has been the Red Sox ace in and OUT of Fenway. Something the often shaky Pedro can not do (see Pedro in Yankee stadium).
Dishonorable mention: Kevin Brown. He should get an award for breaking his hand, like the anti Cy Young, do they have one of those?

NL Cy Young: Roger Clemens, and please, don't say Randy Johnson. Clemens is once again dominating a league when he shouldn't be. How many more golden years are left in his arm? He's tied for most wins in the NL, is going to have yet another 200 K season, and will probably have yet another 20 win season. Did I mention the Astros have ridden the hotstreaks of he (and Roy Oswalt) all the way into playoff contention, and a huge showdown in San Fran this weekend. If the Astros finally make the playoffs, you have to look to Beltran, and you have to look to Roger Clemens.
Honorable mention: Randy Johnson. I don't care if he's beating Clemens in every imaginable stat (which he pretty much is), Clemens is having the better year. Johnson has the best WHIP, and K/9 in the NL. Anyone know where his team is in the playoff standings? What does it matter to Johnson if he throws the extra fastball down the middle, or pitches the CG, his team has no chance of winning, one more homerun, or 10 more pitches on his arm is of no consequence. He doesn't win my Cy Young for one reason, his starts are meaningless, and have been since week 2 of the season when everyone and their brother on the DBacks got hurt, Clemens is pitching for the Wild Card in Houston, let him have it.
Dishonorable Mention: Carl Pavano, who was the Cy Young winner this month, until he forgot how to pitch, and started looking like Way Back Wasdin. Not to mention the Marlins have fallen from possible playoff grace, but Pavano's implosion is what truly cost him.

AL MVP:Call me a homer until your blue in the face, it's Manny Ramirez. When you hit 41 home runs, 120 rbis, have an average over 300, and are leading the league in slugging percentage (with his 397 obp thats an OPS over 1000 kids), you deserve the MVP. When you have a career 316 avg and 1.010 OPS, you deserve your own wing in the hall of fame, but I digress. Did I mention he's in the top 10 in doubles as well? But the real reason I think he deserves the MVP is his consistency. Day in and day out, Manny brings his A game. He has single handedly carried the sox through the rough times, and captained the ship during the clear sailing. You take Manny away from this lineup, and these Red Sox aren't a playoff team, because chances are, Manny would be on another AL team, crushing the Red Sox post season hopes. Not to mention he's the most entertaining outfielder, ever.
Honorable Mention: Gary Sheffield, as much as I really dislike saying that. Sheff has had an incredible year for the Yankees, and carried them through their slump all the way to the division lead, and presumably the division title. He has been the force to reckon with in the absence of Giambi, the early season slump of Jeter, and Bernie Williams Geriatric World Tour 2004. He's been great in the outfield, and he's crushed the Red Sox, and when you're a Yankee, that's what counts.
Dishonorable Mention: Ichiro, there, I said it. Anyone who is considering him for MVP should be shot, sodomized, quartered, thrown into a fire, and told how wrong he is. I don't care if he reanimates George Seisler to start getting base hits for him, HIS HITS DON'T MEAN ANYTHING! He may break 250 hits, and not even score 100 runs! I'm not impressed by Ichiro's nickel and dime singles, his drag bunts down the 3b line. Big deal, what place is the team around you in? If you're God's gift to hitting, and you get on base so often, like say Bonds (yes I know Bonds has an obp 200 points higher, but hear me out), why is your team so far down. Barry gets on base and gets driven in, Ichiro doesn't. And what's with him and his usage of speed, or lack there of? If this guy is that great, and he outruns all these infield hits, why does he only have 35sbs?! His team is in last place, it's not going to matter if he gets picked off running to 2b, so why not run? Did the Mariners ever stop to think if Ichiro steals 2 out of every 3 bases, and puts himself in scoring position, even their nonexistent offense might score some runs? He's being misused, and not playing to his potential, so in the spirit of Seinfeld- NO MVP FOR YOU!

NL MVP:Adrian Beltre (dodges all the large objects being thrown at him), hear me out. Beltre has finally developed into the player everyone always dared to dream he might be. He's hitting 339. 60 points over his career average, he's leading the league in homeruns with 45, and he's got 11 RBIs. He's been essential to kick starting that Dodgers offense in the decline of Shawn Green, and in the turn over that resulted from players like Paul Lo Duca being traded away, he did not miss a beat. Yes, I know Milton Bradely being added to the line up helped, and that having an absolutely lights out closer makes life a lot easier, this team isn't where it is without Adrian Beltre. Yes, I know the same is true about Bonds, but let me make my case about him next.
Beyond Honorable Mention:Barry Bonds. Yes, I know he's Barry Bonds, and I'd love to give him my MVP award, and in all reality he'll probably win it, but I really don't think he should. No player has been more singularly important to his team than Barry Bonds, but is he more important because teams make him more important? The Giants have scores 787 runs this year. Of them, 600 were scores in innings when Bonds got on base. In an inning when Bonds walks, the Giants typically score 1.09 runs, as opposed to .95 runs when he does not. They score an astonishing 1.25 runs per inning when he is intentionally walked. So it begs the question, with the Giants doing so much scoring when Bonds is on base, why do teams so willingly put him there? I don't think he deserves the MVP because the other teams, and not he himself, the player, Barry Bonds, are the reason he is so spectacular. Counting all his abs this year that were not hits (in other words, only outs), Bonds has an OBP of 370 (credit to Jayson Stark and ESPN.com for all stats here). 370, that's higher than the league average, without ever getting a hit. How can you argue that other teams fear of him, although substantiated, isn't contributing to his greatness? So what if he hits a homerun every game, if he get's out the other 2 at bats, he's only scored 1 run, and on base once. That's a lot better than putting him on base 4x a game, and making him do no work. Pitch to him, make him run, make him earn every base, but quit giving him the free ones. Did I mention how abysmal the rest of the Giants lineup is compared to him?
So why don't I think Bonds is an MVP, because he'll do this on any team he's on, and not just the one he's playing for. That doesn't make him the MVP, it makes him a God among men, and I think he's beyond this award, and undeserving of it as a singular player.
Dishonorable Mention: Hard to pick just one out of the NL, but let me try. SAMMY SOSA!!!! *pumps a fist to his chest and raises a finger to God*. When you're hitting 257, with only 77 rbis and an obp below 350, and your name is Sammy Sosa, you're having an offyear. Maybe it's because they took the cork out of his bat, maybe it's injuries, or maybe he's just getting old. But if I hear one more person talk about how great Sammy Sosa is, and attribute the success of the Cubs team this year to him, I'm going to explode.

More awards later, comments, rants, disagreements welcome




Comments:
Big Daddy T Commenting:

Nice defense of your choices until you pick Beltre. Career year yes. MVP? No way Jose. It's Bonds, period. Get real.

And speaking of Jose, Manny NEVER bounced a home run off his head like Conseco. He's fun, but he's not Jose.

Totally agree with your Ichiro choice. Punch and Judy singles hitter. Big deal.
 
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