Posted by Matt Clapp | 9/30/2008 08:00:00 AM | Anna Benson, CC Sabathia, Cleveland Indians, Kris Benson, Manny Ramirez, Mark Reynolds, New York Mets, Ryan Braun, Ryan Ludwick
The “Super Platinum Sombrero” Award: Mark Reynolds. MLB Record 204 strikeouts for the 25-year-old Arizona 3rd baseman. I haven’t seen this many swing and misses since Screech Powers with Lisa Turtle.
The “Please Make A Team Next Year So We Can See Your Wife At The Games, Preferably In A Warm State So She Isn‘t Wearing Many Clothes” Award: Kris Benson. Kris is of course married to former Thigh Of The Week, and 2008 Hot Ladies Tournament #12 seed Anna Benson. We love her. Anyway, Kris was released by the Phillies in August and is currently a free agent.
The “It’s Time To Hang ‘Em Up, And Only A Few People Knew Who You Were Anyway” Award: Mark Sweeney. Tip of the cap to Gaddeus of "The Sports Fellas" for pointing these numbers out a few days ago: .130 BA, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 28 K, .413 OPS. Sure it's only in 98 at bats, but I'd guess half the pitchers in the league would do better in 98 at bats than the 38-year-old Sweeney. Now, with all that being said, I'm sure he'll play in the NLDS against my beloved Cubs and hit 3 game-winning grand slams.
The “Latrell Sprewell” Award: New York Mets. Choked... again. 7.5 game lead blown in the last 17 games last year, and another gigantic collapse this year, including the Marlins beating them to finish the season at home yet again. And they gave their GM Omar Minaya a 4-year extension? Yikes.
The “2 Years Ago We Would’ve Said ‘He’s On The Juice’” Award: Ryan Ludwick. Unlike wine, it's rare that you see an MLB player get much better with age. Ludwick, a 30-year-old outfielder for the Cardinals, never hit higher than .267, and never hit more than 14 homers in 7 seasons with the Indians, Rangers, and Cardinals before 2008. His numbers this year: .299 BA, 37 HR, 113 RBI, .966 OPS.
The “Spent Too Much Time Eating In-N-Out Burgers" Award: Andruw Jones, or "The Bust Of The Century". Just when you thought Barry Zito and his contract looked like a joke, along came Andruw Jones and his 2 year, $36.2 million deal. Andruw who looked incredibly out of shape for the Dodgers this year, hit .158, with 3 HR, 14 RBI, and a .505 OPS in 209 AB.
The “How Is His Arm Still Intact?” Award: CC Sabathia. So the Brewers got CC to get them into the playoffs, knowing that they are unlikely to keep the lefty who will be a free agent. And to say they've gotten as much as they can out of him would probably be understating it. Since July 8th, CC has made 17 starts for the Brewers, with each of his last 2 starts being on 3 days' rest. How he's avoided an arm injury, and better yet, how he's managed to go 11-2 with a 1.67 ERA in that span is absolutely incredible.
The “We Might Not Win A Game If Not For Our Lineup” Award: Texas Rangers. The Rangers led MLB in runs scored(901), hits(1617), total bases(2647), and OPS(.816) to just name a few. However, they had an unbelievably putrid MLB-worst 5.37 ERA, with the next worst being the Orioles at 5.14. They hit an mlb-best .283, but allowed their opponents to hit .288. They still managed to finish 2nd place in the AL West with a 79-83 record. Imagine if they could even pitch almost decently.
Honorable Mention: Detroit Tigers.
The "We Might Not Win A Game If Not For Our Starting Rotation" Award: Toronto Blue Jays. Near the bottom of the league in just about every offensive category, the Blue Jays put together an MLB-best 3.49 ERA. That's even more remarkable when you consider they play in the AL East. Their rotation was just filthy(as Poorly Acquitted let us know in May), led by Roy Halladay's 20 wins(I did a blog about him in July, yes, we're going to keep plugging our other blogs in this blog), followed by AJ Burnett's 18 wins, Jesse Listch's 13 wins and 3.58 ERA, Shaun Marcum's league-leading ERA for a bit before needing Tommy John surgery which will be keep him out for 2009, and Dustin McGowan who has no-hit stuff.
Honorable Mention: Arizona Diamondbacks.
The “If Only We Did This In The 1st Half” Award: Cleveland Indians. The Tribe finished the season 81-81, and will finish 7.5 games out. On July 9th, they were 37-53,and that had been with CC Sabathia as a part of the team through July 6th.
The “Douchiest Home Run Celebration” Award: Ryan Braun. Seriously what the hell was that? And don’t even get me started on the cheesy and quite uncomfortable(especially with Prince Fielder) "untuck 'em" crap.
The "Last Year Is Looking More And More Like A Fluke" Award: Colorado Rockies. Everybody questioned if it was a fluke while their magical run was happening, and it seems that the answer is yes. They dealt with plenty of injuries this year and are probably better than their 74-88 record, but you just don't go on runs like they did last year in baseball without a lot of help. Give them credit for it, no doubt, but they need to make some serious improvements to their pitching staff if they want to make the playoffs again anytime soon.
The “My Back Hurts From Carrying My Team To The Playoffs” Award: Tie between Manny Ramirez and CC Sabathia. 2 of the best mid-season acquisitions in the history of the game. Well, for the current season at least. The Brewers might regret it next year if they go home after the first round against the Phillies, can’t re-sign CC, and watch Matt LaPorta blossom into a star in Cleveland. At least 2 of those things will happen. As for Manny, just wow: .396 BA, 17 HR, 53 RBI, and a 1.232 OPS in 187 at bats for the Dodgers! The Dodgers were 54-54 when Manny joined the team on July 31st, and finished 6 games over .500 as NL West champs.
The "Possibly The Most Hilarious Season Of All-Time" Award: Seattle Mariners. It all started in the off-season with their trade of 5 players to the Orioles for Erik Bedard. Bedard ended up being trash for the Mariners, and the Orioles appear to have some very nice young players now headlined by Adam Jones. The general manger that did that, Bill Bavasi, was then fired in June.
A couple days later, he was asked about Erik Bedard not being able to go past 100 pitches in his starts: "You have to ask him and I know that's no fun. And he's going to have a stupid answer for you can count on it. He's going to have some dumb-ass answer..."He's either gassed because he's laboring. He's protecting himself because he knows even he sticks around and is mediocre he gets another 2 million bucks lopped onto his salary...Why doesn't he go longer? It's a real pointed question. But you need to ask him. And good luck with that." Aboslute gold.
Richie Sexson was released a few days later after he'd been a bust with a gigantic contract, and then manager John McLaren was fired on June 19th. It just kept getting better!
Anyway, the crappiness and drama continues all year long, and the Mariners finished with the worst record in the American League of 61-101. They were eliminated from the division race in August! But the best part of all as Bz posted about last Friday, was the Mariners team apparently wanting to "knock out" Ichiro.
The "Receiving Death Threats From Clapp If The Cubs Lose The World Series In Game 7 Unless It's Against The Angels" Award: Bud Selig and Dan Uggla. I'm sure they'll get swept by the Dodgers so this won't come into play, but if it does, well I blame it on the freaking All-Star Game decides home-field advantage crap. Bud Selig gets the obvious blame for being the dumbass enforcing this nonsense, and Dan Uggla for making like 35 errors in the game for the National League.