Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Trickle, trickle...NL CY, Managers announced...

Baseball rally let us have it these past few days: we got the NL Cy Young winner yesterday, and BOTH Managers of the Year today (whoopie!)

NL Cy Young: Brandon Webb, SP, Arizona D-Backs (103 votes)
2nd: Trevor Hoffman, S.D.(77 votes); 3rd: Chris Carpenter, St.L (63 votes)
MY PICK: Carpenter
Somewhat of a shocker here as Carpenter was being touted as the probable winner throughout the playoffs as the Cards ran to the title. Not only did Webb win it but Trevor Hoffman, a reliever way past his prime, beat out Carpenter and at least 4 other worthy starters Huh? Whatever happened to a reliever needing to have an absolute MONSTER season in order to even be considered for the Cy?
Let's break down the numbers and see if this makes any sense:

Webb: 16-8, 235IP, 3.10 ERA, 178Ks, 50BBs, 1.13 WHIP
Hoffman: 46 saves, 2.14 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
Carpenter: 15-8, 221.2IP, 3.09 ERA, 184Ks, 43 BBs, 1.07WHIP

Basically it came down to this: the NL did not have one dominant pitcher this season (6 tied for the league lead with a pedestrian 16 wins), so it was probably the old "throw 10 names in a hat" method of deciding who was best. How else do you explain a reliever who had a somewhat decent year (Hoffman did set the all-time saves mark, but 46 for a season is no big deal nowadays) finishing ahead of a world champ (I know, the award is set before the postseason, but still) and a guy who led the league in ERA (Houston's Roy Oswalt led with a 2.98 and finished 4th)? Answer is: NL pitching is more bland than a political acceptance speech. Hence you get a relative unknown with mediocre stats beating out a broken down reliever and 4 middle-of-their-prime starters (Oswalt, Chicago's Carlos Zambrano, Atlanta's John Smoltz, and Carpenter.) Glad we waited a month and a half to hear that one.

MLB was kind enough to announce the two Manager of the Year winners today (yes, at once; interesting how the scrubby awards-Managers & Comeback Players- get announced on the same day. Talk about award discrimination), and unlike the NL Cy, these were can't miss selections.

AL Manager of the Year: Smokey Jim Leyland, Detroit Tigers
In the least surprising announcement of the entire award season Leyland walked away with the award, besting Minny's Ron Gardenhire, after turning the awful Tigers franchise into American League Champions. Three years ago Detroit lost 119 games, but in their first season under the former Pirate & Marlins skipper they won 97 games, defeated the Stankees in the ALDS and then beat Oakland in a thrilling ALCS to make it to their first World Series since 1984. It was their first winning season since 1993. Word has it that Leyland celebrated by smoking two cartons of Malboroughs until he passed out from smoke inhalation. Then he woke up and smoked another pack.

NL Manager of the Year: Joe Girardi, Florida Marlins
Isn't it ironic that the winner of this award, a rookie manager who guided a team loaded with rookies to within one week of a playoff berth, is now a TV analyst with the Stankees. I'm not sure if that's ironic or just moronic, but the well-publicized spats between the fiery Girardi and stubborn team owner Jeffrey Loria led to Girardi's dismissal following the season. The hiring of the former MLB catcher and New York coach was considered a major coup last off-season- he was wanted by several teams, including the Rays. But when the Marlins surprisingly landed him it stunned everybody because there was nothing left of the 2003 Championship team thanks to Loria's latest fire sale of talent (bye bye Beckett, Sheffield, Pudge, Clement...) Still an eager and determined Girardi took the position and guided a rag-tag group of raw kids and hungry vets to a 78-84 record and into a pennant race for most of September. The feud between the clashing personalities became very public knowledge when Girardi asked Loria to stop shouting at the umps during a home game in July. The two nearly came to blows in a heated shouting match after the game, and reports had Giradi being canned the next day. Well he made it through the season, barely, and now he is collecting his paycheck from Loria while broadcasting on YES Network and choosing his next move. Brilliant!

Tomorrow's Award: AL Cy Young
MY PICK: Johan Cy-tana
Others may have close or better numbers, but this guy is THE best pitcher in all of baseball right now, so just give him his award and don't pull a Brandon Webb on us!

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