With the baseball season half over it’s time for the BeachBum All Star Awards. As you can imagine they aren’t all good and I make them up as I go along. Just like my life. Also, unlike the Men Hall of Fame, there will be no trophy or plaque.
Sorry, money is tight these days.
I have the added motivation of getting myself geared up for tomorrow’s Red Sox – Twins game. I’m taking the day off from work (and here) to take my eldest to the afternoon game. Looks like it’s going to be 90 degrees and brutally humid, but I’m still looking forward to it.
My son wants to bring a sign, so keep an eye out for anything that gets a dig in on Minnesota. Maybe ‘Boston: Where Minnesota athletes come to win’ or something like that. We’ll be first row balcony, so it’s a good spot for a sign. Keep an eye out for us!
Most Pleasant Surprise (Team): Up until yesterday this would have been the Rays, but Milwaukee snagging CC Sabathia from the Indians just shot to the top. Did anyone see that one coming? Now the Brewers (yes the BREWERS!) are the second half favorites to emerge for a cluttered National League. With a healthy (fingers crossed, he stays that way) Ben Sheets and a more effective Sabathia, the Brewers are a force to be reckoned with. No, really. The Milwaukee Brewers!
As it stands now, is there a more giddily excited fan base than Milwaukee? Not only did you snag an ace for a bunch of players you probably never heard of before, but Sabathia decides he’s not going to miss a start because of the trade. ‘This way I can get two starts in before the break and get better acclimated to the team’. Tell me you wouldn’t want a guy like that coming to your team. Don’t even get them started on the Richard Jefferson trade.
Honorable Mentions: Tampa Bay Rays; Minnesota Twins; Texas Rangers
Biggest Disappointment (Team): New York Mets. No, they’re not out of it, but they are inconsistent, seemingly unhappy, petulant and expensive. Santana has been mediocre when everyone expected him to take it up a notch with the move to the NL, Pedro’s ERA is over 7 and looks to be toast, Reyes is getting into shouting matches with Keith Hernandez, they’re barely above .500 at home and even their own fans don’t know what to make of them. I should mention they have the second highest payroll in the majors.
Dishonorable Mentions: Arizona Diamondbacks; Cleveland Indians; Seattle Mariners
Most Pleasant Surprise (Hitting): Josh Hamilton. At .308/19 HR/85 RBI, Hamilton isn’t just a legitimate triple crown threat, he’s an MVP candidate for the surprisingly potent Texas Rangers.
Honorable Mentions: JD Drew; Lance Berkman; Xavier Nady
Biggest Disappointment (Hitting): Andruw Jones. Downright horrible even before he was injured. Currently hitting below .200 and giving even more credence to the theory that his 2006 career year may have been somewhat….how shall I put this…artificially enhanced.
Dishonorable Mentions: Big Papi; Freddy Sanchez; Gary Matthews Jr
Most Pleasant Surprise (Pitching): Edinson Volquez, not only the lone bright spot for another crappy Reds team, but the feel good story of MLB, so far. 11-3, 2.36 ERA, Volquez would win the Cy Young if there wasn’t an entire second half to play. Stupid second halves.
Honorable Mentions: Cliff Lee; Bartolo Colon; Joe Saunders; Justin Duchscherer
Biggest Disappointment (Pitching): Since this award might soon be named after him, it has to go to Barry Zito. He’s not only having another shitty year but could turn into the worst free agent signing in baseball history.
Dishonorable Mentions: Kevin Millwood; Paul Byrd; AJ Burnett
Best Addition: Troy Percival. Sure he’s past his prime and looks like he’s been on an all ice cream diet, but he’s brought toughness and leadership to a young team that desperately needed it.
Honorable Mentions: Eric Hinske; Carlos Gomez; David Murphy
Worst Addition: Frankly this was a toss up, but I’m going to have to award this to Andruw Jones making him our first multiple award winner. My other option was Dontrelle Willis, but he was more of a toss in salary dump to get Cabrera, anyway. Hey, now would be a good time to point out that Jones is making more than $14 million a year.
Dishonorable Mention: Dontrelle Willis; Mark Redman (I know, I liked this move at the time); Eric Gagne (NOTE: he would have won this award last year, too, if I had any)
Most Entertaining Sub Plot: A-Rod’s personal life falling apart thus giving all the New York tabloids fodder for the next 6 months, me jokes for a solid year, and Madonna being mentioned in the same breath as the All Star Game. Please tell me she’s singing the National Anthem!
Least Surprising Sub Plot: Not one team kicking the tires of Barry Bonds or Sammy Sosa. After the Mitchell Report, teams are trying to put as much distance between themselves and steroids as possible. The exception being Milwaukee who has the All Steroid Team in it’s bullpen. Minus the steroids. Supposedly. Still, you’d figure a team struggling to score runs like Toronto or San Diego would at least consider one of them.
Most Surprising Sub Plot: In a total upset the most surprising sub plot goes to not one person missing George Steinbrenner. Hank has so thoroughly and unexpectedly taken the crazy reigns over from his father that it’s almost like George is still there. Only he’s drunk and popping prescription pills on an hourly basis.
Most Anti-Climatic Sub Plot: This year’s trade deadline. Sabathia was the biggest name out there and he’s already been traded. Just don’t expect much. By the way, a spectacular, unforeseen trade is entirely possible with the Yankees hovering around .500 and a crazy Steinbrenner back in charge.
Strangest Sub Plot: Manny going off the deep end and becoming ‘Holy Shit He May Actually Kill Someone This Season’ Manny. Fighting with Youkilis (who, admittedly, seems like a dick) then pushing the team’s AARP member and traveling secretary because he didn’t get Manny enough tickets to a game.
Quick side note here: Is it possible the Sox would trade Manny before the deadline? What about Youkilis? Manny’s contract is up at the end of the season and the way the rest of the Sox defended Manny after those two fought indicates not many on the team are that fond of Youk. Could the Sox send one away for the sake of team unity?
Best Game of the Year (So Far): The Rockies coming back from a 13-4 deficit to beat the Marlins 18-17. If you can find the highlights of this you really need to see this to believe it.
Strangest Play of the Year: Youkilis’ wall hovering triple last weekend. No, ‘So Far’ on this award as I can’t see how this gets beat the rest of the season.
Eye Opening Stat: The Chicago Cubs having outscored their opponents by a whopping 102 runs. If they make this stat an even 100 heading into the playoffs, then larger forces are at work.
Players Key To Their Team’s Second Half:
Andy Pettitte/Jason’s Giambi’s porn stache
James Shields/Scott Kazmir
Teams Poised to Make Runs:
Boston Red Sox
New York Mets
Team of the Year: Tampa Bay Rays. Who knew the Devil was holding them back.
Player of the Year: Chase Utley
Pitcher of the Year: Francisco Rodriguez
On that note, I’m out. Enjoy HumpDay and I’ll check in on Thursday.
Today’s distraction: Red Sox Fan Makes Leap onto Tampa Bandwagon. Classic!