On the final day of the 2011-2012 MLB season the Sports Debaters have decided to announce our predictions for all of the most important end of season awards.
In his amazing career, Ted Williams won the Triple Crown Award twice, but finished 2nd in the MVP voting both years. This will NOT be the case this year. Miguel Cabrera has had a stellar season and is in the drivers seat to win the first Triple Crown Award since 1967. On the year, Cabrera has hit career highs with both 44 HRs and 139 RBIs and he is sporting a .331 batting average. His OPS is a remarkable 1.002, which is his third straight year over 1.000. He has lead the Tigers to the postseason with minimal help from his teammates, (outside of Prince Fielder) as the Tigers clinched the AL Central for the 2nd straight season. There is little doubt that he deserves this award.
With the before mentioned Prince Fielder leaving Milwaukee last offseason, most baseball experts predicted Ryan Braun to have a down year, as he lost his protection in the lineup. Last year’s MVP had a rough offseason, being found guilty of PEDs, fought the allegations and they turned out to be false. He came into the 2012 season with much to prove, as the Brewers were truly his team to carry. Going into the final night, he has put up a league high 41 HRs, 112 RBIs and a .320 batting average. The Brewers had a very disappointing first half and many thought they were out of contention by the All-Star Break. They ended up a few games over .500 and narrowly missed the Wild Card by just 4 games. Though Andrew McCutchen, Joey Votto and Buster Posey all had great years in their own rights, Ryan Braun did enough to clinch his 2nd straight NL MVP.
In a baseball season that saw a record 7 no-hitters, many pitchers left their mark on the mound. While the Tampa Bay Rays were plagued with injuries to their lineup all year, their pitching carried them through the season. Though the Rays came up just short in a competitive AL East, their current 89-72 record is nothing to be ashamed off. Price’s .256 ERA is a career low and was the best in the AL. He finished with a 20-5 record, making him one of only 2 AL pitchers to reach this plateau. Considering the lack of talent the Rays lineup threw out compared to a team like the Anaheim Angles, David Price has earned the Cy Young in a narrow victory over Jered Weaver.
When my partner in crime, matthewtodderich told me that R.A. Dickey would win the NL Cy Young back in April, I could do nothing but laugh. Now it is time to admit that I was dead wrong. R.A. Dickey has redefined the knuckle ball, and as a result he was able to redefine his career. On a Mets team that started off strong, but faded miserably through the summer months, R.A. Dickey was amazing throughout. Dickey’s closest competitors for this award were Gio Gonzalez, Johnny Cueto and Clayton Kershaw, who all pitched on competitive teams that offered run support. Dickey finished with a .273 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and 20 wins, placing him in the top three NL pitchers in each. During his “Disney Movie” like season, he lead the NL in strikeouts, throwing 230 strikeouts to only 54 walks (4:1), an unheard of number ratio for a knuckleballer. Not sure how matthewtodderich predicted this performance, but I need to give credit where credit is due.
With a performance that would have landed him the MVP in many other seasons, Mike Trout will have to settle for a constellation prize of AL Rookie of the Year. Trout came up to the big leagues in late April and took the league by storm. A legitimate 5 tool player, Trout showed off his speed, defense and power as soon as he landed in The Show. Coming into tonight, he has an amazing .324 BA, 30 HRs, 89 RBIs and 49 Steals. Considering he played his first month with the Salt Lake Bees of the Triple A Pacific Coast League, his final totals would have been even more impressive. Last offseason the Anaheim Angels thought they may have acquired a potential AL MVP, but they probably figured it would be Albert Pujols. I would imagine that Mike Trout will parlay this season into many MVPs in the future.
Back in June, everybody in the world stated that National outfielder Bryce Harper would take home the NL Rookie of the Year award. That’s because nobody had even heard of Arizona Diamondback’s pitcher Wade Miley. As a team, Arizona was fairly irrelevant most of the season, though the discovery of a young ace provides hope for the future. He finishes with a 3.33 ERA, 16 wins and a 1.18 WHIP, stellar numbers for a first year pitcher. Miley portrayed great control, giving up only 37 walks to his 144 strikeouts. Though most baseball fans had never heard of Wade Miley coming into the 2012 season, this Rookie of the Year will surely be a household name for years to come.
Tonight will be the Midsummer Classic where the best players in the first half of the season from both the American and National League’s face off. Or so we thought. The voting system for the All Star game has been criticized every season because of snubs and undeserving popular players making it through. This season’s voting took the system’s shortfalls to a whole new level of ridiculousness. One city absolutely took advantage of the unlimited fan voting option and completely fucked up what could have been an amazingly competitive game being played by deserving players. The San Francisco Giants organization and fans had nothing better to do this season then stuff the ballots so their sub-par and undeserving players can make the National League starting rotation.
Now I have never had a reason to have beef with San Francisco because my parents lived there and it’s the city where my brother was born, but after this appalling display of over-voting I now consider the city pathetic. The Giants are only two years removed from winning the World Series and after a disappointing 2011 campaign and an average start to the 2012 season, where they trail the Dodgers by a half game in arguably the worst division in baseball, their fans and organization decided to stuff the ballots with their players names so they can represent their team in the All Star game. The Giants have 4 players starting the All Star game tonight, which is more than any other team, and only one of them have the stats to justify their placement.
Let’s start with the biggest travesty. David Wright, of my New York Mets, is having an MVP caliber start to the season and is arguably the best third baseman the game has to offer right now. Somehow he is not in the starting lineup for the NL because of those douche bags in San Fran. The Giants fans got their third baseman, Pablo Sandoval, a.k.a Kung Fu Panda, entered as the starting 3B which is an absolute joke. Sure, Panda is a good player, but he does not deserve to be starting in the All Star game. Wright is batting .351 with 106 hits and 11 home runs and 59 RBI’s through the first half while Pablo has an incomparable .307 BA with only 59 hits, 8 home runs and 30 RBI’s. Yes, you read that correctly, David Wright has as many RBI’s as Panda has hits. What a joke.
Both Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera are also starting for the NL out of the San Francisco organization. I won’t argue for Melky because he actually deserves to be where his based on his stellar start to the season, although we all know it’s a fluke. As for Buster Posey, he probably shouldn’t even be on the NL roster at all this season. Carlos Ruiz, of the Philadelphia Phillies, is having one of the best hitting seasons for a catcher in recent memory. Ruiz has 13 bombs and is batting a remarkable .350. Somehow Ruiz will be watching the first pitch of the All Star game from the dugout while Posey will be the starter with his .289 BA. As a matter of fact, Ruiz leads Posey in every major offensive statistical category and has struck out 16 less times than Posey. So how did Posey get the starting nod over Ruiz? Because San Francisco fans have nothing better to do than fill out All Star ballots and continue on their hippie ways.
The fourth Giants starter for the National League was not a product of their fans shitty voting, but rather a blunder by one of the greatest coaches ever. Tony La Russa, the retired coach of last years World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, decided to put Matt Cain as the man who will throw out the first pitch for the NL tonight. There is no denying Cain’s ability and I definitely thought he should be the third in rotation, but I and the rest of the world know who should be starting this game. R.A. Dickey has taken the baseball world by storm this season and has the best overall numbers out of any pitcher in baseball. He has the best stats and he has the best story and he plays in the best city, so why isn’t he starting? Because Tony spends most of his free time on the West coast and goes to a lot of Cain’s games. Sure Cain pitched a perfect game this season, but Dickey did something even more rare with back-to-back 1-hitters. Dickey took this decision very professionally but you can tell he was not thrilled about it.
“I’m not going to break down in tears over it, but at the same time I’m a competitor. I want to pitch. I want to start,” Dickey said Monday. “I feel like I had a good enough first half that I should be considered. But I’m not the boss. I don’t necessarily have to agree with him, but I have to respect it. That’s just the way it is.”
La Russa went on to say that the knuckleball is a difficult pitch to catch and Posey would have a hard time with it. So in some ways it is the Giants fans fault for stuffing the ballots with Posey’s name because if Ruiz was starting then La Russa wouldn’t have an excuse.
Regardless of the starters in tonight’s All Star game, I will still find myself cheering on my National League and when the deserving players on the bench make their way into the game I will applaud. As for the San Francisco Giants players in the game, I hope the American League starting pitcher, Justin Verlander, throws them some nasty chin music upwards of 100 MPH. I hope Bud Selig removes all voting privilege’s from the Giants fans for years to come because of the mockery they made of these year’s team.
The fans got way more than they paid for in the most recent Subway Series between the New York Rival Mets and Yankees. Just a few weeks removed from the smack down that the Yankees placed on the Mets in the Bronx, the Mets were poised and ready to return the favor. In typical Mets fashion, a sub-par performer, closer Frank Francisco, opened his mouth and labeled arguably the best team in baseball a bunch of chickens. Not a smart move when you are going to face off with said team the next day.
Luckily for Frank, he was able to back up his trash talking with a save opportunity in game one of the three game series. The Mets came out with a win, but Frank made his fans sweat as he put the tying runs on base and had to finish the game against the always scary Mark Teixeira. It’s nice to know that no matter how dumb an individual player might look with what they say, the rest of the Mets team has their back regardless. This team camaraderie was shown as Mets reliever, Tim Byrdak, pranked Francisco by bringing a live chicken into the clubhouse.
After dubbing the chicken “Little Jerry Seinfeld,” in honor of the great sitcoms episode with a chicken with the same name, the Mets media had a field day. When the joke ended, Byrdak set up a home for “Little Jerry” at an animal sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York. The Mets donated $500 to that sanctuary upon the chickens departure but not before Tim Byrdak set up a photo op.
“Holy Cow, Little Jerry, don’t freak out!” Byrdak said as more than 20 cameras flashed simultaneously.
Unfortunately for the Mets, team shenanigans do not guarantee wins as the Yankees came out in game two in an early hole and found solace in a name that has been around for a while. Raul Ibanez is so old that I remember playing with him on Nintendo 64’s Ken Griffey Junior’s Baseball back in 1994-95 when I always played as the front running Mariners. I mean it’s not like I was going to use the early 90’s Mets. Who would have thought that this 20 year veteran would still have enough pop in his bat to shatter the Mets dreams of making Kung Pao Chicken out of the Yankees. It’s not surprising that the Yankees beat the Mets with their long ball because the Yanks have scored more than 52% of their runs for the season on homers, which is an absolutely absurd number. Whether it is absurd or not the Yankees are winning.
A sweep would have been nice but the Mets fans would have been fine with just winning 2 of 3 against their hometown rivals. This rubber match had more hype over it than any regular season baseball game in June that I could remember and the fans got more than they bargained for. R.A. Dickey, the hottest and most talked about pitcher in baseball, versus C.C. Sabathia, the Yankees Ace and one of the best pitchers in the last decade, facing off on Sunday Night baseball on ESPN. Everyone, including myself, thought this would be a pitchers duel till the last pitch, but with spotty defense on both sides, the Yankees power at the plate and the Mets clutch hitting with 2 outs, neither pitcher made it past the sixth. Once the game was tied at 5-5 and came down to which bullpen would hold up the longest I knew that the Mets were going to lose. The Yankees have one of the best relief staffs in the big leagues and the Mets have the worst bullpen ERA in the National League…you do the math.
The Yankees won 2 out of 3 in Citifield and finished the season series by winning 5 out of 6 overall. The Yankees, A.K.A Chickens, gave the Mets a big Cluck You to hang their heads on. Now the only way these teams will face off again is if they both make it to the big dance in October. Who knows?