The Pujols Awards: Weeks 12 & 13by John Brattain
April 04, 2008
Well, after a week’s sabbatical due to finishing up season previews and a lack of submissions, we have returned. Sadly, “The Bud” is in danger of extinction as Selig appears to be coming around to the Mitchell Report’s recommendation that players named therein be given amnesty except in very rare circumstances. Until then, we’ll continue with it here, especially since we received an interesting nomination that I feel requires a forum.
Chase Utley (Submitted by Crashburn Alley’s Bill Baer)
In all of the bickering that went on in the offseason over who should have won the NL MVP, many overlooked some rather obvious candidates. Chris Dial went over OPD (Offense Plus Defense) statistics for players at all positions and concluded that Rollins was overwhelmingly undeserving of the award (not even top-10 material), and that his teammate, Chase Utley, was the real NL MVP. I don't think, however, he took into account that he missed about a month due to the broken hand he suffered when he was hit by a pitch from Washington Nationals left-hander John Lannan. That either makes him a bit less deserving or maybe a bit more deserving (imagine if he had played the full season!).
Adam Eaton (Submitted by Crashburn Alley’s Bill Baer)
He gave up 6 earned runs to the Tigers in 4 and two-thirds innings, bumping his spring training ERA to 7.41. That's not all. When he talked about his performance afterwards, he said, "You have to give them credit. They have a good lineup and they hit some pretty good pitches today." Oh, they have a good lineup all right, but unless your standards for a good pitch are "reach home plate" and "fastballs are above 70 MPH" then they're not good pitches. Even worse is that because of his contract, his poor performance ever since putting on a Phillies uniform hasn't resulted in an "accident." Eaton seems blissfully unaware of just how awful he is.
Ken Rosenthal (Submitted by Crashburn Alley’s Bill Baer)
There's a lot to criticize (as I did), but it seems kind of pathetic to me to beg to be criticized by bloggers. The way it seems he views it is like bloggers are some kind of tribal pack, and being vociferously blogged about is like initiation into the tribe, kind of like how some tribes burn symbols onto newcomers' skin. Perhaps the most bizarre part of the article is when he said, "A baseball season amounts to 162 episodes of 30 different reality shows. Those who think they can figure out the scripts in advance are kidding themselves." Isn't baseball played in reality? All this time, I thought I was watching this in real time. My whole life has been one giant lie.
The St. Louis Cardinals (Submitted by Ryan Buck)
I'd like to nominate the St. Louis Cardinals, the City of St. Louis, the Cordish Company, and the Centene Corporation for a Luis. The New Busch Stadium is entering its third season and still no progress has been made on the much-promised Ballpark Village. In fact, the proposed plan completely fell apart today. So instead of a multi-million dollar urban redevelopment it looks like St. Louis will have to put up with a vacant lot (filled with weeds and a murky rainwater pond, fittingly referred to as Lake DeWitt) for a little while longer. If you're not familiar with our eyesore over the leftfield wall you will certainly have the chance to get acquainted during next year's All-Star Game.
Wow … a ball team reneging on agreements made in securing a new ballpark? Who knew? Ryan is bang on, though—MLB is like the Casanova trying to get into a girl’s knickers. He’ll promise anything but once the deed is done don’t expect your calls to be returned—and never expect child support. Just wait until it comes time to cover cost overruns in South Florida after the park is built. Randy Newman prophesied about this very event when he sang: “They got little hands, little eyes, they walk around tellin’ great big lies.”
Clay Bennett and David Stern (Submitted by Simon Kovac Tanzman)
I would like to nominate two people to win a collective "Bud." Now, to be fair, they aren't related to baseball, but it's an issue that touches all sports. Clay Bennett is ripping the Seattle SuperSonics away from a city that loves them, and David Stern is greasing the skids. Bennett buys the team with the stated intention of keeping it in Seattle (but later admits that he always intended to move it to Oklahoma City). He then (almost immediately) threatens to leave. His ostensible reason is that KeyArena is insufficient (sound familiar? *cough* Jeffrey Loria *cough*). The city offers to help build a new arena, so Bennett demands $500 MILLION! for his new stadium (for perspective, the Arizona Cardinals' new state-of-the-art football stadium cost $450 million, and it seats 3 times more people than any basketball arena). When Seattle obviously balked (and what else could they do?) he used it as pretext to start getting the team out of there.
And David Stern? He could have swooped in and forced a deal. He could have saved a franchise that has been beloved by its fans for 40 years (and is the only Seattle franchise to win a championship. No, I'm not counting the WNBA as
a franchise). Isn't this exactly why sports have commissioners? To prevent this type of destructive behavior? Apparently not, since Stern is behind this move 100%, and even said at the All-Star Game that there was no chance the team stays in Seattle. And just to make the waters even dirtier, it turns out that Stern and Bennett are the best of friends. Hmmm....
To really get a sense for how bad this is, go over to ESPN.com and check out Bill Simmons's articles on this. He publishes a long list of e-mails from Seattle fans that are frankly heartbreaking to read. I challenge anyone to read
all of them and not get teary (I'm not ashamed to admit that I did. Well, maybe a little).
So for malpractice, for lying to and breaking the hearts of an entire city of devoted fans, for conduct both destructive to the sport and unbecoming of decent human beings, and, most of all, for all-around douchebaggery, I nominate David Stern and Clay Bennett for the first intra-sport "Bud."
The reason I ran this was that it does demonstrate the low-lifes that own many sports teams. I wrote the following on my blog awhile back…
The public funding of stadiums in MLB has cost taxpayers probably close to $10 billion since 1990 when you factor in maintenance, amortization, interest on bond issues, etc. That translates into a lot less money for schools, health care, infrastructure and essential services (police, fire department, various services for women and children). Often teams, while threatening their regions, claim that the area has to demonstrate that it wants MLB to be part of their community. Further, they receive tangible economic benefits for shelling out the money.
Item 1: During the contraction fiasco in the early part of the decade, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the Twins' lease required that the team play there in 2002 (therefore no contraction). It was here that Selig presented his brief, in which he said: “The Minnesota Twins are a private business; they are not owned by the people of Minnesota ... they are not a 'community asset' but a business …”
On March 18, 2004, Gov. Tim Pawlenty floated a proposal to have state and local governments pay for two-thirds of a new stadium for the Twins. Multi-billionaire Carl Pohlad said it wasn't enough: "(Public money) is where it should come from." (Read: from folks that aren't multi-billionaires like me) …
Item 2: From the Seattle Times: "The financial issue is simple, and the city's analysts agree, there will be no net economic loss if the Sonics leave Seattle. Entertainment dollars not spent on the Sonics will be spent on Seattle's many other sports and entertainment options. Seattleites will not reduce their entertainment budget simply because the Sonics leave…"
Any idea who said that? An economist? An anti-stadium lobby? Nope, the Sonics themselves. The team wants to leave Seattle, the city wishes to retain the club. The Sonics stated that a publicly financed new arena would be an economic plus for the region. Due to that, it should be the public that ponies up the costs. Now that the Supersuckers want to graze in new corporate welfare pastures they’re all but admitting that public financed sports venues are just one big boondoggle for the region building them.
There you have it. Bud Selig and his billionaire cartel have picked your pockets of untold billions of tax dollars and you get diddly-squat—no economic benefit, and the region has absolutely NO claim on your beloved team. It has always been about making the rich richer at the expense of those not rich.
That’s the thing—they will say whatever it takes to get into a region’s knickers regardless if it contradicts something they said earlier. For proving the worst stereotypes of teams and team executives I bequeath the following to Bennett and Stern...
Hi Dan! ;-b…
To nominate someone other than Selig for “The Bud,” they have to be lower than low. This recognition is for the Brett Myers, the Ugueth Urbina, the Julio Mateo, the Elijah Dukes level of slimy activity. This isn’t for garden-variety chuckleheadedness—it’s for just-opened exhumed-casket levels of stenchy putrescence. Nominations for this distinction are not automatic—you have to make your case why they deserve this distinktion.
If you have a nomination for the “The Pujols Award,” let us know! who deserves to be honored this week. If you wish to have your blog credited with the submission, we’ll post the link along with your candidate. Let us know why you feel he deserves an Albert or a Luis.
Our good friend, and THT stalwart, John Brattain passed away on March 24, 2009. John was a prolific writer, whose work can also be read at Sympatico/MSN Sports and Baseball Digest Daily. John's work was also featured at USA Today, MLBtalk, ESPN Insider, Baseball Prospectus, The Baseball Analysts and The Baseball Journals. Never afraid to express himself in any medium, he was also a frequent radio speaker.