The Pujols Awards: Week 21by John Brattain
May 31, 2008
Well, we’ve got a lot on tap for this week and I can’t think of a single smart-alecky comment to open today’s festivities so I’ll just mail one in…
David Samson is a very small man, and that has little to do with his stature.
Anyway, with that out of the way, let’s get started:
Josh Hamilton (Submitted by Crashburn Alley)
He is probably the AL MVP so far, hitting .335 with 12 HR and 53 RBI just a couple years removed from a bevy of personal problems including being involved in a car accident, drug use and abuse and multiple suicide attempts. He won Thursday's game with a 10th-inning solo HR against the Minnesota Twins. He had two singles and a stolen base to go along with his homer and two ribbies.
Major League Baseball (Submitted by Bill Baer of Baseball Digest Daily)
For at least humoring the idea of instituting instant replay in baseball. They're going to try it in the Arizona Fall League and then in the World Baseball Classic and MLB spring training if it's a success. Given the rash of incorrectly ruled home run calls lately, it seems that now more than ever is the perfect time for baseball to get with the times and utilize technology.
Yeah Bill, but this is MLB—they’ll find a way to screw it up. They couldn’t run water from a tap without creating a disaster that would take years to undo the damage.
Marvin Miller (Submitted by Crashburn Alley)
For sending a well-deserved middle finger to the Baseball Writers Association of America and the baseball Hall of Fame. Miller wrote a letter requesting that his name be taken off previous ballots following three failures to get nominated in 2003 and 2007, and again recently. There's nothing you can do but give a standing ovation to Miller for not pulling any punches:
"The antiunion bias of the powers who control the hall has consistently prevented recognition of the historic significance of the changes to baseball brought about by collective bargaining. As former executive director (retired since 1983) of the players' union that negotiated these changes, I find myself unwilling to contemplate one more rigged veterans committee whose members are handpicked to reach a particular outcome while offering the pretense of a democratic vote. It is an insult to baseball fans, historians, sports writers and especially to those baseball players who sacrificed and brought the game into the 21st century. At the age of 91, I can do without farce."
When I first read this story I laughed—classic Marvin Miller; my initial thought was, “Now there’s the Marvin Miller I know and love.” I don’t know how much more time he has in his mortal coil, but I’d like to thank him for giving us one last blast by which to remember him (not that we’d ever forget). Marvin, you don’t need the Hall of Fame—the Hall of Fame needs you.
Thank you for opening up the game and shedding light into the darkest corners of it. I pray all your hard work doesn’t come undone.
Impressive rookies (Submitted by Bill Baer of Baseball Digest Daily)
Jay Bruce following his impressive rookie debut for the Cincinnati Reds. Tuesday night at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Bruce was a fantasy baseball player's wet dream: he went 3-for-3 with a double, two RBI and a stolen base. It's only one game, but two of his hits went the opposite way, showing good bat control and intellect for such a young player (he wasn't late on fastballs for his hits).
Props are also due to Clayton Kershaw, who was excellent despite obvious debut jitters on Sunday against the Cardinals. The lefty was impressive with a variety of off-speed pitches to complement his fastball, throwing six innings and allowing only two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out seven.
LaTroy Hawkins (Submitted by Crashburn Alley)
For going after Luke Scott not once, but twice. The second attempt was a fastball that was aimed at Scott's head. Hawkins is not the only one in recent memory to go after an opposing player's head with a fastball, and they all need to learn that grudges and vengeance aren't worth the potential end of a career or perhaps a life. If you're going to attempt to hit someone with a pitch, aim much lower.
The Billy Wagner bashers (Submitted by Bill Baer of Baseball Digest Daily)
This one goes to the Billy Wagner critics. As a Phillies fan, I know how grating he can be (though I've never met him), but I think his outspokenness recently isn't vitriolic. Bill’s take on Wagner’s opera at BDD.
You know who you are (Submitted by Crashburn Alley)
Anyone who criticizes blogs for spreading misinformation and not firing the same criticism at professional journalists. Courtesy of mozartpc27 at the Phillies forum Back She Goes, we learn that on August 22, 1990, the Philadelphia Daily News reported the following:
"According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, former Phillies manager Dallas Green will replace Bobby Cox as general manager of the Atlanta Braves, either soon or right after the season. Further, the story said, Green will hire Phillies first base coach John Vukovich to manage the Braves next year. Vukovich said last night he hasn't heard a word, but the story has some credence: As president of the Cubs, Green hired Vukovich to be his manager after the 1987 season but resigned before the appointment could be announced when he found out the Tribune Co. ownership had curtailed his power."
Professional journalists may have the access that most bloggers lack, but they are similarly prone to reporting fiction as fact.
For my nominee about criticizing bloggers for misinformation, here's an interview with Buzz Bissinger. He represents the stereotype perfectly: "I don't want to be accused of being a blogger in terms of rumors."
We’ve been over this many times before—I’ve addressed the whole blogger vs. media several times on my own blog:
A Buzz not worth catching...
What about Bob?
Attack of the killer dust bunnies...
Conlin and on and on...
Bill Conlin is not an anti-Semite...
An addendum... (Goose-stepping to the oldies)
Barry Bonds vs. Bill Conlin
On bloggers and the blogosphere...
(I’m an opinionated—and verbose l’il cuss ain’t I?)
Bill Bavasi (Submitted by Galen Osier)
For his recent responsibility-ducking comments about the team he helped put together:
"This is not a field managerial issue. John (McLaren) is doing a good job. Our performance is not related to his work. It's purely related to player performance and underperformance and underachievement. Nobody had the nerve to pick us less than second place in our division. We were picked anything from first to second to wild card. You name it. The expectations were a heck of a lot higher than this, based on any analysts' evaluation of our players' individual track records and their age. Their ages are such that they're not all young guys that they're inexperienced. But they're not too old to believe that they would backslide. So, I think those expectations are realistic. They were and they are."
The Washington Nationals (Submitted by Bill Baer of Baseball Digest Daily)
Per the Washington Post, the Nationals are trying to get $100,000 per day from the city because their new stadium wasn't fully completed in time for Opening Night at the end of March. The article's author, Marc Fisher, says that the public is responsible for paying "$611 million in construction costs and millions more in infrastructure around the ballpark."
If anyone should be asking for money, it's the citizens of Washington, D.C., who have to put up with the Lerners' penny-pinching ways and the joke of a team they've sent out since they moved to the capital. The stadium, obviously, was fully functional on Opening Night; the only important aspect that wasn't ready were the business offices but, to cite Fisher again, "the District allowed the team to stay at its old RFK Stadium offices rent-free."
The Nationals' ownership is trying to rival the Florida Marlins in incompetence and greed.
Yeah, this was here last week too but it was sent in, and I certainly feel it is worth yet another mention. The comparison with the Marlins is certainly noteworthy since you need the ability of a gopher on speed to get lower than the nymphomaniacal fiscal succubi in South Florida. When you get this low you tend to bump heads with the dearly departed. Yup—that’s Buddy-Ball for you.
Take me out to the Bud-park
Take me out to get screwed
We built their park with revenue streams
It’s just the start of our get-ting reamed
Since they root root root through your pockets
If they miss a dime it’s a shame
For it’s one, two, three hundred clams
At the old Bud-park!
I just pray Bud’s commissionership ends with him being led away in handcuffs with children pointing and laughing; sweet, little, old ladies expectorating chunky loogies into his face; and folks standing on rooftops dropping balloons full of cat urine on him.
For short-sightedness, small thinking, diminutive moral standing, undersized intellectual capacity, stunted mental and emotional development and having stooping so low that they got their nose hairs caught in their own fly and imprinted YKK on the skin between their nostrils, I award Nationals ownership “The Samson.” One of our friendly representatives has been dispatched wearing steel-toed boots to give you your just reward. To confirm its receipt, he’ll be imprinting YKK on the steel toe.
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, Luis, "Manny Being Manny" or "The Samson."
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.
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