The Pujols Awards: Week 17

I received a lot of feedback regarding the Luis bestowed on Luke Scott for carrying a Bible and a Glock. I had one extended exchange with a reader who wishes only to be identified as Jake. I explained my reason for the Luis: That is was due to the incongruity of the combination, rather than any faulting of Scott.

He understood my point of view but still felt it was unwarranted. Then he dropped a comment in passing that caught my attention … here it is in full “haha okay, point taken—still I’m not sure if it’s worthy of a Luis. Maybe a Manny being Manny award?

I felt I had struck gold. However, this is your forum and ultimately it’s the reader who supports the awards. Certainly someone can do something harmless but newsworthy nevertheless. If you like the idea of a “Manny being Manny” award drop me a line with a simple “yea” or “nay” in the subject line.

If it’s yea, I’ll retract the Luis Award from Scott’s ledger (yes, I keep track since there are year-end awards) and make him the inaugural winner of the “Manny being Manny” award.

Moving on…

The Alberts

Roy Halladay (Submitted by The Progenitor of Severe Gluteal Discomfort)

The last pitcher to throw four consecutive complete games before Roy Halladay was … Roy Halladay. Over his last 20 starts, Halladay went the distance nine times with a BB/9 IP of 1.79, whiffing 100, posting a 2.91 ERA.

He is 8-7 over that stretch. Since I can’t give him anything else, I’m giving him an Albert for being so freaking awesome. Hang in there, big guy. Better days are ahead.

The Luis

A Wrigley Field vendor (Submitted by Adam Dorhauer)

A vendor outside of Wrigley Field and the fans of Chicago deserve a Luis for their welcome of new outfielder Kosuke Fukudome. The vendor, who sells unofficial Cubs merchandise, has been selling a t-shirt printed with the team’s cartoon bear logo with Harry Caray glasses over slanted eyes and the words “Horry Kow” in what they seem to think is Japanese lettering. On the back are Fukudome’s name and number. The fans have made the shirt the vendor’s best-selling item this year by far.

Now that the Cubs have banned the shirt for using their logo without permission, fans are posting wanted ads online trying to find them. I wasn’t alive back then, but this seems a lot like the Cardinals’ “El Birdos” logos of the ’60s, and I can’t help but ask, 40 years later, how much has really changed? Even in this era of political correctness, racial caricatures and stereotypes are rampant. Look at Cleveland’s logo (actually, can I nominate Cleveland’s franchise for a running Luis Award as long as they have that logo?).

But this shirt is another level of ignorance. Fans aren’t mocking people they’re almost unaware exist, they’re doing it to the guy standing in right field thinking they’re supporting him. Is it any wonder that even when an experienced big league manager whole-heartedly believes that any regular player in Japan could make an American major league roster, only 16 Japanese players are currently in the American majors? Why would players want to leave their homes in their own country, where they are already making a comfortable living playing competitive professional baseball to come here and deal with this kind of thing?

Joe Girardi (Submitted by eTrueSports’ Frank Coffey)

Joe Girardi should be the Pujols winner and therefore I nominate him. None of the current turmoil in the Bronx (as we reported exclusively today) would have happened without the self-imposed wound that is Candygate.

Yup, in recent years major league clubhouses have included cocaine, amphetamines, anabolic steroids, guns, slimy entourages, dubious personal trainers, defacto drug pushers, Howie Spira, Jay Mariotti, myself, Neifi Perez, nude pictures of Mindy McCready, etc. but candy and ice cream?? It’s about time somebody drew the line! It’s gratifying to see that a man of vision and sterling moral character stood up and barred the scourge of Haagen Daaz from the Yankees clubhouse. Three hundred years from now Joe Girardi will be exhumed from his tomb in Monument Park III, found to be incorrupt, beatified and his remains forever on display in the Yankees’ radio booth where Suzy Waldman IV will comment that he never lost his composure.

P.S. Frank, I’ll e-mail you that toaster oven as soon as I figure out how to attach it in Outlook Express.

Oakland A’s (Submitted by Peter Ghattas)

A part of me wants to give something I previously hadn’t considered, a “Lu-bert” to the Oakland A’s for their signing of Frank Thomas. Hear me out here.

On the surface, this should be a clear Luis moment because of the ostracism and (now almost indisputable) collusion against Barry Bonds. Say what you will about the guy, the records, the steroid era, or anything, but it’s simply inexcusable that one player has been singled out as the fall-guy by MLB. Plenty of writers have addressed this in recent days, but Thomas and Bonds have the same strikes against them: surly, “clubhouse cancers,” defensive liabilities (although at least Bonds can still fake it), veteran demands, entourages, injury risks, etc., and plenty of distractions.

But the reality is Bonds is still the vastly superior player at the plate, so any team that apparently wouldn’t even offer him a roster spot at DH for the major league minimum but will immediately re-sign Thomas is sending a clear message that this guy was being kept out of baseball for non-baseball related reasons.

The reason I give them the Lu-bert, though, is they know exactly what they are doing here. Every single member of the A’s front office knows what this says—knows the debate it’s going to ignite, and the possible lawsuits that will ensue. But it would have been easy (and maybe the party line) to extend this exile to Frank Thomas, to avoid giving the Bonds camp ammunition for its case. Screwing over one aging slugger is bad. Screwing over two would have been exponentially worse.

The A’s know they’re playing with fire here with regards to the Bonds comparison, but they also know they seemingly have a chance to compete (out of nowhere) in a surprisingly weak AL West. That they made the decision that their obligation to try to win ball games was crucial is at least praiseworthy given that that feeling clearly is not shared by every major league team.

Welcome to the dark side, Peter. I couldn’t care less about Barry Bonds and this isn’t about him—it’s about trust … being able to trust that your team is doing everything in its power to put the best team on the field at all times.

The Blue Jays lineup (Submitted by The Progenitor of Severe Gluteal Discomfort)

Halladay has pitched four complete games in a row. Blue Jays hitters have given him a whopping eight runs of support. Halladay walked all of four batters, struck out 22 and posted an ERA of 2.86 and was 1-3. I have a severe man-crush on my Blue Jays, but for giving their ace all the support of a busted training bra they get a Luis.

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, or “The Samson.”

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