My first award is the We Swept the Central Division Champs and it goes to the Philadelphia Phillies for sweeping the Reds in this year’s NLDS. Now this award has some history to it…painful history for T.O. and I. For the last four years now the winner of the Central Division has seen their playoff aspirations cut short by being swept in the Divisional Series. In 2007 and 2008 my beloved Chicago Cubs were swept by the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers…big surprise (ugh). In 2009 T.O.’s Cardinals suffered the same fate to the Dodgers and now this year the Phillies took care of the Reds and thus this year’s award winners.
My next award is the All Talk Award and it goes to the Cincinnati Reds. After running rampant through the Central Division being nearly untouchable, the Reds failed to do anything in the postseason. I’ll cut them a little slack considering they were no-hit by “Doc” and all you can do there is sit back, smile, and shake your head in awe. Kudos to you Mr. Halladay. But what about bouncing back in game two? Oh wait you committed four errors costing you five unearned runs…oops. Oh well, I’m not going to lie I’m glad they got it handed to them. I broke ranks and cheered for the Cardinals after Brandon Phillips’ comments led to a fight during the heated Cards-Reds series when the race was still close. Much thanks to you St. Louis for putting them in their place even if it was only for a little while. I didn’t have much respect for them [the Reds] at that point anyways following Joey Votto’s comments about hating the Cubs (and their fans) and stiffing Marlon Byrd after making a head’s up play during the All Star Game. Screw you too Votto! Ok, now that I got that off my chest I feel better.
The third award is the Sorry Coach Award and it goes to the Chicago Cubs. With a more than pitiful season winding down a retiring Lou Piniella announced that he would not be finishing the season with the team so that he could take care of his ailing mother and that a Sunday game against the Braves at Wrigley would be his last. Now I was expecting the Cubs to play hard and grab a win for their departing skipper so that, despite his last season being terrible, he could least go out with a win. Boy was I wrong! The Braves took it to the Cubs 16-5, way to go guys. Now I know it was also Bobby Cox’s last game at Wrigley but really it’s your manager and you’re at home you could have at least made it close. I mean come on, the Blue Jays managed to do it for their manager! Well whatever the season is thankfully over so all I can do now is congratulate both managers on successful careers.
My fourth award is the Ouch That’s Got to Hurt Award. This award like many others could go to several players who took balls to all sorts of places in all sorts of unfortunates places whether it was being beaned by pitch, smacked by a line drive (talk to Tom Gorzelanny about that) or punished by a bad hop. I would really like to give this to the Phillies fan at Citizens Bank Park who decided to take joy run around the field which ended abruptly in shallow left field when he took a taser (who doesn’t love a good tasering) to the back however this award is more of a serious one. This award goes to one of my favorite young Cub, Tyler Colvin. He receives this award for being impaled by a piece of a shattered bat while trotting home from third during the (Iowa) Cubs’ thrashing of the Marlins in September. As he was turning to watch Wellington Castillo’s (Cubs’ minor league catcher called up in September) broken bat double to left, a piece of the bat struck Colvin in the upper chest. Fortunately, the bat shard missed his lungs and heart and he has been recovering very well. Talk about taking one for the team. Who’s in favor of doing away with maple bats? I bet Colvin is now.
The fifth award is the What Were You Thinking Award and it goes to Nyjer Morgan of the Washington Nationals. After bobbling a leaping catch at the wall Morgan became hysterical pitching his glove and throwing a temper tantrum allowing Adam Jones of the Orioles to make it all the way around the bags for an in-the-park homerun. Come on Nyjer let’s set a positive example for the kids!
The next award is the Epic Fail Award. Now there are many potential and well deserved recipients of this award but one young Astro’s fan in Texas known as Bo “The Bailer” wins this one. To refresh your memory in case you have forgotten about this momentous fail, The Bailer attempted to make a play on a foul ball line drive into the seats when at the last second he slides out of the way allowing it to smack his unsuspecting girlfriend. Just when you thought he couldn’t dig a deeper hole…he still comes up with the ball and keeps it for himself. Obviously nobody ever taught him to put the shovel down. Well if you really want to get pictures of yourself posted all over the internet now you know how.
My seventh award is the Flat-liners Award and it too goes to the Chicago Cubs. Nobody really knew how they would bounce back after a disappointing 2009 season kept them from making it to the playoffs three years in a row, but I never expected this lifeless season: a fifth place finish, a non-existent offense that still had all the potential in the world, a team that seemed like it really struggled with firing on all cylinders, an ace that forgot how to pitch, and a losing record to the Pirates! I honestly expected better considering we got rid of Milton Bradley and Kevin Gregg but instead we were given this poor excuse for major league baseball. The team never had a winning record this season and stayed below 0.500 for the majority of the season. It seemed like every time they got to 0.500 they forgot how to play and went on a losing streak. Good job guys…hopefully you can remember how to play next year (classic Cubs slogan).
My eighth award is the Get On With It! Award and it goes to the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets for their 20 inning game that ended 2-1 in favor of the Mets. The game went scoreless through 18 innings and when the Mets took a 1-0 lead to the bottom of the 19th they couldn’t shut the door allowing the Cards to plate one to tie it up. The Mets used nine pitchers while the Cards used 10 including position play Joe Mather. Kudos to T.O. and his sister for sticking around for the whole game!
Number nine on the list is the Never Say Die Award and it goes to the Colorado Rockies. It seemed to be a recurring theme this year: the Rockies fell into a deep whole early but somehow managed to rally late for the win. One memorable game was a 12-10 win over the Braves in which the Rockies rallied down 10-1 and scored 11 unanswered runs. They pulled off a similar feat in which they scored 9 runs in the 9th against the Cardinals for a 12-9 win. Maybe they should rename the team the Goonies they might be able to get a better mascot that way. On second thought that probably wouldn’t go over so well. It’s these kinds of games that make you wonder about the purpose of a bullpen.
My tenth and final award is the How the ______! Award, you can fill in the blank with whatever word(s) you like. Now the nominees for this award were players who made some ridiculous play that made exclaim the title of the award. There were many good possible winners involving leaping grabs, diving stops, and dead on throws for the out. A good example of a nominee came on opening day when Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox made a sick toss between his legs from foul territory to first base for the out. However, I have chosen a play, and call me a little biased for it I don’t care, that after topping that day’s highlight reel seemed to be forgotten for the rest of the season. This award belongs to Marlon Byrd of the Chicago Cubs for an absolutely ridiculous behind the back catch. After losing the ball in the sun, Byrd stuck is glove out behind his back and managed to snag the ball. Call it luck or whatever it was still a pretty awesome catch.
Despite my Cubbies having a terrible season, I will say that from what I saw, it was another good season of baseball full of great plays, great moments, oddities, funny happenings, and heated races down to the very end. So here’s to you baseball for never failing to entertain and I can’t wait until April for all the madness to begin again.