Monday, October 17, 2011

It's No Mystery

As a member of the Baseball Blogger's Alliance, I am privileged to cast my vote for the American League's top pitcher. The BAA award for the top pitcher is known as the Walter Johnson award. If you don't know who Walter Johnson is, click here. Although I would love to provide a lot of insightful analysis, I am serving jury duty this week, and have to use the evenings to do some work for my day job. I know, cry me a river.

My top five American League pitchers appear below.

Justin Verlander, Detroit

Jered Weaver, Los Angeles

James Shields, Tampa Bay

Josh Beckett, Boston

Dan Haren, Los Angeles

All I have time to say is, what a year by Verlander. It was so much fun watching him take the hill this season. Kudos to him for taking his game to a whole new level. Almost every outing, it felt like there was a chance he could throw another no hitter.

I wanted to include Doug Fister, but didn't want to seem like a homer. His numbers were very comparable to Haren's.

Enjoy the World Series (if that's possible). I know I'll be watching, but will be thinking with every pitch "that should be my Tigers out there." To add insult to injury, a radio station played "Written in the Stars" on my way home from the Detroit court house today. I ask you, is that humane?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Willie Mays Award Voting

As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, I am privileged to cast my vote for the American League's top rookie. You might remember that last year, in the conventional Rookie of the Year voting, Austin Jackson finished second to Neftali Feliz. Feliz had a brilliant year, no doubt, but I felt Jackson was the rightful winner of the award. Anyway, on to the current year. Here are my selections for the season's top rookie:

Jeremy Hellickson

Although Hellickson started four games for the Rays in 2010, he was technically a rookie this year. He was an integral part of their run to the playoffs. He finished with an ERA of 2.95 and a WHIP of 1.153.

Mark Trumbo

Trumbo put on a show in his rookie season, hitting 29 home runs and knocking in 87. His better defense led me to place him ahead of Eric Hosmer on this ballot.

Ivan Nova

Another rookie pitcher that was an important part of the starting rotation for a team that made the playoffs, Nova finished the season with an ERA of 3.70 and a WHIP of 1.331.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

And My Vote for AL Manager of the Year Goes To

As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, it is my pleasure to cast a vote for the Connie Mack Award (Manager of the Year) for the American League. My top three choices appear below.

Ron Washington

Ron Washington has Texas contending again this year. The Rangers have already advanced to the ALCS. Washington is respected by his players and peers alike. Jim Leyland selected him as a coach for the 2007 All Star Game. Texas' record in September was 19-6. Yes, you've got to credit the players for this run, but I believe the manager deserves some credit as well.

Joe Maddon

The Rays lopped over $35 million off their payroll after last season. By the way, the Rays' payroll was 29th in all of baseball this season at $41,900,000. The team also lost its entire bullpen after last season, but still made the playoffs. Joe Maddon seems to know how to make the game fun. He also knows how to win games with a small payroll. He contends in the AL East. Enough said.

Jim Leyland

Although Jim Leyland entered this season as a lame duck, I do not believe that status affected his ability to lead or manage in the least. I don't think the players find it to be a distraction. The ballclub extended Leyland's and Dombrowski's contracts in July anyway, so the whole lame duck thing went away. Jim Leyland makes a lot of decisions that madden me. Lineups, reliever selection, you name it. However, he has been successful. His players love him. He is known for keeping the clubhouse loose, and for dealing with all kinds of personalities. He is loyal to his players, often to a fault, especially veterans. Before Jim Leyland was hired, the Tigers were caught in a seemingly endless cycle of losing seasons. Since then, we've contended for the playoffs almost annually. Not too bad.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Game Three is Good to Me

I was at Game 3 of the 2006 ALDS. I was at Game 3 of the 2011 ALDS. These were good games. The Tigers won them both. I screamed myself hoarse. I got to see two Yankee fans practically RUN to the exits after DEREK MR. OCTOBER JETER struck out to end the game and the Yankee comeback threat.

This game was the cause of many near-hospitalizations. My stomach hurt almost all game long. At the end of the game, I was literally gulping for air, and my legs were a strange jelly-like consistency underneath me. It was all almost too much to bear. I had so much adrenaline rushing through my body, it lingered for hours afterward. I woke up yesterday at 5:00 am, and couldn't go back to sleep in anticipation of the evening's festivities. I didn't get home until after 1 am, and as you know, I'm old, so staying up for 20 hours straight takes its toll. I felt massively hungover today, even though I didn't have a drop of alcohol yesterday. I've been worthless all day. My body is moving in a very slug-like manner, and my throat is scratchy from all the raucous yelling I did last night. It's fabulous.

Justin Verlander struck out the side in the fifth, and it was nothing short of breath-taking. HE STRUCK OUT THE YANKEE SIDE. IN THE PLAYOFFS. COME ON PEOPLE! Crazy-tingly-high-fiving-strangers-wicked-stuff.

Delmon Young's seventh inning, game-winning home run came very near where I was sitting with Rogo of Designate Robertson. He is a total dork, and has posted a photo on his site in which he has circled himself in the crowd. Needless to say, we all went gonzo when it happened. I mean, how deflating that Gardner, newly annointed Tiger Killer, tied the game in the top of the inning. I am beginning to dislike this fellow very much. Anyway, Delmon revived us all with one first-pitch swing of the bat. Thank you Delmon, for picking Justin Verlander up so quickly.

When Don Kelly laid down a bunt single, I had to laugh and give Rogo a hard time. It was fun. Also, I declare that Rogo not-so-secretly likes and roots for Brandon Inge. Yes, the very same Inge he has mocked and derided on his site for years. You may not be aware of this, but the Rogo of Designate Robertson isn't much like Scott Rogowski. It's an alter-ego like Tony Plush or Larry Bernandez.

Jose Valverde had a ninth inning that gave the nickname Cardiac Cats new meaning. I am serious. At times, I could barely watch, and my breath was alternately held and gasping. I tried taking deep calm breaths, but with little success. Two walks, two outs, he buzzes Jeter and we all gasp some more. Finally, FINALLY he gets Jeter swinging, and the place roars.

Post season memories last a lifetime.