*2012 MLB season now in the books--time to hand out some awards:
*The STAY AT FIRST Award: Jose Tabata of the Pirates. He tried to steal 20 bases this season and was thrown out TWELVE times--a success rate of just 40%. When this guy reached first base, coach Luis Silverio should have provided Tabata cement shoes in order for him to run NOWHERE.
*The PETE ROSE/GEORGE BRETT HONORARY THROWBACK PLAYER Award: Again, goes to Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox. Had two different injuries to the SAME thumb in 2012; still played hard daily in a "zoo-like" atmosphere, hit .290, and also kept his "dirty" look at all times. Yes, a guy who could have played in ANY era.
*The TONY BENNETT/BEST YEARS BEHIND HIM Award: Jason Bay of the Mets (who also could qualify for the "Bonnie and Clyde" Award below). Since hitting 36 HR's for the Red Sox in '09, Bay has "gone yard" just 26 times in THREE YEARS with New York. His batting averages while in the "Big Apple" over the past three seasons? .259., .245., and .165. Tony Bennett HIMSELF may have even hit .160 if given the 200 at-bats Bay received in '12. Former great Todd Helton finished high in this category--hitting .238.
*The LITTLE BUCKS/BIG NUMBERS Award: A complete "no-brainer"--Mike Trout of the Angels. Earning the league minimum (480K), the now-21-year-old was an All-Star and led the league in stolen bases and runs scored. He's already a superstar; scary what might lie ahead for this phenom.
*The BONNIE AND CLYDE/HIGHWAY ROBBERY Award (for stealing large sums of money): Many underachievers could be given this award; we'll give it to Vernon Wells of the Angels. He was paid $21 million in 2012--hitting 11 HR's and driving in 29 runs; yes, that comes out to over $1.9 million per home run. A-ROID of the Yanks came in a close second: being paid close to $30 million, he earned nearly 250 GRAND PER GAME while driving in 57 runs. Feeling a bit ill, folks?
*The BLACKSTONE/HOUDINI DISAPPEARING ACT Award: Chone Figgins of Seattle. Since becoming a coveted free agent in '09, he's done NOTHING during his three years in Seattle; the last two seasons, he's hit .188 and .181. Oh, and he's owed $17 million over the next two seasons.
*The PITIFULLY PUNCHLESS Award (for lack of offense): No doubt--the Seattle Mariners. They hit .234 as a team (worst in baseball); they also were last in the AL in RBI's, on-base %, slugging %--well, you get the picture. The fact that FIVE AL teams had worse records than Seattle is simply amazing.
*The ARSONIST OF THE YEAR Award: Mark Melancon of the Red Sox. Signed by the team to be the 'bridge' to the closer, he gave up 31 ER in 45 IP in '12--an ERA of 6.20. That's one BUMPY bridge, folks.
*The BUM OF THE YEAR Award: Marlins mgr. Ozzie Guillen--case closed. The award usually goes to a player who is selfish, non-team-oriented, etc. But the Castro comments clinched it for this guy very early on. Oh, he lost 93 games, too--which sealed his fate.
*The fourth annual EARL WEAVER/FULL PACK Award (causing managers to smoke too much and/or develop ulcers): Jonathan Sanchez--who made 12 starts for the Royals and pitched to an ERA of 7.76 while walking 44 batters in 53 innings; he caused MAJOR distress to mgr. Ned Yost. Oh, he was traded to the Rockies in mid-year where he caused MORE distress--going 0-3 with an ERA of 9.53. Ugh.....
*The HIT OR MISS Award (soon to be renamed the FRANK SINATRA/"ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL" Award): Adam Dunn of the White Sox. 41 of his 110 hits this season were HR's; he also struck out an outrageous 222 times. This guy gets infield singles as often as yours truly dates Hollywood actresses.
*The MAYTAG/DEPENDABILITY Award: As I said last year, Ichiro Suzuki is the ARCHITECT of this award; he wins it yearly because he shows up DAILY. No, he's not the player of 3-4 years ago and was even traded by Seattle this year. But he STILL played in ALL 162 games--and has AVERAGED playing close to 160 games per season his entire 12-year MLB career. Yes, mind-boggling stuff.
*The GERITOL/AGE DOESN'T MATTER Award: We'll give it to Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey; at age 37 (just turned 38), he won 20 games and pitched a league-high 233+ innings--striking out a league-best 230. Yeah, he may be a knuckle-baller, but he throws a hard one; it's still one heck of an accomplishment for someone approaching the age of forty, folks.
*The AVERSION TO WALKING Award: Goes to catcher Miguel Olivo of the Mariners. This guy had 323 plate appearances and walked just SEVEN times; he walked an average of once-per-every 46 at-bats. Bottom line? If a pitched ball is delivered anywhere in the same zip code as the ballpark, Olivo is swinging.
*The RODNEY DANGERFIELD/LACK OF RESPECT Award: Chase Headley of the Padres. In the laid-back confines of southern California, it almost went unnoticed that the infielder led the NL in RBI's (115) while hitting 31 HR's. I'm not gonna feel too sorry for the guy, though; there are WORSE things in life than playing a game for a living--while making millions--in a place called San Diego.
*Finally, the DOLLY THE SHEEP/REASON TO CLONE Award: Albert Pujols of the Angels. Despite getting off to a horrific start in a new league, he topped the 30 HR/100 RBI mark for the 11th time in his career; he hit 50 doubles, too. In an unpredictable world filled with inconsistency, Albert Pujols ALWAYS delivers--and I expect even better #'s from him next season.