November 20, 2009
For most of sports fans this time of year, baseball is a fading, warm memory, while football consumes most of our attention as spectators. (Reform the BCS? Bah humbug!) But it's also the season for tallying up the accomplishments of the "boys of summer," as individuals rather than team players. In other words, it's kind of like the Oscars.
Among pitchers, the phenomenal Tim Lincecum of the S.F. Giants prevailed over Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright (both St. Louis Cardinals), thus becoming the only pitcher to capture the Cy Young Award in each of his first two full Major League seasons See MLB.com. In the American League, the equally phenomenal Zach Greinke of the Kansas City Royals was the Cy Young winner, to no one's surprise. With a record of 16-8, he tied Brandon Webb, of the Diamondbacks, for the lowest win total for any Cy Young winner in either league. I think that means the Royals had better build a better team if they expect to keep him for the long term.
In other player awards, Oakland right-hand pitcher Andrew Bailey was chosen as American League rookie of the year, and Chris Coghlan, an outfielder for the Marlins, was chosen in the National League.
Mike Scioscia of the LAnaheim Angels was honored as the American League Manager of the Year, and Jim Tracy of the Colorado Rockies was chosen on the National League side. He was brought in to replace Clint Hurdle in May, and against all odds, brought the Rockies into the postseason for the second time in their 17-year history.
Soon we'll find out who gets the top prize of all: the Most Valuable Player awards. Albert Pujols (first baseman) is the odds-on favorite in the N.L., though Hanley Ramirez has a higher batting average (.342 vs. .327), and deserves consideration at least. In the American League, catcher Joe Mauer towers above the rest, with a .365 average, 28 home runs, and 96 RBIs.
It would appear that the 2012 All-Star Game will be played in Kansas City, according to MLB.com. Bud Selig couldn't say for sure, but left little doubt at the annual meeting of MLB owners in Chicago. The formal announcement will be at the MLB winter meetings about two weeks from now. The rumor sparked a remark at Baseball Fever to the effect that Fenway Park, which is celebrating its centennial that year, had been "snubbed." A guy named Mike disagreed, and I concurred:
Mike is right; nothing will ever replace the 1999 All Star Game when Ted was there to say goodbye.
If Fenway was snubbed, it was during the 37 years from 1962 until 1999, a longer period without an ASG than any other ballpark except Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. (Only once, in 1958.) Actually, Kauffman Stadium will surpass Fenway's length of time without an ASG by the time 2012 rolls around. Its only ASG was in 1973, the year it opened.
The Washington Nationals picked Davey Johnson to be "senior advisor" to general manager Mike Rizzo. Johnson managed Team USA in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and the 2008 Olympics, when one of his players was none other than future pitching ace Stephen Strasburg. Johnson is expected to serve as a scout and as a "roving instructor." He was manager of the year in 1997, when he led the Orioles to the AL East championship, the last time Baltimore made it to the post-season. See MLB.com.
Todd Stephenson and Christopher Jackman each recently contacted me, separately, about further errors in my November 7 blog post about "World Series ballparks & cities." Todd reminded me that "the Philadelphia A's played at Columbia Park in the 1905 Series..." So, the total number of World Series ballparks for Philadelphia is actually five -- not four, as the Weird News story reported.
But wait, there's more errors in that table! As Christopher Jackman pointed out, by including the wooden turn-of-the-century ballparks, the totals for Boston, Pittsburgh, and Detroit should be revised upward by one, and the total for Chicago should be revised upward by two! That would be for, respectively, Huntington Avenue Grounds (Red Sox), Exposition Park (Pirates), Bennett Park (Tigers), West Side Grounds (Cubs), and South Side Park (White Sox). I would add one more for New York, because I count the wooden incarnation of Polo Grounds (III) as separate from the concrete and steel stadium by that same name (Polo Grounds IV) that was built in 1911, at the same place. Thus, it was Chicago that became the first city with five World Series ballparks, in 2005, and New York reached the six level this year.
I certainly hope that settles that!
|City||Most recent "new"
World Series ballpark
World Series ballparks
World Series **
|New York / Brooklyn||2009||6||50|
|Los Angeles / Anaheim||2002||3||10|
|Minneapolis / Bloomington||1987||2||3|
This is a revised version of a table that was first posted on November 7. Thanks to Kevin Connell, Todd Stephenson, and Christopher Jackman for the fact checks.
** No double counting for "subway series," etc.