Baseball awards season, 2010
To no one's surprise, the ace pitcher for the Phillies, Roy Halladay, received the 2010 National League Cy Young award. He had a perfect game against the Marlins in May, and threw a no-hitter against the Reds in the NLDS (see October). Plus, his stats were better than any of his rivals. Open and shut case.
On the American League side, Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners won the Cy Young award, with 21 out of 28 first-place votes. I must admit, he's been totally off my radar screen, but he did chalk up some impressive numbers. He had the best ERA in the AL (2.27), and 232 strikeouts, only one behind the league leader. But because the Mariners had such low run production this year, he only had a 13-12 win-loss record.
Both of the players who won the Rookie of the Year Award were in the World Series this year. In the National League, Giants catcher Buster Posey took the prize, and there wasn't much doubt about it. Posey had a .305 batting average and hit 18 home runs, with 67 RBIs. Those are numbers comparable to Ryan Zimmerman's first full year with the Washington Nationals (2006), when he was edged out in the ROY award by Hanley Ramirez of the Marlins.
In the American League, Rangers pitcher Neftali Feliz won the ROY prize, after getting 40 saves during the season. Center fielder Austin Jackson of the Detroit Tigers came in second place in the voting.
Finally, two managers from up-and-coming small-market teams won the Manager of the Year honors: Ron Gardenhire of the Twins and Bud Black of the Padres. Black barely edged Dusty Baker of the Reds, with 16 out of 26 first-place votes, and with 104 total points, compared to 103. For a roundup of all the awards news, see MLB.com. Next week the Most Valuable Player awards will be announced.
More ballpark news
Mike Zurawski informs me that the Boston Red Sox want to widen the bullpens at Fenway Park by about 9 feet, to conform with the ample standard size of modern bullpens. That would, of course, result in a shorter distance to right-center field, which is one of the most distinctive features of Fenway Park. It probably will make left-handed slugger "Big Papi" happy, but not me. Because of Fenway's historical status, the change must be approved by the Boston Landmarks Commission. Right now, the seats near the right field corner are being replaced, while the concrete is repaired in that area. See bostonherald.com.
Boy, does this make me feel old: Orioles Park at Camden Yards is about to mark its 20th Anniversary, and some some major renovations are already underway. Given that the stadium has an excess capacity of several thousand seats (like most of the others built in the 1990s), the Orioles plan to reduce the number of seats from 48,290 to 45,971 by installing wider seats and creating party areas in the upper deck. The various modifications require municipal approval. See Maury Brown's bizofbaseball.com. Thanks again to Mike for this news item, and more to follow...
No deal for Willingham
The Washington Nationals have decided not to offer outfielder/slugger Josh Willingham a multi-year contract, but he says he harbors no ill will toward the team. He was ailing for most of this past season, batting only .268 with 16 home runs, and after it was discovered in mid-August that he needed surgery on his knee, he missed the last six weeks. With recovery uncertain, he is a prime candidate to be traded elsewhere. That would be a dirty rotten shame. See MLB.com.