Don’t Blink

Like the title of the popular Kenny Chesney song of a few years ago, this baseball season hardly seems to be over already. Many things happened, including the four no—hiiters (actually 5) before July but that’s a topic for a future post.

On the home front, the Brewers once again failed to meet expectations never much competing for the division after June 1. So, as many predicted, Manager Ken Macha is out.  The lack of pitching was not his fault but his inability to connect with his players and staff and the treatment of Trevor Hoffman was. It was not necessarily ironic that it took Coach Willie Randolph to get his Hoffman his 600th save in a game where Macha was ejected. Otherwise, he probably would have never gotten it.

Milwaukee will be one of many clubs changing managers during the off-season. The Dodgers have already named Don Mattingly to replace Joe Torre and the D-Backs will extend Kirk Gibson. The Mets, unsurprisingly, jettisoned the woefully inept Jerry Manual. The Braves and Blue Jays have openings because of retirement and the Marlins, Mariners and Cubs have interim managers.

It’s somewhat disappointing that the Padres, with their stalwart pitching were eliminated In the last game of the season. But it is only fitting that Bobby Cox was rewarded one last playoff opportunity. It’s always refreshing to see new teams in the post season especially small market Cincinnati and cash-strapped Texas. It will be a fun post-season as every team is a favorite of mine for various reasons.

Baseball Bloggers Alliance Announces New Award Names

Changes reflect appreciation for history of the game
The Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) recently announced the renaming of their annual postseason awards to comply with the wishes of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA), thereby avoiding confusion between the two organizations.  This allowed the BBA an opportunity to recognize some of the legendary greats of the game, naming their highest honors after them.

“Earlier in the year, the BBA reached an agreement with former Yankee reliever Goose Gossage to name our newest award, recognizing the best relief pitcher in each league, after him,” said Daniel Shoptaw, founder and president of the Alliance.  “It only seemed fitting, then, that we rename the rest of our awards after other legends of the game.”

The five awards are given to a player in each league: The Connie Mack Award, given to the top manager; the Willie Mays Award, for the top rookie; the Goose Gossage award, mentioned above; the Walter Johnson Award, which would be analogous to the BBWAA’s Cy Young Award; and the Stan Musial Award, awarded to the most valuable player in each league.

According to Shoptaw, “These names are synonymous with quality, achievement, and dedication.  These names have not only stood the test of time, but have been strengthened by it.”

The schedule for the announcement of these awards is as follows:

Connie Mack Award: October 14
Willie Mays Award: October 18
Goose Gossage Award: October 21
Walter Johnson Award: October 25
Stan Musial Award: October 28

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was founded in 2009 and numbers 222 blogs covering all major league teams and various other aspects of baseball, as well as blogs and sites that are affiliated as Friends of the BBA.  The official website of the BBA is at  The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by the hashmark #bbba.  Members of the BBA may be heard at Blog Talk Radio every Tuesday night with their call-in show, BBA Baseball Talk, which may also be downloaded as a podcast from iTunes.

As a member of BBA I am allowed to vote for these awards. Winners are chosen from cumulative votes based on a sliding scale which is why you will see multiple names in each group with number one being my top choice.


When will Ron Gardenhire get his due? Any year now, just not this year. Bruce Bochy kept the Giants focused during a wonderful NL West race and Bud Black did a great job with a great pitching staff. Joe Maddon is the best manager to play for. Lots of qualified skippers this year but the top 3 are:

1.     Bobby Cox                                    Atlanta Braves                    

What a farewell for one of the game’s all-time best managers. Like Maddon, Cox is a “player’s manager”, and his players this year responded by presenting him with one more post season berth.

His very skilful use of the pitching staff, a Cox trademark, the sheer determination of his players refusal  to give-in and the seamless use of rookies all adds up to his choice for the Connie Mack Award.

Runners-Up –

2.     Dusty Baker                      Cincinnati Reds

Baker seems to have his mojo back after his distasteful experience with the Cubs. He resuscitated his reputation by leading the long shot Reds to the Central Division title.

3.     Terry Francona                  Boston Red Sox

His team finished third in the tough AL East with a decimated roster. The team lost Kevin Youkalis, Dustin Pedroia. Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury for extended periods yet can still win 89 games a tribute to Francona’s leadership.


What a year for rookies, especially in the National League where there are at least four legitimate candidates. After intense deliberation, here are the Top 3:

1.      Gaby Sanchez      Florida Marlins    

Simply put, he quietly posted the best numbers among Rookies this year and should be a first base fixture for the Marlins for years to come.

2.     Buster Posey    San Francisco Giants

Playing with the remarkable poise of a veteran during a pressure packed pennant race, it is no coincidence that the Giants offense became instantly better once he was called up and made a regular.

3.     Austin Jackson    Detroit Tigers

Thrust into the leadoff spot from opening day, Jackson played well for the entire season, hit.293, stole 27 bases and scored 103 runs.


1.     Brian Wilson    San Francisco Giants                

48 saves and a 1.81 ERA.  One less save and the Giants might not be in the playoffs.

2.     Rafael Soriano     Tampa Bay Rays

45 saves and a 1.73 ERA. It’s puzzling why the Braves let him go.

3.     Heath Bell             San Diego Padres

47 saves and a 1.93 ERA  Bell helped the Padres starters prove themselves as the best in the league.


So many worthy candidates in a year of a pitching revival. The odds-on favorite all year was Ubaldo Jimenez. At the All-Star Game, in which he started, he was 15-1. He would win only 4 more games in the second half. Oops!

Tim Hudson of Atlanta had an outstanding season coming off elbow surgery going 17-9 with a 2.83 ERA. He is without doubt the comeback player-of the-year but, alas no Walter award awaits him.

Boston’s Clay Buchholz’s first full season as a starter was excellent going 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA but sorry no can do!

His teammate, Jon Lester was just as good going 19-9/3.25. They cancelled each other out.

C.C. Sabathia of the Yankees went 21-7 but he pitched for one of the best hitting teams and his 3.18 ERA while very good doesn’t stack up against others this year, so sorry, down the hatch.

Florida’s Josh Johnson’s 2.30 led the league but you really need more than 11 wins to qualify. Adios!

San Diego’ s Mat Latos won 14 games and had a 2.92 ERA for the best rotation in the league. Wait till next year.

Tim Lincecum led the league in K’s and will be in his first post season but his 16-10/3.43 doesn’t compare with his ’08 amd’09 award-winning seasons.  For this reason, somebody else wins this year.

So who on earth is left?

1.      Roy Halladay                                 Philadelphia Phillies              

Led the NL in wins, IP. Complete games with a 2.44 ERA and a perfect game to boot.

2.     Felix Hernandez                              Seattle Mariners

If he played on just about any other team, the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez would be a shoo-in.  In eleven of his twelve starts his team scored 3 runs or less.  He won the ERA title with a sparkling 2.23.

3.     David Price                                         Tampa Bay Rays

His break-out year fulfilled all the hype he had after being drafted #1 out of Vanderbilt. He went 19-6 with a 2.72 and laid claim to getting this award in the very near future.

4.     Adam Wainwright                              St Louis Cardinals

Normally, Wainwright would be a heavy favorite for his stellar 20-11 season which followed last year’s  19-8 season and 2008’s 11-3 record proving he has become a top-tier pitcher, but this year the competition was just too tough.

5.     Clayton Kershaw                                Los Angeles Dodgers

Kershaw had his second consecutive season with an ERA under 3.oo. He’s only 22 and has placed himself among the legacy that is Dodgers starters.


We get ten choices in this category. Let’s begin.

1.     Josh Hamilton    Texas Rangers                       

.359/32/100/1.044 and a Division title says it all.

2.     Joey Votto                                   Cincinnati Reds

Breakout season that was waiting to happen. Year-long consistency helped surprising Reds. Runner—up in batting and third in the league in HR and RBI

3.     Miguel Cabrera                            Detroit Tigers

Quietly had a season similar to Votto’s in the other league as he won the RBI title, was second in average and third in HR.

4.     Albert Pujols                                 St Louis Cardinals

Put up MVP like numbers again pacing the league in HR and RBI and hit .312.

5.     Carlos Gonzalez                             Colorado Rockies

Where did he come from? Snubbed from the All-Star team, he responded by winning the batting title, was second in RBI and fourth in HR.

6.     Paul Konerko                                  Chicago White Sox

After a few sub-par years, Konerko found his bat this year leading the Sox with a league second best 39 HR, 111 RBI and a .312 average. Solid.

7.     Robinson Cano                                 New York Yankees

Had another stellar year on a team loaded with All-Star talent. He was third on the team in HR while hitting .319 after being well over .320 most of the season.

8.     Evan Longoria                                  Tampa Bay Rays

Received his first starting nod in the All-Star game out polling A-Rod while hitting 22/104/.294

9.     Adrian Gonzalez                                San Diego Padres

The third NL First Baseman on this list, it was Gonzalez’ steady hitting that helped keep the Padres in the race until the last day.

10.   Delmon Young                                   Minnesota Twins

He stepped up when Justin Morneau was lost for the second half of the season. It can be argued that the Twins don’t win the Division without his valuable contribution…21/112/.298

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