Monday, November 1, 2010

Random Thoughts

Sorry for not blogging much recently, but I’ve had a ton of exams and I don’t have much to say anyways. There’s no point in discussing Hot Stove stuff unless something happens, because all you need to do to guess my opinion of a particular rumor is to read my offseason preview. I believe I was thorough enough in that regard. However, there are a few odds and ends I can discuss.

First of all, Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity featured a Tiger sighting (although I did not find out about this until later and luckily my mom recorded it on her DVR so I was able to watch it eventually; what’s funny is that the segment immediately preceding this featured a shot of a guy wearing a Tigers hat). Armando Galarraga was presented with a “Medal of Reasonableness” for his actions following the blown call in his perfect game. He wasn’t actually at the rally because he’s apparently gone back home to Venezuela, but they did show a taped acceptance speech from him (which looked like it was filmed in his kitchen, because there was a refrigerator in the background). Unfortunately, there is no video clip of this either on Comedy Central’s website or on Youtube, so if you missed it, you’re kind of stuck. Live or taped, though, it was nice seeing him again, even if my mom kept making fun of the way he said “umpire.”

Secondly, the “big” awards from the BBWAA are still yet to come, but some others have been streaming in. Austin Jackson has been duly recognized as Rookie of the Year by The Sporting News and by the MLB player voting. Miguel Cabrera hasn’t been as fortunate. In fact, he’s yet to win anything. The Sporting News gave their Outstanding Player award to Josh Hamilton, and the player vote (which does not give an award for each league) went to Carlos Gonzalez (who is one of my absolute favorite non-Tigers and I would love to see him in the Olde English D, but still). Carlos Gonzalez also won the Luis Aparicio Award, which is given to the top Venezuelan player in the majors each year (It’s voted on by Venezuelan baseball writers, it does not separate the leagues, and it can go to a pitcher). I’m starting to get the feeling that Venezuelans might not be all that enamored of Cabrera. I visited a website for a Venezuelan sports radio station (I’ve been listening to a little bit of winter ball via online streaming radio, although I’m not all that good at understanding spoken Spanish; I’ll understand words but not entire sentences; I am pretty good at reading Spanish, though). There was a poll on the homepage asking (in Spanish) who would win the Luis Aparicio Award, with three choices: Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Gonzalez, and Felix Hernandez. Carlos Gonzalez had about 60% of the vote, with King Felix second and Cabrera a very distant third. Then last night they announced the winners of the Hank Aaron Award, and the American League recipient was Jose Bautista. Now, I don’t expect Cabrera to come away from this season empty-handed. If he doesn’t win the Silver Slugger, there’s something really strange going on because no other first baseman put up anywhere close to the numbers he did. Joe Buck seems ready to hand the MVP award to Josh Hamilton, and that will probably happen, but I’d like to point out that Hamilton had a terrible April and he missed almost all of September. Therefore, the Rangers only got four good months out of him and they would have made the playoffs with or without Hamilton because the other three teams in their division really weren’t all that good. Robinson Cano is the only other candidate from a playoff team. The criteria that the BBWAA voters look for is something I haven’t figured out yet (likely because there are different voters each year). It seems like some years they prioritize raw numbers, others it’s how valuable he is to his team. I do wonder my MVP has playoffs as an important factor and yet Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young Award do not (Manager of the Year also has playoffs as a big factor, but that I understand). I wonder what would happen if someone put up absolutely monster numbers or even won the Triple Crown yet played for a team that was in last place for the entire season (it’s unlikely to happen, but it could if this hypothetical player’s team had really bad pitching or something).

As far as the World Series goes, the Texas Rangers seem to have gotten a case of first-time nerves like the Rays did a couple years ago. They are now on the brink and have to find a way to bounce back and get this series to a Game 7, partly because I want them to win and partly because the World Series is all that separates us from the big, scary offseason starting. There was some argument about how they should’ve started Cliff Lee on short rest last night, but really, that argument is pretty pointless when the offense doesn’t score any runs. I kept having flashbacks to Anthony Reyes in Game 1 of the 2006 World Series last night (although Madison Bumgardner appears to have far more upside than Reyes). They do have Cliff Lee going tonight, although he got lit up in his last start. Tim Lincecum wasn’t lights-out, either. I can’t imagine that both of them are going to give up as many runs as they did for two starts in a row, but who knows? As a side note, I missed where Pudge caught Nolan Ryan's first pitch the other night, but I did see a picture of him later. I wasn't expecting him to be there, because technically he is still a Washington National (though it would not surprise me to see him get traded in the offseason), but I guess he's so beloved by Rangers fans that it seemed right for him to be there. And I'm certainly not going to question it.

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