What does it take to be number one? Two is not a winner and three nobody remembers. What does it take to be number one? Hey hey hey hey.. -Nelly
Public Service Announcement: Ok, here we go! Preseason baseball is underway. Ahhhh, baseball. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. I know it’s a little early. I know what Bill Veeck said. I know he said, “This is a game to be savored, not gulped. There’s time to discuss everything between pitches or between innings.” I don’t care. I want it all. I want it now. I want to know what the Big Fundamental wants to know. Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best. Who’s good? Who’s the best? Today will we discuss who’s the best. Who’s worst. And everything in between. So, without further ado, let’s hand out the hardware:
Willie Mays Award (Best Player on the Planet): Albert Pujols. No news here. No gnews is good gnews. Tony LaRussa calls him the perfect player. Sports Illustrated calls him the perfect player. Who am I to argue? The standards for greatness are simple. You must be an outstanding hitter. Check. You must be a good defensive player. Check. You must be at least a competent base runner. Check. This guy just hasn’t got any weaknesses. Not a one. In the last decade, he has reached at least (and generally far above) a .300 average, 30 homers and 100 RBIs each time. He has finished in the top four of NL MVP voting every year but 2007 (ninth). He has won basically everything you can win, on and off the field. For him, a Triple Crown is not so far fetched. He is, by far, the best baseball player on the planet.
Teddy Ballgame Award (Best Hitter): This one may surprise you. Pies in the skies you. Hello, anybody home? McFlys you. I don’t care. All I know is Manny Ramirez rakes. Last season was an aberration. Everwhere Manny’s been, he’s raked. Cleveland. Boston. LA. Manny rakes. Good times. Manny rakes. Bad times. Manny rakes. Business bad? Fuck you, pay me. Oh, you had a fire? Fuck you, pay me. Place got hit by lightning huh? Fuck you, pay me. That’s what Manny being Manny is really all about. You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about! He is the best hitter in baseball.
Sandy Koufax Award (Best Pitcher): Roy Halladay is the hardest working man in the big show business. There’s no business like big show business, like no business I know. Roy Halladay is a throw back. A go back. An Adrianne Barbeau back. Like my main man Leo Mazzone always says, ”We pay attention to pitch counts, but there are a bunch of priorities ahead of pitch counts…What if a guy’s out there, he’s got a hundred pitches and he isn’t tired?” Ya what about that? What about Roy Halladay?
Freddy Lynn Award (Best Offensive Rookie): Rookie rookie, who gets the cookie? I’m gonna ask you a simple question and I want you to listen to me: who’s the big winner here tonight at the casino? Huh? Buster, that’s who. Buster’s the big winner. Buster wins. While at Florida State, catcher Buster Posey won the USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award. The only other catcher to win the Golden Spikes Award in its 31-year history was Jason Varitek. That’s saying something. That’s saying a lot. Posey will not open this season as the Giants’ starting catcher. Bengie Molina will. Posey, however, will end the season there. His ascent to Major League stardom is inevitable.
Mark Fidrych Award (Best Rookie Pitcher): You me and just about everybody else like this guy. What’s not to like? Stephen Strasburg is the guy to like if you like six-four, 220-pound, fireballing righties with a laser rocket arm. I do. I like-four, 220-pound, fireballing righties with a laser rocket arm. Mesmerizing, tantalizing. Captivating, he’s devastating. Sharp cheddar his heat is better. As in, the sooner he gets called up, the better.
Brooks Robinson Award (Best Defensive Player): Heard it in a glooove song. Heard it in a glooove song. Can’t be wrong. Can’t be wrong picking the O-Dog. Can’t be wrong picking Orlando Hudson. Orlando Hudson remains the best defensive player in baseball. The best I’ve ever seen. Maybe the best there’s ever been. Just a glove machine. And he won’t work for nobody but you. Year after year. Game after game. Web gem after gem. He was a web gem stalwart while he was with Toronto. He then spent his last four years with teams that emphasized defense less than the Jays did. As a result, his defense suffered. The Twins emphasize defense. They are willing to sacrifice some offense for better defense. That’s good news. Good news for the O-Dog. This is the year he rediscovers his glove.
Hank Greenberg Award (Best Jewish Ballplayer): Jewmanji! This is a rough one. This is a tough one. Quite clever and never, we’re together forever, Run-DMC and we’re tougher than leather. The Hebrew Hammer is so good he’s hard to pass up. How can you pass up a guy like Ryan Braun? I have to. I have to go with my boy Kevin Youkilis. If I didn’t, I couldn’t post this video:
Impossible Dream Award (Cinderella Team): Seattle Mariners
Jim Abbot Award (Best Story Player): Dontrelle Willis
Cecil Fielder Award (Fattest Player): Pablo Sandoval
Andres Galarraga Award: (Comeback Player): Troy Glaus
Jeff Bagwell Award: (Biggest Trade Deadline Move): Adrian Gonzalez
Ron Blomberg Award (Designated Hitter): Vlad Guerrero
Sparky Anderson Award: (Top Manager): Ron Gardenhire
Lou Brock Award (Stolen Bases): Jacoby Ellsbury
Clearasil Award: (Breakout Performance): Kevin Hart
Lifetime Achievement Award: Mariano Rivera
Peace out homies. Six two and Even!
Need More? MLB