I had to create an Awards Ballot for the Bleacher Report. Rather than get too formal, I’m just going to copy and paste my notes. I’ll link to the results of the balloting when it is published.
Al Gold Glove
1B Lyle Overbay (TOR) Not close, high RZR&OZ
2B Mark Ellis (OAK)
3B Jack Hannahan (OAK)
SS Michael Young
C (Kurt Suzuki and Dioner Navarro are really close, Varitek too) Joe Mauer (MIN)
OF J.D. Drew (BOS)
OF Chris Young (ARI)
OF Carlos Gomez (MIN)
Mauer might get overlooked by a lot of people, but this year was a career year for him. The number of games he played (2nd in innings played among AL catchers) combined with his Batting crown and the fact he hit .378 in September during an important playoff run make him the best pick for the MVP Award.
Good defense at an important up the middle position plus great offense on a playoff bound team gets my nod for a 2nd place vote.
AL Cy Young Award
Roy Halladay (TOR) edges out Cliff Lee (CLE) thanks primarily to Halladay having a better xFIP and more PRC. Halladay pitches a lot of innings, a lot of games, and completes more games than any other pitcher in baseball. The value he gives his team surpasses that of any other AL pitcher.
AL Rookie of the Year
Evan Langoria (TBA)
Mike Aviles (KCA)
Manager of the year
Tampa Bay guy: Joe Maddon
Twins: Ron Gardenhire (Who else has done more with less?)
It was two years ago today I published my first column on the Bleacher Report after being actively recruited by one of the founders (who will go nameless here lest he be willing to take credit or accept responsibility for his actions).
That’s right, I was recruited.
Well, I’m glad I was. Two years later as an irregular contributor of dubious quality I have amassed 58,303 article reads over 119 articles. The Bleacher Report has given me access to a huge audience of people; an audience I was never able to develop after nearly five years of blogging.
(Think of it this way, after 4000 posts on a political blog respected enough to earn press credentials to a national convention this year, I accumulated 130,000 hits. Two years and less than 120 articles on Bleacher Report have given me about half the number of hits my blog has, a tremendous difference in readership efficiency, which would be a great new blog stat.)
Over the last two years I have enjoyed writing for the Bleacher Report. Experiencing everything from the glee of making an accurate prediction months ahead of time to the pain of having a great story get sixed because a source wouldn’t stick by their story.
More annoying are some of the things I didn’t publish. An unfinished, never published column of mine from October of 2007 accurately predicted the rise of Tampa Bay Rays. I also put my own money on the line by “investing” in baseball cards based on sabermetric research. Those purchases beat the market thanks to the improbable story of Denard Span.
[In my mind, the true test of any pundit is making specific and accurate predictions of future events. Otherwise, what’s the point?]
Another column I hoped to write featured YEB, the character who has accompanied me throughout my tenure here, battling against Ryan Alberti in a cage death match of erudition versus readability.
Though I’ve always wanted to, I had never weighed in on any of the debates which brought up questions of editors vs. writers, writing as art vs. writing as information, writing for an online audience and all the other elements of style which interested me.
Count me in the camp of writers who believe in paragraphs made up of more than one sentence, the right of semi-colons to exist in the digital world and the Harvard comma.
Yeah, I’m a dinosaur; I admit it.
Kudos to Davis Nemetz, Alexander Freund, Bryan Goldberg, Ryan Alberti and a host of others who have made the last two years on Bleacher Report so enjoyable.
The Minnesota Twins guaranteed themselves a season extension for this week.
Unfortunately, for me, it became quite clear I was playing the role of devil’s advocate and got caught in argumental weaknesses. I normally will try to create a good discussion between my guests who have a tendency to agree too much. So I’ll throw something out there and see if it gets any reaction. This week, every point I tried to make was summarily crushed. Well, at least it provided some good discussion.
Also, I wrote up a column dealing with the Chicago Cubs century long World Championship drought on the Bleacher Report.
Update: Also, I’ve now been writing for the Bleacher Report for two years. It’s amazing how fast time flies.
20 years now…
For my birthday, twenty years ago, my grandparents gave me a subscription to Sports Illustrated for Kids. For twenty years now, I’ve had a love of sports, card and autograph collecting and reading. It’s possible, had I not received that magazine subscription, I wouldn’t be a big sports guy today.