WHIP It Up
There’s a lot of noise being made about how much more attention was made to intricate, modern-day statistical analyses from Cy Young voters in making their decisions to honor San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum and Kansas City’s Zack Greinke. Regarding Lincecum, it appears more likely that his capturing of a second straight NL Cy had more to do with the fact that his chief competitionSt. Louis’ Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwrightplayed for the same team and thus had their votes split by writers trying to figure who was more valuable to the Cardinals’ success. And besides, if statistical analysis really was a deciding factor, wouldn’t it have made more sense to have picked Carpenter, who collected the NL’s best ERA (2.24) and second-best WHIP (1.01, behind Arizona’s Dan Haren)? Lincecum was second and fourth, respectively, in those categories; Wainwright was fourth and tenth.
Separated at Birth?
A Bay Area sports talk show caller noticed Lincecum’s long, flowing black hair and piercing eyes at his thank-you-for-another-Cy press conference and phoned in to say that the Giant ace was the spitting image of actress Jennifer Connelly.
It Doesn't Compute
On the same week Greinke won the AL Cy Young Award, the Kansas City wing of the Baseball Writers Association of America named its pick for the Royals’ player of the year: Billy Butler.
The Young and the Athletic
There were so many rookies on the Oakland A’s roster in 2009, the law of percentages dictated that one of them had to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award. And so closer Andrew Bailey received the honor this past week, beating out Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus. Bailey is the third Oakland player in six years to receive the honor; of the other two, Huston Street (2005) is now in Colorado, and shortstop Bobby Crosby (2004) has performed too poorly to allow general manager Billy Beane to trade him for the usual future prospects.
Join the Crowd, It's a Very Good One
Some joked that Coghlan was really the Rookie of the Year’s Second Half, tearing up the majors with a league-best .372 after the All-Star break following an uninspiring (.245) first half. But almost none of the other ROY contenders began play until well after Opening Day, so no one gets the nod simply for toiling over the long haul.
Unlike the AL, the list of NL Rookie of the Year recipients this decade has yielded no long-term slackersthat as, unless Dontrelle Willis (2003) and Geovany Soto (2008) step it up soon. So Florida outfielder Chris Coghlan, who won this year’s NL award, has his work cut out for him to meet the expectations of other ROY winners of the 2000s such as Albert Pujols (2001), Jason Bay (2004), Ryan Howard (2005), Hanley Ramirez (2006) and Ryan Braun (2007).
Lord Jim For a Day
It was a very good day for Colorado manager Jim Tracy this past Tuesday. Not only did the 53-year old skipper win the NL Manager of the Year Award, he was rewarded by the Rockies with a new three-year contract worth at least a million bucks annually. Tracy led the Rockies completely out of nowhere when he replaced Clint Hurdle in May and took the team to playoffs as a wild card. It also brought his career record back over the .500 marknot bad for a manager whose resume includes a two-year sentence piloting the woebegone Pittsburgh Pirates, from 2006-07.
Look Elsewhere For Your Mystery
No sooner had wide-open free agency began this past Friday that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the San Francisco Giants both went on the record to say they weren’t interested in outfielder Matt Holliday. Not only does that represent two fewer teams for Holliday’s agent, the love-him-or-hate-him Scott Boras, to negotiate with, but it also represents two fewer “mystery teams” for Boras to use as leverage for other teams that might be interested.
Timing is Everything
Headline in the Detroit Free Press on Saturday: “Time for Tigers to Pursue Free Agents.” Across town at the Detroit News, this was their headline: “Tigers Will Wait to Sign Their Free Agents.”
A Rough Fall in Arizona
It’s obviously too early to say that Washington Nationals mega-prospect Stephen Strasburg has crapped outlike most number one pitcher picks havebut he seems to be closely walking a tightrope to early ruin. Strasburg, participating in the Arizona Fall League, dislocated his kneecap this past week when he caught his spikes in the outfield grass while performing simple outfield throwing drills. The good news for the Nationals is that Strasburg won’t need surgery, but this, combined with a stiff neck suffered earlier in his AFL venture, has got the Nats crossing their fingers that the injury bug doesn’t become a commonplace theme for this big guy who’s considered his future.
This Week's Episode of Divorce McCourt
All was quiet on the legal front this week in regards to which McCourtFrank or Jamieowns the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Commissioner Bud Selig casually declared Mr. Dodger as the go-to for now. “The Dodgers are in good hands,” said Selig at baseball’s quarterly owners meetings this past week, “with Ned Colletti and Joe Torre and Frank McCourt as the control person.” Don’t think that Mrs. Dodger’s heart rate didn’t shoot up a few notches when she got word of that over morning coffee.
Reducing the Downtime
Commissioner Selig also spoke out on recent complaints that the postseason went too long and contained too many off-daysand agreed that a shortening up was needed. The trick will be to get the networks to go along, since they’re trying to lock down premium viewing timesand because they’re the ones paying baseball the big bucks to televise it. Good luck, Bud.
Now Playing at TGG
Check out Ed Attanasio's interview with former slugger Wally Westlake in the latest TGG installment of They Were There.
Also Now Playing at TGG
TGG's year-end review of the regular season is now live, breaking down the best, worst, most surprising and most disappointing performances from each major league team.
Coming Soon to TGG
TGG’s Ed Attanasio is writing fast and furious and catching up with a bundle of new interviews with ex-ballplayers. In the next week, look for a new edition of They Were There featuring Ed’s talk with former major league reliever Jim Locker, who reveals his experiences with the one-year Seattle Pilots and the great Oakland A’s teams of the early 1970s.
The Comebacker’s Greatest Hits
Click here to look at the TGG Comebacker archive going back to the start of the 2007 season.