There are several awards given out to baseball players who have excelled at the game. These include the Cy Young Award, the Gold Glove Award, the Silver Slugger Award, the MVP and the Rookie of the Year. I’ve heard of all of these, but I’m not sure how they are selected. So that’s what today’s blog is about – what parameters are used to earn these and who decides who gets them.
Let’s start with the Cy Young Award. Denton True “Cy” Young was a hall of fame pitcher. He established several pitching records. A year after his death in 1955, Commissioner Ford Frick created the Cy Young Award to honor the previous season’s best pitcher. During the first eleven years, only one winner was selected, but now each league (American and National) selects one pitcher to receive the award. The winners are selected by a vote of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Voting takes place before the post-season starts. Two representatives from each major city are allowed to vote on a first, second and third place winner from both the National and American Leagues. The voting is totally subjective, thus opening it up to some controversy. One such controversy is how important a winning record is. This is because winning record depends a lot on your team’s ability to bat (take, for example, THE GIANTS). Normally they will look at the pitching statistics of the players (ERA, WHIP, Strikeouts – you all know what these are now!!) along with the winning record and compare them, hoping that someone will stand out. The trophy depicts a hand holding a baseball. Some Cy Young Award fun facts: Warren Spahn was the first left-handed pitcher to win it. The oldest winner was Roger Clemens in 2004 – he was forty two years old – WOW! There is some drama surrounding this one because he was accused of using steroids. The first relief pitcher to win was Mike Marshall in 1974. And Giants fans all know that Timmy won twice (in 2008 and 2009), and Barry Zito won in 2002 (no comments – trying to be nice). One of the top contenders for this year is Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers. I have loathed the Dodgers (as any good Giants fan should) from the time I was a kid. This loathing was instilled in my by my father and brothers. However, you have to recognize talent when you see it, and that boy sure can pitch.
Another award is the Gold Glove Award. The Rawlings Sporting Goods Company introduced this award on October 2, 1957. A panel of sportswriters was chosen to select the outstanding defensive player at each position. Starting in 1958, one player was selected from each league, and the players did the voting. Since 1965, managers and coaches have selected the winners with the provision that they can’t select players from their own team. This year for the first time, voters will select a right fielder, center fielder, and left fielder specifically (previously they just selected three outfielders at any position). As with the Cy Young Award, voting occurs before the post-season starts. The winner receives a trophy with a gold-finished leather mitt atop it. Again, the voting is totally subjective. The awards have often been criticized for being selected based on a player’s reputation rather than statistics. Pablo probably would have been in contention for this if it wasn’t for his injury this year. Orlando Cabrera won Gold Gloves in both 2001 and 2007. Wouldn’t have guessed that with the way he’s been fielding this year (sorry, Honey – the truth hurts).
The Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award is presented to the best offensive player at each position in both the American and National leagues. It was first awarded in 1980. Only pitchers in the National League are eligible; in the American League, designated hitters get it instead. Coaches and managers select the winners with the provision that they don’t select players on their own team. Selections are based on a combination of offensive stats, including batting average, home runs, RBIs, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage (you know what these are!!) as well as the coaches’ and managers’ general impressions of a player’s overall offensive value. The trophy actually has a full size silver bat on it. Barry Bonds won the Silver Slugger Award twelve times, the most of any player. And any Giants fan knows there would be controversy surrounding that do to his alleged steroid use.
The current day MVP Award (Most Valuable Player) was first awarded in 1931. The official full name of the award is the Baseball Writers Most Valuable Player Award, and it is awarded to the most outstanding player in each league. What constitutes the most outstanding player is left to the judgment of the voters (again, totally subjective). This one, like the Cy Young, is voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Both position players and pitchers can be selected for this award. The winner receives the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award, which is named in honor of the first MLB commissioner, who served from 1920 to 1944. Another Dodger is in the running this year – Matt Kemp. This is making me sick, but again, that guy has talent, and he has made a huge turnaround in his career from last year to this year. Good luck, Matt (cough, cough).
Finally we come to the Rookie of the Year Award, also known as the Jackie Robinson Award (since 1987). This is given to the individual player with the best record in each league during their rookie season (their first season in the Major Leagues). In 1947 and 1948, only one winner was selected from the Major Leagues. The requirements set forth in 1971 define a “rookie” as a player with less than one hundred thirty at-bats, a pitcher with less than fifty innings pitched, or anyone with less than forty-five days on any Major League roster. Winners are selected by the Baseball Writers Association of America before the beginning of the post-season. Our boy, Buster, won the award last year (so sad that his sophomore year was cut short – so much potential there). Carlos Beltran won in 1999, Pitching Coach Dave Righetti won in 1981, John Montefusco won in 1975, and Gary Matthews won in 1973.
While doing my research on this, I found that you can actually get bonuses from your team for achieving these awards – some as high as $100,000. Some players have it written into their contracts. That makes sense – that much moola is definitely motivation to do a stellar job. I also found that Cody Ross won the Marlins Charlie Hough Good Guy Award in 2009. That is a funny name for an award, but Cody is definitely a good guy. Congrats to him!
Now we move on to the spit counts. I have two for you today:
– Stewart 14
– Lincecum 11
– Sandoval 7
– Keppinger 6
– Christian 5
– Pill 3
– Ross 2
– Surkamp 2
– Burriss 1
– Cabrera 1
– Beltran 1
– Huff 1
– Kemp 6
– Sellers 4
– Gordon 4
– Loney 2
– Umpire 1
Game Spit Master General = Stewart at 14
Non-Stewart Game Spit Master General = Lincecum at 11
That’s a total of 71 spits during a 2 hour and 45 minute game for an average of more than 1 spit every 2.5 minutes.
Notice the new category: Non-Stewart Game Spit Master General. This was introduced because having Stewart as the winner every time he played was getting boring. During this game, the cameras were on the players while God Bless America was being sung. I was very pleased to see that they had some decorum and weren’t spitting at this time. And all you pitchers out there take note: Clayton Kershaw does not spit. There’s proof that spitting during games is not necessary in order to have an extremely successful career.
– Stewart 38 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
– Christian 7
– Vogelsong 5
– Pill 4
– Keppinger 3
– DeRosa 2
– Gillaspie 2
– Bochy 2
– Sandoval 2
– Burriss 1
– Righetti 1
– Ramirez 1
– Meulens 1
– Casilla 1
– Surkamp 1
– Wilson 1
– Kemp 6
– Ellis 5
– Carroll 2
– Gordon 1
– Miles 1
– Deltjen 1
– Rivera 1
– Umpire 2
Game Spit Master General = Stewart at 38 (new record)
Non-Stewart Game Spit Master General = Christian at 7
That’s a total of 91 spits during a 3 hour and 45 minute game for an average of 1 spit more than every 2.5 minutes.
My boy Stewart obliterated his previous record of 27. Still don’t have positive evidence that he is dipping, but with those numbers, there can’t be any other explanation. Three times during this game, Stewart spat and then picked up something off the ground and threw it off to the side. His dip? Other guys dip? BLECCHH!! With the amount of spitting that goes on while he is catching, there must be a small wading pool behind the plate. Christian was the first kid to lead in the spit counts. That boy obviously is using smokeless tobacco – the huge bulge in his cheek is hard to miss. If you are reading this, for your own good, please STOP! Pull a Bochy and go see that hypnotist lady.
I have a few comments about some recent Giants games. On Sunday, Ginny and I were texting again (I took my mom to Bingo, so I couldn’t watch the game). But she gave me updates, and I passed them along to the Bingo crowd. What a homerun derby that was! Even Cain got in on the action, and Pablo hit two! I forgot to mention Pablo hitting for the cycle in my last blog. For those that don’t know, that means that he hit a single, a double, and triple, and a homerun in one game – quite the feat. Love my boy Pablo!
Tuesday night there were a hell of a lot of pick offs. Hope that my boys work on that cause they have a huge effect on the score, and every guy on base is important for us. Ginny had given me a Giants necklace that day that she made for me (it says, “Giants Gamer Babe”. She is the greatest!). I was wearing the necklace and using my Rob Schneider Bobblehead that night during the game, but Kershaw was just no match for my attempts at bringing the boys good luck. That boy needs to get rid of that silly beard and quit trying to be a Giant. Giants beards are the greatest!
Wednesday night brought the arrival of the clean-shaven Keppinger. I wonder if he did that because he hasn’t been hitting very well lately. If that was the case, it failed horribly. He hit into two double plays that night. I feel so sorry for him because he has been so dependable. He’s been a bit better the last few nights. At least he will get some rest soon (positive thoughts are wearing thin). I’ve been loving the commentary from Mychael Urban of Comcast SportsNet (who I took a picture with at that BBQ I went to). He’s very intelligent and he looks at things from a different perspective than some of the other commentators. It was also nice to see Dave Benz doing the pre- and post-game show the other night. I think he has been busy with football lately. And where has “The Blinker” Shawn Estes gone? Ever since I blogged about his blinking, I have not seen him do commentary. Is he in blinker rehab?
My brothers are taking me to dinner tonight as the result of a bet I won (rub, rub). We were playing Beat the Streak, a fantasy game where you chose a player each day to get a hit and try to get a streak going. My longest streak was 12 games. I’m sure gonna enjoy that dinner. LOL!! I’m going to the game on Tuesday night – Tony Bennett Bobblehead Day. I actually get the bobblehead this time. It sings, “ I Left My Heart In San Francisco.” Tony will be singing a few songs before the game. I’m really looking forward to hearing his beautiful voice. Hearing him reminds me of my dad. Going with Manny and the rest of the bobblehead gang. Should be fun, even if my boys are out of it at that point. Love my boys.
I realize that I misspoke in my last blog. I referred to the “magic number”. It’s only called that if you are in the lead. If you are behind, it is called the “elimination number”. I don’t like that name at all, so I am changing it to the “hope number”. As long as there is a number, there is still hope. Unfortunately for my boys, the hope is now officially gone to win the division (Congrats, Diamondbacks. You really do deserve this. I tip my hat to you.). And the hope number for the wild card race is at 1. At least the Braves and their damn tomahawk chop lost today, so the hope continues. I figure since the D-Backs have clinched the division, our chances are good of winning the next two games, as they probably will be resting their best players for post-season play. Still keeping my fingers crossed and thinking positive thoughts. But I’ll keep watching anyway cause I love my boys. GO GIANTS!