As a new member of the United Cardinal Bloggers, I have the privilege of casting a vote in one of my favorite awards on the web. Here are my votes.
1. Player of the Year: Matt Holliday.
Sure, Albert Pujols is the greatest Cardinal since Bob Gibson. That’s not even up for discussion. But it was Holliday that came to Albert’s team mid-season in 2009 and was rewarded with a gargantuan contract for 2010 that lasts until the next ice age. Mighty high expectations, and Big Matt delivered against them. Not that any player is worth what Holliday is being paid, among those at that salary level, Holliday is the most deserving. He was a rock in left field, hit (except early on with RISP, but that was big contract yips). He hustled. He did everything you want a player who wears the Cardinals uniform to do.
2. Pitcher of the Year: Adam Wainwright.
I’m guessing that writing in Kyle Lohse might get my shiny new membership rescinded, so I’ll go for humor points elsewhere. It’s a shame that there was a pitcher marginally better than Wainwright this season because I would have loved for the obscenity from last year to have been corrected. The young man is a stud at the top of the order (and that is not a chick comment) and it is a joy to watch him pitch every fifth day.
3. Game of the Year: August 10 at Cincinnati–Brawl, home run from Molina
Need I say any more ? I didn’t think so. I bet Brandon Phillips wish he hadn’t said as much as he did.
4. Surprise Player of the Year: Jon Jay
A good case can be made for Jaime Garcia, but if you followed him last year when he returned from Tommy John surgery, you had a good idea of what to expect. My surprise was Jay because so many of the Memphis outfielders had failed in the same situation (excelled at Memphis, failed in St. Louis).
5. Disappointing Player of the Year: Brendan Ryan and Brad &$#*(&(%*&#$()#$&()# Penny (split vote).
Brendan Ryan gets the nod because he failed to play defense consistently. His defenders will say that he took his hitting frustrations into the field, and I reply BullGarbage. That might be true in some cases, but it was a general lack of discipline. Slinging the ball across the infield to a gold glove first baseman is a way to get that valuable asset killed, and then we’d have to come up with a new category.
To be clear, I have no problem with a shortstop hitting .220 – heck, I grew up in the Dal Maxvill era. But I do have a problem with a player that can’t focus on his position for a full game, week, month or season. The having fun with Joe Mather bit wore unbearably thin as the season wore on.
And my “I can’t use these words in public” vote goes to the most disappointing Cardinal since Kip &*$()#*()$*#*@ Wells. I’m glad that Penny has the knockout girlfriend/fiancee/whatever because he was sure a complete and total failure for the Cardinals in 2010. I can’t say anything else or I will lose my ESRB rating of E for Everyone.
6. Rookie of the Year: Jaime Garcia
While he was not a surprise, he was very very very ….. very good. He did not look like a rookie most of the season. A good deal of credit should be given to Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan for managing his innings after surgery, but when the other two pitchers went down with injury, Garcia showed what he was made of. And it’s pure Cardinal Win. This kid is going to throw a no-hitter before long.
7. Acquisition of the Year: None of the above (write in).
How sad is your season when the best choice is a non-waiver deadline deal that brings in a pitcher who goes 4-4 ? I think the fact that all of the acquisitions pretty much laid an egg tells me all about the 2010 season I need to know.
8. Biggest Off-Field Story: Stand for Stan (write-in)
Watching all of the photos of people holding up their Stand-for-Stan cut-outs plus the amazing ovation from the fans on Stand for Stan day made me proud to be a member of Cardinals Nation. To see that much love and respect being shown to a player that most people never saw play the game was just incredible.
McGwire, Rasmus stories ??? Much waaaaah waaaaah about nothing. Just like the Dave Duncan mad about the way Chris Duncan was handled in 2009.
9. Most Anticipated Cardinal: Adron Chambers (write-in)
After Darryl Jones and Pete Kozma get stalled at Springfield (AA), here’s a low level prospect that is beginning to look like a real player. He has a bit of Lonnie Smith in him, and that might be just what the Cardinals need if they return to a more aggressive running offense. He’s also closer to being ready than Cox, Miller and Carpenter. If history repeats itself, Colby Rasmus will go down with an injury in June 2011 and Chambers will come up, and never go back.
10. Best Individual Cardinal Blog: RetroSimba
Had I known about Mark Tomasik’s blog earlier, I wouldn’t have started mine. He does a great job keeping the history of this great franchise alive, and I respect how he goes about it. Great work that everybody should read.
11. Best Team Cardinal Blog: i-70 baseball
As a minor contributor, this could be a touch of a conflict of interest, but the content put up by the cast of writers Bill Ivie has assembled is outstanding.
12. Best Media Blog: Bird Land
Derrick Goold gets the nod above his other professional peers because of the way he interacts with his readers. It feels much more like a conversation than most of the other one-way blogs. I also like that his sense of humor doesn’t come at the expense of others, so bravo for that too !
13. Best UCB Project: Roundtables
As a new member, this is the first project I’m participating in, but as a reader I thoroughly enjoy the perspectives of all of the other members in the roundtable. Sometimes they may me think differently, sometimes I just read them and utter WTF. But I always enjoy reading the responses and appreciate the time the contributors put in them.
14. Most Optimistic Cardinal Blog: Cardinal Diamond Diaries.
In the ancient Iroquois language, the words that meant Cardinal Diamond Diaries also mean Smile Every Day. OK, that’s not true, but it should be. I love the prespective that each of the ladies give. Their love of the team comes through, even when they are trying to be critical. If you are having a bad day, go read their blog and things will start looking a lot brighter.
15. Funniest Cardinal Blog: Cards Diaspora
I never quite knew what to do with Aaron Hooks and the CD until I heard him interviewed on a blog talk radio segment earlier this year. Totally blew the guy’s cover. Underneath all of the edginess of his blog lurks a person that I would love to spend an afternoon with, talking baseball. Somehow that makes CD all the more brilliant.
16. Rookie Cardinal Blog of the Year: Cardinal Diamond Diaries.
There are blogs where I can get more stats than my pocket calculator can process,and I respect them without necessarily appreciating them. There are gobs of great opinion oriented blogs, and I especially like the ones from the youngsters, because I know that means Cardinals Nation will be in great hands when I’m no longer around. The thing I can’t do myself is have the perspective from the female side of the diamond. I love the enthusiam, unique perspective, and ability to put out a consistent product. And I love what each one of the individual voices bring to the party.
I think that’s it. Now time to read what the other UCB members have to say.