NEW YORK, NY – Similar to yesterday’s column from my venerable colleague Angry Ward, I too am choosing NOT to mention the off-field Tsuris from the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels who occupy 75% of the roster spots in the notorious NFL. I will not mention that less than 6 hours after Vikings owner Zygi Wilf came to his senses, so too did Carolina Panthers crybaby owner Jerry Richardson. And I certainly will offer no comment about the fact that Arizona Cardinals Running Back Jonathan Dwyer is the next contestant on...You Bet Your Life-or in this case, the 2014 Roger Goodell edition: “You Beat Your Wife.” I will not mention that the NFL’s gutless, soulless bastards of bacchanalia are only now beginning to see the light… Bud Light, that is.. Anheuser-Busch, the largest sponsor of the NFL has made it known that they’re none too thrilled that their wholesome family product is being associated with felons so publicly. No mention of this. This is dog-bites-man stuff. Business as usual.
With the season coming to a close in about 10 days, I thought I’d offer some observations and provide you with my choices for the major awards for the 2014 MLB season. Even the locals had their moments over the past 6 months, despite neither the Yanks or Mets finishing anywhere near the postseason. Brett Gardner had a breakout season in 2014. He proved that not only was he an every day player, but a very good one too. Derek Jeter‘s season long farewell tour became predictably stale and overdone and even generated a bit of a Jeter backlash. He was terrible this year, but so was virtually everyone else on this poorly constructed team. Brandon McCarthy was a revelation and acquired for the low price of Vidal Nuno. Dellin Betances has had a dominant season out of the pen. There is not a more impressive bullpen arm in all of baseball.
For the team that plays its home games in the Valley of Ashes there were some positives as well. Juan Lagares, the 24 year old center fielder showed that he could indeed hit at the big league level. With an average north of .280 and the game’s best defender-at any position-Lagares is a keeper, and a legit star in the making. Lucas Duda showed pop all year and threatens to crack 30 Homers. Jaecob deGrom has been nothing short of sensational. The ball explodes out of his hand, and he blew away major league hitters all season, and if there’s one thing Met fans can be excited about, it’s the top of the rotation next year with Matt Harvey and deGrom. Even the “diminutive difference maker,” Travis d’Arnauld has seen hs batting average climb 65 points since a necessary breather in the minor leagues back in June. He may be the worst all around defensive catcher in the game’s history but hey-his bat is starting to come alive. And Daniel Murphy became an all star for the first time this year. Deservedly so. Here then are my choices. Agree? Disagree?
MVP NL: Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh. Most have never even heard of the versatile Harrison, but from the beginning of the season, no Pirate has been steadier and more instrumental in the team’s success than the J-Hay Kid. When Andrew McCutcheon was out for a couple of weeks and the postseason beckoned, it was Harrison who ruled the day for the Buccos.
Runners Up: Hunter Pence, McCutcheon, Jonathan Lucroy.
MVP AL: Mike Trout, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim-there’s no Triple Crown winner this year, so the MVP will go to the best player (already) of his generation who continues to put up eye-popping offensive numbers for the best team in the American League.
Runners Up: Victor Martinez, Jose Altuve, Jose Abreu
Cy Young NL: Clayton Kershaw. Speechless. Likely a unanimous choice.
Runners Up: Adam Wainwright, Johnny Cueto, Madison Bumgarner
Cy Young AL: Felix Hernandez, Seattle. His ERA is a half-run better than his closest competitor. Dominant all of the time, unhittable often.
Runners Up: Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, Greg Holland
Rookie of the Year, NL: Jacob deGrom, New York Mets. Outstanding #1 type stuff and an unflappable mound presence, deGrom has been consistently “on” all season.
Runners Up: Billy Hamilton, Travis d’Arnauld, Kolten Wong
Rookie of the Year, AL: Jose Abreu, Chicago
Runners Up: Masahiro Tanaka, Colin McHugh, Nick Castellanos
Hope you enjoyed this baseball-focused diversion. As promised, no mention of Roger Goodell and the other jackasses.
Bring on the NBA and NHL!