"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 11/23/13
With MLB players now on the golf course, it's time to hand out some awards based on the '13 season:
*The STAY AT FIRST Award: Brandon Barnes of the Houston Astros. He attempted to steal 22 bases in 2013 and was successful just 11 times. Nope, a .500 SB% in MLB won't get you a raise these days.
*The PETE ROSE/GEORGE BRETT HONORARY THROWBACK PLAYER Award: Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox wins for a third consecutive year. This man endured the entire season with a torn ligament in his left thumb but played in 160 games, made the All-Star team, won his third Gold Glove, and hit .301. Oh--his team won a world championship, too; no one comes CLOSE in this category.
*The TONY BENNETT/BEST YEARS BEHIND HIM Award: Dan Uggla of the Atlanta Braves. He hit .179 this season (not a misprint) and struck out 171 times. His batting averages over the past four years? .287, .233, .220, and .179. Oh--and he earned $13 million for his efforts this past season. Sadly, the great Todd Helton finished high in this category as well as Orioles pitcher Freddy Garcia.
*The LITTLE BUCKS/BIG NUMBERS Award: Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona D'Backs. The man finished second in the MVP voting while earning the major league minimum salary but put up some HUGE #'s: 36 HR's, 125 RBI's, .301 BA. He'll earn a lot more over the next six years or so, but he was a better bargain in 2013 than any item I've ever seen at the Dollar Tree.
*The BONNIE AND CLYDE/HIGHWAY ROBBERY Award (for stealing large sums of money): An easy one--Barry Zito of the S.F. Giants. He earned $20 million in 2013 and went 5-11 with an ERA of 5.74. That's $4 million PER WIN, folks. Zito's teammate Tim Lincecum is in this conversation, too--winning 10 games while earning a staggering $22 million. Any Giants fans out there feeling incredibly nauseous right now?
*The BLACKSTONE/HOUDINI DISAPPEARING ACT Award: John Danks of the Chicago White Sox. If one remembers, he won a career-high 15 games back in 2010; he's won a combined total of 15 games SINCE THEN. Yes, he did have arm surgery in 2012 but went 4-14 this past season in 22 starts. It's sad that he's no longer a household name. Chase Headley of San Diego also finished high in this category.
*The PITIFULLY PUNCHLESS Award (for lack of offense): Hands down--the Miami Marlins. They hit a pathetic .231 as a team and were the only club in MLB not to reach a team total of 100 HR's. Just HOW bad was the Miami hitting? The awful CUBS had 91 more RBI's than the Marlins.
*The ARSONIST OF THE YEAR Award: James Russell of the Chicago Cubs. He led the league with 8 blown saves and sported a record of 1-6. Rumor has it that Chicago firemen were alerted each time manager Dale Sveum handed the ball to Russell.
*The BUM OF THE YEAR Award: A "no brainer": A-ROID. Do I even have to GO into any detail? Richie Incognito would have finished high in this voting had he been a baseball player.
*The EARL WEAVER/FULL PACK Award (causing managers to smoke too much and/or develop ulcers): Pedro Hernandez of the Minnesota Twins. He appeared in 14 games this year (12 as a starter) and DID NOT do wonders for Ron Gardenhire's health--giving up 80 hits in 57 innings and pitching to an ERA of 6.83. Ughhhhh...
*The FRANK SINATRA "ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL" Award: Chris Carter of the Houston Astros. He struck out a mind-boggling 212 times and hit only .223. But he DID manage to slug 29 HR's; in fact, almost HALF of his hits went for extra bases. Yep--it's hit or miss with this guy.
*The MAYTAG/DEPENDABILITY Award: Koji Uehara of the Red Sox. The numbers are staggering: 74 IP, 33 hits, 9 walks, with an ERA just over ONE. Oh, he also pitched close to 14 innings in the post season--giving up just one run. If you went to the fridge every time this guy entered a game, you didn't miss much.
*The GERITOL/AGE DOESN'T MATTER Award: LaTroy Hawkins of the N.Y. Mets. At the age of 40 and in his 19th major league season, he appeared in 72 games and pitched to an ERA of 2.93. And he's not done yet; he'll pitch for the Rockies in 2014.
*The AVERSION TO WALKING Award: Alcides Escobar of the K.C. Royals. In 642 plate appearances, the SS walked just 19 times--which means this guy walked about once per every 34 times he came to the plate. Bottom line? He racks up bases on balls about as often as yours truly goes on tennis dates with Christie Brinkley.
*The RODNEY DANGERFIELD/LACK OF RESPECT Award: Kevin Siegrist of the St. Louis Cardinals. Very quietly, he relieved in 45 games this year and gave up TWO earned runs the entire season--allowing just 17 hits in almost 40 innings of work. Most people I talk to don't even know what SPORT this guy plays--not to mention what TEAM he plays for.
*Finally, the DOLLY THE SHEEP/REASON TO CLONE Award: Who else but the Yanks' Mariano Rivera? At the age of 43 and in his final season, he saved 44 games and pitched to an ERA of 2.11. And the 13-time All-Star put up these #'s while handling a very busy/time-consuming "farewell tour" throughout the season. He simply goes down as one of the classiest players--both on AND off the field--to ever don a big league uniform. Thanks for the memories, "Mo."