Posted on November 21, 2008 at 12:00 AM
Filed Under: Baseball
| St. Louis Cardinals
| United Cardinal Bloggers
Last week, the second annual Cardinal Blogger Award nominees
were posted in this space.
Today is the
day of decision.
Voting takes place
today across the Cardinal blogosphere as the great bloggers of this nation cast
their ballots to recognize those that play the game and those that write about
Blogs will be linked below as their ballots are posted and
the awards will be handed out Monday (assuming everyone votes in time).
Blogs (and others) participating:
Bugs and Cranks
The Cardinal Virtue
Mike Cerrone (former blogger)
Pitchers Hit Eighth
The Redbird Blog
Rockin' the Red
The first eight awards deal with the St. Louis players (and,
in one case, games) that we were privileged to watch in 2008. This wasn’t the most successful Redbird team
that many of have seen, but it was a team that battled, that did more than it
was expected to, but in the end was done in by the fatal flaw of the bullpen. A tragic hero of a team, to be sure.
That said, there are plenty of awards to hand out to the
team that made our summers worthwhile and gave us bloggers so much to talk
about during 2008. After the jump, read
my selections for this year’s Cardinal Blogger Awards.
Scroll Down to Continue Reading
The Player of the
Year award is one of those routine awards where the same name keeps coming
up year after year. This year is no
exception. While you can appreciate the
breakout year that Ryan Ludwick had and the all-around performance of Yadier
Molina, there’s little doubt that Albert
Pujols deserves the award for another year.
Pujols had another MVP year and led the team both on the field and
off. His scoring from second on a ground
ball in Colorado was just an example of how he used everything in his arsenal
The Pitcher of the
Year selection may come down to your interpretation. Is durability a big factor? Do you look for the pitcher that maybe
contributed the most? Or do you go with
the pitcher that did the best while he was in there? If it’s the latter, I think you go with Adam
Wainwright. He proved again that he’s
getting into the ace category with a stellar 2008. The problem is, he missed so much of the
season with that finger injury. So, in
light of that, I think I’d have to go with Kyle
I’ll be honest, I kept expecting Lohse to wind up imploding
sometime during the year. After that
strong start, I figured it was a matter of time before he came to earth. When he hit that rough patch in May, it
seemed like the beginning of the end.
But he righted himself and had another strong stretch, slipped a little
later, then finished strong. I’m still
not sure that the extension was the best idea, but for 2008, Lohse fit the
There were a lot of games that stood out in 2008. The problem is, most of them had to do with
the bullpen blowing a game. Not exactly
what we want to look for in an award honoring the best game of 2008. That
said, I think I’d lean toward the July 5th
game against Chicago. Rallying for
three runs in the ninth against Kerry Wood and the Cubs? Doesn’t get much better. Especially since that was the only game the
team won that series.
The Surprise Player
of the Year is someone who stepped up their game in the past year
unexpectedly. Nobody fits that bill more
than Ryan Ludwick. Before the season, he was seen as just
another outfielder, a platoon guy in the sea of flycatchers the team had. By the end of the season, he was being
mentioned for MVP votes. Without him,
Pujols probably wouldn’t have had an official at-bat in any important situation
after about June 15. It’s a testament to
his season that a deal featuring him for Matt Holliday wasn’t considered
ridiculous by reasonable people.
While we celebrate the surprises, there are always disappointments of the year as
well. There seemed to be lots to choose
from this year, which is surprising given how well the team did. My personal selection, though, is Chris Duncan. I realize he was hurt, but his terrible first
half drug down the offense, while that combined with the injury negated his
trade value. A young, cheap slugger
could bring back something in the MLB marketplace, but damaged goods rarely
To have a successful organization, you’ve got to get fresh
blood coming in to replace some older faces.
(Am I right, Erik?) Last
year, there wasn’t much to choose from for Cardinal
Rookie of the Year, but 2008 gave us some options. Joe Mather was up and down and had his year
ended by injury, but he showed flashes of power and should be in the running
for the Cardinal outfield next year, at least for the fourth slot. Chris Perez came up late in the year and got
some closing experience. But the rookie
that had the most impact on the squad, though, was Kyle McClellan. McClellan
faded down the stretch (likely due to overuse) but was amazingly clutch for
most of the year and was one of the few relievers that didn’t send fans to
their window ledges when he came into the game.
While his role for next year isn’t completely clear, his work in this
past season will never be forgotten.
The New Cardinal of
the Year award is for those players that were brought in via free agency or
trade and put on the Birds on the Bat for the first time. Some good options here as well, but I’m going
to go with Troy Glaus. We were fairly sure he would outslug Scott
Rolen this year. (We didn’t realize that
those home runs would be so clumped together, though.) What puts Glaus over the top was his
defense. While he wasn’t Rolen with the
leather, he did do something that Scott never did—set the record for fewest
errors by a Cardinal third baseman. He
made some nifty plays and wasn’t just a bump on a log like his preceding
reputation painted him to be. There may
be things to rip John Mozeliak for, but getting Glaus for Rolen sure isn’t one
Getting back to the young guns for a moment, one of the fun
things we do as fans is to look at the next generation of Cardinal players
coming up and wonder what it’ll be like to see them on the field at Busch. Will this guy be the next superstar? Will that guy be an ace or a back of the
rotation guy? This year, my pick for Most Anticipated Cardinal is the same
as my pick last year—Colby Rasmus. There are some interesting pitchers in the
system, but the press surrounding Rasmus, with his potential for power, speed
and defense, makes him very intriguing.
It also adds to this offseason, as we wait to see if Mozeliak will be
able to make a spot for him by clearing out some outfielders.
So much for the on-field awards. Now, we focus on the solid work done by the
Cardinal bloggers this season and lift up some for special recognition. I want to say first that I am proud to be
associated with such talented and passionate people. I’ve had a lot of fun getting to know some of
the bloggers this year with the UCB-related activities as well as expanding my
blogroll by adding new and wonderful blogs.
Thanks to everyone and I hope you keep doing what you’re doing!
The first blog-centric award is the Best Individual Blog. Most
of the blogs fall into this category, which makes it very difficult to make a
selection. There really are a ton of
interesting blogs written by a sole proprietor.
My personal pick, though, is Fungoes. Pip puts some amazing research into his
statistical postings, stuff that usually 1) makes my head spin and 2) makes me
wonder how he came up with that. The
creativity and mix of quality writing and advanced statistical analysis makes
for a great read.
The Best Team Blog
goes to the Cardinal heavyweight Viva El Birdos. There are numerous team blogs that are among
the best on the web, of course. You
can’t go wrong with Future Redbirds, for example, and The Rundown over at Riverfront
Times is pretty good as well. But VEB
still stands as the Cardinal blog for
many. Even with founder Larry Borowsky
stepping down, the content, quality and thought-provoking topics have remained
For the Best
Professional Blog, I have to select Bird
Land by Derrick Goold. Not to slight
any of the others, of course, but Bird Land was an oasis especially during
spring training, when Derrick was updating more regularly than anyone. Plus, he’s been kind enough to promote the
UCB occasionally and gave us a great topic for a project, so I’m a little
biased in that regard as well.
Since the United Cardinal Bloggers was my brainchild, so to
speak, picking the best UCB project
is like selecting your favorite offspring.
You can do it, but you really shouldn’t in public. That said, I was especially proud of the progressive game blog we took on back
in May. That was an idea I had from the
very beginning and was really happy not only to see it come to fruition, but to
see it executed so well. Everyone did a
quality job of bringing the game to people from a different point of view.
For Most Optimistic
Blog, I’m going to go with CardinalNationGlobe. Without doing a close and careful search of
his place, I don’t remember too many times where Scott’s writing has been of
the depressing, critical variety. It’s
usually as positive as possible, given the situation.
Humor is, of course, subjective, so it’s tough to nail down
the funniest blog in Cardinal
Nation. Everyone has their moments, of
course, and subtle (and not so subtle) humor can be found in posts most
everywhere. But consistently funny? That’s a tough thing to judge, especially
since that’s not necessarily the focus of the writing. I might have to go with Viva El Birdos
again. VEB isn’t necessarily thought of
as Comedy Central, but there’s a lot of wry and ironic humor over there. And now that DanUp is writing over there, it
puts it over the top. (If Dan was still
at Get Up, Baby! I might have gone in
Next year, I hope to have a place where people can put all
the blog series/posts they are proud of (or find on someone else’s site and
really enjoy) so that it’ll make coming up with nominees for Best Blog Post or Series a little
easier. We’re a modest group,
apparently, and few wanted to nominate any of their own work. (Not even when I threatened to stack it
completely with my own posts, thus making a huge mockery of the award!) I really enjoyed Fungoes’ end of the season
series on the biggest WPA plays of the
year, both positive and negative, for the Cards and their opponents. It’s always neat to see how much a game turns
on one swing of the bat and Pip put a lot of good work into that series.
Finally, just as the Cards need fresh blood, so does the
group of fans that covers them. There
were a number of good blogs that started up this year, but I’m going with Pitchers
Hit Eighth for my selection.
Nick has stayed very active in his blogging and has put some good stuff
into cyberspace. He was one of the first
to integrate Twitter into his blog site as well, something I’ve shamelessly
stolen. I will say, though, that La Beisbolista put up a strong rookie campaign of her own and Busch Birds might have had something if that late restart had happened earlier in the year. And I do like what 4thebirds has going on as well. Man, lots of great startups this year!
Those are my selections for this year’s CBA. I look forward to reading the various other
ballots and seeing who wins the titles this year!