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My 2008 Cardinal Blogger Award Selections

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 it.

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:

Busch Birds
Bugs and Cranks
The Cardinal Virtue
Mike Cerrone (former blogger)
la Beisbolista
Pitchers Hit Eighth
The Redbird Blog
Redbird Ramblings
Rockin' the Red
Redbird Review
Redbirds Fun

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.

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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 to win.

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 Lohse. 

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 bill.

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 does.

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 of them.

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 top-notch.

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 that direction.)

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!


6 Comments | Leave a comment

I like how your post was up promptly at midnight. We'd expect nothing else from our fearless leader! That being said, my votes are up.

Hey just letting you know that you've got me and Bugs and Cranks linked together.

No biggie, I just want more people to visit my site is all ;)

Sorry, the linking bit is being a little wonky. Thought I had it fixed, apparently not!

My email to you keeps shooting off into cyberspace. I tried to do the awards thingie. If it's all wrong, just scrap it. It was more fun than I thought, especially the selections on players. As far as the blogs go, I like them all anyway.

sorry for the choices are up on the ol' blog now. thanks for organizing all of this daniel!

Mine are posted now.

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Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
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