Posted on November 19, 2009 at 10:30 PM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals
| United Cardinal Bloggers
For the third straight year, the United Cardinal Bloggers
are voting on the Cardinal Blogger Awards. (It's probably best that we do it, instead of having the Dodger bloggers vote for the CBA.) If you want to see the past winners, you can find them here
(2007) and here
(2008). If you want to see who has voted in this year's incarnation, click here
So without a whole lot of excess rambling, let's dive into the nominees and make the selections. Of course, this is completely opinion and your mileage may vary. Chances are, if you are actually reading this, you are a member of the UCB and are voting anyway, so take a gander and see how close we are.
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1. Cardinal Player of the Year
Nominees: Matt Holliday, Albert Pujols, Brendan Ryan
My selection: Albert Pujols
I love no-brainer questions. I mean, honestly, I had trouble even coming up with the other nominees on this one. Pujols should lock down his third MVP next week, his second in a row. He dominated basically every facet of the game. He led the team in stolen bases, for cryin' out loud! If anyone else gets a vote in this category, I'll be completely shocked.
2. Cardinal Pitcher of the Year
Nominees: Chris Carpenter, Ryan Franklin, Adam Wainwright
My selection: Adam Wainwright
This one was a lot tougher. For all the good that he did for the team, Ryan Franklin would be a distant third in this debate, even without his late-season collapse. When you have two credible Cy Young candidates in the same rotation, you know you are doing something right.
I really wasn't sure which way I wanted to lean between the two aces. I loved what Carpenter did all year long, and I think he might have been more dominant between the two. Wainwright, however, was the rock all year long. As Carp said
, Waino took the ball every fifth day and always gave the team a chance to win. I don't think you can go wrong with either of them, but Wainwright inches out the win in my book.
3. Game of the Year
Nominees: July 24 (at Phillies), September 6 (at Brewers), September 26 (at Rockies)
My selection: September 26
I think the September 26 game in Colorado, which clinched the NL Central for the Redbirds, was indicative of the whole season. The offense struggled, but put up enough to win. Wainwright went eight, throwing a ton of pitches. Franklin made it interesting, but locked up the win. If you wanted to boil down 2009 into nine innings, that was the game.
4. Surprise Player of the Year
Nominees: Ryan Franklin, Brendan Ryan, Skip Schumaker
My selection: Ryan Franklin
This is one of the toughest awards to select, because I think all of the nominees are very worthy of taking home the prize. Skip moved to second and, by the end of the year, most everyone was thinking of him as a second baseman instead of an outfielder that was playing second. I've never been high on Brendan Ryan, but I had to come around to the idea that he might have similar attributes as players like Joe McEwing and Bo Hart, but he had some talent to go along with them.
However, Franklin tops them all. I've been leery of Franklin for a couple of years, thinking that when he was in the eighth inning role he allowed too many fly balls and always danced on the edge of disaster. When he moved into the closer's role after Jason Motte's early meltdown, I didn't expect it to last very long. He surprised me greatly by not only running off save after save, but doing it in a fashion that was very close to automatic. He started to struggle after signing his new extention and I wouldn't be shocked to see him on the Disappointment list next year, but for 2009, he was the biggest of big surprises.5. Disappointing Player of the YearNominees: Rick Ankiel, Khalil Greene, Kyle LohseMy selection: Rick Ankiel
For such a strong year, there were still numerous disappointments to be found. Greene cost the Cards two bullpen arms, one of which (Luke Gregerson) may come back and haunt them, especially after all the other arms they gave up this season. Lohse continued to run into bad luck, never quite recovering from the beanball he received in the Kansas City game but had issues in games even before that.
Rick, as painful as it is for me to say it, really didn't pan out at all this year. Even before his collision with the center field wall, he was struggling and that kind of impact didn't do him any favors. We wanted him to be good, we wanted him hitting .270 with 25 homers, but it just wasn't to be and, with his strikeout to end the NLDS, it was just a terrible way for him to end his Cardinal career.6. Cardinal Rookie of the YearNominees: Mitchell Boggs, Blake Hawksworth, Colby RasmusMy selection: Colby Rasmus
While I appreciate what Boggs and Hawksworth did (especially Hawksworth, who made Brad Thompson expendable and continued to improve as the year went on), it's really hard not to give the award to Rasmus. His second half was nothing to write home about, but 16 home runs and some spectacular defense made for a ROY-worthy campaign. Plus he once ended a ballgame with a home run minutes after I predicted it on the UCB Radio Hour, so how do you top that?
7. Off-Season Acquisition of the YearNominees: Khalil Greene, Trever Miller, Dennys ReyesMy selection: Trever Miller
Normally, the next two awards are combined into one trophy, but with so much activity happening during the season this year, it seemed only fair to split it up. While Reyes started the year as the dominant lefty, Miller continued to improve and, by the end of the year, was the lefty that I felt more comfortable with when they were in the game. Miller was good enough to get that extra year that had been cut off his original contract, so the front office was watching as well.
8. Mid-Season Acquisition of the YearNominees: Mark DeRosa, Matt Holliday, John Smoltz
My selection: Matt Holliday
DeRosa never really did bring the bat to St. Louis that we thought we were going to see, being injured almost immediately after donning the birds on the bat. Smoltz was an impact player during his time here and I would be interested in seeing him return. But no one defined this as a "win-now" season more than the acquisition of Holliday. He tore it up immediately on his arrival in the NL and made the Cardinals into World Series contenders. Not only that, but the trade put them on the baseball map, as well as added intrigue to this offseason.9. Most Anticipated CardinalNominees: Allen Craig, Daryl Jones, Shelby Miller
My selection: Shelby Miller
Nothing against the other two (and I really think Craig should have gotten a callup sometime in '09), but I'm a pitching guy, and the thought of having an ace in the minors is very intriguing to me. I know it's still years before Miller can make it to the bigs, if he ever actually does, but he's the one I'm most waiting for right now.10. Best Individual BlogMy selection: Fungoes
Until a late vote broke the tie in his favor, last year I was tied with Fungoes for this title and I couldn't have been more proud. You can't top the game that Pip brings to his blog on a regular basis. This year, the individual field dwindled somewhat as blog partnerships were formed, but Pip continued his Pujolsian efforts and I commend him for doing so.11. Best Team BlogMy selection: Pitchers Hit EighthViva El Birdos
has been the heavyweight in this category and still produces amazing content on a daily basis. You wouldn't go wrong selecting them, but having worked pretty closely with Nick and Josh this year, both in blogging and in the radio show, I've got a special fondess for their site.12. Best Media BlogNominees: Bird Land, Cardinal Beat, Obviously You're Not A Golfer
My selection: Bird Land
I'm going to get to Matthew Leach in a moment, because I really appreciate what he brings to the Cardinal fandom. However, Derrick tends to blog a little more often and that tipped the scales. Of course, you can't go wrong reading any of the nominees and you'll get great information wherever you go.13. Best UCB ProjectNominees: Progressive Game Blog, Roundtables, Top 7 Prospects
My selection: Roundtables
We did a lot of good projects this year, including some new things like a blog swap and a debate day, but it's tough to go against the old standby of the roundtable, especially since we do in (in one form or another) three times a year. Having a chance to interact with all the bloggers, to exchange ideas, really makes you look forward to checking your e-mail!
14. Most Optimistic Cardinal BlogMy selection: La Beisbolista
A lot of Cardinal blogs actually stopped production this season. You'd think a dominating season by the team on the field would have more people writing about it, not less. Sarah dropped off on her writing some as well, but never did she get down on the team and players. Of course, it helps that Yadier Molina had such a good year too.....15. Funniest Cardinal BlogMy selection: Fredbird Follys
While it's a fairly new blog, I do get a kick out of Travis's Onion-style discussions about the 'Birds. Of course, that kind of humor is right in my wheelhouse. (What do you mean, my humor is not in that league? Oh, right
.)16. Rookie Cardinal Blog
Nominees: The McBrayer-Baseball Blog, St. Louis Sports Scene
My selection: St. Louis Sports Scene
I hate to award this to a blog that, as of now, doesn't even exist due to Steve's move to Play a Hard Nine
with Erik, but the stats and sabermetrics that he brought to the table in just a short amount of time deserves recognition. I'm very interested to see what those two guys can put together in the future.
17. Best UCB Radio Hour GuestMy selection: Matthew Leach
This award wasn't on the initial slate of nominees, but I felt like it needed to be addressed. We were able to line up some amazing guests this year. With the All-Star Game going in St. Louis, we were able to get Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter, and Lou Brock as part of Bank of America promotions. We had minor leaguers Pete Parise and Josh Squatrito. We had Cardinal hurler PJ Walters. We had Post-Dispatch writer Derrick Goold. We even had team president Bill DeWitt III.
So naming one guest over all of them is tough to do. Matthew, though, joined us at least three times and was a spectacular interview each time. We'd toss up a question and he'd go to town on it, giving us much more than we ever could have thought we'd get. He was always gracious with his time and was open to return engagements. In other words, exactly what you want when you host radio!
Check the official site for links to all the ballots
and for the winners post coming soon!