The 2012 season of Major League Baseball gave witness to one of the greatest individual performances of all time, and recognition of that fact has only just started to roll in. Even if it never happens again (although it remains highly likely that it will), Mike Trout walked onto the national stage and delivered wonderment. This was the stuff of which only our grandparents could speak. While small-minded geezers brandished Carl Yastrzemski as the benchmark of time for the honestly excellent season of Miguel Cabrera, one must realize that Yastrzemski himself, their very benchmark, failed to ever reach the heights of Trout 2012 (although the numbers that Yaz realized that year have been matched/exceeded 14 times by other players since!). And they toss "1967" around as the metric of great distance by which any achievement should be measured, conveniently ignoring the even greater distances needed to reach back to the likes of Joe DiMaggio and Ty Cobb.
For the moment set that all aside, ignore what will not be, and just reflect on what actually was. Speed, power, patience, great leaps of heroism, glove work, theft, bases, runs, hits - against even the very greatest opposition we humans are capable of assembling from a talent pool that is global in scope. And all that amazement came in droves. And it came week after week, month after month. That greatness filled our summer. And it came from a kid too young to drink and still young enough to smile through it all. Even if it never happens again (and, again, there is no reason yet to believe it will not), this one summer will remain with each of us until our brains succumb to feebleness.
This week Mike Trout was awarded the MLB Player Of The Year AND MLB Rookie Of The Year by Baseball America, which has been one of the more significant observers of all levels of the game for more than 30 years. Only recently have they made the move in the direction of sabremetrics, just in time to catch glory. And this is the very first time anyone has claimed both prizes - prizes that are MLB wide and not just league specific. More awards are coming. MLB AL Rookie Of The Year is without question. Gold Glove? Silver Slugger? Possibly. The Sporting News Player Of The Year? Potentially. AL MVP and The Hank Aaron Award? Probably not, as The Old Guard still clings tight to false myths and still commands the power to brow beat us all with them. But there are a slew of others down the line, such as the This Year In Baseball Awards (where Trout might garner consideration for "Player of the Year", "Rookie of the Year", "Defensive Player of the Year", "Breakout Player of the Year", "Wow Factor of the Year", "Play of the Year", "Performance of the Year" AND "Fan Moment of the Year"), etc.
Too bad for those that failed to pay close attention. Beyond a few highlights and a lot of box scores and a great deal of dialog pushed forth predominantly by number crunchers, greatness raced by and too many were looking elsewhere. Even people who hold important duties that, by definition, are supposed to focus everyone's attention on such things. Well into the future they will deny it. They will reject the very ignorance that they promote today. But they can never fill their memories with all the rich detail of Trout 2012 that blessed us regular fans. We tried to save them. We did our best.
- So Jason Isringhausen has announced that he is retiring from baseball, unless "…some GM is dumb enough to want to sign me…", or some Manager is dumb enough to want to slot him as an 8th inning bullpen reliever, even after Isringhausen has publicly told everyone how dumb that is.
- Anti Mike Trout Screed Of The Year: It must be inevitable that at some point in every person's life they finally snap and start yelling at all the upstarts that are rendering them irrelevant. Women call young hottie's "bimbos". Men call young hotshots "ignorant twits". And baseball writers take their shotguns down from above the mantle and start taking aim at modern math. Deadspin does this guy the FMJ treatment here.
- The Dodgers fired their hitting coach this past week. They are on the lookout for a new one, and might or might not be considering Rudy Jaramillo, now ex of the Cubs. Odd…didn’t they hire Mickey Hatcher just a couple of months back? What is it that the Dodgers already know about Mickey Hatcher as a hitting coach that Mike Scioscia still has yet to learn?
- One must assume that with this year’s playoff success (at least to this point) all the St. Louis Cardinal fan hatred for Albert Pujols has run its course, yes?
- I guess not.
- I am going to say this again, in the hopes that somebody in the LAA front office is assigned to read this site, then gets to this topic, suffers an inspiring brain fart and dashes off to Arte demanding that he take some action: on October 5, 1951 during the World Series in Yankee Stadium, rookie right fielding sensation Mickey Mantle took off in pursuit of a fly ball off the bat of Willie Mays. While looking up to make the play Mantle's cleat caught in a metal storm drain grate in the outfield grass and sheared the cartilage in his right knee, ending his season and possibly forcing him to play with a damaged ACL for the rest of his career. Why do I bring this up? Because we have, ourselves, a spectacular rookie phenom who prowls the outfield with abandon. And our phenom has, coincidentally, been compared to the great Mickey Mantle. And beginning next season our young phenom will be forced to play in a jerry-rigged centerfield in Houston that includes the extremely hokey and extremely dangerous Tal's Hill at Minute Maid Park. And the Astros have decided to keep it, along with the pole in the field. This has the potential to end very, very badly. And it is entirely needless.
- And, just a reminder: not all injuries are as easy to deal with as that of Albert Pujols.
This Date In Baseball History: 1949 - The Chicago White Sox steal Nellie Fox from the Philadelphia A's for somebody named Joe Tipton. Fox would end up in the Hall Of Fame, and Tipton would end up his career 5 years later..........1964 - Fred Hutchinson resigns as manager of the Cincinnati Reds despite a 60 and 49 record..........1972 - The Oakland A's defeat the Cincinnati Reds in Game 4 of the World Series when they run off 4 straight singles in the ninth, three of those singles coming from pinch hitters.........2000 - Dusty Baker, future over-manager of the Cincinnati Reds, takes his winning record and nabs a two-year contract extension to skipper the San Francisco Giants. This turn of fortune will, of course, keep him in the black and orange just long enough to hand a World Series ring to the Anaheim Angels..........2002 - Tsuyoshi Shinjo becomes the first Japanese-born player to appear in the World Series, against the Anaheim Angels, and the Giants defeat the Angels in Game 1..........2009 - Kenji Johjima, the first Japanese-born catcher in MLB history, walks away from being relegated to bench-sitting duties with the Seattle Mariners and forfeits the remaining $15.8 million of his contract.
- MLB playoff TV ratings are down. The announcers suck, especially when they represent an MSM that pays little attention to teams that are not low-hanging fruit, so they don’t know the stories of the players and seasons still remaining. And the chronic repeating of so few commercials. Note the comments, where one guy in Detroit was blacked out of two playoff games!
- Oh wait! MLB playoff TV ratings are up! Way up! I guess we just had to mitigate the risk of viewers being forced to watch Oakland, Baltimore, Washington or Cincinnati in order to render MLB safe for women and children once again.
- The Baseball Writers of America Award dates have been set for the 2012 season.
November 12, Mike Trout named AL Rookie Of The Year. Somebody else named for the NL.
November 13, AL and NL Managers Of The Year
November 14, AL and NL Cy Young winners
November 15, The Day Of Great Hue and Cry
- Looks like we got ourselves the wrong St. Louis Cardinal in the offseason. "In his career, Beltran is batting .378 in 30 postseason games, the highest average in baseball history for players with at least 100 plate appearances." HBT takes it even further, pointing out that Beltran is tops at OBP, SLG and OPS as well.
- The God Of Irony is hard at work at the moment. First, we get Yankees Manager Joe Girardi going off on a blown call that did NOT go the way of the MFY, and calls for expanded replay. Hey Joe, the rest of the baseball world, from throughout history, responds with "EFF you!" So, my prediction: despite the fact that Bud Selig rejected expanding the use of instant replay as recently as this past July, if the MFY are crying about being mistreated like everybody else has been for decades, Selig will commit to expanded replay immediately. Oh, wait. Here is Uncle Bud now: "I think we'll have it for sure. They're working on cameras in all the ballparks. We need the right cameras. Should we have them by next year? We'd better."
- Ok. This is just too rich to pass up. Kobe Bryant is offering advice to his old pal Alex Rodriguez. The Kobe Bryant of the Eagle County Sexual Assault episode is reminding the Alex Rodriguez of Chasing Skirts During the LCS that ARod needs to "…just do [his] thing." Too late now, Kobe. On all counts.
- Hot News! Keith Olbermann is not to be outdone by The Donald. Olbermann claims that the Yankees, fighting for their lives in their pursuit of a World Series appearance, have started talks with the Miami Marlins to trade Alex Rodriguez. And Brian Cashman, the actual GM of the Yankees, claims Olbermann is making up shit.
(What I brought back last night from my latest jaunt in my DeLorean...)
Yankees Fall in Fall Classic, Declare Robot Umps in Collusion
Skipper Harper Upset with MLB Front Office, claims Commissioner Dipoto "reduced the pro-Yank bias in the algorithms"
MLB insists that all pro-NYY bias settings remain true to historical standards. Investigating possible breach by Japanese Division fanatics
(New York) In post-game comments last night, Yankees' Manager Bryce Harper accused the MLB front office of disabling the Jeter Skew of the ball/strike robots in the ALCS, costing his team their historical advantage and forcing them to play on a level field in their Best Of 9 series against the Dunkirk Dirtbags. MLB Commissioner Jerry Dipoto categorically rejected the accusation, but did admit that his office was researching some unusual internet traffic into their internal computer systems coming from IP addresses in various cities that are associated with the Japan Division teams.
- Mike Napoli is this off-season's Dan Uggla and/or Adam Dunn.
- The Twins, like most teams, are looking for pitching. But their opinion is that Dan Haren is NOT ranked among the "affordable" Nor is Zack Greinke.
- Alden Gonzalez is just now catching up with Halos Heaven, suggesting that:
- the only solution to Vernon Wells is to swap with some other bad contract.
- there is a slightly better positive than negative chance of re-signing Torii Hunter
- Peter Bourjos would then become trade bait
- The Halos will need to trade for bullpen help rather than sing via free agency, and
- the 2013 payroll is going to be lower.
- Bud Selig recently chatted with Arte Moreno and Arte did not bring up the topic of moving the team.
- Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Halos have opened negotiations with Torii Hunter, and opened very low.
- Alden Gonzalez reminds everyone that with Kaleb Cowart on the near horizon, A-Rod at third base doesn't make sense.
- Mike DiGiovanna speculates that the Arte could get squeezed if Zack Greinke takes too long to figure out his options.
The Yankees are struggling to minimize the embarrassment of an empty house in the ALCS..........But the Yankees are blaming StubHub. Uh, sure. Ok...........Theo Epstein discovers the real reason for the abysmal showing of the Chicago Cubs: their 20-years-in-the-organization traveling secretary..........The Donald needs the spotlight again and again..........Everybody in the 2012 MLB playoffs must drink Gatorade, and only Gatorade. Nothing else...........And women reporters covering the MLB Playoffs must dress according to rules, or face a fatwa from one of Bud’s clerics.
And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday for beer:
I hope you all have a fine collection in your own fridge, because Beer Fest seaons has pretty much shuit down and we are on our own. Take, for example, Friday: All I got is the Heretic Brewing Tap That Cask! at the Steingarten in LA.......... Saturday: We have something a little more fun, The Best Damn Homebrewed IPA Contest at the Best Damn Home Brew Shop in San Diego.
There. Weak, I know. So just to remain large in the spirit of giving, here is a list of California Beer Brewers for your perusing pleasure. Or how about a Beer Map? Maps are always fun, and you will probably be surprised to learn how close you are to one or five brewers even as you sit there and read this.
And BONUS(!) BEER Features contributed by eyespy this week: The first is an awesome visual graphic charting the relationship between the various types of beers throughout the world. I expect everyone who is a regular reader of this section to have this memorized by next week, as there will be a quiz. The second graphic is also a chart, and also makes an attempt to categorize the global varieties of beer, but this one is more appropriate for those of you who took Chem 2 in high school, and loved it. Thanks, eyespy, for the contribution. And for the rest of you, take note, I DO share any/all worthy submissions pertaining to beer!!
Have a safe weekend, everybody!