One celebration down, 4 to go.
Contrary to some local beliefs, we didn’t fold and we didn’t screw it up. We made the post season. Not to belittle any of the other major sports, more because I never played hockey or basketball seriously, but I can’t imagine a more grinding schedule than the MLB schedule. Not really for pitchers, though I certainly feel a lot different in September than I did in February, but more the position players.
If you get to the dance and play all the way through you pretty much play close to 200 games in about 225 days. Most of those off days are spent traveling or at the park receiving treatment or working on your swing or something. Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan, both All Pro NFL players and damn good major leaguers said that the ML season and the NFL season weren’t even close. The MLB schedule was 10 times the grind of the NFL schedule. It’s not any one thing, but the fact is, aches, pains and bruises aside, you suit up every single day and compete against the best players in the world once every twenty four hours.
Don’t take that as a whine, it’s not life or death, but for the guys suiting up every day it has to be incredibly tough physically, to be good.
The celebration was perfect. By far the most subdued I’ve ever been part of but it fit the make up of this team because we realize we haven’t done what we set out to do, and that was win the East first, then the ALDS, ALCS and then a world series. Soon there will be 8 teams left standing, and the race to win 11 games in October before anyone else will start.
We’re healing up too, which is a good thing heading into October. The Yanks are playing their asses off as well and I think it’s a matter of a day or two before they clinch a spot as well.
Yesterday we had the opportunity to vote on another set of awards. This time it was the Sporting News Players Choice awards. Rules were that we could vote for players in the AL only and no one on your own team.
Player of the Year- Alex Rodriguez (I don’t think this race, if you truly look at the year, is even a race. Some guys had fantastic years but his year is still way beyond anything anyone else has done)
Rookie of the Year- Delmon Young (He’s going to drive in close to 100 runs and hit close to 300, not sure there are many guys outside of Dustin who can challenge that. Dustin, imo with a lot of obvious bias, deserves to win it. He’s had a phenomenal season on both sides of the ball)
Comeback Player of the Year- Carlos Pena (Another accolade for an outstanding season by an outstanding person)
Pitcher of the Year- CC Sabathia (A few guys, along with Josh, certainly had great seasons, but CC’s numbers, when you dive into them even a little bit, are awesome. Hopefully he’ll begin to get the recognition he aptly deserves as an ace and one of the 3-4 best pitchers in baseball. The little bit I got to know him at the 2002 AS game made me think the world of him. Great kid who has an immense amount of respect for his craft and the sport)
Catcher- Jorge Posada (Pretty incredible that he’s having maybe his best offensive year ever and tasked with handling an immense amount of pitchers on a playoff team in that environment)
1st Base- Carlos Pena
2nd Base-Placido Polanco (As a pitcher he makes that Detroit lineup incredibly different when he’s in the lineup. He doesn’t swing and miss, plays small ball when it’s appropriate and does every single thing the way it’s supposed to be done. Mark Ellis has also had an awesome season but being in Oakland I don’t think I’ve seen him more than once or twice when we weren’t playing them. I know he’s had a great year against us.
Short Stop-Orlando Cabrera (I think his season has flown as under the radar as it possibly could. I’ll admit immense bias here since I had the privilege of playing with him, but he’s as good a SS as anyone short of Alex Gonzalez that I’ve ever played with, including Cal. I would guess Derek could just as easily win it with the season he put together, again, this year. Being a pitcher though defense is as big a deal to me as offense and Orlando is head and shoulders above most other SS in the game imo, much less the AL.
3rd Base-Alex Rodriguez
Outfield- This is always a tough one because much like the all star team there are more than three deserving guys of recognition. My three this year were Maglio Ordonez, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki. All three had fantastic seasons. There are about 10 more guys you could rightfully vote for here, from Vlad to Carl Crawford, Markakais, Hunter, Sizemore. There have been some outstanding seasons by a lot of guys this year.
We’ll land in Boston early Sunday and get an off day before closing out the season at home. Hopefully we can play well and wrap up an AL East title before the week is out, and get ready to take on all comers next week.