5 Dubious MLB Awards. Who is the 2011 Ball Magnet?
As the season winds down, we start to speculate on individual achievements like the MVP, the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year. But look, any hack can waste pages analyzing that kind of thing.
Justin Verlander. Boom. There you go.
What about the unsung, the infamous and the notorious? They deserve end-of-season love too, don't they?
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Hit by a Pitch 23 Times
Ask yourself if you can lean into the strike zone and take a 100 mph fastball upside your melon for the good of the team.
And what do you get for your trouble? A free ride to first, something you could have achieved if the pitcher had just thrown four lazy ones outside without ringing your bell.
Would you give up critical thinking and the ability to tie your shoes for 90 feet? Yeah, I didn't think so. Well, Carlos Quentin is 23 times braver than you.
He doesn't care if it's lack of sportsmanship or lack of marksmanship that gets him plunked. Chances are, he's not going to remember it happening anyway.
With the next closest batter at only 18, Carlos is running away with it...in a really dizzy, zig-zag fashion.
2011 MLB Player Leaders for Hit By Pitch
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Hit 13 Batters With a Pitch
Don't piss Alfredo off.
Sure, teammate John Lackey leads the league in thumping batters with 18, but John's 11 wild pitches serves as kind of an excuse.
He gets a little crazy sometimes, but he's just as likely to hit your bat (6.49 ERA) as your hand. He's getting close to the strike zone, so cut him some slack.
Alfredo has tagged 13 guys in only 102 innings. That's one dead man walking every 7.8 innings, so you know if he stays on the mound for any extended period, someone's getting their face broke.
And whenever Alfredo Aceves pitches to Carlos Quentin, the telecast immediately goes pay-per-view.
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Picked Off Stealing 15 Times in 42 Attempts
In the first of two awards that will put a terrible song in your head for the rest of the day, Juan Pierre has been caught stealing more than a third of the time, which is worse than the Hamburglar and Jane's Addiction combined.
You can always tell who Juan's base coach is, he's the one screaming "Don't go! Stay put! DO NOT MOVE!"
But Juan doesn't listen to reason, Juan looks reason in the eye, then looks away all nonchalant, then makes a break for it.
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25 Wild Pitches
I wanted to give this to Henry Rodriguez so bad. Roughly every four innings, Henry will put one in the stands or in the opposing team's dugout or in the parking lot. It's awesome.
But dude! Burnett! Twenty-five wild pitches over the course of a season is just domination. At least five of them have to be either Burnett getting confused and pitching to the guy on deck or on purpose because putting one over the plate is exactly what they expect him to do.
It's gotten so bad that the cashier at Starbucks ducks when Burnett pulls out his wallet.
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8 Intentional Walks
Another situation where it was a tough call, this time between Madison and Shawn Camp.
But in the true spirit of generosity, look at how many of Madison's walks were intentional. HALF! Eight out of 16. He's also got decent stats.
So what does this tell you? It means, every once in a while, a batter steps into the box, and Ryan thinks to himself, "You know what? He seems like a nice guy. I'll bet he likes rainy days and kittens. I'm just gonna let him have first base."
It's like pay it forward. I bet that guy Madison intentionally walks then does something equally as kind.
Like not throw a fastball at Carlos Quentin's head next time.