It’s time for some awards. Daniel over at C70 at the Bat again put out the ballot to the United Cardinal Bloggers group. The final tallies should be up on his site in a day or two. Here were my picks:
1. Player of the Year
This was an easy choice. Albert puts up gaudy numbers with more consistency than anyone in baseball. He took home a handful of awards this season, including his second MVP. Ryan Ludwick had a lot to do with the Cardinals hanging in the race, but without The Mang, Ludwick isn’t even an All-Star.
2. Pitcher of the Year
Of the three, Lohse was far and away the most valuable to the ball club. He led the team in wins and innings pitched, and posted a respectable 3.78 ERA. You have to figure that the horrendous Cardinal bullpen cost him some wins, too. Lohse is no Wainwright, but he was healthy all year, and earned his new contract.
3. Game of the Year
July 5, vs. Chicago
Maybe not for the right reasons, but without question, I picked the game against the Cubs in July. For the past three seasons, I’ve been living in Miami, Florida, some 1,200 miles away from my team.
I still manage to get to back to St. Louis for a few series each year, and the 4th of July weekend against the Cubbies was one of them. My brother and I didn’t have the best seats that day, but we got to drink lots of frosty beverages and see a heck of a come-from-behind win by the Cards.
4. Surprise Player of the Year
While Ludwick might be the sexy pick, I went with Schumaker because before the season, I had doubts that he could be a serviceable full-time player. I’ve always been a fan of his, but I thought he’d be limited to a smaller role.
Filling the leadoff spot for much of the season, Skip was able to hit .302 and play great defense anywhere in the outfield.
5. Disappointing Player of the Year
This one’s simple. After a nice ‘07, I expected Franklin to be a solid setup guy again this year. Instead, he sucked. Then when he was thrust into the closer’s role, he sucked worse. I remember so many times, when the game was on the line, wishing for any pitcher other than Franklin to come in. Duncan and Izzy at least had an injury excuse.
6. Cardinal Rookie of the Year
I have to go with McClellan here. He was with the team all year. He was electric during the first half, and really fun to watch. I think fatigue got to him in the end, but I’m optimistic for his 2009 campaign.
7. New Cardinal of the Year
Glaus was almost my pick for Surprise Player of the Year because he far exceeded my expectations. Filling Scott Rolen’s shoes is no easy task, and Glaus made it look easy.
He was a streaky hitter, but when he’s hot he can carry a team. I certainly didn’t expect him to be such a good defensive third baseman, either, but I’m glad he’ll be around next year.
8. Most Anticipated Cardinal
Rasmus is my choice here, not just because of his skill set, but because of his proximity to the majors. I get much more excited about a player that can make a serious impact now than I do about one that is still a year or so off. I got to see Colby play a lot in Spring Training, and I can’t wait to see him in St. Louis.
9. Best Individual Blog
When it comes to crunching numbers, Pip is king. You can regularly get great content there that appeals to both the average and SABR fan. And it’s never numbers for no reason, like I see on some other, non-Cardinal sites.
All of the information is there with a purpose. Keep up the great work!
10. Best Team Blog
Viva El Birdos
VEB is the most popular Cardinal blog around, and has been forever. I’d be surprised if the voting in this category isn’t unanimous. Although I miss reading Larry’s regular stuff, Dan hasn’t missed a beat.
The VEB community continues to grow, and it’s nice to talk Cardinal baseball with so many die-hard fans, especially now that I’m so damn far away.
11. Best Professional Blog
Derrick gets my vote. The others are good, but Leach’s posts aren’t frequent enough. Bernie is great, but you’ll often get stuff other than baseball. At Bird Land, it’s always new and fresh, and most importantly, always St. Louis Cardinals.
12. Best UCB Project
I had the most fun with the roundtable discussions. I guess it goes back to my need to interact with serious Cardinal fans. Maybe next year the UCB radio will be a hit, and I’ll vote for that!
13. Most Optimistic Blog
This one’s too close to call. I couldn’t decide. I’ll split my vote between C70 and Cardinal Nation Globe. Both blogs rarely rip on the team or players, and stayed pretty positive all the way down to the day the Redbirds were eliminated.
14. Funniest Blog
While it’s easy to get a chuckle from all the Cardinal sites around the blogosphere, Cardinals Diaspora, especially Aaron, can make me laugh out loud daily. Since he started writing for InsideSTL.com also, it’s now one of the first sites I check on Mondays.
15. Best Blog Post/Series of the Year
Anyone who knows me, even remotely, knows that beer and baseball are my two favorite things. So, if you put up a post that has both, you win!
16. Rookie Blog of the Year
Pitchers Hit Eighth
You can’t go wrong with any of these choices. Pitchers Hit Eighth has great content, a very nice layout, and a really clever name. It’s a must read.
That’s it. Be sure to check out all the UCB sites for their picks. C70 has the links.