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Roll Out The Red Carpet

 

I have this vision of the FJBL Awards.  You see, we all show up at Radio City Music Hall riding in limos and wearing tuxedos with, if we have any luck at all, Jennifer Love Hewitt on our arms. 

 

We arrive about 5PM so the press can take our photos and ask inane questions like, “Who does your hair, Ryan?” and “Jack, what’s your next big trade?”  Stupid crap like that.

 

Then we’re ushered inside for dinner and the big show.  Dan Patrick hosts the big show or, if he’s busy, then Danny Devito. 

 

The lights get turned down, Shania Twain and Faith Hill come out and sing a duet, and then the big shin-dig really gets started.

 

Ryan is trashed before Madonna and Jerry Seinfeld step up to make the first presentation.  Kurt gets called to a three-alarm fire.  Nev is awaken by dreams of the new twins.  CJ is up past curfew. 

 

And, by the time, I win my Commissioner of the Year Award (a little after midnight) and begin to thank everyone who has ever been a part of my life, well, none of you are even there.

 

Ah well, it’s just a vision.  The real awards are a bit less majestic in their arrival, but just as interesting.  I’ll post my acceptance speech on the Message Board later for those who can’t wait to hear (read) it.

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE MVP – SAMMY SOSA (OAKLAND)

                              12 first place votes, 72 of 80 pts

Kansas City’s Jason Giambi gave this a run, but it was impossible for owners to overlook Sosa’s 68 home runs and 172 RBI’s - particularly for a team that won the AL West Championship.   

 

I voted for Sosa also.  Ichiro Suzuki and Chipper Jones finished tied and a very distant third.  Other vote getters were Manny Ramirez, Rich Aurillia, Maglio Ordonez, and Moises Alou.

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE MVP – BARRY BONDS (ARIZONA)

16 first place votes, 78 of 80 pts

Just about as close to a no brainer as possible.  Only Ryan Reynolds, in desperate need of anger management classes, didn’t vote Bonds as the winner.  Carlos Delgado finished second with 24 points, but Bonds – who hammered 80 home runs for Dmitry’s Diamondbacks – was an obvious winner.  Rafael Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez finished tied for third with 11 points.

 

 AMERICAN LEAGUE CY YOUNG – ROGER CLEMENS (CHICAGO)

                              10 first place votes, 65 of 80 pts

Clemens finished 17-7 with a 3.23 ERA and won easily over surprise starter Miguel Batista.  Batista went 16-3 with a 3.12 ERA but didn’t throw as many innings as Clemens.  Still, it would be easy to argue Batista deserved the award more than Clemens, leading the Athletics to a Western Division Championship over the Sox.  John Burkett finished third in the voting.

 

I selected Clemens, as well.

 

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE CY YOUNG – RANDY JOHNSON (MILWAUKEE)

                              10 first place votes, 60 of 80 pts

What were you guys thinking?  Oh, the Big Unit deserved the award alright – in fact, he was as much a no-brainer as Bonds.  Johnson won the NL pitching triple crown going 20-7 with a 2.63 ERA and striking out 340.  What’s a guy got to do?  The irony here is he didn’t even appear on two of your ballots!

 

Most of you who didn’t opt for Johnson, went for Rick Reed who was stellar for the Cardinals.  Reed finished with 43 points in one of the closest races in the award balloting.  Kerry Wood finished third by virtue of receiving three first place votes.  Unfortunately, no one else voted for Wood at all.

 

Without Johnson, Milwaukee is never even in the NL West race.  With him they were one of the surprise teams last year.  Johnson, I say, deserved this award.

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE FIREMAN – MARIANO RIVERA (CLEVELAND)

                              9 first place votes, 55 of 80 pts

Rivera edged Jason Isringhausen by a scant seven points.  Isringhausen had three more saves but his ERA was a half run higher than Rivera’s anorexic-like 1.83.  Izzy also blew two more saves, but the decision was a close one as Izzy got six first place votes.  I voted for my man Rivera.  Octavio Dotel finished third.

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE FIREMAN – JEFF ZIMMERMAN (ST LOUIS)

                              10 first place votes, 62 of 80 pts

Not as many first place votes as I would have guessed, but Zimmerman outdistanced Keith Foulke who finished second and got two first place votes.  Ugueth Urbina finished third and received one first place vote.  Again, I agree with Zimmerman, who had an FJBL best 42 saves in closing for the FJBL’s best team all season.

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE RELIEVER – JUSTIN SPEIER (CLEVELAND)

                              2 first place votes, 27 of 80 pts

The objective of including a reliever award along with the fireman award was to recognize relievers who were not closers.  However, this award seemed to simply confuse voters in the AL who lacked the clear-cut solution available in the NL.  Speier, who managed only two first place tallies, nipped teammate Mariano Rivera by just two points by appearing on numerous ballots.  Rivera garnered five first place tallies, but did not appear on any other ballots.  Other first place votes went to third-place finisher Ricardo Rincon, Randy Wolfe, Octavio Dotel, Jeff Nelson, and Kyle Farnsworth.  Farnsworth actually managed two first place votes and finished fourth in the voting.

 

I selected Rincon.

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE RELIEVER – JOEL PINEIRO (ST LOUIS)

                              10 first place votes, 50 of 80 pts

Again, I thought this should have been a no-brainer.  Pineiro was 19-3 with a 1.14 ERA – phenomenal numbers.  Somehow, though, Pineiro wasn’t even on five owners’ ballots.  Second place went to Steve Kline, who didn’t get any of those other five top votes.  Other first-place votes did go to John Smoltz, Jeff Zimmerman, John Riedling, Ugueth Urbina, and Francisco Rodriguez.

 

I voted for the obvious choice – Pineiro.

 

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE OWNER/MANAGER – KC DONAHUE (TORONTO)

                              9 first place votes, 54 of 80 pts

Okay, I’m a bit taken back by this selection.  Don’t get me wrong, KC deserves an incredible amount of credit for winning the FJBL Championship.  His post-season skills were impressive.  But, I think most of you took the easy way out.  KC didn’t take over the Blue Jays until we were into the season and, even then, his squad finished with only the third best mark in the AL and squandered a division lead. 

 

I voted (no, not for myself), but for Dan Stupp who, I thought, was outstanding in running a team that I would have given little chance prior to the season. Stupp lost by just five points to KC despite getting half as many first place tallies.

 

Still, KC was an honorable selection and has an FJBL title to his belt.  Not many of you can say that.

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE OWNER/MANAGER – RYAN REYNOLDS (ST LOUIS)

                                                                      12 first place votes, 62 of 80 pts

Ryan made no mistakes in his National League effort.  He put together an aging, but outstanding team – coaxed incredible performances from unlikely places such as Pineiro – and dominated a division that should have been nip and tuck.  In the post-season, he rolled through an Arizona team I thought would finally beat him.  His only slip-up came in the championship when he sent out his team bats for a set of toothpicks and substituted TANG for the Creatine his players had been taking all year.

 

Dmitry finished second in the voting (losing to Ryan AGAIN) and got two first place votes.  Kurt Bohlmann finished third in his outstanding rookie campaign.  Steven Myers got a first-place vote and appeared on two ballots for running the lights out of his team in the first half of the season.  Damn those playing time restrictions, eh Nev?

 

Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to all for voting.  Sixteen owners and assistant owners voted – the best we have EVER had and I’m very pleased by that. 

 

I wish you all the best of luck next year in defending your respective crowns.

       

 

Final Voting:

 

AL MVP

Sammy Sosa – 72

Jason Giambi – 49

Ichiro Suzuki – 7

Chipper Jones – 7

Manny Ramirez – 5

Rich Aurillia – 3

Maglio Ordonez – 1

Moises Alou – 1

 

NL MVP

Barry Bonds – 78

Carlos Delgado – 24

Rafael Palmeiro – 11

Luis Gonzalez – 11

Albert Pujols – 10

Alex Rodriguez – 4

Rondell White – 3

Lance Berkman – 2

Joel Pineiro – 1

 

AL CY YOUNG

Roger Clemens – 65

Miguel Batista – 37

John Burkett – 14

Russ Ortiz – 12

Roy Oswalt – 11

CC Sabathia – 2

Mike Mussina – 1

Mariano Rivera – 1

Freddy Garcia – 1

 

NL CY YOUNG

Randy Johnson – 60

Rick Reed – 43

Kerry Wood – 15

Mark Buehrle – 11

Joel Pineiro – 6

Matt Morris – 4

Aaron Sele – 3

Curt Schilling – 1

Javier Vazquez – 1

 

AL FIREMAN

Mariano Rivera – 55

Jason Isringhausen – 48

Octavio Dotel – 21

Troy Percival – 15

Jason Marquis – 3

Robb Nen – 2

 

NL FIREMAN

Jeff Zimmerman – 62

Keith Foulke – 45

Ugueth Urbina – 13

Billy Wagner – 9

Felix Rodriguez – 4

John Smoltz – 2

 

AL RELIEVER

Justin Speier – 27

Mariano Rivera – 25

Ricardo Rincon – 18

Kyle Farnsworth – 16

Octavio Dotel – 9

Jason Isringhausen – 7

Byun Hyung Kim – 7

Randy Wolf – 5

Jeff Nelson – 5

Troy Percival – 4

Mike DeJean – 4

Dan Plesac – 3

Jason Christensen – 3

Robb Nen – 1

Jack Cressend – 1

 

NL RELIEVER

Joel Pineiro – 50

Steven Kline – 16

John Smoltz – 12

Bob Wickman – 11

Keith Foulke – 9

Felix Rodriguez – 7

Eddie Guardado – 7

Ugueth Urbina – 6

John Riedling – 6

Jeff Zimmerman - 6

Billy Wagner – 3

Jason Grimsley – 1

Paul Shuey – 1

 

AL MANAGER

KC Donahue – 54

Dan Stupp – 49

Dave Myers – 29

Todd Bohlmann – 3

 

NL MANAGER

Ryan Reynolds – 62

Dmitry Epshteyn – 35

Kurt Bohlmann – 16

Jack Burnham – 10

Josh Sherlock – 6

Steven Myers – 6