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, whats your next big trade? Stupid crap like that.
Then were ushered inside for dinner and the big show. Dan Patrick hosts the big show or, if hes 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, its just a vision. The real awards are a bit less majestic in their arrival, but just as interesting. Ill post my acceptance speech on the Message Board later for those who cant wait to hear (read) it.
12 first place votes, 72 of 80 pts
Kansas Citys Jason Giambi gave this a run, but it was impossible for owners to overlook Sosas 68 home runs and 172 RBIs - 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, didnt vote Bonds as the winner. Carlos Delgado finished second with 24 points, but Bonds who hammered 80 home runs for Dmitrys 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 didnt 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. Whats a guy got to do? The irony here is he didnt even appear on two of your ballots!
Most of you who didnt 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 Riveras 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 FJBLs 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 wasnt even on five owners ballots. Second place went to Steve Kline, who didnt 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, Im a bit taken back by this selection. Dont 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 didnt 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.
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 Im very pleased by that.
I wish you all the best of luck next year in defending your respective crowns.
Sammy Sosa 72
Jason Giambi 49
Ichiro Suzuki 7
Chipper Jones 7
Manny Ramirez 5
Rich Aurillia 3
Maglio Ordonez 1
Moises Alou 1
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
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
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
Mariano Rivera 55
Jason Isringhausen 48
Octavio Dotel 21
Troy Percival 15
Jason Marquis 3
Robb Nen 2
Jeff Zimmerman 62
Keith Foulke 45
Ugueth Urbina 13
Billy Wagner 9
Felix Rodriguez 4
John Smoltz 2
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
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
KC Donahue 54
Dan Stupp 49
Dave Myers 29
Todd Bohlmann 3
Ryan Reynolds 62
Dmitry Epshteyn 35
Kurt Bohlmann 16
Jack Burnham 10
Josh Sherlock 6
Steven Myers 6