Part 1 of The Octopus Hamstring’s 2011 MLB Season Wrap-Up: AL & NL MVP’s or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb


Totally should've brought his glove.

 
Friends,
 
Welcome to the 1st annual Octopus Hamstring MLB Season Wrap-Up!
 
First things first; I’d like to get the elephant out of the room…motherfucker just sits around eating peanuts and talking shit about mice. Worthless. The freeloading elephant I’m referring to has a name: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s 2011 Season. There ain’t enough bandwidth for that behemoth on the world-wide web and there sure-as-hell ain’t enough bandwidth on this site either. Your mom calls the internet the world-wide web.
 
To cap off a season which could only be remembered as a huge disappointment, I went to the Angels/Rangers game last night with a few buddies. Terrific tickets by the way; we had my company’s corporate seats in the Diamond Club. I shit you not, we were no more than 8 rows back behind the Angels’ on-deck circle. When a homerun was hit (and there were many…more on that in a minute), the viewpoint we had made it feel like I was playing MLB: The Show on PS3. This being the first year in some time that I haven’t renewed my season tickets, I gotta say, it felt good. It’s not like my tickets were anywhere near this good, but still… Anyway, enough about how fucking cool I am. Our season was rubbish. We had nothing to play for last night, so it didn’t really bother me too much that in the 5th inning we gave up back-to-back-to-back dingers (not sure of the exact order) to Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz and former Angels catcher Mike Napoli aka the Goat Hill Tavern Rapist*.
 

"Hey look! It's the Goat Hill Tavern Rapist and his buddy Rocky Dennis!"

Actually it did bother me. Napoli, that fucker.
 
Dude hit two out of the park last night…probably just to rub it in that his new team, with him on it, won the division this year,  and not us without him. Imagine that one of the best car salesman alive, a mid six figure-earner selling exotics in Beverly Hills, decided to sell Chevy Silverados on the weekends.
 
“Hey asshole. Yeah you. We already knew you were in a different class than us, but did you really need to come out here and rub it in? Dick.”
 
That’s how I felt after Napoli hit his second homerun of the night. Mike Scoscia’s easily a top three manager in this league. I’m even willing to give Sosh the benefit of the doubt, that he might know a thing or two about playing catcher. I’ll give him that. But trading Nap away, so he could wind up in Texas and put up the 28 HR/70 RBI/.316 BA season we all knew he had in him? Hey, at least we got a full season out of the Mendoza Line Marauders, Jeff Mathis and Bobby Wilson! Jesus Christ, I’m going to kick the shit out of my dog tonight.
 
I don’t want to fall back into old habits here. This is turning into another Angels rant that, frankly, most of you probably couldn’t give a shit about. My sincerest apologies. I promised commentary, insight and predictions and I plan to deliver.
 
The BWAA hasn’t got back to me yet about my official ballot status, so I figured I should let the cat out of the bag and be honest with you. I don’t actually have a ballot yet…but I’m working on it. Peter Gammons gets to run amok all over town with an official ballot and unclean women, all the while owing money to known pornographers, but I still can’t get them to return my calls? Peter Fucking Gammons. I call bullshit.
 
 
So with the politics out-of-the-way, below are my 2011 AL & NL MVP predictions for the 2011 Major League Baseball season.
 
AL MVP:
Justin Verlander, Starting Pitcher
Detroit Tigers
 
Runner Up,
The Dude Who Steals Signs For the Blue Jays
 
 
Roger Clemens in 1986. Clemens is the last starting pitcher to receive the MVP Award in either league and that’s the last time that it happened. Pedro Martinez this, and Randy Johnson that all you want, but this award is reserved for the guys who like to put their balls on the other side of the fence. Yeah, I said balls. And just like my wife and most fans, the awards voters love hard-hit balls too. This season the Detroit Tigers could pretty much pencil in a W every 5 games (had that actually been the case we’d be looking at the 1st modern-era pitcher to win 30+ games). Mid-Season, it really looked like Jared Weaver had the juice for his first (of hopefully many) Cy Young’s, but the tear Verlander went on in the 2nd half all but shattered that dream. Cy Young Award is one thing, but Verlander was as close to automatic as it gets this year. Most will say that a player who only plays once every 4 or 5 games shouldn’t be considered for this award. I used to think the same thing myself, but this year’s different. Without a clear-cut favorite, his case starts to improve exponentially.
 
You could make a case for Jose Bautista I suppose. I have a difficult time with him because while he’s basically the only hot, single chick at the party who’s down for a good time, he travels with a pack of 180lb man-hating cockblockers. MVP of his own team? Yes. MVP of the league? No.
 
A-Rod’s having a down year without steroids, but he’s more interested in cocaine and high stakes poker now anyway. Curtis Granderson’s putting up monster #’s, but he’s holding a BA of under .280. That, and he’d have to share the award with the Short Porch in right field at Yankee Stadium, per their pre-season agreement. Pretty shrewd deal for Short Porch (which really should be Jorge Posada’s nickname), but isn’t actually too surprising once you remember that he’s a Boras client…Which brings us to Mark Teixeira. Well, I couldn’t in good conscience pick Teixeira because he’s a child molester**. A Yankee ain’t getting the hardware this year.

Still not as bad as Boston

 
Without the Yankees in the mix, that leaves a few other possibles; in Boston you could make a case for Jacoby Ellsbury, who in my opinion, is the only position-player in the AL that would have a legitimate gripe if the MVP ended up with Verlander (after the Tampa Bay game tonight, this might not hold water***). According to the East Coast-biased media, Dustin Pedroia’s worthy of consideration too. But he ain’t getting my vote, because here at the Octopus Hamstring we like our MVP candidates to be tall enough to ride Space Mountain. Hell, Adrian Gonzalez was the consensus no-brainer going into the All-Star Break, but after the power outage, his chances of winning got deported along with two of his uncles and a cousin. Actually, in the cases of both NY and BOS, all the stars kind of cancel each other out. It’s the exact opposite on Bautista’s situation in Toronto.
 
Funny, I didn’t even mention Miguel Cabrera; he of the .344 batting average, 30 home runs, 105 runs batted in and the .448 on-base percentage. Jesus, what’s in the tap water in Detroit? My pick goes to Justin Verlander for throwing up one of greatest pitching seasons in recent memory. DOMINANCE. Don’t believe me? See how he stacked up this year in the AL for yourself.
 
2011 League Ranks:
 • 1st in AL in W (24)
 • 1st in AL in IP (251.0)
 • 1st in AL in SO (250)
 • 1st in AL in ERA (2.40)
 • 1st in AL in WHIP (0.92)
 • 1st in AL in W% (.828)
 • 4th in AL in CG (4)
 
 
NL MVP:
Matt Kemp, Center Fielder
Los Angeles Dodgers
 
Runner Up:
The Chicago White Sox for letting Ozzie Guillen leave town to manage the 2012 Miami Marlins. Ozzie’s going to OWN the city of Miami. Kick rocks, LeBron.
 
 
Accuse me of being biased all you want because I’m from the L.A. area. Yeah, it’s a fix….Southern California guy can’t pick his man-crush, Mark Trumbo, so he had to pick a Dodger. WRONG. I hate the Dodgers. I hate Dodger fans. I hate the mockery Frank McCourt is making of our favorite sport and I even hate Dodger Dogs. The Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles have three redeeming qualities; Vin Scully, Dodger Stadium itself and Matt Kemp.
 
A lot of folks are saying the NL MVP should go to Ryan Braun, or at the very least a guy having a spectacular season for a winning club. Again, with the Milwaukee Brewers, it’s hard to pick a clear-cut favorite when it could just as easily go one of two different guys. Ryan Braun’s a great choice and his stats are phenomenal. He might have claim to best player in the NL status even. Over at 1st base though, is “I’m In A Contract Year and I Gotta Earn My Next Deal” Prince Fielder, who ate 981 Big Macs this season had a .981 OPS this season.
 
 
But holy shit, who’s the last baseball player you can remember who was as exciting to watch as Matt Kemp? Vlad Guerrero maybe (who won AL MVP in 2004)? And stats? You want to talk about stats? Lets talk about stats.
 
2011 League Ranks:
 • 3rd in NL in BA (.324)
 • 1st in NL in HR (39)
 • 1st in NL in RBI (126)
 • 1st in NL in R (115)
 • 8th in NL in BB (74)
 • 2nd in NL in SB (40)
 • 2nd in NL in SLG (.586)
 • 2nd in NL in OPS(.986)
 
Dude came close to being the first NL’er to win the Triple Crown since Joe Medwick did it in St. Louis back in 1937. Every time Kemp Matt Kemp steps into the batter’s box, on to the field or makes it on base, something awesome might happen. Homeruns, gold glove caliber defense (finally), stolen bases…he might even bust out a Foreman Grill and cook some chicken breasts at 2nd right after he stole it. Keeping Matt Kemp in a Dodgers’ uniform might be the smartest move management has made since turning over Steve Howe’s cocaine dealer to LAPD back in 1984.
 
So what, the Dodgers didn’t make the playoffs. Big friggin’ deal. A few players over the years have won MVP on losing teams, A-Rod when he was still a Ranger comes to mind. But for some reason I can look past that with Kemp. If he can continue to put up seasons like this one, and I’m sure the sabermetricians could tell you, this is easily a top-5 guy in baseball who you would love to build your team around. So stop with the crap about the MVP needing to be from a playoff team. Besides, we all know the Philadelphia Phillies are representing the NL in the Word Series anyway……..which brings us to the end of Part 1 of this article. Part 2 is coming tomorrow. Tomorrow we’re going to discuss the Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year awards. After that, when I feel like it, the playoff and World Series predictions will follow.
 
*There’s a bar near Newport Beach, CA called the Goat Hill Tavern where Napoli and some of the other Angels used to go after home games. I used to go to the Goat Hill semi-regularly and have spoken to waitresses and bartenders. The general consensus is that short of slipping rooffies in drinks, Napoli would try just about anything to get into a girl’s pants…and that’s debatable.
 
**I have no reason to believe that Mark Teixeira is actually a child molester, but seriously, fuck that guy.
 
**In related news, Boston’s playoff hopes have been officially squashed due to an AMAZING 12-inning thriller tonight in Tampa Bay between the Rays and the Yankees. How’s this for drama? Along with Boston’s postseason, the game ended with a Longoria walk-off homer in the bottom of the 12th. TURN ON SPORTSCENTER NOW. Go…do it. They probably have it on a continuous loop. After Evan Longoria’s 12th inning display of testicular fortitude, I might need to re-think my AL selection. He might as well have whipped his nuts out in the batter’s box and revealed to America that both George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant are camping together in a makeshift tent, fashioned out of his scrotum. HUGE September balls.
 
Speaking of testicles…
 
Close friend of the Hamstring and baseball enthusiast, Head, will be teaming up with me from time to time as the site’s first guest sports analyst/correspondent/whatever. The man is pretty straight-to-the-point, with little-to-no bullshit (the polar opposite of Mike Apathy), but he knows his shit. But he’d better remember that its me and Tyler’s site, and if he wants to have his name in neon up on the side of the building next to ours, he’s got a long road of ass-kissing, Starbucks runs and handjobs ahead of him. Good luck, rookie.
 
What we hope will be, depending on how well he does with the above suggestions, the first of many contributions, here’s the first edition of a new segment called Deconstructing the Head.
 
 
Deconstructing the Head #1
 
Ok let’s start with the Junior Circuit hardware:
 
AL MVP – Curtis Granderson, Yankees – Sorry Verlander you’re still just a pitcher and you only appeared in 35 games this year. The Grandy man played in a few more games than that and scored 136 runs in doing so, tops in the majors.  Add that to 41 home runs, 119 RBIs, and a solid defensive effort in CF and it should tip the scales in his favor. You don’t have any home runs do you Verlander? I didn’t think so.
 
AL Cy Young – Justin Verlander, Tigers – in a year full of some dominating pitching you were most dominating of the all – hey is MDP an award? Truly an outstanding year.
 
AL Coach of the Year – Joe Maddon, Rays – Are you kidding me?? Really I don’t feel an award should be won or lost in one month out of a six month season, let alone one game, but wow, what a month and game it was. Scott Spezio thought it was over tonight.
 
AL ROY – Mark Trumbo, Angels – Teammate Torii Hunter recently said just wait til he gets his “man muscles”.  29 HR and 87 RBI in a year he wasn’t even expected to play in the big leagues, both of which were team highs. “Man muscles” indeed…
 
NL hardware and playoff predictions tomorrow.
 
-Head
 
For Tyler, Head and America’s Pastime,
 
THis is Mike Apathy signing off.
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