Part 3 of The Octopus Hamstring’s 2011 MLB Season Wrap-Up: AL & NL Cy Young and Manager of the Year Selections or George Bush Doesn’t Care About Black People
Welcome to the 1st annual Octopus Hamstring MLB Season Wrap-Up Part 3!
Before I jump right into the Cy Young and Manager of the Year awards, I feel compelled to ruminate on the developing Terry Francona/Red Sox situation. If you haven’t heard, the two sides are having a meeting today and it looks like Francona’s packing his bags.Whatever happens, and as much as I hate to admit it, I’ve always respected the guy. He took a Red Sox team that was the Yankees’ bitch and sat in the driver’s seat for one of the most impressive comebacks in sports history. In 2004, his first year in Boston, he manages the team to their first World Series Championship since 1918. All bitter feelings aside, he always seemed like a class-act to me. He was a winner and he got the best out of his players. Here’s to Tito and the hopes that he’ll be filling out a lineup card for a team that could really use him next year. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the man is good for the game of baseball and I wish him the best.
On the other hand, none of that sappy drooling changes how I feel about the Red Sox and their fans. I talk a lot of shit on the Sox. Just like every self-respecting Catalonian wants to see FC Barcelona kick Real Madrid’s teeth in*, as an Angels fan I feel similarly about Boston.
*That link is totally worth checking out, even if you’re not a huge Int’l Soccer fan. To reference Phil Ball’s book Morbo: The Story of Spanish Football, El Clásico is pretty much a reenactment of the Spanish Civil War.
The Sox have been the bane of my existence since Dave Hernderson’s homerun off Donnie Moore (R.I.P.) in game-5 of the 1986 ALCS in Anaheim. I was 7. I remember watching the game on TV with my mom. I remember it as the first time experiencing the bitter disappointment that can blind-side you when the stakes are high. Hendo’s momentum-turning homerun, the biggest hit of his career, was his defining baseball moment. It was the same moment when I realized that the feelings of hope and optimism I felt before were just as fleeting as the ball that soared over the wall in left-center field. That cursed ball is the dark cloud that would linger over Angel Stadium for most of the next 15 years, up until 2002.
More recently I’ve watched the Red Sox crush Anaheim’s playoff runs so often, I’ve had no choice but to laugh. Its been like someone’s idea of a shitty practical joke. The Sox had our number (still might) and everyone seemed to know it except for us. In 2004, when we came from behind to storm by Oakland in the last week of the season and win the division, we drew the Red Sox in the first round. 3 game sweep. Same exact thing happened again in 2007. 2008 saw us actually win a game against them in the ALDS, but it’s not like it mattered. That’s 0-4 playoff record from 1986-2008.
We actually got the monkey off our backs and beat the Sox in the 2009 ALDS, which wasn’t nearly as satisfying as I was hoping it would be. We ended up losing to New York in the next round, so they could go on and win the World Series. Back to the head-to-head wins/loss record if I may. The regular season record between Boston and LAA from ’86-’08 is misleading…it’s actually closer than you might think .We posted a .463 against Boston in that time span, going 112-130…it’s HOW they beat us, etc…
All of this took place during our 2002 World Series Honeymoon, the 5 good years when Vladamir Guerrero was God, when K-Rod was the most exciting closer in baseball and Mike Scoscia was the undisputed top manager in the league. And you know what? It was opportunity wasted. Worthless, all of it. The Boston Red Sox from 2004-2009 were the mid-90’s Chicago Bulls to the Angels’ mid-90’s everyone else.
Jordan left basketball for 2 years in 1994 & 1995 so he could…
- …lay low for a while after his father’s murder and get his massive gambling addiction under control, while giving David Stern and his goons plenty of time to “fix” his beef with the Chicago Mob?
- …spend all day and night 24-7-365 daydreaming about rocking a Hitler ‘stache in a series of obnoxious commercials?
- …live out and fail at his boyhood dream of playing professional baseball?
Only Stern and Jordan know. Anyway, my point is that there was a 2-year gap where Jordan wasn’t in the mix. Hakeem Olajuwon’s Houston Rockets went in and got hired on as scab-champions both of those seasons.
Michael Jordan was an insufferable prick. How many teams should have laid claim to at least one NBA Championship during the 90’s?
1st 3-Peat: Teams the Bulls Defeated in the Eastern Conference Finals –
- 1991 – Detroit Pistons – “Bad Boy” Pistons team that was fresh off back-to-back NBA Titles.
- 1992 – Cleveland Cavaliers – You guys remember this one? I know this is from a series 3 years earlier, but I couldn’t resist. Forgive me. Forget about that nonsense for a sec though; everybody sleeps ont this ’92 Cav’s team, but they were really pretty good! On 12/17/92 they beat the Miami Heat 148-80 for chrissakes, setting a still-standing NBA record for largest margin (68) of victory.
- 1993 – New York Knicks – Tough team here, John Starks, Charles Smith, Doc Rivers, etc…
1st 3-Peat: Teams the Bulls Defeated in the NBA Finals –
- 1991 – Los Angeles Lakers – Lakers first Title run without Kareem, and the last great season of Magic Johnson (All-Star Game and All-NBA 1st Team selections) before the HIV controversy. Also, this happened.
- 1992 – Portland Trail Blazers – Leading up to these Finals the media was trying to create a Magic/Bird-type rivalry between Jordan and Clyde Drexler. Ummmm…No.
- 1993 – Phoenix Suns– This series is famous for John Paxon’s game-6 buzzer-beater and for MJ taking the piss out off Charles Barkley for edging him out to win his first and only League MVP.
2nd 3-Peat: Teams the Bulls Defeated in the Eastern Conference Finals-
- 1996 – Orlando Magic – Shaq 27/11/3, this season you were a monster, and you even had really good teammates that year, Nick Armstrong 15/9/4, “Penny” Hardaway 22/7/7, etc… My gut tells me you’re going to get over the hump soon, I’m sure you’ll be fine…
- 1997– Miami Heat– Check out this roster: Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Chris Gatling, Dan Majerle, P.J. Brown, Jamal Mashburn, etc… If that team wasn’t going to beat the Bulls, nobody was.
- 1998 – Indiana Pacers – These two teams wanted to strangle each other. Reggie Miller was at his absolute ICE COLD best. Dude was colder than audiences who saw Charlie Sheen’s “Torpedo of Truth” tour! Hey-OOOOO!!!!!!
2nd 3-Peat: Teams the Bulls Defeated in the NBA Finals –
- 1996 – Seattle Super Sonics – Sorry George Karl. Too bad Game 6 had to land on the Father’s Day the first year following MJ’s Dad’s passing. Here are a few records Chicago set in the ’95-’96 Season: Best Season 41-game Road Record 33-8, All-Time Best Start-to-Season 41-3, Longest Home Winning Streak 44 (7 from previous season), Best Start at Home 37-0 and oh yeah…the All-Time Win Record 72-10.
- 1997 – Utah Jazz – The year of the “Flu Game.” I still feel bad for the ’97-’98 Jazz. They were well-coached by no-nonsense Jerry Sloan,
dirtyresilient and had two legit All-Time Greats in John Stockton and Karl Malone. Utah might have had a chance in this series if it weren’t for the voters selecting Karl Malone as season MVP. –See NBA Finals, Charles Barkley, Phoenix Suns, 1993
- 1998 – Utah Jazz – Byron Russel. Push foul. He shoots. He scores. History.
Pretty shitty luck being a championship-caliber team with the misfortune of peaking during MJ’s 90’s if you ask me. We fucking hate Boston for the same reason.Fuck you Donnie Darko, you’re not real and neither is you’re talking bunny from the future. He’s just an asshole teenager that you’re gonna shoot in the face for running over your girlfriend at the end of the movie. Too bad you can’t be dark and brooding and feel her boobs anymore, because she’s dead. And if an airplane engine wasn’t gonna to fall on your face where you sleep, you’d end up doing life for murder anyway. What. Ever. Kick. Rocks.
Fine, Jake. How’s this then? Most chick-flicks make me want to vomit. I’m not just saying that to sound macho, but I thought Love and Other Drugs was actually pretty watchable. Plus, Anne Hathaway’s tits.
Okay, Jake. Whatever. Check ya’ later…
2011 AL Cy Young:
Justin Verlander, Starting Pitcher
No need to go on and on about Verlander. I already said everything there is to say in Part 1. Actually, there is something else actually. Click this YouTube link right here, and jump straight ahead to 9:35. This one. My friend Brizzy and I have this joke where we’ll talk like Malachai from Children of the Corn. You know, the part where he’s walking down the street with the dude’s girlfriend, screaming, “Outlander! Outlander! We have your woman!” Anytime somebody mentions Justin Verlander, we both automatically start saying that line, but replacing the word outlander with Verlander. We think this absolutely hilarious.
2011 NL Cy Young:
Clayton Kershaw, Starting Pitcher
Los Angeles Dodgers
I forgot to mention above for Outlander..um…Verlander, that he won the pitchers’ triple crown this year (W/K/ERA) in the American League. Very impressive. But unlike Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw led his league in WHIP(0.98) to go along with his own NL-pitchers’ triple crown. Quadruple crown? Eh?
Unlike the League MVP where team stats play into the voting, most baseball writers believe the Cy Young Award is an individual achievement. Basically Matt Kemp might be fucked, but Clayton Kershaw stays golden.
The Baseball Writers association of America started voting for the League MVP in 1931. Since that time, there have been 7 MVP’s handed out to players on teams without winning records.
First and foremost, lets give it up for Andre Muthafackin’ Dawson. He played his as off for the last place ’87 Cubbies…
1952 NL — Hank Sauer, Chicago Cubs, 77-77
1958 NL — Ernie Banks, Cubs, 74-80
1959 NL — Ernie Banks, Cubs, 72-82
1987 NL — Andre Dawson, Cubs, 76-85
1989 AL — Robin Yount, Milwaukee Brewers, 81-81
1991 AL — Cal Ripken, Jr., Baltimore Orioles, 67-95
2003 AL — Alex Rodriguez, Texas Rangers, 71-91
Basically the above info confirms what we’ve known all along. The Cubs fucking suck. So, how many Cy Young winners have come from shitty teams? Lets find out. Beliow is what I came up with from a quick Google search.
1996 AL — Pat Hentgen, Toronto Blue Jays, 88-74
1997 AL — Roger Clemons, Toronto Blue Jays, 76-86
1997 NL — Pedro Martinez, Montreal Expos, 78-84
2006 NL — Brandon Webb, Arizona Diamondbacks
2008 AL — Cliff Lee, Cleveland Indians, 81-81
2008 NL — Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants, 72-90
2009 AL — Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals, 65-97
2010 AL — Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners, 61-101
That’s 8 in the last 20 years alone. With the precedent set, Clayton Kershaw shouldn’t have any trouble walking away with the Cy Young Trophy. And more than likely, he’s the only pitcher that might have to sell it on eBay because his owner is bankrupt and can’t make payroll. Seriously though, he deserves it for putting up one of the most ridiculous seasons an under-24 lefty has pitched in fucking forever. I’m quoting ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark here:
“Since baseball lowered the mound in 1969, here are the only three men who have had a better second-half ERA than the insane 1.31 ERA Kershaw put up after the All-Star break, according to the Elias Sports Bureau: Roger Clemens (0.97 in 1990), Tom Seaver (1.10 in 1971) and Johan Santana (1.21 in 2004). Nice group. Then there’s the complete list of left-handed pitchers in history with 20-plus wins and 240-plus strikeouts before age 24: Kershaw and Vida Blue (1971). And that’s a wrap.”
2011 AL Manager of the Year:
Joe Maddon, Manager
Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays,
Dude learned everything he knows from Mike Scoscia during his Angels’ Bench Coach days. I’m actually a Joe Maddon fan; I like his management style and I like his team. But he can suck it for not giving Chone Figgins any PT when he managed the 2009 AL All-Star Team. He also could’ve invited Scoscia to be one of his assistant coaches that game too…kind of as a tribute to his old mentor…You’ve done a spectacular job this year, and there’s no doubt that you’re officially one of baseballs best, but try not to forget where you came from, eh? Oh yeah, and fuck you for fleecing us out of Sean Rodriguez in the Scott Kazmir trade.
2011 NL Manager of the Year:
They finally made it over .500 and held 1st place in the NL Central for the first time since Barry Bonds (didn’t last long, that’s for sure…but good for them anyway).
Damn. It’s late. Getting pretty tired. Keep your eyes open for the finale of this 4-part series sometime this weekend. Also, Head couldn’t meet his deadline and get me Deconstructing the Head #3 in time to post it here. I guess he’s winning on accident then, because it means he’s gonna get his first solo post out of it. Goldbricking bastard.
For Tyler, Head, Terry Francona and “Verlander! Verlander! We have your woman!”,
This is Mike Apathy singing off.