It has been a lot of fun to be a part of the Cardinal blogging community for the first time in 2011. I’ve met a lot of great people, and it certainly made the post-season run that much more enjoyable. Although this is my first year to participate, this is the fifth go-round for the end of season Cardinal Blogger Awards. Here are my votes:
Award 1 – Cardinal Player of the Year
Chris Carpenter. He put the team on his back during the second half and post-season. His on-field demeanor wouldn’t allow the team to quit, and he exhibited great leadership to the young pitchers that had such a huge impact out of the pen.
Lance Berkman was a close second.
Award 2 – Cardinal Pitcher of the Year
Chris Carpenter. See above
Award 3 – Regular Season Game of the Year
This is a tough one because there were so many crucial games during the stretch run.
I’m going to go with September 7th game against Milwaukee where Carpenter threw a shutout and the infamous dust up with Nyjer Morgan in the 9th inning. This game was crucial because it seemed to fire up the Cardinals and re-energize them after a brutal August. It also rallied the fan base that was very anti-TLR and extremely frustrated with the team.
A close second was September 28th against Houston (final game of the season). Carp continued to assert his dominance. The win kept the Cards from facing a playoff with the Braves, and Carps “easy” 9 innings allowed him to come back on 3 days rest in the NLDS. This was important not for the result of NLDS game 2, but the fact he could be on full rest for Game 5.
Award 4 – Post Season Game of the Year
Game 6 WS. No brainer.
Runner up: Game 5 NLDS
Award 5 – Surprise Player of the Year
Lance Berkman. After 2010 he was old, slow, hurt, washed up….right? Cards fans hoped he could platoon in the outfield and provide some protection for Pujols and Holiday after a bad 2010. Well Big Puma wasn’t quite ready for the washed up label. He put himself through a rigorous off-season training program and came back with a vengeance.
He played in 145 games. Played better outfield defense than most expected. Had 31 HR, 94 RBI’s, .301 BA, .959 OPS. In addition, he was a stand-up leader in the clubhouse that kept the group together through difficult times early in the season.
Runners up: Allen Craig/Jason Motte
Award 6 – Disappointing Player of the Year
It would be easy to single out Ryan Franklin for all the blown saves, but this “award” actually goes to Colby Rasmus. Franklin certainly was disappointing with all the blown saves. But he wasn’t disappointing for lack of desire or want-to. He just couldn’t figure out why his stuff wasn’t working any more and he couldn’t get outs. It was painful to watch.
Rasmus just didn’t care. He admitted after being traded to Toronto that he didn’t put in his work during the off-season. It showed.
Award 7 – Cardinal Rookie of the Year
Allen Craig. In a year where many rookies made key contributions, Craig was the most key in my opinion. When healthy, he gave the Cardinals a potent bat in the lineup that allowed them to sustain the many injuries Holiday faced during the season. In 200 AB’s Craig hit 15 doubles, 11 HR, 40 RBI’s, and OPS of .917. He had many key hits during the World Series run as well. For a rookie, he seemed mighty fearless at the plate.
Runner up: Lance Lynn
Award 8 – Preseason Acquisition of the Year
Award 9 – Midseason Acquisition of the Year
Another tough one. Although Dotel, Jackson, and Rzepcynksi all were HUGE for the Cardinals, I’m giving this one to Rafael Furcal. His offensive numbers weren’t great (that’s not why we got him), but he did get big hits in some big games and was a catalyst on the base paths. The reason for this award is his defense up the middle. This was the Cardinal’s achilles heel all season long up until the point of his acquisition. He solidified the infield D, gave the pitchers more confidence to induce ground balls, and took away a lot of outs.
Award 10 – Most anticipated Cardinal
Shelby Miller. Despite some off-field issues and “interesting” twitter account, I’m actually looking forward to Miller being up in STL. Have been hearing good things recently about his secondary pitches, and I can’t wait to have his power arm in the rotation.
Runner up: Ryan Jackson.
Award 11 – Best Individual Cardinal Blog
C70 at the Bat.
Award 12 – Best Team Cardinal Blog
Award 13 – Best Professional Cardinal Blog
Award 14 – Best Rookie Cardinal Blog (Began December 1, 2010 or later)
This is incredibly tough. Wow there are a lot of good options.
I looked at ease of navigation on the site, variety or creativity of posts, quality of content, and interaction with social media and other bloggers, and if they are actively posting (quality of content carrying the most weight).
Bleed Cardinal Red With Me gets the award from me this year. That site puts out a TON of great content very frequently. You can easily navigate to minor league affiliates, other cardinal blogs, fan forums, stats, and recent posts right from the home page.
As I said, an incredibly tough decision. Here are the others that I really took a long look at and enjoy reading a lot!
If I could get my podcasting partner, Dathan to post more often, he would have been in the running. He has really good stuff when he puts it out there His blog is Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Goodnight.
Award 15 – Post of the Year
For your reading pleasure, here are all the nominees.
Rob Says Really: Letter to MLB Network and ESPN
C70 At the Bat: Happily Ever After
Pitchers Hit 8th: Dumb Trade Ideas
Birds on the Bat 82: Cardboard Gods
Cardinals Diamond Diaries: 9 Years Later
Cards-n-Stuff: NLDS Game 2 Recap
Stan Musials’s Stance: A Pre-Game Speech
i70 Baseball: Backyard Dreams
Aaron Miles Fastball: Friends, Rivals, and a Deciding Game
Aaron Miles Fastball: Tony LaRussa MVP
C70 at the Bat gets my vote with Happily Ever After. It was creative, unique, and the story brought about the emotions of what the season meant to Card’s fans beyond what another recap could do. Well done, Godfather.
Runners Up: 9 Years Later, Backyard Dreams, NLDS Game 2 Recap, Friends, Rivals, and a Deciding Game
Personal note: I am truly honored to have one of my posts nominated in this category. I am really proud of the “Cardboard Gods” post. It meant a lot to me to write it, a lot to my family members who read it, and thank you for the many kind words on this post.
Award 16 – Best UCB Project
Roundtable. I really like hearing everyone’s perspective on key issues on a daily basis
Runner up: Get to know a UCBer
Award 17 – Most Optimistic Cardinal Blog
This one is a write-in to a twitter friend not part of UCB (to my knowledge). Michelle Weirather’s blog and twitter account has to be the most optimistic I ran across this season. At 10.5 back when the rest of us were looking forward to 2012, Michelle never stopped saying the Cardinals were going to win the world Series. Much props to her.
Award 18 – Best UCB Podcast
UCB Radio Hour
Award 19 – Best UCB Twitter
Bob Netherton (@throatwarbler) His twitter tales are a lot of fun to read.
Runner up: Aaron Hooks (@athooks)
Award 20 – Best Fake Cardinal Twitter Account
@TortyCraig. The others were great, but Torty was in a class of his own. His twitter short series were unique, well-timed, and hilarious. He went out on top. We will miss you Torty
Congrats to all the nominees in each category. 2011 was a season to remember.