Baseball Awards & DFTU

Hello again everybody...

Happy Wednesday to you all. Things are hopping here at the Sports Take offices. It was announced yesterday that WCCO has a new grand pooh-bah (search "Mick Anselmo" at and you'll see the story), so the speculation as to what other changes are going to be made is running rampant.

Fortunately for yours truly, that's all going on waaaaaaaaay up there. And I'm waaaaaaaaay down here. So the impact on me won't be significant. At least not right away. But if you're like me and you're less than enamored with the folks running the place, it's entertaining to speculate about how long they'll keep their jobs.

Evil? Perhaps. But that's just the space I'm in right now, so cut me some slack.

I know I said a couple of weeks ago that I'd issued my final word on the 2008 season. I lied. But it was an unintentional lie I assure you. This week the 2008 MLB awards have started to be announced. So I'll run down what we know so far and how they mesh with the picks I made after the end of the regular season. Then it's time for this week's DFTU. So let's get to it!

"A bore is a man who, when you ask him how he is, he tells you."
- Bert Leston Taylor (1866-1921), American columnist, humorist, poet, and author.

Think about it. How many times have you said, "how are you doing" only to be horrified when 15 minutes later you're still listening to the answer? Oof...

«Read More...»

So we've got some MLB Awards that have been announced. And you're going to be shocked, but I've only gotten about half of them right. Here's the breakdown:

NL Rookie of the Year: Geovany Soto, C, Chicago Cubs
Dan's Pick: Soto

This one wasn't even close. Soto received 31 of a possible 32 first-place votes. Someone named Joey Votto (Reds) got second place. I have no idea who this person is, and I followed the game pretty closely this year. Weird. Votto got less than half of the points that Soto received, which shows what kind of run-away this actually was.

AL Rookie of the Year: Evan Longoria, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Dan's Pick: Alexi Ramirez, 2B, Chicago White Sox

This one also wasn't close, which was mildly surprising to me. The fact that Longoria won it doesn't surprise me a bit. But the fact that he swept all 28 first-place votes was. Apparently the 5 weeks that Longoria missed didn't affect his status in the minds of the voters. That's odd to me considering that White Sox OF Carlos Quentin was all set to be the AL MVP until he got hurt near the end of the season. He was out longer than 5 weeks, but nobody really stepped up and grabbed hold of the award in his absence, so shouldn't he still get strong consideration?

NL Cy Young Award: Tim Lincecum, San Francicso Giants
Dan's Pick: Brandon Webb, Arizona Diamondbacks

Again, not a surprise that Lincecum won, but the margin of victory was significant with this award as well. Tim got 24 of the 32 first place votes and had just shy of a 2-1 point margin over runner-up Brandon Webb. For you Brewer fans, CC Sabathia did get a first-place vote. Unfortunately he also got exactly one second-place vote and one third-place vote. Not the result I know you were hoping for. He finished fourth behind Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge.

AL Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays
Dan's Pick: Maddon

This was also a no-brainer. Maddon got 27 of the 28 first-place votes, with Minnesota skipper Ron Gardenhire receiving the 1 straggler. I really hope this wasn't another case of a local Minnesota media member being a homer. As much as I think Gardy's been jobbed out of the award in the past, I don't see how there could be any doubt that Maddon was the clear winner this year. As for Gardy? Another second place finish. Oh well. If the rumors are true, he'll be getting comfy little contract extension soon.

NL Manager of the Year: Lou Pinella, Chicago Cubs
Dan's Pick: Pinella

Finally a vote that wasn't a runaway. Pinella finished first with 103 points. Philadelphia's Charlie Manuel finished second with 67 with Florida's Fredi Gonzalez (47) and L.A.'s Joe Torre (45) nipping at his heels. Even with their colossal choke-job in the playoffs, Pinella's team had a strong regular season, finishing with the best record in the NL. And in the absence of a "Maddon-like" story, that'll usually win you the MotY award.

So far I'm 3-2. Typical. The AL Cy Young and the 2 league MVP's are yet to be announced. I'll run those down probably next week.

Finally today, it's time for everybody's favorite segment, Dan's Favorite Teams Update!

Wisconsin Badgers: The Badgers are now 5-5 (2-5 in the Big Ten).

It's hard to feel bad about your club after they bludgeon a team 55-20. But my feelings of elation are tempered by the fact that Indiana was down to their 4th-string quarterback late in the game. The Hoosiers are truly terrible this year and the thing that worries me is that the Badgers still gave up 20 points!

But when you're 5-5 on the year, you'll take a win any way you can get it. Now the Badgers need one more win to be bowl-eligible and two to earn themselves a decent bowl bid.

Next up? The Golden Gophers and the battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe! If you'd asked me 3 months ago, I'd have said that this was a lock-win for Wisconsin. If you'd asked me 3 weeks ago, I'd have said it was a lock-win for the Gophers. Now? I have no earthly idea. The oddsmakers make Wisconsin a 14-point favorite.

14 points?! Are they serious?! Then again, if I think about taking Minnesota +14, I'm not so sure I want to go there either. So I'm totally confused about what to do with this game, other than to root my tail off for the Badgers!

After the Gopher game, the Badgers have one game left against Cal Poly. So even if the Gophers manage to grab the Axe for only the 5th time in the last 15 years, Bucky's still got a solid chance to make a bowl game. (You like how I got that reminder about Minnesota's futility in there? Thanks Lon, your advice has worked well.)

Ugh. That's what it's come down to? Please, just let us make a bowl? Not good. Not good at all.

Minnesota Wild: The Wild are 8-4-1 with 17 points which puts them 3rd in the Northwest division.

The Wild's drop from first to third has as much to do with having the last 4 days off as it does with their level of play. Other teams have just had more games.

That being said, the Wild have to be glad to be back in the friendly confines of the Xcel Energy Center for 7 of their next 8 games. And it's a stretch of beatable teams as well: Phoenix, Columbus, St. Louis, Washington and Tampa Bay are all visiting the X over that stretch. Included in there are a couple of Saturday games, which I really ought to get up off my tail and go see.

The Wild are still battling the injury bug though. Marian Gaborik's still having troubles with his oft-injured groin (insert punch-line here). Owen Nolan is still on the injured list as well. And now Brent Burns has joined them for an indeterminate amount of time.

As mentioned, the next 3 games are home against Phoenix, home against Columbus followed by a 1-game road trip to Pittsburgh.

That's all for today folks. I'm back tomorrow with all the college football goodness you can handle. Until then, thanks for reading!

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