It’s time. Yes, it’s time for the UCB (United Cardinal Bloggers) members to pat each other on the back and remind each other just how awesome we think we are. Okay, I’m exaggerating…slightly. It is actually time for the UCB members to vote on the various annual awards which honor various people and blogs for outstanding…er, whatever it is they do. However, a twist has been added this year, and you the 4 loyal readers of this humble blog also have the opportunity to vote for the same awards we do. Since a picture tells a thousand words, and it takes me practically days to type a thousand words, I’ve decided to simply show you my completed ballot instead of providing you with instructions. The fact that I have to make my ballot public in order for it to count has almost nothing to do with this seemingly magnanimous gesture. After you finish looking over my ballot, please click HERE to go to the official balloting page and fill out a ballot.
Award 1: Cardinal Player of the Year
Yadier Molina. I’m sure that Lance Berkman, Albert Pujols, and Matt Holliday all had fine years, but none of them were “Ya-di” in stature. When a catcher known for his defense leads the team in batting average, you know he is something special. Hitting .305 while batting mostly in the 5th and 6th spots in the lineup is really special. Gold Glove? Got it. Clutch? For sure. Molina hit .342 in August and .341 in September/October, and then he hit just under .300 for the entire playoff run. Please step aside and make way for the man with the cannon where his right arm should be. Yadios.
Award 2: Cardinal Pitcher of the Year
Chris Carpenter. He didn’t have a Cy Young kind of year, and he wasn’t particular dominant for most of the season, either. However, he was an absolute workhorse for a team that relied heavily on innings from a beleaguered bullpen, and he went straight into “Bionic Carp” mode when the team needed it the most.
Award 3: Regular Season Game of the Year
September 28 at Houston (Carpenter shutout on last day). On quite possibly the best day of baseball I have ever seen, Carpenter went and shut down the Astros to guarantee the Cardinals at least a play-in game. In the regular season, it just doesn’t get any better than that.
Award 4: Post-Season Game of the Year
WS Game 6 (two rallies with one strike left). I fully realize that this game will be remembered for David Freese‘s walkoff blast to center. That’s all well and good, but I was captivated by two different sequences during the game. After Allen Craig homered in the bottom of the 8th inning, David Freese grounded out for the 2nd out of the inning. Molina, Daniel Descalso, and Jon Jay went back-to-back-to-back with singles to load the bases. The Cardinals were not able to push a run across, but loading the bases helped turn over the lineup, and it guaranteed that the heavy hitters would have another opportunity to bat. The second sequence that stuck with me is from the 10th inning, and it again involved Descalso and Jay. Facing a crafty left-hander in Darren Oliver, both Descalso and Jay managed to get on bases ahead of the pitcher’s spot. The pair then went on to score and tie the game later in the inning. Big time players make big time plays in big time games.
Award 5: Surprise Player of the Year
Allen Craig gets the nod with Berkman a close second. I expected a fair amount from Berkman, although he definitely surpassed my expectations. However, he didn’t surprise me as much as Craig did, though. In just 200 at-bats, Craig batted .315 with a .362 OBP, .555 slugging percentage, and a .917 OPS. He also had 11 home runs and 40 rbi. That translates to something like 33 home runs and 120 rbi for a full season with 600+ at-bats. Wow.
Award 6: Disappointing Player of the Year
Colby Rasmus. For all his talent and potential, it is incredibly hard to imagine Raz hitting just .246 with 11 home runs and 40 rbi in 338 at-bats with the Cardinals. If the home run and rbi totals sound familiar, see also “Award 5″. There are not a lot of so-called “5 tool players” in baseball, and it’s a shame to see one digressing year over year.
Award 7: Cardinal Rookie of the Year
Allen Craig. Craig posted a 2.9 WAR seasonwith just 219 plate appearances. For reference, the only Cardinals with a higher WAR total for the entire season were Pujols, Berkman, Holliday, and Molina.
Award 8: Pre-Season Acquisition of the Year
Lance Berkman. If only the Cardinals could add a Berkman to the team every season for $8M.
Award 9: Mid-Season Acquisition of the Year
Edwin Jackson. Jackson went 5-2 with a 3.58 era after being acquired by the Cardinals. He also helped out a little at the plate by hitting .308 during his time in St. Louis as well.
Award 10: Most Anticipated Cardinal
Award 11: Best Individual Blog
On The Outside Corner. If there is a more reasonable fan/blogger with encyclopedia-like knowledge of the Cardinals history, then I don’t know who it is.
Award 12: Best Team Cardinal Blog
I-70 Baseball. If you want a talented team with depth and comprehensive coverage, then I-70 Baseball is the site for you. Of course, I could say the same thing for about a half dozen other blogs, but I-70 gets the nod for its content variety. We shared this particular award with I-70 Baseball last year, and I’m honored to call the folks there friends of mine. #Winning
Award 13: Best Professional Cardinal Blog
Bird Land. Professionally done with a great feel for what readers don’t get from all the mainstream media pages. Just a half-step above the rest, and that’s a small step. We’re fortunate to have so many legitimate pros bringing insight to Cardinal Nation.
Award 14: Best Rookie Cardinal Blog
Aaron Miles‘ Fastball. Good name. Better people. Spot-on coverage of real-time events practically before they even happen (yeah, they are fast).
Award 15: Post of the Year
Fungoes – Why The Cardinals Will Still Beat The Brewers. Convincing and well-conceived, this little gem is absolutely dense with useful information without a heavy stat overload. Well played.
Award 16: Best UCB Project
Roundtables. Great opportunity to interact with the ever-growing and changing UCB community. Intelligent discourse with thread rejoinders? Yes, please.
Award 17: Most Optimistic Cardinal Blog
Diamond Diaries. The glass is always half-full with the ladies of Diamond Diaries, and the optimism is so infectious that even I almost grinned once. Seriously, you just can’t stay down when you read this blog.
Award 18: Best UCB Podcast
Conversations With C70. If you only picked one podcast by Daniel (C70 himself), then you would pick a good one, because there isn’t a single bunt in the bunch.
Award 19: Best UCB Twitterer
@poisonwilliam (aka Bill Ivie). He’s real, he’s geniune, and he’s not afraid to run through a Taco Bell while wearing a loincloth screaming “I got your Black Ops right here, Brian Wilson!” Okay, I might have made up that last part. Regardless, he has a variety of interests, and we’ll enjoy watching him next year on “The Sing-Off”. The honorable mention here goes to @throatwarbler, because Bob is the equivalent of a real life “sanity check” for Cardinal fans. If his blog didn’t already have a name, I would suggest “The Ledge”, because he’s always reminding people to back away from it.
Award 20: Best Fake Cardinal Twitter Account
None. There was some clever stuff coming out of the various alter ego Twitter accounts, but I really like being able to put a face with an avatar.
Now that you have made it this far, maybe you are willing to go an extra mile and click here to vote. Since the rules prohibit me from voting for myself, the PH8 blog, or anybody on the PH staff, I’m going to have to ask some of you to vote for us as well as the blog. It’s not that I’m biased, though. I just think Josh deserves credit for best original screenplay, and Nick should get something for best original motion picture score….oh, nevermind. Just do us all a favor and rock the vote a bit.