It wasn't exactly the Heisman Trophy, where the top college football players in the country get all decked out in suits they can barely afford even though they are about to make millions, hang out in a fancy ball room, and hopefully come away with one of the prestigious awards in American sports, but Major League Baseball is trying to make it seem just about that important. With network time to fill now, the post-season awards are now one hour television programs.
The Baseball Writers Association of America named its Rookies of the Year today, but instead of just releasing a statement that would be sent over the wire services, and which you would either hear on the radio as you drive home, or see on the evening news when you get home, it's now a television event. At least the MLB Network, which will drag this process on for most of the week, cut the drama in half, spending the first half hour on the National League, and the remaining portion on the American League. After an earlier announcement of three finalists (done the old fashioned way without a TV show), and interviews with most either in a studio or at a ball park, the top first-year guys were named.
Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs was the unanimous choice for National League Rookie of the year. The third baseman who was ready for the big leagues when the season started, but had to spend ten extra days in the minors for club financial reasons, was not in an MLB studio, and actually didn't hear the official announcement. Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa was interviewed live via satellite from his native Puerto Rico, standing with his parents and his bored little brother and sister.
It wasn't exactly thrilling television, but if you are a sport, and have your own network, it would make sense to use that network for your announcement. That will happen again tomorrow when Managers of the Year are announced (predictions: Terry Collins and A.J. Hinch), Wednesday for the Cy Young Award (Zack Greinke and Dallas Keuchel), and Thursday for the Most Valuable Players (Bryce Harper and Josh Donaldson).
Bryant was unanimous for NL Rookie, but it was much closer for Correa. The former Lancaster JetHawk (just last year at age 19) received 17 first place votes to runner-up Francisco Lindor's 13. Lindor is also a Puerto Rican shortstop, and plays for Cleveland.
Some of the other awards should be interesting while some are not. The MVP choices shouldn't be close, but NL Cy Young and both Managers of the Year should be a different story. Skippers Collins (Mets), Joe Maddon (Cubs), and Mike Matheny (Cardinals) are the three National League finalists, and you could make the case for any of them. The votes were submitted before the playoffs began, but despite that, Collins took his team to where no one thought they would go. Same could be said with Maddon's Cubs, but even though they won more games than the Mets, finished third in their division. Matheny's Cardinals had the best record in baseball, so you could see some votes there too. In the American League, the finalists are all first-year managers, Jeff Bannister (Texas), A.J. Hinch (Houston), and Paul Molitor (Minnesota). Pick your own Cinderella story.
Houston's Dallas Keuchel should be a slam dunk to win the American League Cy Young Award, but maybe a one-hour long drama is befitting the NL top pitcher. LA's Clayon Kershaw is a finalist, but a 16-7 record with 2.13 ERA and 301 strikeouts will not be good enough this year. It will either be Greinke (19-3, 1.66, 200 K) or the Cubs' Jake Arrieta (22-6, 1.77, 236 K). Arrieta with three more wins, Greinke with three fewer losses. Greinke with a 45 2/3 innings scoreless streak. Whether you hear it on the radio on your way home, see it on the evening news when you get home, or watch the hour-long MLB Network extravaganza, it should be good.
Gold Sox alum traded: This note didn't get its own show, but scrolled along the bottom of the screen. Anthony Bass was part of a five-player deal along with outfielder Leonys Martin that went from Texas to Seattle in exchange for reliever Tom Wilhelmson, outfielder James Jones, and a player to be named later. Bass, who pitched in Marysville in 2007, came up with San Diego in 2011, was traded to Houston in 2013, and pitched for the Rangers last year.
Dodgers add broadcaster: Not realizing here that they were looking for one, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced this week that Joe Davis will broadcast 50 games on television next season. If you google Davis and Dodgers, the name Vin Scully pops up several times, but this hire seems to have nothing to do with the great one likely set to retire at the end of 2016. This hire either means the Dodgers don't want Charley Steiner on TV as much, Steiner wants to cut down on his travel schedule, or they don't want Kevin Kennedy doing as many games on radio (Steiner would be on radio when Davis is on television if they are both working). Davis, who is only 27, works for Fox Sports, and mostly does college football and basketball, and while even a sports blog called 'awful announcing dot-com' is singing his praises, it seems like an odd choice. No better baseball people available?
Seconds of silence: With the attacks in Paris on Friday, television events throughout the weekend featured moments of silence for the victims, but how long would you say those moment of silence should be? When NBC aired the national anthem—something they never do—before the Arizona-Seattle football game Sunday night, it was followed by a moment of silence that lasted just 13 seconds. The moment of silence before the Democratic Presidential Debate on CBS Saturday night was just seven seconds.
More Paris: There was no moment of silence, but Saturday Night Live decided to forgo their cold open this week, and instead went with a monologue from cast member Cecily Strong expressing condolences and solidarity from New York. Strong also repeated the message in French—a nice touch...Former KNCO part-timer Emma Potter, who used to answer phones and work special events for us was in Paris this week and used a feature on Facebook where she “reported safe” (We didn't know she was there until we saw that). She later added that she was able to sleep quietly Friday night, but the streets were "eerily empty" when she awoke the next morning.