It’s time for the annual Cardinal Blogger Awards. While we’ve been overwhelmed with holiday duties this season, we just had to make time to vote. But, as I said, time is money, baby! So without further delay, here’s the Cards ‘N Stuff ballot for 2012:
1. Player of the Year: Yadier Molina
What Yadi was able to do behind the plate, at the plate, and around the clubhouse this season was not only stupendous but double-amazing considering it was the first year of after his big extension. Guy was an NL MVP candidate on a team adjusting to the loss of Albert Pujols (and one that should have made the World Series). Yadi for President!
2. Pitcher of the Year: Mitchell Boggs
You know why the Cardinals’ 7th inning bullpen struggles were so significant? Because the 8th inning wasn’t a problem at all. Maybe I’m giving Boggs a bit of comeback player consideration here as well, but no matter how you get there, Boggs has to be the pitcher of the year for a team that struggled to hold leads for much of the season.
3. Game of the Year: NLDS Game 5
Yeah, you can nominate several games here, but when it comes down to it, what the Redbird Miracle Men did against Washington was just jaw-dropping…especially with the 2011 Championship run as background noise.
4. Performance of the Year: Chris Carpenter’s 5 innings against Chicago
Come on. This is a no-brainer. I don’t remember being more excited about any Cardinal game this season than I was about this start for The Ace. The dude had a rib removed in what should have been season-ending surgery and then answered the bell months later for a team that sorely needed a leader and a starting pitcher.
5. Surprise Player of the Year: Pete Kozma
The Koz was left for dead in AAA. In Mo’s own words, he was a heartbeat away from being released or re-assigned nearly half a dozen times. And then he ends up finishing the season as the starting shortstop for a team that should have been NL champions. Unreal. I just didn’t think Kozma had anything in him worth seeing at this level.
6. Disappointing Player of the Year: Marc Rzepcynski
This guy seemed to be that consistent, dominant lefty the bullpen has been searching for since Steve Kline…and then he wasn’t. I just couldn’t be more disappointed – maybe not surprised, exactly – with his difficulty finding the zone with anything mildly deceptive this season.
7. Rookie of the Year: Matt Carpenter
Little Carp wasn’t officially on the ballot this year – and I’m not sure how that happened – but he’s my write-in. What he was able to do for this team off the bench and in the field after Berkman, Craig, etc. all went down was invaluable…and he shouldn’t have been able to do it at all. Carpenter should have had a true rookie season, but instead, he put together a veteran year that showed poise and production in both a starting and a bench role.
8. Acquisition of the Year: Edward Mujica
There is always a lot of pressure on the Cards’ GM to make a blockbuster trade, but Mo has shown a surprising resistance to trends and expectations when necessary. As proof, he bet the season on a an unknown transaction to fortify the 7th inning out of the bullpen. Not exactly the kind of move you expect a championship team to “rest its case” on. But Mujica was exactly what the Cardinals ordered. His ability to lockdown the 7th inning for Mike Matheny was likely the season-saving production we needed from the ‘pen.
9. Most Anticipated Cardinal: Oscar Taveras
I don’t know if any Cardinal could lay claim to this title the way Taveras did in 2012. After 2011, he was a genuinely intriguing prospect who had flashed potential and pipe dreams. Now, however, he’s being called the player with the most raw offensive potential to come out of the Cards’ system since Albert Pujols. How do you beat that?
10. Best Individual Cardinal Blog: On the Outside Corner
I vote this site just because I have a special place in my heart for Bob Netherton and all that he brings to the UCB and Cardinal Nation (and because it’s considered bad form to vote for myself ;). Bob’s knowledge and willingness to share is enriching and forever undervalued.
11. Best Team Cardinal Blog: Pitchers Hit Eighth
Once again, I shouldn’t vote for myself (hey, my wife and I make a team!), so I guess I’ll vote for second best. What Nick and his cohorts throw together is efficient, witty, and worth a read…perhaps the best praise for any blog.
12. Best Media Blog: Bird Land
This is becoming tradition, but Derrick really hasn’t had a serious contender since Matthew Leach left for the abyss (otherwise known as New York).
13. Best Rookie Blog: ???
You got me. I barely have time to read other people’s stuff NOW! How am I supposed to squeeze in new blogs too?! Ah, well. Maybe next year.
14. Post of the Year: Darryl Kile’s Final Inning
This award is really unfair. Write something about Jack Buck or Darryl Kile, and you instantly make yourself the favorite, regardless of writing ability or content. But throw in the fact that Christine has the ability and the content to go with it, and you get a winner.
15. Best UCB Project: Predictions Project
Call me old school, but I personally love the annual predictions the UCB’ers engage in each Spring. Arguing and prognosticating over unplayed baseball is perhaps baseball blogging at its best. In this, the UCB is no different, but they are perhaps better than most.
16. Most Optimistic Cardinal Blog: Cards ‘N Stuff
Come on! I gotta’ vote for myself at least once, here. And you have to at least give me points for my apparently annual post mapping out the Cardinals’ strategy for overcoming a double-digit deficit to win the NL Central in late August. I always believe in my boys, even if it doesn’t sound like it, but one thing my blog does is assume the Cards have a chance…always have a chance. They may need to make some changes, as I clearly point out from time to time, but if they would just listen to me…by golly…they could win it all!
17. Best UCB Podcast: UCB Radio Hour
This is kinda’ voting for myself since they let me participate once a month. The combination of hosts, the regularity and dependability, and the flat out quality of product put out by the UCB each and every week wins this award hands down.
18. Best UCB Twitterer: @CardinalTales
Once again, I have a soft spot for Bob’s yarn-spinning ways. This is technological advances as they should always have been – a way to bring old school wit, wisdom, and knowledge more efficiently and more effectively to a wider, and more interested, audience than ever before. That’s Mr. Netherton on Twitter.
That’ll do it. Be sure to check out the results and the insignificant votes of others at the UCB site (www.unitedcardinalbloggers.com). Until then…