Monday, April 12, 2010

New weekly awards

I introduce to you some weekly awards that I hope to continue to dole out as the season continues. First up is the Goat of the Week, to the player who most reflected the Cubs' generally miserable and accursed existence. There were many to choose from this week, but I'm going to go with Alfonso Soriano. Three hits in 21 at-bats, no walks, six strikeouts. He also made a pathetic effort on a foul ball in Sunday's game, and then dropped a ball that was right in his glove, leading eventually to two runs and a 3-1 loss. And while this Sori excuse for a left fielder was several feet from the wall when he dropped that fly ball, he had this to say: "At the last moment, I take my eyes off the ball and just think about the wall. ... I've got to have a little stop, because I don't want to go into the wall. If you go full speed into the wall, it can be dangerous." (From the Tribune) Oh. My. God. He's making $19 million and he's openly admitting that he's afraid to run into the wall. Go play cricket, Alfonso.

While Tyler Colvin hasn't proven much yet (other than the home run in his first at-bat, he's yet to get another hit), if he has success at the plate, Lou has to consider playing Colvin in left. I was hoping Soriano's poor defense last season was a result of his knee. But now it's clear that he's just a big pansy.

Dishonorable mentions: Geovany Soto, Ryan Theriot, Esmailin Caridad, John Grabow

On the positive side we have the Ryno of the Week*, which goes to the player who best exemplified the success and awesomeness of Ryne Sandberg. The Week 1 award goes to Carlos Silva (polite applause as Silva accepts the award ... Wait, no, don't eat the award, Carlos! Oh, dammit, he ate it.). Silva allowed a run just two batters into the game on Friday, but finished with six innings and just one run allowed. He also displayed one of his very un-Cub-like characteristics in his outing: efficiency. Silva pitches to contact, and did so exceptionally in his first start, needing only 71 pitches in those six innings. He was taken out of the game by Lou Piniella at that point, which absolutely enraged me. Seventy-one pitches? And then Lou went to his already overused bullpen?

But wait. According to Piniella, Silva had some shoulder stiffness which precipitated his removal. Silva says that wasn't the case, and that any discomfort he did have was a result of a play back in the 4th inning. Well, who knows, but I'm glad there was some reason Lou took him out. The way he was pitching, he may have been able to get a complete game victory in his first start with the Cubs. Who would have thought that possible one month ago when the Mariners' castaway allowed six runs in two innings in his first spring start? Who would have thought that an overweight man with an ERA over six the last two seasons, a man whom a wise friend of mine bet would not even make the Cubs' Opening Day roster, a man who once let a kitten die in his arms just to see what it would sound like (I admit that the last one is unsubstantiated) would be Week 1's Ryno of the Week (and he gets it partly because of the unexpected-ness of his success)? Keep it up, Carlos.

Honorable mentions: Carlos Marmol, Randy Wells, Kosuke Fukudome, Derrek Lee, Tom Gorzelanny

*There are three reasons I've named it thusly, all of them rather weak:

1) Ryno sounds like "rhino," which provides some animal symmetry to "goat." Goat of the Week, Rhino of the Week. Get it?
2) Ryne Sandberg was my childhood hero growing up, and of course his nickname was Ryno.
3) Sandberg is the manager for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, and there's at least a decent chance he will become the next Cubs manager. This makes him relevant today, not just back in the 80s and 90s when I followed him as a player.

1 comment:

  1. When it comes to betting or sports prognosticating, I'm not so sure your friend is "wise."