MLB 2014 ‘Best of the Worst’
What an incredible postseason for Major League Baseball! The Los Angeles Dodgers proved that all the player payroll in the world can’t overcome Don Mattingly’s managerial malpractice. The Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals fell apart in a fitting tribute to their neighbors who run the country.
The Kansas City Royals shocked everyone by making it to the World Series and won’t be back anytime soon. The San Francisco Giants won the World Series with yet another mediocre team that was only in the playoffs because of the recent change to having two Wild Card teams and lucked out getting to face a team managed by Ned Yost.
As we look back on the season to award players for their outstanding efforts, I’d say that overall it was a nice year for baseball. Not spectacular – but nice. I can’t think of much from this season that any one of us will tell our grandchildren about. Of course, I am currently surrounded by a cacophony of construction noises that have descended upon my neighborhood for this one day.
I’ve had a pretty darn good year in 2014, but I know that’s not the case for everyone out there. One of the easiest ways to feel good about what’s happening in your life is seeing others do terribly – especially your enemies – but also just anyone. Maybe that makes me a bad person. Maybe it doesn’t. But probably it does.
So, let’s take a moment and revel in the awfulness of the past year together. I’ve updated this year’s worst awards a little so they mirror the major awards and add perspective that will most assuredly have you LOL’ing. Without further ado, the absolute best of the worst:
Least Valuable Player (LVP) Award: Ryan Howard
Oh, man do I ever want to give this award to Derek Jeter – who wrapped up his Hall of Fame career with one of the all-time great stink-burgers. However, he did keep Yankees fans distracted from the rest of their terrible team that is full of future LVP candidates. While one could argue that statistically there were a few worse players than Ryan Howard, he makes more than all of them combined.
Sigh Young Award: Tim Lincecum
Get it? Sigh Young? Okay, it needs work, but it’s the best I can do with a jackhammer going outside my window. Tim Lincecum was a Cy Young Award winner just a couple years ago, but his skills have fallen off the table like a Barry Zito curveball – see what I did there? Because Zito also became a terrible pitcher. Honorable mention to Kevin Correia and his 5.44 ERA this year that Ned Colletti acquired mid-season to “help” the Dodgers and “helped” Colletti lose his job.
Stone Glove Award: Matt Kemp
I was going to do “Mold Glove” but you probably still hate me from the Sigh Young thing and we need to heal. Matt Kemp getting this award will be no surprise to people who read my column regularly or who have used their eyes to watch him play. He’s such a truly gifted athlete and an offensive terror, but he gives back so much of that production on defense. He’s still one of my favorite players and I hope he gets traded someplace where he can be a designated hitter.
Aluminum Slugger Award: Derek Jeter
Maybe he wasn’t the absolute worst batter this year, and maybe I’m just being petty as a Red Sox fan, but Jeter was a negative at the plate this year. To give you an idea of how bad his batting was this season, it was worse than his defense. Special mention to Matt Dominguez who was actually the worst but who hasn’t spent the better part of two decades tormenting my favorite team.
Mis-Manager of the Year Award: Walt Weiss
So many options to choose from these days. It’s truly a Golden Age of awful managers. Ron Washington is always a contender for this award, but he “resigned” – pulling the classic “you can’t fire me because I quit” – a decision I’m sure he made after discussing his family and friends*. (* cocaine) Then there’s Yost who got a stay of execution by fluking into the World Series. So that leaves us with Walt Weiss who was given the Colorado Rockies manager job with no prior experience – except his time as a mediocre utility player. Weiss’ Rockies were among the league leaders in bunt attempts. The fact that he let any of his players bunt while playing in the hitter-friendly Coors Field is enough to win the Jim Tracy Award of Awfulness.
Excrement-utive of the Year Award: Ruben Amaro, Jr.
This award is usually Ned Colletti’s to lose, but since he’s been replaced by uber-genius Andrew Friedman, we’ll give it to Ruben Amaro, Jr., who won this award last year as well. In addition to fielding one of the oldest teams in the league, the Phillies also have the third-highest payroll with very little hope for success in the near future. Ruben got the offseason started with a bang by signing Grady Sizemore to a $2 million major league contract – outbidding UPS and Applebee’s for his services.
The Mr. Magoo Award for Umpiring: Unsure
If you Google “Bad Umpire Calls 2013” there are “About 1,120,000 results.” That’s down from last year by about 400,000. I hate to not be a hater, but umpiring was actually better this year. Sure, there was still plenty of garbage calls and that home plate collision rule needs some work, but the additional use of instant replay removed most controversial calls. Congratulations on not being as terrible?
The Che Guevara Award for Facial Hair: Elvis Andrus
I used to split this up between beards and mustaches, but players seem to be catching on that looking like a child molester is not cool. So, mustaches are on hiatus while the beard rules supreme. Brian Wilson’s beard is boring now. We get it. You’re a disgusting slob. However, Elvis Andrus has some nonsense going on with his facial that appears to be some sort of homage to Abraham Lincoln, but with a dash of serial killer. Maybe Elvis doesn’t have a mirror. He needs to be forced to see what we all have seen.
Mike Tyson Award for Dumbest Tattoo: Jonny Gomes
I realize that calling a tattoo “dumb” is redundant, but we’re talking about the dumbest. And yikes, Jonny Gomes. [Note to editor: Jon, just put a picture of this thing up for people to see. I couldn’t possibly write anything funnier.] [Note to Jed: No problem. I’ll just do a quick Google Search for it and … Oh, my god. Wow!] [Note to editor: I know. Might be time for the league to do a random drug test on him.]
The Mo Vaughn Award for Injury Excellence: Don Baylor
The Los Angeles Angels got themselves back on track this season and were one of the best-hitting teams in the league. But to get everything started, hitting coach Don Baylor suffered nasty leg injury catching a ceremonial first pitch thrown by Vladimir Guerrero. Normally I give this award to a player, but the worst injury wants what the worst injury wants.
The Frank McCourt Worst Owner Award: Jeffrey Loria
The McCourt once again goes to the Marlins’ Jeffrey Loria. Life can be a confusing and upsetting journey for most but somehow this jackhole has two World Series rings. Marlins fans can’t complain too much because they get to share in the joy of those past victories though I’m not sure they love sharing in the joy of paying for Loria’s baseball stadium with additional taxes. Shout out to the Rockies owners, the Monfort Brothers, who have publicly disparaged their own fans for being fans of the Rockies.
Joe Buck Award for Being an Awful Announcer (JBABAA): Joe Buck
It’s hard to imagine the JBABAA will ever go to anyone else as long as Joe Buck keeps showing up on my TV. However, the TBS baseball broadcast is making huge strides in this area – quickly closing the gap on the unwatchability scale with their odd choice of not-so-bright former athletes and their constant stream of incorrect statistics.
If you feel like I left something out of this year’s best of the worst, let me know. Don’t keep it bottled up inside you. It’s okay to let it out. You’ll feel better. I know I do.