With the 2015 major league baseball season concluding this weekend, it is time to hand out some awards, including several categories invented for this express purpose. We will highlight surprises, disappointments, fielders, hitters, top rookies, and all of the usual awards except things like Manager of the Year, which I have no real use for. So strap yourselves in and prepare to read many, many words as we wait for playoff games to start next week. Let's start in the field, shall we?
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
The Washington Nationals' train wreck of a season came to a practical end on Saturday night when the Mets officially eliminated them from the playoffs with a 10-2 win in Cincinnati, but that apparently wasn't enough for them; on Sunday, in full view of a paid attendance of 28,661, recently acquired closer Jonathan Papelbon decided to pick a fight with presumptive National League MVP Bryce Harper* after a routine fly ball, grabbing Harper by the throat shortly after he returned to the dugout and slamming him into the wall before several players and coaches jumped in to separate them. The moment perfectly encapsulated what has gone wrong with this season for the Nationals, as both Joe Posnanski and Mark Zuckerman have explained.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
I write mostly about sports here in this space, and one of the primary virtues that we extol in all of our athletes, no matter what level, is toughness, specifically players who come through when they're hurt. Sandy Koufax pitching until his arm practically fell off. Kirk Gibson hitting one of the most famous home runs in World Series history on one leg, limping around the bases while pumping his fist. Ronnie Lott getting a fingertip amputated so he wouldn't miss any time. Willis Reed walking out of the tunnel with a torn thigh muscle and igniting the Garden in Game 7. These are all indelible moments in sports history. But toughness obviously doesn't just apply to sports, it applies to ordinary people who don't see their names in the paper or on the internet. And the toughest person I have ever known was my grandmother, Margaret "Peggy" Keeler.