Before the snow flies and the winds howl and the real hot stove season is upon us, a few notes on the major league baseball season.
If you want to know why Derek Jeter is the captain of the Yankees, watch the highlights from the past year of the World Series champions and you will see.
He is the one on the top step, the front bench seat, the position closest to the action. He is the one there first to offer a high-five, a back slap, and a “way to go.”
For 7½ months, Jeter carried himself that way. Whatever your feelings about the Yankees (please, don’t use those words), he is an honest leader by his actions.
Why did Commissioner Bud Selig have to wait until the World Series was over to acknowledge the postseason schedule was a disaster? It took the complaints of Angels manager Mike Scioscia, player protests and fan grumblings for Selig to recognize what everyone else knew when the schedule was announced in the spring.
There has to be a connection between the regular season and the playoffs if any of this is to have credibility. The season should dovetail into the playoffs without unreasonable delays or World Series games that just barely beat the start of Christmas commercials.
National League manager of the year Jim Tracy rose from the ashes to win the award and take the Rockies to the wild-card spot.
He is an understated, humble man who cannot answer the question of how the Rockies turned an abysmal start under one manager into a year to remember under Tracy.
The beauty is Tracy admits it.
He has a new three-year deal and will try to figure out between the accolades that will befall him this winter just what it was that worked last year.
Scioscia, AL manager of the year, continues to be one of the brightest and most respected in the game. He shares with Tracy an understated ego that allows him to carry a sense of humor that balances a man serious about the game.
The Cy Young award winners this year are creating an interesting discussion. AL winner Zack Greinke equaled the lowest number of wins for the award at 16.
The next day Tim Lincecum won the NL award with only 15 wins. The discussion concerns a batch of new stats for pitchers like WHIP (Walks and Hits Per Inning Pitched), FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) and batting average with runners in scoring position.
The question is whether these numbers now sway writers’ votes more than the old standby of wins — and should they?
This much is true, no WHIP, FIP or BARSP means a tinker if the end result isn’t a W. Take the pitcher who constantly pitches with runners on and ends up winning.
In the AP story regarding Lincecum’s winning, there was reference by name to two voters and how they cast their ballots.
The public availability of how writers voted is solidly based on the need for transparency and the avoidance of conflicts of interest.
However, in this highly competitive day of voluminous baseball dot coms, online baseball sites and newspapers, there is a blurring between true sports journalism (please let there be some left) and entertainment.
Casting a cockeyed vote for the purpose of drawing a citation from another source, thus generating publicity, is unfortunately well within the realm of possibility.
Perhaps the New York Times is right. Its sportswriters write and do not vote for any awards.
Have a wonderful turkey day.