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award.JPGFor those of you who missed it (where the hell were you?), last week, we here at UmpBump nominated 27 deserving men to be the first ever recipients of The Douchies, an award that finally recognizes the douchiness of certain individuals employed by Major League Baseball. Close to 500 of you cast a total of 1746 votes in our four categories and I have to say, some of the results were surprising.

So here they are! Your winners of the 1st Annual Douchie Awards!

The Reggie Jackson Award for Best Display of Attention Grabbing is named after a man who has attained mythical stature as an attention-whore during his playing career. He was the forebearer to the modern, preening baseball player, putting the size of the contract ahead of most anything else. This award will be presented to the person who best personified Mr. Jackson’s penchant to run after the spotlight no matter what cost.

And the winner is…

The team of Scott Boras and Alex Rodriguez! (clap, clap, clap, clap, clap)

This unholy duo had the nerve to “leak” the news that A-Rod would be opting out of his contract with the Yankees during the fourth and deciding game of the 2007 World Series. Rodriguez actually had a longer window – up until 10 days after the conclusion of the World Series – to make a decision. While I personally have to applaud A-Rod for entertaining us with Stripper Gate (and the revelation that he loves the muscular ladies), the public has spoken. You two sirs, are douchebags. Good luck with getting your $350 million contract. Oh, wait. That’s already a failed venture, isn’t it? Excellent.

Runner-Up: Roger Clemens (Suzy Waldman, you will forever be in my heart.)

Our next category is The Curt Schilling Award for Comment Most Likely to Alienate Everyone. Named after a man who time and again said something that made even his friends and family want to smack him across the head, The Schilling Award goes to the individual who, through the spoken word, made as many people as possible feel completely uncomfortable.

And the winner is… with an incredible 52% of the votes…

Mr. Gary Sheffield! Congratulations on being a douchebag. Not only did you offend the Latino population around the world with your assertion that they were easy to “control”, you continued to prove your douchiness by accusing Joe Torre of giving preferential treatment to white players over black players. And you also had the wonderful decency to prove your innocence on the speculation regarding your alleged steroid use with the phrase: “the bottom line is steroids is something you stick in your butt — period.” (Why haven’t I seen t-shirts with this quote yet?). So well done, douchebag.

Runner-Up: Jeff Kent

And now, it’s time to present The Bette Midler “Did You Ever Know That You’re My Hero – But You Took a Cleveland Steamer on Me While I Slept” Award. While Ms. Midler herself is certainly no douchebag (her rendition of Rochelle, Rochelle is enough to dispel any doubt of this), we honor her iconic line with this Award, which is given to someone whose actions turned them from hero to douchebag in a nanosecond. For disappointing us so, we present The Midler to…

Paul Byrd/Matt Williams/Scott Schoeneweis/Jay Gibbons/Guillermo Mota/Rick Ankiel/Troy Glaus/Your Mother/Jose Guillen/Gary Matthews!

This collection of illegal performance-enhancement users (including your mother) are a fine bunch of human beings. They range from the bible-toting do-gooders (Jesus would not do HGH, Paul Byrd) to those whose comebacks may not have been so miraculous (Rick Ankiel, you just wasted a completely crappy Disney movie idea). They even include those who you just can’t believe were cheating, for the simple fact that they were still terrible baseball players (hat tip to Guillermo Mota). So congratulations to all of you. And please know that The Midler Award itself is created out of chemically enhanced testosterone. So please decide amongst yourselves how it will be divvied up and ingested.

Runner-Up: Tony LaRussa

Finally, it’s time to hand out The “See This, NBA? We’re Crazy Too” Award, which honors those men who allow baseball to stay in the public consciousness despite the NBA’s attempt to upstage it with their usual antics. They are our last line of defense against the Ron Artests, Stephon Marburys, and James Dolans. And for this, we salute them and all their multiple personalities. The winner is…

Elijah Dukes! What a stunner! I honestly thought that Ugueth Urbina would walk away with this trophy seeing as he tried to kill guys with a machete and light them on fire for trespassing. But UmpBump readers have spoken. Mr. Dukes, you are the douchebag. Having received many, many chances to prove yourself as a human being, you have continually lowered the bar in terms of what we can expect from you. At this point, the bar is so freaking low, Dustin Pedroia cannot successfully limbo underneath it. You had a ton of talent and wasted it away because you thought it was OK to leave death threats on your ex-wife’s phone. Well done, douchebag.

Runner-Up: Ugueth Urbina

So that’s it for the 2007 Douchies. On behalf of all of us here at UmpBump (including Carl Pavano), we wish you good night!

17 Responses to “And The Winners Are…”

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  2. Coley Ward says:

    Sarah, I think you’re right that Toronto could use a big bat. Rolen might provide an offensive boost, but it’s such a crap shoot, given his injury history.

    I don’t think the Blue Jays need pitching. Last year’s team had good pitching. The team had a 4.00 ERA, second in the American League.

    What Toronto needs is hitting. For more on this see USS Mariner…

    http://ussmariner.com/2008/01/12/08-ms-meet-the-07-blue-jays/

  3. Sarah, the Rays got Cliff Floyd and Troy Percival. Is that enough?

  4. Sarah Green says:

    Blastings, Floyd’s old, but is he really a leadership type? He’s already on the record as saying “I’m not coming in to teach and be the big veteran guy.” But maybe that’s just the line to spout. Percival is known to be a leader in the bullpen, but whether that will translate to the rest of the team is uncertain. Plus, you could maybe make the argument that by removing nettlesome youngsters Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes from the clubhouse, you’ve already solved some of your immaturity problems.

    @ Coley, yeah, they had good pitching last year, they just had pitchers who couldn’t stay healthy. It was extreme of me to call their pitching mediocre—they weren’t mediocre, just unlucky. As for their offensive woes, when I looked at their starting lineup last year, it looked pretty powerful. Yet for some reason, they fell flat. We’ll see what happens when the moves they’ve made this offseason come to fruition, but I don’t know…so far it seems like they’re just swapping six of these for half a dozen of those, you know? Not a bad team. Just not good enough to win the division or the Wild Card. Middle of the pack. Now that *is* mediocre. If they want to break out, they’d have to add one or two special players—either on pitching or on offense, or even better, both—who can put them over the top.

  5. Paul Moro says:

    Well, as a Met, Uncle Cliffy was known as a veteran presence. The media often give him credit for taking David Wright under his wing for the first couple years of his career. Wright used to talk about Floyd as if he were an older brother.

  6. Sarah Green says:

    Hmmmm, then. What DO the Rays need? Or are they about to replace the Jays as the also-rans of the AL East?

  7. Nick Kapur says:

    I think the Rays are pretty loaded, at least offensively. What they really need is starting pitchers, which you mentioned, but which I think they really haven’t been able to address enough.

    I mean, are the Rays really just one Matt Garza away from winning the East? Doubtful.

  8. Paul Moro says:

    The Rays need time. And they need their young guys to stay healthy to gain experience. They don’t have a shot in hell in 2008, but they have a shot in 2010.

    And I’d love to see what a healthy Rocco Baldelli can do – if he ever COULD stay healthy.

  9. Sarah Green says:

    But the Rays have some good starting pitching prospects, though, as well! I think they’re ranked first in Baseball America’s young talent index, or whatever the heck it’s called. I just hope they get something going before Kazmir bolts. That would be sad. Yes, maybe instead of “hoary wisdom” the Rays just need “24 months.”

  10. Nick Kapur says:

    Yeah, I don’t think the Rays missed the playoffs last year because they lacked “hoary wisdom.” They missed the playoffs because they were last in the American League in team ERA. And it wasn’t even close.

    Unless Tony Clark can teach guys how to throw nasty sinkers or something, I’m not sure how much good he would do.

  11. Sarah Green says:

    Nick, as I’ve said about a billion times now, THE RAYS HAVE ALREADY ADDRESSED THEIR PITCHING NEEDS. This post was called “what they still need” not “what they needed last year at this time.”

  12. Nick Kapur says:

    Sarah, in what way have the Rays “already addressed their pitching needs”???

    Saying something a billion times doesn’t make it true, if it’s not true.

    The Rays have added exactly TWO (2) pitchers this offseason – Troy Percival, who is a 39-year-old relief pitcher with degenerative arthritis in his hip, and Matt Garza, who is perhaps a major-league average starting pitcher at best this year.

    If you think that adding just those two pitchers qualifies as “already having addressed” the needs of a pitching staff that posted a Major League Worst 5.53 ERA last season, than I’d hate to see what “need” the Rays still have that is more even pressing than pitching, because it must be something truly insatiable, like a newborn babe must be sacrificed to a malevolent Everglades spirit every fortnight or something.

    But seriously, if you really think the Rays still have a need more pressing than pitching, I’d be really interested to know what it is. I’m sure you don’t think they have filled all their needs and are fully primed to run away with the AL East this season…

  13. Sarah Green says:

    Among the Rays’ top ten prospects, 6 are pitchers. This list includes lefty David Price, the 1st pick in the 2007 draft, as well as Wade Davis and Jake McGee, who are both nearly major leagues-ready. It’s also worth mentioning that they acquired pitching prospect Eduardo Morlan in the deal for Garza, who has a plus slider and a wicked fastball that tops out at 97 mph, though he still needs to work on his ability to locate it.

    As for those nearly-ready pitching prospects, McGee has an electric fastball and Davis burned through Single A and Double A with his wicked curve. Price, though he was just drafted last year, is already a polished pitcher who has two plus pitches and great command. The Rays expect all three to be ready to be staples of the rotation by 2009.

    For what it’s worth, the Rays’ farm system has been ranked first in the majors by Baseball America for the past two years running.

    Or did you expect them to sign Johan Santana?

  14. Nick Kapur says:

    Well, that’s a good point about Morlan – I had forgotten about him, and he will most likely be in their bullpen come April.

    But as for the other prospects, while it is true that David Price, Wade Davis, and Jacob McGee are all highly regarded pitching prospects, neither Davis nor McGee has pitched above AA ball, and Price has yet to throw a pitch in the pros. As far as I’ve heard, none of these guys is projected to make the major league team this season. As you rightly point out, these guys could well make appearances for the Rays in 2009, but to say they can be “staples of the rotation” by next year would be a stretch. Actually, the last I heard on Davis, they were thinking of him as maybe more of a closer.

    The Rays pitcher who is actually the closest to the majors right now is Chris Mason, who also has not pitched above AA, and is the least regarded of the four, but had a breakout campaign last year, and has far more experience, having at least a whole year at AA, whereas Davis and McGee only just made it to AA at the end of last season.

    The Rays actually also have two other high-ceiling pitching prospects in Jeremy Hellickson and Jeff Niemann, but Hellickson is still in A ball, and Niemann has been wracked by arm injuries of late, making the bullpen his likely destination.

    So yeah, saying that the Rays have “addressed” their pitching is kind of an overstatement, since they haven’t really done much of anything this offseason outside of the Garza trade, and these prospects were already there before, and most importantly, these prospects are not ready yet.

    As of right now, the Rays starting rotation projects as:

    Kazmir
    Shields
    Garza
    Andy Sonnanstine (6-10, 5.85)
    Edwin Jackson (5-15, 5.76)

    and the bullpen projects as Percival, Morlan, Al Reyes, and then pray for a hurricane (6.16 ERA last year with 605 hits allowed in 497 innings).

  15. Sarah Green says:

    Having already noted that the Rays still need bullpen help in the post, I obviously agree with you there.

    Kazmir, Shields, and Garza are a respectable first three. And given the timeline we’re talking about for this team, I’d say a ballclub that is stacked with excellent pitching prospects who will be ready in the next one-to-two years has “addressed” its problem in that area, yes.

  16. Steve Slowinski says:

    To begin with, I believe that trying to make Sonnanstine out to be on the same level as Jackson is rather disappointing. Looking at the stats, Sonnanstine is primed for a breakout year, much the same way that Jamie Shields was last year. He’s put up amazing numbers in the minors and last year was his first experience at all in the majors. If you look at his WHIP (which is normally a good indicator of if a pitcher is throwing above or below their ability level), Sonny had a very respectable WHIP of 1.35. Jackson, on the other hand, had a WHIP of 1.76. To me, this shows that Sonny has the ability and for the most part, his inflated ERA was a result of bad luck and learning the league. His ERA will go down with time…to be honest, I’m more confident of him going into this year than I am of Garza. But that’s just me.

  17. Steve Slowinski says:

    Also, they also got Trevor Miller to go along with Percival and while he’s not amazing, used in situations with lefties up there, he’s a pretty solid pitcher.

    The addition of Percival as closer also bumps everyone down in the bullpen, making pitchers actually pitching in spots where they should be. Al Reyes is not a closer (though he did an ok just there last year), but he’s got the stuff to be a pretty solid set up man.

    The addition of Dan Wheeler at the all-star break last year cannot be ignored. Dan Wheeler is friggin’ awesome. I don’t care about his stats from last year…if you look at his career stats, last year was a complete anomalie. Maybe he won’t have a sub-3 ERA this year, but I highly doubt it’ll be above 4 again. He’s been lights out all throughout his career and he’s still young. In my mind, he’s the rock in this bullpen at the moment. With him, Percival, and Reyes…to be honest, I feel like that’s a dominant trio. At the very least, it’s league average. And for the Rays, that’s a huge improvement.

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