From The Dugout
By Keith LeClair
Midseason National League "Condos"
Put all the American
League awards and jokes behind. Now it's time for the National League
mid-season "Condos." Lets go to work and have some knock down, drag out
fun Pedro style.
National League Condos
Most surprising team:
San Diego Padres/Los Angeles Dodgers I couldn't pick one with out the
other, since they have been battling it out for first place all year
long. The Dodgers are playing great baseball with superb pitching and
defense, but as good as they are playing, the Padres just won't go away.
Neither has a lot of big name superstars, instead relying on a lot of
young and up-and-coming players.
Other teams you could
throw into the list would be Atlanta, Pittsburg, Cincinnati and
Milwaukee. Nobody thought any of these teams would be in the playoff
chase this late, but they are proving money doesn't always guarantee you
success, especially with the payroll Atlanta cut after last season.
Most disappointing team:
Houston Astros Everyone just about had the Astros penciled into the
World Series after they signed Andy Pettite, and then coerced Roger
Clemens into coming out of retirement with a brand new orange Hummer.
You ever wonder why athletes who make the most money are given the most
free stuff? Well, you can't blame Houston's woes on Roger, but you can
say Pettite so far has been a bust.
Maybe the Yankee curse has
moved out of Boston and into Houston. Naa, they just added another city
to the mix.
Hey, Cubs fans, you aren't
getting off this easy, because you all are a close second. In fact, that
fan may have cost you another 100 years of misery. But hey, you always
have the Boston fans to drown your sorrows with come October.
Manager of the Year:
Bobby Cox, Atlanta Braves Don't even attempt to argue this one with
me. It's about time this man gets some credit for being one of the all
time great managers. After last season, the Braves basically cleaned
house, not resigning Greg Maddox, Gary Sheffield, Javier Lopez, Vinny
Castilla, and a host of other role players.
Honorable mention: Jim
Tracy of the Dodgers and Tony LaRussa of the Cardinals, both of whom are
worthy candidates and have had a great first half. So, not taking
anything away from their clubs, but in all due respect, Bobby Cox is the
reason the Braves are in first place.
Most Valuable Player:
Scott Rolen, St. Louis Cardinals .328 average, 86 RBI, .405 on base
percentage, and without a doubt he is the best third baseman in all of
baseball. He does it on both offensive and defensive and that's why he
is the All-Star break MVP.
Honorable mention: Albert
Pujols, Barry Bonds, and J.D. Drew, who has meant more to his team this
season than any other player.
Cy Young: Roger
Clemens, Houston Astros 11-3, 2.62 ERA, 126 K's, 123 innings
pitched, .206 opponents' batting average. Not bad for somebody over
40 who just came out of retirement, sort of. Where would the Astros
be without that orange Hummer? This man just keeps on rolling along
like he is 25.
Honorable mention: Jason
Schmidt, Pittsburgh Pirates.
Eric Gagne, LA Dodgers Who else even comes close?
Rookie of the Year:
Jason Bay, Pittsburgh Pirates (.302 avg., 13 HR, 40 RBI, 176 AB) and
Chad Tracy, Arizona Diamondbacks (.278 avg., 5 HR, 33 RBI, 275 AB.)
Hey, can't argue with
these two picks, they are both Pirates. And we all know, "It's all about
Pirates supporting Pirates." It's extra special seeing Chad Tracy
playing in the big leagues and having such a solid rookie campaign. He
will have a long, great career because he works so hard and has the
determination to succeed. I can say this, nobody in that Arizona dugout
hates losing more than Chad does.
Not trying to slight Jason
Bay, because he has had an outstanding rookie campaign after coming over
in a trade last year from the Cubs.
Honorable mention: Khalil
Greene, San Diego Padres.
Biggest off-season bust:
Richie Sexson, Arizona Diamondbacks Arizona traded four players to
Milwaukee, all of which are playing well, for Richie Sexson, and he has
been hurt most of the season. In fact he is done for the season with
shoulder surgery. To make it even worse, they traded a young first
baseman, Lyle Overbay, who is second in the league in hitting with a
Even though Sexson has
been hurt, the trade still didn't make much sense, considering he is a
free agent at the end of the year and is a one-dimensional player.
Chances are, Arizona won't even re-sign him and in the mean time lost
four good players for an equivalent of six home runs. Only positive is
it opened the door for Chad to get an opportunity to play.
acquisition: J.D. Drew, Atlanta Braves .312 avg., 23 HR, 61 RBI.
With the Jones boys having a down year, J. D. Drew at times has
literally carried this team on his back. And to think of the numbers he
has put up with nobody hot behind him is astonishing. This certainly was
the breakout year for J.D. and it could not have happened at a better
time for Atlanta.
Olympic bat toss:
David Ortiz 53.45 feet to eclipse the mark Lou Pinella set a few years
Biggest sore sport:
Carlos Zambrano He drills Jim Edmonds on purpose and then Edmonds
takes him deep, so Carlos hits him again and gets suspended. That was
Well, that wraps the first
half of action up and I will be back next week to give you my insight on
the trades and rumors.
have a question or comment about the Pirates in particular or baseball
in general, get a learned response by firing your best pitch at Ol'
Condo. Submit your
message by clicking the following e-mail link:
E-mail Coach LeClair.
02.23.07 10:27 AM