First, a few notes on the 2006 baseball regular season:
-August and September were unwatchable.
It could have been the greenies (amphetamines) ban that caused the players to burn out down the stretch (as Tom Glavine and some other players implied), or the fact that there was not a single pitcher (not named Santana) who was worth the “We have to watch this game, this guy is pitching tonight). However,the true reason was the lack of a true pennant race.
The NL (widely referred to as the minors Quadruple-A) had more of a virtual race. The Mets clinched in July. The Phillies had some futile attempts that no one really took seriously (you would think keeping Corey Lidle could have helped?). The Central generated the only true late-season excitement, but the Cardinals held off and avoided the historic collapse while the Astros lost their season finale to
The 162 games felt like a pennant crawl more than a race.
-The number of really bad teams was tremendous.
So the pitching staffs are diluted and the players are playing their first full season without their enhancing drugs, does that allow for more than half of the league to play uninspired drag ass baseball? From preseason contenders who were never in the picture (
-The short list of the candidates for the performance awards.
There was no 20-game winner for the first time since 1995 (NL win leaders had 16). Of course there was no 60 home runs hitter (not complaianing, just noting, there won't be many 60 HR hitters in the no-steroids era). Very few players raised their performance to a consistent high level. The AL Cy Young is a no competition. Johan Santana (who had an average first half) ended up winning the MLB pitching Triple Crown and carried the Twins down the stretch. There is nobody who deserves the second place (if there were such a thing). There were some good performances in a single game or over a small stretch but not over the whole season. The NL Cy Young should be withheld. It is so bad some analysts are even considering Trevor Hoffman (who had 5 blown saves). Brandon Webb is the only deserving candidate despite the tough August and the minimal impact he had on his team down the stretch. But he has 5 CG, 3 Shutouts and a one hitter.
The NL MVP is Ryan Howard with a slight Albert Pujols competition, while everyone else is way behind. The AL MVP award should be also withheld (or just give it to A-Rod, just like every year that there is no clear cut candidate). Derek Jeter had a career year, Justin Morneau was huge for the Twins late in the year and Frank Thomas is also worth considering. But, it should go to David Ortiz (who went down the drain along with the Sox season) for being robbed last year and for his role during the 2004 title.
-The only closer without a blown one (3 saves minimum):
One Final Note: Reason 62 why no decent self-respecting human being should support or root for the New York Yankees under any circumstances.
The Payrolls of the Playoffs team (April 7th, 2006)