Dwindling Decade Part Two
Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated wrote an interesting article that I stumbled upon over at SI dot com. It categorically lists the best players and teams of the decade. I thought, in this very slow baseball news time of the year (can you say none at all ?), I'd run down a smattering of them with my comments following each one. Here we go...
PLAYER OF THE DECADE:Albert Pujols, Cardinals
"Look at these numbers: .314 batting average, 40 doubles, 34 homers, 127 RBIs, 118 runs. Those numbers make up Pujols' worst season this decade. In 2009 Pujols stole 16 bases, walked 115 times and hit 47 homers -- all career highs. It seems impossible, but he's getting better."
The numbers are hard, no, impossible to argue with. He is a most valuable player in the truest sense and St. Louis is very lucky to have him. Now maybe they could surround him with some better players?
BEST MANAGER: Joe Torre, Yankees and Dodgers
"He is the only manager to take his team to the playoffs every year this decade, and he did it with two different teams. After all his success in New York, he led the Dodgers to consecutive division titles."
Posnanski's first sentence says it all. How can a manager do any better? Sure, Terry Francona won two World Series, but making the playoffs every year for a decade is certainly a remarkable feat. I've always liked Torre, even when he managed the pinstripers. I'll never forget this moment. It was Fenway Park as the Bombers were playing the Red Sox. It was also Joe's first game back after heart surgery and as he brought the lineup card to home plate, the Fenway Faithful rose as one and gave him a two minute standing ovation. Torre was emotionally hit hard as tears of gratitude filled his eyes. Unbelievably unforgettable.
BEST GM: Theo Epstein, Red Sox
"The decade's big moment was the Red Sox -- after 80-plus years of angst and drama -- finally winning the World Series and then, just three years later, winning it again. Epstein was at the heart of things, blending various talents, making bold moves when they felt right and hiring Terry Francona as manager."
I have just one word on this choice...AMEN.
BEST FRANCHISE: Yankees
"They reached the playoffs nine out of 10 years, won four pennants and two World Series and got a $1.5 billion stadium built. It's one of the best decades in Yankees history, and that's saying something."
As Posnanski mentioned in his piece, the Yankees spent far more money than any other team to get where they wanted to go, so to me, that taints the whole choice. But they did what they did and it worked. I still hate 'em.
WORST FRANCHISE: Royals
"The Pirates had a losing record every year, which made them a strong candidate, but no team in baseball lost as much as the Royals. "
They were the doormat team of the decade, with the Pirates a close second. You'd think with all the upper-tier draft picks awarded to the less successful teams, a club like the Royals should have done something. But noooo. Where's George Brett when you need him?
The original article from SI dot com has much more and if you click on this post's title, you can see it all. So click away! I hope your Christmas holiday weekend was wonderful and your trip home a safe one. I'll see you tomorrow when there may or may not be a little more baseball news. Between Christmas and New Years, the news is slim. As always, BE WELL. See ya.