Well it's been a great summer but it's nearly time for the season to come to an end. It's a bummer, I know but we've had our fun. You can't ask for a much better season I mean 10 weeks of regular season, only one of which was totally rained out. So I think we can all agree that luck has been on our side this season. But let's get down to business. I've been watching all of you play this year and those of you who out-shined the rest in your respective way deserve to have something to show for your effort or excellence. This is something I always wanted to do with the old league but never seemed to have the time or resources necessary to actually award the best players anything. But don't get too excited though. It's just trophies that I made myself that will be awarded to league champions and those who win individual awards. It might be lame but at least you're getting something.
Since the last week of the regular season was last week and the championship game does not go towards the statistics total used to determine who wins awards...most of these awards are already "in the bag."
Greg Sowards has shown a true skill on the mound that is rivaled by no one except perhaps Josh Berletich when it comes to winning games. Sowards has managed to go 11-0 on the mound with 31 Ks (2nd most in league) and 0.80 ERA despite not having hardly any speed or movement on his pitches. How he does it is really anyone's guess but good defense definitely does not hurt his cause. Beaver Fever only allowed 11 runs all season. Sowards has made a reputation within the league of being a finesse pitcher who knows how to get a defensive strategy together.
Josh Berletich has waned a biy since the collapse of the GDWL in regard to his average speed per pitch but make no mistake...he's still got it. Berletich wowed everyone in Week 10 by giving the Terrorhawks a little gas and has shown improvement throughout the season on the mound. Berletich has struck out 37 batters in just 43 innings pitched. Berletich struggled halfway through the season, picking up a few loses and struggling with control. Since then "Berle" has got his groove back and looks strong for pitching in the championship against Beaver Fever.
Those familiar with the typical standings in the old league will rub their eyes in disbelief on this one. Sowards, who typically hovered around the bottom of this statistic, has been a breakout star with the long-ball this season. Part of the reason behind this shocking paradox is the lack of homeruns in general in the league. Sowards's swing still puzzles everyone in the league. No one has figured out how the slap-hitter has struck gold in this statistic. Sowards was closely followed by Josh Smith (Terrorhawks) and Zach Daniels (Turtles) who had 3 HRs each.
Berletich did not start out strong in this category at the beginning of the season but has gradually rose to the top through the season. This is an upset win for Berletich because it was largely assumed that Greg Sowards, who led in this statistic 90% of the season, would be the one walking away with this trophy. Winning this award along with Strikeout King has shown that Berletich is a hard-working fellow who seeks to improve his performance. If he had performed all season like this he probably would have swept this years awards race. Honorable Mention: Troy Twisdale technically tied for this award but only played 3 games.
Naming the winner for this award was a no-brainer. Litton had everyone in stitches since spring training. He's constantly doing something off-the-wall every week, from kicking over the bucket of balls next to the pitcher's mound to tackling other players. With Jeremy around you have to stay aware and that keeps the games interesting. If there were an award for Most Improved Player this year then Jeremy would be a shoe-in but since this is our "first year" that really would not make sense. Some would see winning this award as "losing" but I don't think anyone should see it like that. Some see a sportsmanship award as a reward for one of the worst players but I don't see it that way. I see it as an award for someone who keeps the game fun and shows up week after week despite the win-loss column. It's a perseverance award when you think about it.
6. MOST PATIENT HITTER (Most Walks) - Arielle Hord (Honey Badgers)
I wasn't joking when I said I would give an award to the person who had the most base on balls (READ: Part Wiffleball, Part Walk-a-Thon). Arielle has walked an astonishing 32 times this season. She's played 11 games with only 66 at bats. She really should have a little over 90 at bats but the walks have significantly lowered that number. As a result her batting average suffered and fell to next to last (.333) which is something we are not used to seeing. She once was among the top of the AVG chart in the old league but has developed a philosophy of patience on offense. She recites the word "patience" like a mantra to her teammates when they chase after wild pitches. The results for using her philosophy are mixed as they struggled to stay above .500 in the standings this season. But patience is something that deserves respect and since she reflected that virtue in a tangible statistic she wins this award.
7. CHAMPIONSHIP MVP - TBA
This award is really up for grabs. Whoever plays the move pivotal role in the championship game will be awarded the MVP trophy. The two favorites to win this award are Greg Sowards or Josh Berletich. Both players are clutch hitters and solid pitchers. But it is equally likely that Kyle Hetrick (Beaver Fever) or newcomer David Dillon (Honey Badgers) could steal the spotlight away from their team captains. Defense is going to be tough so Arielle Hord will not likely reach base much at all outside of a walk or two. But we'll be watching closely to see who deserves this award.
8. HR DERBY CHAMPION (All-Star/Fun-Star Game) - There will be a HR derby to kick off the All-Star/Fun-Star game that takes place right after the championship wraps up. I can't help but scratch my head on this one. I really have no idea who could win this one. Greg Sowards has not performed well in HR derbies in the past but that could change. Josh Berletich could easily win it if his hot streak at the plate continues. I could speculate for hours on who could win this trophy. What I will tell you is that only players who have hit a home run in the regular season qualify for the HR Derby. Each player will have 5 outs each and there is a 3 out playoff between the top two batters.
That's it! 8 trophies. 6 are already claimed but two remain open. Bring your A-game this week...because if you don't, I'll notice.
Eyes on you.