Just another great MLB regular season. From Zack Greinke's unbelievable April to cycles galore, including Jason Kubel's cycle that was capped by a grand slam, to Albert Pujols continuing to prove why he is not a real person, to Mark Buehrle's perfect game (and Dwayne Wise's once in a lifetime catch), and the great race in the AL Central, which will culminate in a one game playoff, this year reminded us of why we all love this game.
2009 did have its dark moments, beginning with the tragic death of Nick Adenhart, which reminds us that while it's fine to go out, drink, and have a good time, but if you do, please designate a driver. Manny Ramirez's 50 game suspension and his and Big Papi's outing, rebrought the steroid issue to the forefront, as yet another of the game's greats, was revealed as a cheater. The lack of great pennant races was another disappointing aspect of the season, but hopefully the playoffs will make up for it.
Awards (trying to watch football simultaneously so I may make a mistake or two here)
NL MVP: Albert Pujols. No explanation needed...the greatest player on the planet, and one of the game's greatest ever.
AL MVP: Joe Mauer. Finally added a power stroke to his fantastic batting average, gold glove caliber defense, and ohh btw he did all of this while missing the first month of the season, and playing CATCHER!
NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum. Carpenter and Wainwright are both very deserving as well, but Timmay is a strikeout king, and would surely win 20-25 games if he had a solid offense behind him. His changeup is one of the most devastating pitches in the game.
AL Cy Young: Zack Greinke. An ERA of just over 2, and near the top in the league in nearly every significant category. His command of a full repertoire of pitches is amazing to watch, and I'd love to see what he could do with a better defense, and offensive attack behind him.
NL ROY: Tommy Hanson. One of the few prospects who lived up to the hype this year. Hanson really blossomed in the last couple months of the season, helping to push the Braves into the playoff picture. Combined with Vazquez and Juurjens, the Braves have a great core of pitchers for years to come.
AL ROY: Gordon Beckham. There were no real breakout players in the AL this season, but Beckham gave the Sox a nice spark, hitting for average and power, mixing in some speed as well, all while playing a brand new position.
NL MOY: Jim Tracy. Absolutely unreal how great of a run the Rockies made once Tracy took over.
AL MOY: Mike Scioscia. Ron Washington definitely deserves honorable mention, but given all the injuries, and the death of Nick Adenhart that the Angels endured, Scios has to get some credit to leading the Halos to yet another AL West Title.
5 Players who will Have HUGE Break out next years in 2010
(1) Neftali Feliz
(2) Carlos Gonzalez
(3) Justin Smoak
(4) Madison Bumgarner
(5) Brett Wallace
Surprises of the Year: Colorado Rockies, Aaron Hill and Adam Lind, the resurgence of Chris Carpenter, Scott Feldman, Nelson Cruz, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jayson Werth
Disappointments of the Year: The Mets, The Cubs, Milton Bradley self-destructing (NOT!), Magglio Ordonez, Lance Berkman, Grady Sizemore, Cole Hamels
Enjoy the Playoffs Everybody, no matter what happens, I sure hope that the series' are all well-played, competitive, and entertaining.