Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Off Base ESPY Preview

Ah, the day after MLB's All Star Game. This is usually the slowest sports news day of the year but there has been plenty of action today. The Braves traded Yunel Escobar and Jo Jo Reyes to the Blue Jays for Alex Gonzalez and a couple of prospects. The Atlanta Hawks dealt Josh Childress to the Phoenix Suns in a sign-and-trade. And some soccer player named Theirry Henry, who I can only assume is well past his prime, signed with the New York Red Bulls. Look at me writing about non-vuvuzela soccer news. I'm well-rounded.

Alright you got me, it' still a pretty slow news day and there aren't even any baseball games to look forward to. But we do have the ESPYs in live fashion tonight. Hoozah. Actually, I'll admit I'm a little excited because the New Orleans Saints figure to clean up. Let's take a look at baseball's role in the award show...

Best MLB Player: Zach Greinke (KC), Derek Jeter (NYY), Tim Lincecum (SF), Joe Mauer (MN), Albert Pujols (STL)

The nominees are last year's AL and NL MVP and Cy Young winners and Derek Jeter. I don't plan on being shocked when Jeter wins it either. But I'm going to take a look at WAR just so we can see who was the most valuable.

1. Zach Greinke 9.4 WAR
2. Albert Pujols 8.7 WAR
3. Ben Zobrist 8.3 WAR
4. Justin Verlander 8.2 WAR
5. Tim Lincecum 8.2 WAR
6. Joe Mauer 8.0 WAR
7. Chase Utley 7.6 WAR
8. Derek Jeter 7.4 WAR

Greinke's season was simply spectacular but who are we kidding? A pitcher from Kansas City isn't winning Player of the Year in a fan voting competition. I figure Pujols will be Jeter's biggest competition while my sentimental favorite, Chase Utley, gets overlooked once again.

Best Team: Alabama football, Chicago Blackhawks, Connecticut women's basketball, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Saints, New York Yankees

Personally, I like hockey. I played for a long time. But I think it's adorable if they think they're winning anything but Best Hockey Player. I think the Yankees have a legit shot at winning here but the Saints are just about going to be the favorites for everything. Which is fine by me.

Best Male Athlete: Drew Brees (NFL), Kobe Bryant (NBA), LeBron James (NBA), Jimmie Johnson (Nascar), Albert Pujols (MLB)

Again, I'd be down right shocked if Brees doesn't walk away with this awards. The image of him holding his son after the Saints won the Super Bowl still chokes me up a little. Pujols might be able to finish second if Kobe and LeBron split the basketball vote. I will admit Jimmie Johnson had an amazing year turning left. Okay, I made that up. I have no idea what he did last year.

Best Game: Twins beat Tigers in extra innings (AL Central one-game tie-breaker), Canada edges USA in Olympic Hockey championship game in overtime, Duke gets past Butler in the NCAA championship

I think the baseball game has a great shot here. But Duke did win a championship with their game. I do know that Canada beating the USA in hockey has no shot. You should also know that I'm terrible at predicting anything involving sports and I make a pretty mean Philly cheese steak.

Best Coach/Manager: Geno Auriemma (Connecticut women's basketball), Joe Girardi (New York Yankees), Phil Jackson (Los Angeles Lakers), Mike Krzyzewski (Duke men's basketball), Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints), Nick Saban (Alabama football)

I assume Payton is the favorite here. I realize I'm a pretty big Saints homer but what he and Brees have done with this franchise is unreal. There isn't another franchise that means as much to its city as the Saints mean to New Orleans. So bringing a championship to New Orleans gets Payton and Brees immediate hero status. Sorry but that rant was inevitable. I'm surprised I lasted this long. In baseball, bad managers can cost teams more games than good managers can win games. The difference between good managers is negligible.

Best Breakthrough Athlete: Brittney Griner (Baylor women's basketball), Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans), Stephen Strasburg (Washington Nationals), John Wall (University of Kentucky basketball)

If Strasburg doesn't win this, I'm rooting for him to start firing 100 mph fastballs at Seth Meyers. The Strasburg hype machine has been on overdrive this summer and he's fresh on people's minds with the All Star debate. I wouldn't recognize Brittney Griner if she walked in wearing her jersey.

Castrol Edge Performance Under Pressure Award: Sidney Crosby in the Olympic hockey gold-medal game, Landon Donovan in U.S. soccer's win over Algeria in the World Cup, Brett Favre in his return to Green Bay, Stephen Strasburg in his MLB debut

Crosby probably had the most pressure on him to win the Gold for Canada in Canada. Donovan had the biggest USA moment. Strasburg had the most impressive performance. So Brett Favre will win. Strasburg's 7 inning, 14 strikeout and zero walk debut was pure dominance. He flashed his 100 mph fastball and mixed in a 91 mph change up. He kicked off Strasburg-Mania and sells out road stadiums like he's the Beatles.

Best Sports Movie: Big Fan; Invictus; The Blind Side; The Damned United; The Karate Kid

This has nothing to with baseball but I loved Big Fan. It was pretty dark but Patton Oswalt was tremendous. I'm sure The Blind Side will win but go watch Big Fan. Oh and The Karate Kid? Hahahahaha *cough* hahahahaha

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