We already went over the American League Gold Glove winners, so now it’s the National League’s turn.
Again, things were a little different this year. In addition to three finalists at each defensive position, we also had one winner from each outfield position for the first time.
Courtesy of the Associated Press, here are your 2011 NL Gold Glove winners:
C – Yadier Molina, Cardinals (fourth Gold Glove)
1B – Joey Votto, Reds (first Gold Glove)
2B – Brandon Phillips, Reds (third Gold Glove)
SS – Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies (second Gold Glove)
3B – Placido Polanco, Phillies (third Gold Glove)
LF – Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks (first Gold Glove)
CF – Matt Kemp, Dodgers (second Gold Glove)
RF – Andre Ethier, Dodgers (first Gold Glove)
P – Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (first Gold Glove)
Kemp, Ethier and Kershaw are the first trio of Dodgers to win the award in the same season. Kemp previously won the Gold Glove in 2009 while Ethier and Kershaw are both first-time winners. Again, I’m not going to waste too much time railing against the voting process, but Ethier sticks out like a sore thumb on this list. Justin Upton, who was announced as a Fielding Bible award winner on Monday, wasn’t even one of the finalists for right field. Oh well.
On the bright side, there aren’t too many other complaints here. Yadier Molina was a no-brainer behind the plate, becoming the first NL catcher to win the Gold Glove in four consecutive seasons since Charles Johnson from 1995-1998. While not a household name, Arizona’s Gerardo Parra was a tremendous pick for left field. Kudos for getting that one right. Polanco was pretty much a lock to win at a watered-down third base position, despite appearing in just 122 games this season. He joins Darin Erstad as the only players to win Gold Gloves at two positions.
As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.
We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.
James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:
Spring training is less than a month away, folks!
Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”
Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:
Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.
You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.
Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.
The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”
Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.
This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.