It wasn’t exactly a shocker, but after batting .688 with two homers, David Ortiz was named World Series MVP following Boston’s Game 6 victory over the Cardinals.
Ortiz tied World Series and postseason records with four walks and three intentional walks in the Game 6 victory. He came around to score after two of them. He struck out in his lone official at-bat, dropping his average from .733 to .688.
Ortiz also earlier tied Billy Hatcher’s World Series record (1990 Reds) by reaching base in nine straight plate appearances between Games 3, 4 and 5. He hit both of his homers and drove in five of his six runs in Games 1 and 2.
To say Ortiz was Boston’s leading hitter would be one of the great understatements of our time. The batting averages of the nine Red Sox to play tonight:
.250 (Jacoby Ellsbury)
.208 (Dustin Pedroia)
.154 (Mike Napoli)
.118 (Jonny Gomes)
.154 (Shane Victorino)
.238 (Xander Bogaerts)
.158 (Stephen Drew)
.188 (David Ross)
Still, there was some competition for MVP in the form of Jon Lester, who allowed just one run over 15 1/3 innings in winning Games 1 and 5.
The World Series MVP honor is a first for Ortiz, who is now a three-time world champion. He did win ALCS MVP in 2004 against the Yankees.
According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.
The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.
Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.
It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.
I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.
The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.
Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”
Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.