Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
The MLB Players Alumni Assocation announced its annual “Heart and Hustle Award” today. The award is given to one player from each team “who demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit, and tradition of the game.”
This award has drawn some criticism in the past for playing into old, tired stereotypes of what constitutes “heart” and “hustle.” Specifically, those old cliches about how it’s the gritty white dudes who worked hard while black and Latino players were more “naturally gifted” and, often, were accused of being lazy loafers. It’s crazy that such assumptions still linger among those who talk about sports, but they do. For example, last year 22 of the 30 Heart and Hustle winners were white Americans. Twenty-eight of the 30 were U.S. born.
This year’s group of winners is considerably more diverse. Here’s hoping that’s a sign that those old notions of who hustles and who doesn’t — and what “hustle” is, exactly — continues to fade into history.
Baltimore Orioles: Adam Jones
Boston Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia
Chicago White Sox: Todd Frazier
Cleveland Indians: Mike Napoli
Detroit Tigers: Ian Kinsler
Houston Astros: George Springer
Kansas City Royals: Eric Hosmer
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Kole Calhoun
Minnesota Twins: Eduardo Nuñez
New York Yankees: Didi Gregorius
Oakland Athletics: Marcus Semien
Seattle Mariners: Nelson Cruz
Tampa Bay Rays: Logan Forsythe
Texas Rangers: Ian Desmond
Toronto Blue Jays: Kevin Pillar
Arizona Diamondbacks: Paul Goldschmidt
Atlanta Braves: Nick Markakis
Chicago Cubs: Anthony Rizzo
Cincinnati Reds: Zack Cozart
Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon
Los Angeles Dodgers: Chase Utley
Miami Marlins: Marcell Ozuna
Milwaukee Brewers: Jonathan Lucroy
New York Mets: Curtis Granderson
Philadelphia Phillies: Andres Blanco
Pittsburgh Pirates: David Freese
San Diego Padres: Jon Jay
San Francisco Giants: Brandon Crawford
St. Louis Cardinals: Stephen Piscotty
Washington Nationals: Daniel Murphy
Jim Pohlad, owner of the Minnesota Twins, has a lot to think about when he thinks about what kind of general manager he’s looking for to replace the fired Terry Ryan. Does he want an analytical guy with an Ivy League education or someone who came up through the scouting ranks? Is he looking for an old-style GM who runs all baseball operations or a new-style Baseball CEO-type who is more about setting up various systems and departments, of which actual baseball decisions is merely one aspect of it all?
Yep, a lot of big decisions to be made with this sort of hire in the world of 21st century baseball. So what say you, Jim?
“When we had the all-staff meeting, you can see how loved Terry is by our organization,” Pohlad said. “If I had to pick one requirement for somebody going forward, it’s someone that’s lovable. The only way you can be loved is if you’re lovable. We want someone that can ultimately be loved.”
Um. OK. Is that all?
“Technically they have to have the skills and strength and so forth, and have to have the willingness to look an organization and make hard decisions, or come up with ways for improvement.”
Well, as long as we’re being technical I suppose that stuff matters too. In the meantime, NBC Sports has learned the identity of the current favorite for the Twins’ GM job. This is an exclusive report. MUST CREDIT NBC SPORTS:
That’s National Baseball Congress, not National Broadcasting Company. If it was the latter, I’d be putting the teams together. This is a two-week amateur tournament. The one we talked about yesterday in which Roger Clemens, Adam LaRoche and a bunch of other ex-MLB players are getting together to take on a bunch of amateurs in their 20s.
Now the Geezers have a third baseman:
I also love that Chipper is well aware that there are gonna be some broken old bodies coming out of this. There will be some 420 foot homers — old man strength is a real thing — but Wichita is gonna run out of ice for the these dudes’ knees and you all will be well advised to buy heavy in Advil stock right now.