November 5, 2006
The first couple of weeks after the season and post season have ended; Major League Baseball tries to let the fans down gently. There is all-star traveling road show to Japan where several players go to Japan to play against their Japanese counterparts in exhibition games. Given the time differences and lack of media coverage these tend to be minor stories on the back pages of the sports page. The tour is followed by the annual awards season where baseball hands out various accolades for players or plays of the year. It starts with the comeback player of the year that is awarded during the World Series and culminates with the Hall of Fame ballot results after the first of the year. Catcher Johnny Estrada was a candidate for comeback player of the year but did not even make the finals. The awards this year went to Jim Thome in the American League and Nomar Garciaparra in the National League. It is hard to argue with those choices as both players had great years.