It’s Like Gold

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.

Next up was the Rawlings Gold Glove awards beginning with the American League followed by the National League. The American League winners were:

• Pitcher – Kenny Rogers (Detroit)

• Catcher – Ivan Rodriguez (Detroit)

• First Base – Mark Teixeira (Texas)

• Second Base – Mark Grudzielanek (Kansas City)

• Third Base – Eric Chavez (Oakland)

• Shortstop – Derek Jeter (New York)

• Outfield – Torii Hunter (Minnesota)

• Outfield – Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle)

• Outfield – Vernon Wells (Toronto)

You would not go wrong with any of these players defensively. In the National League the winners were announced as:

• Pitcher – Greg Maddux (Los Angeles)

• Catcher – Brad Asmus (Houston)

• First Base – Albert Pujols (St. Louis)

• Second Base – Orlando Hudson (Arizona)

• Third Base – Scott Rolen (St. Louis)

• Shortstop – Omar Vizquel (San Francisco)

• Outfield –Carlos Beltran (New York)

• Outfield – Mike Cameron (San Diego)

• Outfield – Andruw Jones (Atlanta)

This too is an incredible group. Of course as a Diamondbacks fan I am most thrilled about the second base recipient. Watching Orlando Hudson every game is definitely a treat. He gets to balls that most players would let through for base hits. While O-Dog is unhappy that he committed 13 errors for 2006 that number is amazing considering he had 833 chances and 510 assists. He is like a human vacuum cleaner and hitters are quickly learning that there are very few holes on the right side of the infield where they can push a ball through the infield. With Hudson winning this award he becomes the sixth player to win a Gold Glove in both leagues. Given his age and his athletic abilities, Arizona fans can only hope that this is the beginning of a long string of gloves Rawlings will be awarding to the Diamondbacks second baseman.

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