Like many of you, I watched the 83rd annual Academy Awards show (AKA the Oscars for those of you who don't know anything). Unlike many of you, however, I was intellectually inspired by said broadcast. Why should those in the film industry be the only ones to get an Oscar? Is it because that's why the Oscars were created? Probably. Is that going to stop me from handing out Oscars of my own to your favorite base ball superstars? Of course not!
Welcome to the 1st Annual (and possibly the only ever, depending on how hard it is to write and whether any of you clowns read it) Jobu's Rum Oscars!
I know you're wondering how it works, so here's a simple breakdown. There are many awards given out throughout Oscar Night. I will do my best to choose the important ones and adapt them to fantasy baseball. There may or may not be a couple of other awards I make up, but I promise they will be related to the Oscars, even if it is a really really distant relation (like that one uncle we all have that we don't talk to because he's "a little too touchy feely"). Anyway, Let's get on with the show!
Best Supporting Actor
This award goes to a player who, while not being the main attraction on his team, will still put up excellent fantasy numbers for you (without all that pressure of being responsible). This year, I am giving the award to Cliff Lee. This offseason, Lee had the chance to do one of three things. The first was to go to the Yankees, where he would challenge C.C. Sabathia for the role of Ace, make a ton of money, and win a couple of world series. Second, He could have gone to the Texas Rangers, where he would have been the clear-cut Ace of the Staff; The Robert Redford, if you will. Thirdly, Cliff could have done what he ultimately did do, which was to sign with the Phillies to be nothing more than a second starter in a really stacked rotation that would probably give him his best chance to win a World Series in 2011.
Like Lebron before him, Cliff lee ran away from a couple of chances to be "The Man" and joined up for a project with a better ensemble cast. Similar choices can be made by actors. Do they want to have top billing in a movie with a good chance to win the Oscar, or do they want to join a more well rounded project with less pressure and be guaranteed the best picture Oscar. If they have top billing, and the project doesn't win, people may blame them for the loss. This is the same for Athletes. When you're number one, the pressure is all on you. Perhaps Cliff made the right choice for himself. He will have a chance to win the World Series every year. I just feel like I'd rather be Colin Firth than Javier Bardem.
The Kirk Douglas Award
Did anyone else see Kirk Douglas at the Oscars? Is there an older, more confused yet more hilarious man still in the public eye? He basically stole the show just by being old. Which brings us to the Kirk Douglas Award. Although made up by me, this award is one of the most prestigious in the world. It honors that player who is probably a little too old to be in baseball, but still gets the job done and, from time to time, comes up with something really amazing and great. Until his arm exploded and he decided to have Tommy John surgery, Jaime Moyer was in line to run away with this award. If he comes back from his injury in 2012, at age 48, then he will win this award then. This year, however, the award goes to the ageless (actually 44) knuckleballer Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox. Despite a 75 mph fastball on a windy day, Wakefield reports to spring training year in and year out with not only a spot on the team, but the chance to be a legitimate contributer. On those days when his knuckler is dancing, he can still be nearly unhittable.
Note: Honorable mention goes to 44 year old short stop Omar Vizquel, whom I used in MLB the Show '10 (for Playstation 3) the other day to hit a 2-run homer off of my friend Steve. Truly spectacular.
This award is pretty self explanatory. The best actor is the one everyone wants in ever movie. He makes $30 MM for every movie he is, all of his movies gross $200MM at the box office, all the ladies love him and all the men want to be him. Some of these include, at one time or another, Bruce Willis, Daniel Day Lewis and Matt Damon. In the world of Major League Baseball, that award has to go to Alber Pujols. He's a perennial MVP and triple crown candidate whom you know will hit well over .300 with around 40 home runs and 130 runs batted in. We'll see if he reaches that $30MM per plateau after the 2011 season when this behemoth finally hits free agency.
The James Franco Award
If you watched the Oscars this past Sunday, then you know what I'm talking about when I ask: "Was James Franco High?" If he wasn't, then he completely mailed in his performance as the host of the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. Franco basically looked bored the entire time, delivered his lines with overwhelming apathy and otherwise coasted through the evening with little effort or care. This award goes to the player who puts up great numbers, but most makes you wonder if he truly doesn't care that he's a professional baseball player, or is too under the influence to notice. The easy joke here would be to give this award to Miguel Cabrera. First of all, he has a documented, although as of yet not admitted, drinking problem. Second of all, i hadn't yet mentioned him in this post and I want to keep my streak alive. This time, however, I will let Miguel off the hook. This year's James Franco Award goes to Hanley Ramirez, short stop for the Florida Marlins!
Only a handful of players in professional baseball today that can boast the level of talent that Hanley Ramirez can. He can hit for average (.313 career including .342 in 2009), he can take any pitcher deep (averaging 25 home runs a year since his rookie season) and he can steal a base off of the best defensive catchers in baseball (as evidenced by his nearly 40 SB per year average). With great power, however, comes great responsibility. Hanley simply does not seem mature enough to handle it. In May of last year Hanley caused a stir when he was benched for not running hard to retrieve a ball he dropped and then accidentally kicked into left field (video). This was the worst of several complaints and concerns about the superstar's work ethic. You play a children's game for a living and make millions of dollars doing it. The least you can do is run hard, Hanley. This shit didn't happen when i had him on my fantasy teams in 2007 and 2008. Maybe he needs me to knock some sense into him for 2011.
Finally, we reach the award that always closes out the Academy Awards. We wait all night to find out if our favorite movie is, in fact, the very best of the year, at least according to a bunch of people who allegedly know best.) I feel like, if an actor is in the movie that wins best picture, that can only help his career. Even if the actor himself doesn't win any individual awards, the award itself brings prestige to anyone involved with the film. So... where am I going with this?
A film is made by a team of people who all work hard together to achieve the ultimate goal. The best team of workers usually makes the best end product. At the same time, being on a great project can make any worker better. He becomes more motivated, has more help around him, and can otherwise seem to rise above his normal levels of performance.
This can be true for athletes as well. An example of this is a player like Jayson Werth. Werth came up in 2003 with the Toronto Blue Jays (a terrible team at the time). After a couple of so-so seasons, he was traded to the Dodgers (another ho-hum team at the time), where he continued to flounder. It wasn't until 2008, when he became an every day player for the eventual world champion Philadelphia Phillies, that his career really took off. Placed in a stacked lineup that included Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, Werth flourished, hitting 24 home runs in just 418 at bats. The next year, a year in which the Phillies again made the World Series (too bad the Yankees overpowered them that season) and Werth Hit 36 home runs and drove in 99 runs. This is not to say that Werth was no good and then suddenly, just because he went to a better team, he became great. The talent was always there, he just needed the right opportunity with the right team. Everything came together for him and he exploded, becoming one of the more underrated players in all of baseball. In this case, the right team definitely helped Jayson Werth's career reach the next level. This past off-season, Werth signed a 7 year, $126MM contract with the Washington Nationals.
The award this year for best picture goes to (I hate myself for what I am about to type) The Boston Red Sox. Allow me to wipe my chin off, as praising the Fackin' Sawx causes me to become violently ill. All hatred aside, however, they are clearly the best team (on paper) in the league. With the addition of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, their lineup is fully stacked. Their pitching, which includes starters John lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz and John Lackey (AKA Buttholz), and relievers Jonathan Papelbon, Bobby Jenks and future closer Daniel "Don't Call Me Josh" Bard, is among the best in baseball too. The Yankees match their offense and the Phillies surpass their pitching, but nobody else has it all quite so together. What this means for fantasy baseball is that their players could really flourish on such a deep team, especially their offensive players, who are already excellent. I do, however, hope they all get injured like they did in 2009, and that the Red Sox miss the playoffs again. That'll shut those people up in Massachusetts.
Well friends, it looks like our little show has come to an end. We laughed, we cried, and we were amazed by my writing skills and unrelenting wit. I thank you for reading this post, and I wish you all a good night. It looks like we ran a little long on the post today, but it's the Oscars. What do you expect??