I was chatting with my wife when I decided to do some multi-tasking. While she was talking about getting the day off after Thanksgiving, I popped onto mlb.com
I was not happy with what I saw.
Florida’s Hanley Ramirez edged Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman by four points for the NL Rookie of the Year, the closest vote since the current voting structure was introduced in 1980.
First let me state that Ramirez had a great year. The stats don’t lie. I’m not crazy enough to say Ramirez didn’t deserve it. The 119 runs scores, 51 stolen bases, 11 triples are ROY worthy numbers.
Still, I’ll defend my hometown third baseman.
Defensively, I can’t think of a better rookie. Zimmerman’s finished with 15 errors and a .965 fielding percentage, the same stats as Gold Glove winner Scott Rolen. In other words, the kid played some kick-butt defense.
I dare anyone to find a better clutch hitting rookie. Zimmerman hit .323 and drove in 85 runs with runners in scoring position most of which came from the No. 3 spot in the batting order. A rookie hitting 3rd, bad team or not, and producing means something.
Then there’s the 10 bunt hits he had to lead the Nationals as well. It’s a shame that someone who had such a great season, including a franchise rookie record 110 RBI, couldn’t get the top prize.
As a Nationals fan, it would be easy to have two different reactions to Zimmerman’s second place finish.
Reaction A: Bitter Nationals Fan
If I went this route, I would be upset and bitter for a couple days and making everyone’s life miserable, including mine.. I would blame the Baseball Writers Association of America voters, lifetime members or otherwise. I would be annoyed at Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay, who voted Zimmerman fourth. Fourth? Zimmerman? Fay voted Josh Johnson, Ramirez and Uggla
. I would write a nasty e-mail saying he cost Zimm the rookie of the year. How did I find out about Fay? See the Washington Post article below.
I would also think that the voters had it in for the Nationals franchise and were rewarding the Marlins for their season and just gave it to one of them because they had so many good rookies. I would say “this is a travesty, an outrage.”
I would be angry that the voters didn’t look at Zimmerman’s clutch play or defense. I would make some comments like “Did Ramirez beat the Yankees with a walk-off home run?”
Reaction B: Disappointed but level-headed Nationals Fan
Zimmerman had a great season and is an outstanding cornerstone for the future on a young ballclub. This year was an awesome one for rookies and to finish so close in a talented field of rookie is saying something.
As a Nationals fan, I would have hoped the Rookie of the Year would’ve been a sign to the baseball community that Washington is building and headed on the right track. Still, I believe baseball people know this already.
I have to believe the writers knew very well about Zimmerman’s exploits and he just didn’t get the votes needed.
Zimmerman’s comments in the Post (see above link) were classy all the way. Honestly, his reaction was better than probably most of the die-hard fans, including myself, which is refreshing. I pretty much said “No way” for 2-3 minutes. It’s good to see that a rookie can handle something like this in a very adult way.
Below is the link to the mlb.com story. Interesting comments from Bob Boone, Austin Kearns and the Palm Beach Post writer Joe Capozzi.
In conclusion, I was hoping Zimmerman would get the NL ROY nod. I thought his solid offensive play, clutch hitting and gold glove caliber defense would be enough. It wasn’t. It stinks but life goes on. Still, people can’t argue the season this kid had. Great job, Zimmerman!
Tomorrow: Manny Come Lately, There’s a New Acta In Town