Not a whole lot shaking out here in Dallas yet, at least as far as the Tigers are concerned.
So that gives me a a good opportunity to take a brief look back at 2011.
Late last week, Kurt Mensching, managing editor of the Bless You Boys blog, unveiled the winners of the 2011 DIBS (Detroit Independent Baseball Scribes) honors. Twenty-two writers from 17 sites voted on nine awards.
Here are the results:
Most Valuable Player: Justin Verlander, probably just edging David Pauley. One voter cast a ballot for Justguel Cabrander. Took me a minute. I get it.
Best Rookie: Al Alburquerque. With that filthy slider, he was a strikeout machine. At one point, I beleve he was averaging four an inning. Or was that Austin Jackson? I don’t remember. “He played so well it was hard to remember there were other rookies,” Kurt said of Alburquerque.
Best Role Player: Ramon Santiago. Regular season, sure. Postseason, my pick is Don Kelly, though Santiago was no slouch there either. From Kurt: “It feels like he’s been a Tiger forever, but he has really come into his own.”
Best Moment: Jackson’s game-ending throw home to beat the Indians in August. My pick, too, though Jim Leyland’s Oscar-winning ejection comes to mind as well. But Jackson’s play was huge. For starters, who knew he had that kind of arm? It also was a huge game against the AL Central-rival Indians, and preserved Jose Valverde’s saves streak.
Team Clown: Phil Coke. Valverde didn’t even place? Someone get Al Gore’s lawyers on the phone!
Best Hair: Alex Avila. Ah, now this was thinking outside the box. “Avila could shave before the first inning and sport a full beard by the third. His 5 o’clock shadow begins at midnight,” Kurt said.
Tiger Organization Name of the Year: Doug Fister. Uh, not going there.
Goofiest Moment: Three-way tie — a) Sparks flying off Avila’s mask, b) Andy Dirks going full speed around the bases for an inside-the-park home run; only problem, the ball had been caught; and c) that classic Leyland ejection. Others receiving multiple votes: Verlander’s strange balk, Kelly pitching, Ryan Raburn turning a diving catch into a home run (only Ryan Raburn!), and Victor Martinez’s “Dancing with the Stars” routine at home.
Best Victor Martinez: Senior. The designated hitter beat out his son, Victor Jose, in a super-close vote — 12-9! Little Victor is adorable. He’s always in his Tigers uniform. He plays pepper. He’s a switch-hitter! All dad does is hit .330. Booooring.