We asked for your votes on the 2012 Cardinal Blogger Awards a couple weeks ago — now it’s our turn to weigh in.
Player of the Year
Chris: No thought required on this one: Yadier Molina, of course. His list of awards recognizing his performance this season is already long and includes a fourth place finish for National League Most Valuable Player, and he was our very easy choice for 2012 Cardinals BAMF (which I’m sure means as much to him as that MVP finish — right?) It’s also great to know Yadi will continue being his BAMF-self for the Cards into the future.
Tara: Yadier Molina. No explanation necessary
Miranda: Yadier Molina. Amazing season for the team’s leader. He really stepped up to be the teammate and player we all knew he could be. And, he’s fast! Who knew?!
Pitcher of the Year
Chris: Jason Motte. Perhaps an unconventional choice, and I did consider Kyle Lohse, but I found Motte’s performance in his first full year as closer impressive. He tied Craig Kimbrel for the NL lead in saves with 42 and he became only the fourth Cards closer to ever have 40 saves in a season (joining an impressive list of Bruce Sutter, Lee Smith and Jason Isringhausen). Plus he received a beard massage from Mark McGwire regularly — no other Cards pitcher can say that. (And, sadly, Motte won’t be able to anymore either.)
Tara: Jason Motte. League-leading saves, plus joining the exclusive 42-saves club? Yeah.
Miranda: Kyle Lohse. Consistently great all season. I’ll miss him!
Game of the Year
Chris: Another no-brainer — Game Five of the NLDS. No explanation needed! (Although, if you want one, there’s this.)
Tara: NLDS Game Five. Because that game, in one wild inning, was the perfect descriptor of the 2012 season.
Miranda: NLDS Game Five. Coming back to defeat the Washington Nationals in amazing fashion! Loved it!
Performance of the Year
Chris: All the nominees were special outings for sure, but I have to go with my heart on this and say Chris Carpenter’s start against the Cubs on Sept. 21. Just the fact he was even out there pitching two months after “season ending” surgery that removed a rib was more than enough. But the anticipation of the start, the admiration and respect from his teammates, and even just the energy of being there at Wrigley Field that day (since I had to be) were just phenomenal. True, there was no storybook ending to the 2012 Chris Carpenter story that day (damn you, David DeJesus and Darwin Barney) or even in his subsequent starts in September and October. But that was beside the point. The effort to get there, to make it to the pitcher’s mound again — the ultimate BAMF worthy of the performance of the year.
Tara: Adam Wainwright’s shutout of San Diego. Technically it was brilliant, of course, but the emotion behind it made it memorable and significant in his comeback season.
Miranda: Hard to pick just one of these. Adam’s shutout was so emotionally good. But. Chris Carpenter’s five innings against Chicago was awesome and therefore the pick. Coming back after most thought he was done for the season after getting his rib removed. Amazing.
Surprise Player of the Year
Chris: Lance Lynn. Up and down in the second half, yes, but our Wolf Pup was a big part of the Cardinals’ 2012 success. His terrific start in an important game to the wild card push against the Astros in late September was huge.
Tara: Lance Lynn. Yes, I was disappointed by the second half. But there’s no denying he was sensational before the All-Star break.
Miranda: Lance Lynn. Enter spring training thinking he would be in the bullpen and after Chris Carpenter went down with injury, he was tapped to enter the rotation. And did an amazing job, with the exception of the end of the season, and led the team in victories. Hope to see him get over the problems that plagued him at the end of the season.
Disappointing Player of the Year
Chris: Lance Berkman. The injuries weren’t his fault, obviously, but it was still a big disappointment after the season he had in 2011. At least he had his one final moment in the spotlight as a Cardinal during the last regular season game.
Tara: Marc Rzepczynski. Also no explanation needed!
Miranda: Tyler Greene. SO much expectation for him to take the reins as the teams second baseman. He just couldn’t do it. Consistently, anyway. Not consistent at the plate or in the field. And, the team agreed when they traded him to the Astros … who, in the end, didn’t use him very much either.
Rookie of the Year
Chris: Joe Kelly. As I watched the Quad Cities River Bandits throughout the 2010 season — a team that also included Matt Adams and Shelby Miller — Kelly would not have been my pick then as someone who would play a valuable role for the 2012 Cardinals. But I’m certainly glad he did, enjoyed watching him tremendously (especially at the plate and running the bases) and look forward to his big league future. (Trevor Rosenthal, who was just here in the Quad Cities last year, finishes a very strong second!)
Tara: Matt Carpenter. I want to say Trevor Rosenthal. But, Carpenter was a bigger impact because he was with the team all year. That’s the only way I could decide!
Miranda: Joe Kelly. Stepped up where he was needed, whether as a starter or mid-reliever, and did amazing work. Look forward to seeing this continue next season!
Acquisition of the Year
Chris: Carlos Beltran. Key component of the Cardinals’ 2012 success, obviously.
Tara: Edward Mujica. Because the late innings were a disaster before he came to town.
Miranda: Carlos Beltran. Excellent pick-up! Great bat! Great in the field! Good leader!
Most Anticipated Cardinal
Chris: Oscar Taveras. Excited to see what he can do in the big leagues.
Tara: Oscar Taveras. People “in the know” have made comparisons to how excited the organization was watching Pujols come up the system. That is, needless to say, a ridiculous compliment.
Miranda: Oscar Tavares. Looking forward to seeing his bat and watching him field and just HIM!
Best Individual Cardinal Blog
Chris: I couldn’t narrow it just one, even though I tried. So my two choices are C70 At the Bat and RetroSimba. Daniel does a terrific job at C70 both in terms of quality and quantity of posts and it’s always just an enjoyable read. Mark too is great at both quality and quantity and making it an enjoyable read, yet I always learn something about the Cardinals past and often how it ties into the Cardinals present or future.
Tara: C70 At the Bat. The amount of solo coverage Daniel provides is impressive, both in quantity AND quality … a seldom seen duo.
Miranda: C70. Daniel’s got an interesting perspective. Good, knowledgeable.
Best Team Cardinal Blog
Chris: Redbird Rants. Enjoyable, knowledgeable and plentiful content daily.
Tara: Redbird Rants.
Best Media Blog
Chris: Bird Land. Always learn something new from Derrick Goold, so I’m glad he’ll be taking over as the Cards beat writer now.
Tara: Bird Land.
Miranda: By Gosh It’s Langosch. Great blog from the new Cardinals beat writer for MLB.com.
Best Rookie Cardinals Blog
Chris: Keene on MLB. I enjoy Wes’s work a lot (and thumbs-up for the name of his blog too).
Tara: Keene on MLB.
Miranda: Keene on MLB. Enjoy his perspective. Fun to talk baseball with on Twitter.
Post of the Year
Chris: Tough choice, with so many great options, but “On Life, Love and Baseball” from Bill at I70 Baseball touched me the most — in all likelihood because my own dad, who taught me much about baseball (including how to keep score) and coached my brother’s teams, passed away in 2009.
Tara: “Darryl Kile’s Final Inning,” Aaron Miles’ Fastball.
Miranda: “We Don’t Get To Write The Endings,” C70 At the Bat. Good piece on the ending of an amazing season.
Best UCB Project
Chris: For this year, it was the Jack Buck and Darryl Kile remembrances. Still so hard to believe they both passed away 10 years ago, and the tributes were all so heartfelt and touching.
Tara: Buck/Kile remembrances.
Most Optimistic Cardinal Blog
Chris: This category always strike me as an odd one. Nevertheless, my vote is for MLB Voice. Mary is always having fun at her site, even during the down portions of the rollercoaster ride of the 2012 season.
Tara: Women Who Love Cardinals Baseball.
Best UCB Podcast
Chris: UCB Radio Hour. The weekly rotations of hosts means there are always new and interesting perspectives each week.
Tara: UCB Radio Hour.
Miranda: Conversations with C70. Very interesting series of conversations where you find out lots about other bloggers.
Best UCB Twitterer
Chris: Bob Netherton, @CardinalTales. Always with a story, always with a bit of wisdom to share.
Miranda: Dennis, @gr33nazn. Just a hilarious person to talk baseball with!