2016 FI Participation Trophies

September is Elimination Month, and the cuttings are well underway.  Currently, eleven teams have been knocked out of the playoff hunt, and at least one more probably won’t make the rest of the week. (Sorry, Best Fans.)

You have to admire the players who will keep going out and taking part in games for a couple of weeks of rank irrelevancy. Then, when their seasons are over, they’ll watch as MLB, writers, and others give honors and recognition to the teams and players who make it deep into October. How can you not acknowledge the heart and effort these losers show day in and day out in late September? I say we give these Rodney Dangerfields the respect they deserve for showing up and at least phoning it in.

Join me in honoring the Best of the Worst in handing out the inaugural FI Participation Trophies to the teams bringing up the rear. In reverse order of elimination, here are your 2016 September Heroes:

V. Oakland Athletics (9/9) — Sadly, the A’s season relevancy ended before Billy Butler’s, but they still have a chance to play spoiler since the Yankees signed Butler for “bench depth.” On the upside, Oakland fans can get a head start on fall festivities. What kind of rum goes with pumpkin spice?

IV. Atlanta Braves (9/5) — Aside from Drunk Chipper Jones, who didn’t see this coming? Frankly, this one probably strikes you more like how did they hang on so long? So long, Atlanta. Fiddledeedee!

III. Minnesota Twins (9/3) — Hug a Twins fan, y’all. Their irrelevancy came early and brutally this season. That means twenty bajillion more weeks of winter. Prince is dead. Holiday lutefisk is coming. Hug a Twins fan, y’all.

II. Milwaukee Brewers (9/2) — The Brewers are eleven games up on the Twins but beat them to elimination. Additionally, Milwaukee’s robust .447 winning percentage puts them ahead of nine other MLB teams. How, then, to account for the early cut? Two words: Da Cubs.

And finally, last but not least, baseball fans, here’s your 2016 First Participation Trophy winner:

I. Cincinnati Reds (9/1) — The first Cubs casualty. Their 32-33 home split didn’t help either. Jay Bruce could’ve gone to anyone else and played more relevant baseball in September than his old teammates. Lucky guy. Maybe we’ll start a pool on whether Votto gets his VISA renewed this off-season. Must be the ASG jinx, you guys.

Congratulations, Little Red Machine!

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6 thoughts on “2016 FI Participation Trophies

  1. The Twins were the surprise out of that group. They actually played some meaningful baseball in 2015. But no meaningful pitching pretty much craters anything else you do.

    BTW, you can trash Jeff Luhnow (deservedly) for not taking Bryant over Appel. But at least he took Correa and McCullers over Buxton. Good call to date. And rather surprising how long it is taking Buxton to develop.

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    • The Twins are interesting. Pitching does them in, yes, but they also had what I can only chalk up to tremendously bad luck. Glen Perkins is a fine closer, but we all know what happened there. There were some injuries that hampered them, Plouffe bring one of those. Ervin Santana? What happened with that dude? Just never picked up the pace. Mauer will never be Mauer again, he’s Morneau Junior in every sense of the phrase.

      However… a team very much like this one was respectable last year. If we’re trying to figure out why this team is a dung heap, we need look no further than management. From Molitor all the way up. I know people say managers don’t win games, but I think a bad manager loses them.

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      • Gardenhire had multiple 90 plus loss seasons and multiple 90 plus win seasons. Molitor won more than expected last year and less than expected this year.

        Offensively the Twins, after an awful start are now pretty decent. Their downfall has happened because none of their internally developed starting pitchers has so far panned out. Even Gibson who looked pretty okay last year has fallen off. Unless the reason for that isn’t fixed (assuming it isn’t just bad luck) they will never be good. A mid market team can bolster a starting rotation but it can’t buy one through free agency. Even if they turn that around the next crop will take years to come up and that’s what depresses me. There is a good chance that they will not be good again in my lifetime.

        But who knows this is baseball. The Gods would be in character if they took me on the eve of their next world series.

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