Well… It’s taken me a long time to get around to making the time to write our team awards. The way this season ended was tough, and honestly it still doesn’t sit right with me. This year was the closest I have personally ever been to a season championship, and we were literally right there. I still don’t have the right words to explain it.
Looking back on this season I am sure it will be one of my favorites in memory, it went from me wondering if we were going to win five games to literally the final game of the year. We were far from a complete team, after we lost most of our pitching staff in the off season we were left with Randy, and then hope. We had guys that we were going to have to rely on, and they all kept it together until the reinforcements arrived. Zuzak, as it turns out, pretty good on the mound, gritty. Our version of Wild Thing, Cody Quinn, showed us why he was one of our best waiver pickups ever, going out there and being Nasty. Alongside our veterans, we had an ace up our sleeve and we didn’t even know it, Luke Hudic. I will put Luke in at the end of any game, and be confident in the result, you cannot ask for much more than that. After our thin and let’s be honest, rough start, and some hard work by General Manager Ben Gwin, we added two arms, both Former BIG OIL products, Casen Wolinsky, and a couple weeks later Zach Gift. Adding two guys like that, was a jolt this team needed. Now we could balance our innings out instead of having Guys probably set their personal innings records. If we don’t add those two on the pitching side, who knows where we end up, but its not in the championship game I can tell you that.
Pitcher of the year is probably the toughest award that I have to decide on, and really its two fold.
Mr Consistency, Randy Patton is one of the only reasons we had a team after our terrible start.
Then our version of a defibrillator was Casen. I am going to do something that I normally don’t, and put a new award out there.
Pitcher of the Year: Randy Patton
New duck of the year, Pitching: Casen Wolinsky
This team looked a lot different early in the Year, with some departing faces and new additions, I honestly thought we were going to be able to score the amount of runs that we needed to support the pitching staff that we had at the beginning of the year. A new Utility man, Jimmy Murray, who is literally, Fast as Fuck, was an ignition switch for us this year, Jimmy started the year as a utility man and due to injuries found himself in the outfield nearly every games. Jimmy made things happen this year and adding guys like that gives me hope that the Ducks have at least another ten-fifteen years in this league. Our other New Addition Duck is the Swaugdawg himself Alex Swauger. A smooth lefty swing, good at bats, and a plus outfielder. Sign that guy up. Alex could have cemented himself in the lineup with either the bat or the glove, but both just really put an exclamation point on things. Definitely our quiet new comer, but a ball player. With these two dudes joining the ducks, we are in business.
By team group chat coin toss, New comer of the year: Jimmy Murray
With a big win leading off the year against our so called Defectors, I thought that things were looking up, 5 runs against the leagues version of Nasty Nestor, shoot we are in business… We weren’t, at all. We were getting crushed in game two, down nine early, and we rallied back, bringing a sure blowout loss to the team that we would probably consider our rivals, at least in my tenure, The devils, to losing 15-11. Seems bad, but honestly, I figured shoot outs would be the name of the game for us this year. Including that game, we lost the next five in a row, two of those being series losses, 1-6 chasing two series is not somewhere that you want to be. We ripped off four in a row, and lost three of the next four. Then, on a Friday night, General manager Ben Gwin enters the chat again, with a hopeful text to a former Duck, Anthony DeFilippo. I had been playing against Flip in the DNL and watch him tear our pitchers apart. Best strategy for us, get the guy out before Flip, so you could pitch carefully. Adding another true ballplayer, who happened to be tied for 4th on the team in RBIs, was huge for us. Another Duck Full of Grit. To the guys who managed to hold our full lineup under 5 runs, cheers, that’s a feat in and of itself.
Comeback player of the year: Anthony Defilippo
Our Defensive MVP was another Comeback player of the year candidate, because without him holding down the short stop position, we wouldn’t have been in a good spot. Its tough to say a lot about Tony that the blog readers don’t already know, but I am going to try. They say if you are solid up the middle, you will win baseball games, and with Tony at Short, you can chalk it up to solid. Tony always put up good at bats when we needed them or made some bonkers play to stop a rally. One position that I never had to wonder if someone else would do it better was Shortstop. The type of player who will sit there and tell you he is hurting, doesn’t know what he’s going to be able to give, then make a diving play and throw a piss missile across the hill to get the guy out at first.
Offensive player of the year is probably the toughest award on this team. We are STACKED. For me, it comes down to Two of the most tenured Ducks on the team, Ben Gwin and TJ Morgan. Ben is one of the most consistent baseball players I’ve been around, the Duck original who is still trying to get better at the plate year in and year out. TJ is one of the best hitters I have played with, throw him a fastball, dude smokes it, oh, down 0-2, just flip it over the short stops head. Consistency is key, and these two guys put out the most consistent at bats on the team, always helping with any decision that needs made, and always willing to move aside to get guys time. I can’t say enough good things.
I don’t want to pick one, so I won’t, We have Co-offensive MVPs
Our Team MVP this year is Alex Swauger. Great on defense, great at the plate, literally someone that I could consider for any one of the awards that he would be eligible for. I mentioned Alex earlier, but honestly, the compliments could keep going. Alex is one of the smoothest players on our team, makes things look effortless. Another addition that we would be lost without.
I hate doing awards, not only does it mean the season is really over, I feel like I am snubbing people. This team is a sum of its parts, literally, until we all were showing up regularly, we were dog shit. I have two second baseman that I can easily put in the lineup, the only problem I run into is when they both show up and I have figure out who to put in the lineup, but thankfully, Dimas and Liam are both very positive team first guys, and I don’t know how we fare without them. A few years ago we lost a third baseman that we were worried about replacing, then Kenny Shows up, locks down third, and hits the ball hard as fuck, another Naba legend, and another guy that I am not taking out of the lineup. Mark Lombardi is out in the outfield, making plays, gunning guys out, and when he walks up to the plate, the other team is getting worried. DWill is another sweet lefty swing, just a ballplayer who is another team guy, I am always glad to put him in the lineup because he’s going to come through when we need it. Because of all of the tools we have, our bench is super deep. Sorosky is a true utility guy, we could put him anywhere and he will put in a solid at bat at any time. Brandt is someone I can put in the lineup at any time and know that he’s going to put in the effort and put up a great at bat. Someone I should have utilized more in the playoffs because somehow, some way, Brandt gets a hit when we need a hit. This is one of the best baseball teams I have ever played on. We have tons of good ballplayers and good guys. I can’t wait until the season starts again.
I think I am going to do a team vote from now on, see who the team feels the best player is. I am glad to have a group of guys that continues to put up with me managing, and plugging myself in every day. I love playing with the Ducks, this season was both the most rewarding and most stressful of my managing career so far. I appreciate each and every one of you, we might have a little bit of a different look next year. But lets go get that championship that should have been ours this year. We might be one of the oldest teams in the league, but I truly believe we are the best team in the league.