I campaigned for reliever Jason Berken as first half Most Valuable Oriole, and you know what happened next. It’s probably not a good idea to have me in your corner. It won’t do much for your career or your health.
A few reporters were standing around the clubhouse earlier this week nominating potential MVOs. Helps pass the time while waiting for manager Buck Showalter to begin his pre-game media session or for Rick VandenHurk to begin speaking in other languages.
(While on the subject of VandenHurk, is he getting the Troy Patton treatment? Hurry here and wait.)
I’ll be handed a ballot next month and asked to pick a top three. The choices are obvious some years, impossible in others - especially when there aren’t three players worthy of consideration on the entire team.
Enough games remain on the schedule that candidates could surface or sink. It’s too soon to make any firm commitments - and how many times have I used that line in non-baseball settings? - but Luke Scott might have emerged as the favorite.
Scott went 2-for-3 with a double, walk and two RBIs last night, raising his average to .296. His 22 homers lead the club, and his 25 doubles rank second. His .573 slugging percentage ranks fourth in the American League.
On a team with the second-worst record in baseball, he’s looking like a pretty solid choice at the moment.
There’s been some chatter about Jeremy Guthrie cracking the top three despite his poor overall record. He didn’t strengthen his case last night, but he posted a 1.52 ERA in his six previous starts while assuming the role of staff ace. Ty Wigginton, the team-leader with 61 RBIs, and Adam Jones also could make it.
Heck, I’m starting to wonder about Koji Uehara. Let’s check his numbers at the end of September.
It’s a pretty sad debate, but we don’t have a potential 20-game winner or Triple Crown threat on the roster.
Feel free to give me your top three selections. I might need to steal your ideas.
The subject of MVOs reminds me once again of the classic B.J. Surhoff line uttered at his locker after the media approached him about winning the award. I’m also reminded of his line because I see him at the ballpark every single night, but more on that later.
Asked for his reaction, Surhoff coldly replied, “I know why you guys chose me. Cal’s hurt and you hate Albert.”
A timeless classic.
In the last three days, I’ve almost nailed Surhoff with the door leading to the stairwell outside the press box, passed him in the hallway outside the clubhouse and sat one table away from him in the dining room. Each time, he’s commented on the size of my shirt (Apparently, I went from a medium to a large and back to a medium.) It’s a running joke.
Surhoff is a regular presence at Camden Yards, and I don’t think it’s because he’s a season-ticket holder. It’s pretty obvious that he’ll fill some sort of role within the organization next season, whether it’s coaching or minor league instruction. And I think he would be a terrific addition. The guy knows hitting, he’s played a variety of positions and his work ethic comes right out of the Ripken mold.
If you haven’t seen him lately, he looks exactly the same as he did during his playing days. I don’t think he’s gained a pound. And if you gave him enough at-bats, he’d probably finish in the top three in MVO voting.
And you know why.
Cal’s retired and we still hate Albert.