Thursday, December 21, 2006

MSD Top 10 Miami Sports Stories of 2006: Number 9.

Well, it’s late December which means it’s the time for television shows, magazines, websites and blogs to present their obligatory 2006 Best Of … lists. And the MSD is no exception. So, here is the Miami Sports Dude’s Top 10 Miami Sports Stories of 2006. I’ll be counting down the top ten from 10 to 1 in the next two weeks. And remember, there is to be no wagering of any kind ... and now, on with the countdown ...

#9. Hanley Gets Rookie of the Year

It’s a story that received very little fan fare around these parts. Hell I didn’t even mention it, so I’m just as guilty as anybody. But it’s a great story that deserves to be on this list.

When Marlins owner Jeffery Loria decided to have yet another fire sale, it was up to uber-genius GM (and I do NOT mean that sarcastically) Larry Beinfest to make the necessary moves. Trade away our best and most expensive players, and still field a competitive team. And while Marlins fans have to be angry at seeing guys like Carlos Delgado and Paul Lo Duca going to division rivals like the New York Mets, Beinfest did manage to get some pretty good talent in return.

So when the Red Sox smelled blood in the water and came calling for World Series pitching hero Josh Beckett, Beinfest made what I believe was one of his most masterful moves. He demanded that Boston include their top prospect, short stop Hanley Ramirez, (as well as no-hit pitcher Anibal Sanchez) in the deal. And sure enough, the Red Sox obliged.

The Red Sox have some of the most knowledgeable fans in the game. And many of them knew, right away, that they had just lost a future All Star short stop while the team itself has been recycling players at the position since 2004. And by the end of the season, Beckett’s first year as a Red Sox was considered a bust, ending the season with a 16-11 record and a bloated 5.01 ERA. Needless to say, the rabid Sox fans were disappointed and feeling the Fish had just fleeced their Sox for their best, most promising young star.

Jason Taylor’s not the only Miami sports figure to tear New England sports fans a new one.

Ramirez came in and looked like a future star from the word go. He ended the season with a .292 average, with 46 doubles, 11 triples, 17 HR, 59 RBI and 51 stolen bases. And he led all Major League rookies with 185 hits, 119 runs, 11 triples and 51 stolen bases, and finished second among all rookies with 46 doubles. His .292 average led all rookies who had enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title.

And he’s just 22.

All this led to Ramirez being named the 2006 National League Rookie of the Year. He’s the first Marlin to win the award since 2003 when pitcher Dontrell Willis earned the honors.

For all the mess that this team can be – for the infighting between owner and manager, the constant struggle with city officials to land a baseball stadium and the lukewarm reception this team gets year after year from a town that is notoriously blasé about their sports teams – true Marlins fans should be excited about the team’s future on the field. Ramirez, 3rd baseman Miguel Cabrera and Willis make up a great and talented cornerstone for a team that will compete for the NLCS and World Series for years to come.

That is until they become too good, in which case Loria will order Beinfest to trade them to the Mets.

Labels: ,

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?