This is the fifth version of the James Mungro Memorial Award sponsored by (sponsor pending). While the award’s history is short in time, it’s long in events. We found what possibly could be the most entertaining pitcher of a generation in the first go-round and a fun-loving offensive lineman who has a fetish for weird socks in the last. In-between, every single one of the winners has played in either an MLB or NFL game.
The competitions have varied wildly, from Bootcheck swooping in and ending it all early to the absolute melee between Rodney Austin and Jimmy Saddler-McQueen. But none of those were as good as this current quest. It’s greatest there’s ever been and it’s not because of the performances. Those have been pretty poor, actually. No, it’s because of the chaos.
First, news breaks that Andy Dirks needs back surgery and will be out for 12 weeks. That means one of either Ezequiel Carerra or Trevor Crowe is almost guaranteed to get a roster spot on opening day. Both respond the news by basically peeing their pants at home plate. Crowe, who started spring training 0-for-8, went two for his next nine. Carrera took a 2-for-5 line and turned into 3-for-15 (.200 average). All of the sudden it’s unclear whether either will get that final spot.
As I was watching this happen, I realized Criag Albernaz had played in just two games. His job was to convince me that he had a chance at making the team. He wasn’t doing it. I had to cut him. But before I could, traffic skyrocketed to his getting-to-know post. Either a family member, a friend or a commenter from raysprospects.com found the article and posted it on Facebook, where other people saw it and then posted it on their own Facebook. All of the sudden it became the most popular post of the past week. I couldn’t cut the people’s champ.
Even if I could, Albernaz earned his spot for another week. He was part of the all catchers team that won the inaugural Tigers basketball championship. That gives him two wins this spring. (He also won the competition among catchers in handling throws from the outfield on one of the first days.) All Albernaz does is win win win no matter what. You don’t let that guy go.