A bid to spice up awards; Attending the World Series as a fan; Remembering Bob Ferry - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

A bid to spice up awards; Attending the World Series as a fan; Remembering Bob Ferry

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Not only is it the postseason, but it’s also awards season for Major League Baseball. On Thursday, Trey Mancini was named the American League Comeback Player of the Year by The Sporting News in a vote of players, managers and executives and in the Players’ Choice awards by major league players.

Ryan Mountcastle was named the American League Rookie of the Year in the Players’ Choice Awards.

Gold Glove finalists also were announced, but no Orioles made the list.

On Monday, Cedric Mullins was named one of eight outfield finalists for the Silver Slugger Awards.

Before the first two games of the World Series, the Los Angeles Angels’ remarkable two-way player, Shohei Ohtani, was feted by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred with the commissioner’s special achievement award, and former Orioles slugger Nelson Cruz was recognized for his humanitarian achievements in his native Dominican Republic with the Roberto Clemente Award.

These awards are all preludes to the four major awards voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America: Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young and Most Valuable Player. The announcement of those awards come in the week of November 15th.

Recognizing Mancini’s courage for coming back from colon cancer surgery is great, and I’m delighted to see him win multiple awards for what he went through. It would be even greater if all these awards were handed out in one night.

Before the pandemic, there was discussion of the four BBWAA awards being televised and presented during the General Managers’ meetings in November, but that was tabled.

That was a great idea. Even better would be presenting the BBWAA awards, the Silver Sluggers, the Gold Gloves and the special awards to Ohtani and Cruz in a single night.

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The major BBWAA awards, which are voted on at the conclusion of the regular season aren’t announced until six weeks later. Wouldn’t it be more fun to see them as part of an announcement during the World Series when more people are paying attention?

If the awards were part of a television show on the night between Game 2 and Game 3 of the World Series, it might get even more attention than it does now.

Logistics would be difficult because it wasn’t until last Saturday’s National League Championship Series was decided that the World Series schedule was set. If you could have finalists for the awards present, that would be great. If members of the World Series participants were finalists for the awards, that would be even better for the game.

Return of the fan: For the first time in more than 10 years, I attended a game as a fan this week. Along with my cousin, Stephanie Dubroff-Acosta, I went to Game 2 of the World Series at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.

Stephanie made the call of the night when she, a former restauranteur, insisted we had to eat at Killen’s Barbecue stand in the upper right-field stands. The sliced beef sandwiches were outstanding, and the next time I come when the Orioles play, I’ll have another.

It’s certainly different not watching a game from the press box. I was forever getting up, letting other fans pass, and I wasn’t seeing plays from behind home plate.

The experience was fun, and I found I was entertained by the Astros between innings on-field antics, featuring their mascot, Orbit. Because of the extra-long innings’ breaks during the postseason, a full rendition of “Deep in the Heart of Texas” during the seventh-inning stretch was played.

It might be another year or two before I cover another Orioles World Series game but, in the meantime, I did have a good time.

Remembering Bob Ferry: In 2021, we’ve again lost far too many influential sports figures in the Baltimore/Washington area. On Wednesday, Bob Ferry, the longtime general manager of the Washington Bullets, died at 84.

Ferry, an Annapolis resident, played the final five seasons of his career for the Baltimore Bullets, retiring in 1969. In the team’s final seasons in Baltimore, Ferry was an assistant coach and was named the team’s general manager in 1973, serving 17 seasons.

The Bullets won their only championship in 1978, and Ferry won two NBA Executive of the Year awards in 1979 and 1982.

Ferry became the second NBA executive to hire two different Black coaches, K.C. Jones in 1973 and Wes Unseld in 1988. Sadly, both Jones and Unseld died in 2020.

After leaving the Bullets, Ferry was an NBA scout. His son, Danny, spent 13 seasons as an NBA player and was general manager of Cleveland and Atlanta.

Ferry’s death was announced by current Washington Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

 

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. millboy

    October 29, 2021 at 7:34 am

    Glad you could enjoy the game with family and as a fan for once. I think baseball does need to do some things differently to keep fans engaged. Look what the NFL has done with the draft, don’t think that would work in baseball, but maybe try something

  2. CalsPals

    October 29, 2021 at 7:41 am

    Funny how media giant ESPN announces player’s choice awards for only AL/NL pitchers/players of the yr, according to most Mountcastle will not be top three, does this have anything to do with adding credibility to the media for selecting the same pitchers/players as the players choice, looks bad…baseball can’t make a good PR move if their life depended on it, unfortunately it may…go O’s…

  3. NormOs

    October 29, 2021 at 9:19 am

    Bob Ferry, the consumate team player. I loved going to BALTIMORE Bullet games in the late 50s and 60s.

  4. Orial

    October 29, 2021 at 10:58 am

    Good,change of pace write-up Rich. Hope you had your ears open–lotta consequential baseball chatter goes on by the “higher ups” during the WS(so they say). Guessing the big difference between Memphis and Texas barbeques is meat vs pork. I remember Bob Ferry/Eddie Manning backing up Wes Unseld and Gus “Waxy” Johnson as a part of a very formidable front line in Baltimore lore. If only Baltimore had decided to build a decent downtown Arena maybe things would have turned out a little better sports,financially,revenue wise for the city. Somebody dropped the ball and until the Inner Harbor came along the city fell into ruin. But that’s a different story for a different time. Rest well Mr. Ferry we remember you well. As for Mountcastle–a nice award but mainly a “hand shake”. All indications point to probably a 3rd place finish in the ROY voting.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 29, 2021 at 11:30 am

      Thank you, Al. I have had lots of barbecue in Memphis, Texas and Kansas City in the past few years and enjoyed each.

      Last December, I wrote a piece on the lack of a new arena, and nothing has changed since then.

  5. willmiranda

    October 29, 2021 at 11:28 am

    I read a long time ago that MLB dribbled out slowly the names of award winners so that they good get more media attention during the off-season, i.e.,, more days being mentioned in the daily press. It also served the media by providing daily grist for the mill. I don’t know if that’s valid anymore with all the sports stuff going on all the time, but when one sport seemed to dominate each season, getting off-season attention seemed like a good deal for both parties. As for award shows, I don’t watch them, and generally viewership seems to be declining in many cases.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 29, 2021 at 11:37 am

      Will, the other sports make a big deal of their awards. The NFL has its show the night before the Super Bowl. I’m all for offseason news, but think they could get more attention during the World Series.

  6. dlgruber1

    October 29, 2021 at 11:51 am

    I like the idea of a one night awards ceremony for baseball but I’d be surprised to see it come to fruition. Baseball needs to do something to attract younger viewers. What IS NOT attracting younger viewers are 9 inning games starting at 8:08 and ending the next day. I don’t pretend I have the answers but I’m sorry, 4 hours is just ridiculous for a 9 inning game. 50 years ago when I began going to Colts games they lasted approximately 3 hours, including 15 minutes for halftime. The same is still true today. My memory, and maybe I’m wrong, is that 50 years ago when I began going to O’s games, they lasted approximately 2-2.5 hours. It’s gotta average about 3.5 now. Yes, there are more pitching changes now but my guess is the real reason is just the amount of tv time between innings.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 29, 2021 at 11:58 am

      David, I think the major problems are the sheer number of pitching changes, batters who needlessly step out of the box rather than TV. Postseason inning breaks are 2:55, regular season breaks are 2:25.

      The first game of the Dodgers-Giants series was 2:39. The starters worked well into the game, and there were only three mid-inning pitching changes. The game I saw on Wednesday was 3:11, not bad for a postseason game. A pitch clock and a hitters clock need to be instituted and enforced.

      • Birdman

        October 29, 2021 at 4:31 pm

        Rich … glad to see you mention the effect of batters who step out of the box … while we occasionally hear talk about instituting a pitchers clock, it seems to me that the many batters who step out of the box after every pitch are a bigger cause of slow baseball than pitchers … check out video of a MLB game from the 60s or early 70s, and you will rarely ever see a batter stepping out after a pitch.

        • Rich Dubroff

          October 29, 2021 at 5:05 pm

          Joel, another reason for the increasing length of games is that the style of play is different. Batters are taught to work the count more, that walks are good because it makes the pitcher throw more pitches. There’s nothing that can be done about that other than a change in psychology.

      • BirdsCaps

        October 29, 2021 at 10:06 pm

        I hate the aesthetics of having a clock. That’s one thing that makes baseball unique. Furthermore, isn’t there already an (unenforced) rule On the books about throwing the pitch within (I think) 12 seconds? Keeping the batter in the box is something that should be addressed. Pitching changes don’t bug me at all, but do take time.

    • dlgruber1

      October 29, 2021 at 2:25 pm

      I didn’t realize the innings breaks were only 2:25 and in postseason 2:55. I guess it just seems longer. So it must be the pitching changes and batters adjusting all their various accessories between every pitch that’s made the games too long. I thought I read that MLB is looking to institute a pitch clock. I know some minor leagues are using one. Maybe that will be something brought up in the CBA.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 29, 2021 at 10:46 pm

      Steve, it’s 20 seconds, and yes it’s not enforced.

    • HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

      October 30, 2021 at 9:30 am

      Good stat-geek article on MLB game lengths at “Why do games take so long?” sabr dot org. Like Rich mentions below, author states “My major conclusion is that the single biggest factor contributing to the longer games is the number of pitches.” And then attributes the increase in the number of pitches this way “The rise in strikeouts and related drop in outs on balls in play accounts for much of the difference over time.” The highest walks per game occurred in 1949 and 1950 and game times averaged under 2.5 hours those two seasons.

  7. Jersery O

    October 29, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    Batters must stay in the batter’s box on all ball pitches and called strike pitches. That in itself will shorten games by at least 15 minutes.

  8. BirdsCaps

    October 29, 2021 at 10:13 pm

    The awards being announced during the ws is a great idea. While I’m happy for Mancini and Mountcastle, up until now I never heard of the player choice awards (it looks like they’ve been around since ‘94).

  9. dlgruber1

    October 29, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    Rich, or anyone who may know, do the players take the “players choice” awards seriously? What I’m asking is, do all or at least almost all of them vote or do some or even many of them blow it off? Like BirdsCaps I also was not familiar with these awards. I’m shocked to find out they’ve been around since ‘94.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 29, 2021 at 10:50 pm

      Dave, I don’t know how many vote and since we haven’t had unfettered access to players for the last couple of years, I can’t really find out.

      The BBWAA awards are transparent. Our votes are made public after the vote is announced, and it’s 30 voters, two from each market.

    • dlgruber1

      October 30, 2021 at 1:48 am

      Thanks Rich. I’ve always felt that in ANY endeavor, sports, business, entertainment, whatever, that an award given to you by yours peers would be the most meaningful. However, if many of them don’t bother voting it would certainly taint it. Until I hear proof otherwise I’m just gonna go with the assumption that at least a majority of the players make the effort to vote. It always bothers me when I hear that some baseball Hall of Fame ballots are returned empty or not returned. That’s an honor to vote for that and I’m of the belief that if you don’t return the ballot or return it empty you should forfeit the privilege of voting in the future.

    • CalsPals

      October 30, 2021 at 7:32 am

      Agree DL, disheartening when you hear blank ballots were returned for HOF, 30 people voting for national awards doesn’t sound like many…go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 31, 2021 at 9:25 am

      Dave, some of those Hall of Fame ballots are not returned because a handful of news outlets prohibit their writers from voting for awards. Others are returned blank because writers don’t feel anyone is worthy of the Hall of Fame because of steroids taint or performance. Not a fan of that.

  10. Jim Considine

    November 1, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    Rich, I watched you cover 70 Ravens games, from your seat (or position in the language of the Press Box). You were always diligent and the first reporter at the locker where the news was being made. I imagine your “busman’s holiday” was most amusing. Though, i must admit, Jerry Coleman was far more amusing to watch. When I was with the Redskins, I watched Joe Gibbs roll his eyes in reaction to Jerry. One has to work to get Coach Gibbs to break character

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