Alex Rodriguez joked about his relationship with the press, Omar Minaya laughed through several jokes at his expense and Mariano Rivera was predictably gracious in accepting a pair of honors at last night’s annual awards dinner hosted by the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
The night largely belonged to the Yankees, which might have been because of the World Series trophy perched behind the guests of honor. Brian Cashman, Joe Girardi and Bernie Williams were on hand to introduce some of the night’s honorees, which included Rivera, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter (who checked in via a pre-recorded video).
When Rodriguez was given the chapter’s Babe Ruth Award as the postseason MVP, Rodriguez got to the microphone and said, “What’s next, the Good Guy Award?”
Other memorable moments from last night…
• Williams presented the “Willie, Mickey and the Duke Award” for players forever linked in our baseball memories. The award went to the Core Four of Rivera, Jeter, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte. Rivera accepted, but it was Williams who spoke at length about his relationship with his four former teammates. Williams laughed about the methodical way Rivera used to make a ham and cheese sandwich, and he stole the show when he told the audience about watching music videos in the Yankees clubhouse, constantly asking Jeter, “Do you know that girl?”
“Sometimes he said he did!” Williams said.
• Rivera also accepted the American League Relief Man award, which he shared with Joe Nathan. And it was Nathan who presented Rivera with the honor. “I try my hardest to follow in this guy’s footsteps,” Nathan said. “He doesn’t make it easy.”
• Jeter was given the Joe DiMaggio “Toast of the Town” Award, which pretty much speaks for itself. In his video acceptance, Jeter said he was sorry he couldn’t be there, if only because it meant to much to win an award named after DiMaggio.
• From Rivera’s acceptance speech on behalf of the Core Four: “I think that God put us on this team for a reason, and I thank God for that.”
• Joe Mauer was recognized as the American League MVP and as the Sid Mercer-Dick Young Player of the Year. You might remember that Mauer got all but one first-place vote for MVP. “I guess I had a bad weekend out in Seattle,” he said.
• Albert Pujols (NL MVP), Tim Lincecum (NL Cy Young), Chris Coghlan (NL ROY), Zach Greinke (AL Cy Young) and Andrew Bailey (AL ROY) were also in attendance to accept their awards. Lincecum, who is in the middle of contract discussions, thanked his agent. “He’s obviously doing a lot of work for me right now,” he said.
•Mike Scioscia accepted American League Manager of the Year, and used his acceptance speech to give a moving tribute to Nick Adenhart. “He was the kid that any one of us would want for a son,” Scioscia said.
• Great line from a very gracious Don Zimmer, who won the William J. Slocum-Jack Lang Award for long and meritorious service. “When you hit .258 lifetime, you aren’t asked to give too many speeches,” Zimmer said.