There were plenty of highlights from last night’s BBWAA awards dinner in New York, one of which was a speech from Don Newcombe that I wish I’d recorded because he brought the house down with a hilarious and often completely unexpected introduction of Justin Verlander.
Thanks to Dave Robertson’s twitter account, I was able to steal a picture of two of the Yankees honorees, the late-inning duo of Robertson and Mariano Rivera.
Robertson accepted the award for community service in recognition for his work with the tornado relief effort in his hometown. Bobby Valentine introduced the Yankees setup man by saying “he’s all heart, he’s all soul,” then Robertson went on to give much of the credit for High Socks for Hope to his wife, Erin, and to all those who have helped along the way. “I don’t know what to say except thank you,” Robertson said. “… It’s something that is near and dear to me. I’ve seen the damage, and I know we can help.”
After he’d accepted his award, Robertson was called to do what he does best: Setup for Rivera. In introducing the Yankees closer for the Toast of the Town award, Robertson called Rivera “an unbelievable guy, and he’s an unbelievable pitcher.” Rivera then accepted in his usual understated manner. “I just thank you guys for the support,” he said.
Jorge Posada filmed a video message to the writers thanking them for their coverage throughout his career, leaving no doubt about his pending retirement. He also sent his congratulations to Robertson, Rivera, Gene Monahan and the rest of the award winners.
Valentine was pretty funny standing in front of a New York crowd as the new Red Sox manager. He said that he was warned about what his reception might be, and sure enough, Valentine said he arrived to check in at the hotel and — true story — was told he didn’t have a room, then he got into the dinner itself was told he didn’t have a chair. “But it’s great to be here,” he said, to a lot of laughter.
Looking back on the past week…
• Alex Rodriguez told ESPNDeportes that he’s feeling healthy and still expects to be an everyday third baseman, even with a giant hole at the designated hitter spot.
• The Yankees announced their minor league coaching staffs with no real surprises.
• Derek Jeter was given the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award at his charity golf tournament, where Posada also made it clear that he’s still planning to retire.
• As expected, the Yankees missed out on the top designated hitter left on the market when Carlos Pena signed with the Rays. They also added competition to the DH market when the Tigers lost Victor Martinez to an injury.
• As the deadline to reach an agreement was closing in, the Rangers agreed to a deal with Yu Darvish. Predictably, it was a massive multi-year contract.
• In a deal that’s surely opening payroll for another addition, the Red Sox traded Marco Scutaro to the Rockies, leaving Boston with less-than-ideal options at shortstop.
• Finally, in accepting his MVP award last night, Ryan Braun addressed his recent “challenges” without commenting directly on his pending PED suspension. “I’ve always loved and had so much respect for the game of baseball,” he said. “Everything I’ve done in my career has been done with that respect and appreciation in mind.”
Associated Press photo of Hughes