While there are exceptions, most Chicago baseball players are having forgettable seasons. But we didn't want to feel left out from all the pomp and circumstance of the All-Star Game and the ESPYs on back-toback days this week.
So RedEye is doing what any conscientious publication would do: handing out a unique set of first-half baseball awards, courtesy of Julie DiCaro (Cubs) and Soxman (White Sox).
Julie DiCaro and Soxman are RedEye special contributors.
Phegley of the Year
The rookie of the year award has been renamed for the arrival of the White Sox chosen one. The heck with the Dos Equis guy, catcher Josh Phegley is the most interesting man in the world. His mulletlike hairdo is the preferred (stereotype) style of every male Sox fan. Many believe he was behind the return of the Twinkie and only Ding Dongs don't know his name. Even Chuck Norris knows: You're not feeling awesome, you're feeling Phegley.
The Windy City "K"
This award is dedicated to the man whose play best honors the city of Chicago's nickname by creating wafting winds (not wins) via the whiff. Through the first half of the season, Chris Sale's 131 Ks should have made him a lock for this award. Instead, the award goes to Adam Dunn. Sure Dunn has 23 fewer strikeouts (108) than Sale (131), but whose did more damage in the win-loss column? Any homeowner knows wind damage always results in a loss, so we are Dunn debating who wins this award.
As an award dedicated to a player who has blossomed, Tyler Flowers was the early-season favorite. As can't-miss prospects such as Brian Anderson and Josh Fields made us all forget about Aaron Rowand and Joe Crede, Flowers had to be the next big thing, right? Given that Flowers' season has wilted rather than bloomed, we tried changing the meaning of the award to the player who stinks most. Fans rejected the idea, so this honor goes to … no one. Keep trying, fellas.
The Holy Cow Award
This is the award for the best former Cub on the Sox roster. Donnie Veal was set to win the award but was pulled from consideration after animal rights activists protested the fact that Veal is made from baby cows. So the winner is Casper Wells, whose .184 batting average shows he's about as effective as a friendly ghost at scaring opposing teams' pitchers this year. All's Wells that ends Wells.
The Clean Slate Award
Anyone who has seen "The Dark Knight Rises" knows this award goes to the person or people most deserving of a fresh start, where the past is erased. While many of the players on the Sox roster would qualify for this distinction, this award goes to those who deserve it most: ALL WHITE SOX FANS. After having their backs broken by a Cubs sweep earlier in the year and enduring many heartbreaking defeats, this season has been the Bane of the Sox fan's existence. Unfortunately, while the Sox have a Robin (Ventura), there hasn't been a player this season whose offensive numbers would warrant calling him a Batman. So the Clean Slate Award likely will materialize in the form of white flag trades and roster retooling. Be patient, people of Soxtham, we shall rise again.
The Smell Ya Later Award
After refusing to abide by Cubs' wishes that he rehab his injured wrist with Cubs trainers in 2012, cantankerous infielder Ian Stewart managed to re-injure himself during his first at-bat in Spring Training. But there was no way Ian was going down quietly in 2013. He routinely took to Twitter to yell at fans, complain about his playing time and whine about his boss, earning him a 10-day suspension and a one-way ticket out of town. Vaya con Dios, Ian. Don't come back now, ya hear?
The Hate to See You Go But Love to Watch You Leave Award
After signing a minor league deal with the Cubs in April, Ryan Sweeney not only to made it to Wrigley in May, but also hit .295 and inspired his own meme of Ryan Gosling-themed "Hey Girl" images. Sadly for female Cubs fans everywhere, Ryan broke a rib in late June (probably doing something sexy) and landed on the 60-day DL. Hurry back, Ryan. Miss you.
The Hey, It's You! Award
After two years of being "that other Wood guy in the Sean Marshall trade," Travis Wood finally gave bros everywhere a reason to bust the "We've Got Wood!" shirts out of storage. Though fans groaned when he was named to the starting rotation in Spring Training, Wood turned out to be the star of the Cubs' starting rotation, not to mention the manliest, as judged by overall beard growth.
The Oh Hey … It's You Award
Where to begin with Edwin Jackson? How about with the $52 million the Cubs gave him in the offseason? Though Jackson has been better as of late, his 6-10 record and 5.11 ERA don't exactly have Cubs fans jumping for joy each time he heads to the mound. In fact, it has most of us cringing in terror. He has, however, managed to inspire the phrase "EJax Inning," which is now shorthand around baseball for an inning in which pitcher gets lit up. So don't say he never did anything for his fellow man.
The "Single White Female" Award
I hate to be the one to bring this up, but at least one member of the Cubs might want to look into a restraining order. Is it just me, or has reliever James Russell, who wins this awards hands down, gone all Jennifer Jason Leigh on Jeff Samardzija lately? While Samardzija certainly has the best hair of the two, Russell should consider emulating someone with a better ERA than his own 2.78 mark. And let's just hope Russell doesn't have a pair of stilettos in his locker.