Last year, all I wanted was for Andres Torres to win a Gold Glove. That, and for the feeling of the post-championship bliss to hum and course through our veins forever and ever as we never grew old, never grew bitter, never had to face reality again. That, and maybe a bag of pistachios. Those things are expensive. But Andres Torres winning a Gold Glove was high on the list.
It didn't happen. Shane Victorino picked up sympathy votes, Michael Bourn deserved one, and Carlos Gonzalez … was dating Francine Gold Glove, the heiress to the Gold Glove fortune. If you can think of a better explanation, I'd love to read it. Gonzalez isn't even one of the finalists this year, being left off the final ballot of left fielders in favor of Ryan Braun and Matt Holliday, the latter of whom is famous for trying to catch baseballs with his groin. Yet last year, Gonzalez was supposed to be better than Torres. Okay.
The Gold Gloves are a little bit different this year, in that there's a televised awards ceremony (7:00 p.m. tonight on ESPN2, I think), and there are a list of finalists. Coaches and managers vote, and I'm guessing the top three become the finalists, which allows for a drumroll-please moment for the broadcast. The other difference is that the outfield category is split up into the different positions, so there's a LF winner, a CF winner, and a RF winner.
Torres isn't even on the list of finalists this year, which isn't that big of a surprise, even if he deserves it. He wasn't as superlative as he was last year, though, when he was one of the better center fielders I've ever watched in a Giants uniform, up there with Darryl Hamilton, Tsuyoshi Shinjo, and Darren Lewis. He was even better than Marvin Benard at times.
But even though I pretend to be too cool to care about Gold Gloves, invoking the travesty of Rafael Palmeiro twice a year, I secretly care about Gold Gloves. And this year, I care about two of the awards very deeply.
Hope #1: Pablo Sandoval wins
And he was the best third baseman I watched in the National League this season. He wouldn't have a chance in the American League with Adrian Beltre or Evan Longoria, but he had an amazing renaissance with the glove this season. Truth is, when he was yoinked from starting duties in the playoffs mostly because of his defense, I thought it was a huge overreaction. Turns out it indirectly led to Edgar Renteria starting, which led to us hopping around like fools 365 days ago, so it all worked out. Even better, it might have also led to Sandoval having a come-to-Buster moment, where he realized that he needed to take better care of himself.
He worked hard in the offseason. The exact pound count doesn't really matter, nor does the fact that he put a little of the weight back on by the end of the season. What did matter was that he was clearly more agile all season. He had better range, he had quicker hands, and his arm remained a huge asset. Look at this guy:
So I care about him winning a Gold Glove. It would be a validation of his hard work. And that's before you even check in with the UZR rankings, which had Pablo as the bestest third baseman in the NL. By rate, at least. When you take into account the month Sandoval missed, Placido Polanco saved more runs. Polanco is also nominated. Polanco will almost certainly win.
So that squashes that hope. But there is another.
Hope #2: Carlos Beltran wins
This is very important. Because here's what I remember about Beltran's defense:
I want Beltran back, remember. He's still a good player. But when I think "best defender at his position", Beltran isn't on the list. I think the phrase "an indifferent Glenallen Hill" is way, way, way too hyperbolic. But I did just think of it while trying to describe Beltran's defense! So it must mean something.
Beltran should win so there can be a) more awards for the Giants, and b) another benchmark with which to acknowledge the Gold Gloves, so that when people we like (such as Torres or Pablo) don't win, we can just say "Beltran!" to acknowledge the silliness of the awards in the first place.
I hate Gold Gloves, and I don't care about them. I hope you enjoyed this article about how much I care about Gold Gloves.