1. The 2021 MVP awards are in: Shohei Ohtani and Bryce Harper
The first was most obvious, as one of the most iconic seasons in baseball history gets its official cherry on top:
His numbers, this past year:
9–2, 3.18 ERA
46 HR, .965 OPS, 100 RBI, 26 steals
And then in the National League, it was much more of a battle — coming down to Juan Soto and Bryce Harper, with Fernando Tatis Jr. just on the outside, with the time he’d missed from injury, and in the end:
2. The Tokyo Tower lit up in red to honor Shohei Ohtani
A national hero.
Here’s even a video from downtown Tokyo last night, the moment the lights came on:
3. The stat of the day: Bryce Harper winning MVP for two teams
4. The Cleveland Guardians got off to a bad start today
This morning was the debut of a new name, a new identity, for the Cleveland baseball team, and the official storefront had a bit of an issue.
5. A reaction to the problem of Cy Young Award voters seemingly disregarding innings pitched
Corbin Burnes had a lower ERA than Zack Wheeler, the two primary finalists for the N.L. Cy Young Award, won in the end by Burnes—but here was the difference in innings pitched:
167 (Burnes) vs. 213.1 (Wheeler)
6. The potential for an MLB lockout looms this offseason
Not worth spending a lot of time on the topic, as it’ll only lead to depressing thoughts, but this may become a real problem soon.
7. Brian Cashman got into a sleeping bag outside last night for charity
An odd sight at first, stumbling upon it on Twitter, but a very nice gesture upon reading the backstory.
But if anyone thought he wasn’t still wheeling and dealing with offseason baseball moves, think again — Matt Olson or Anthony Rizzo might just be signed from a sleeping bag:
8. Here’s three-time MVP Mike Trout congratulating teammate Shohei Ohtani
“It was like watching little league all over again.”
9. Other notes from around the league yesterday
Minor-leaguers won a victory, as they’ll now be provided housing (after a long battle about poor conditions and salaries).
Wander Franco, who might just be the best hitter in baseball over the next decade, has been offered an extension from the Rays — who’ll have no other way to hang onto him but this.
Here’s what Ronald Acuña Jr.’s rehab has been looking like:
And newly hired Mets GM made his first press appearances today.
10. Tackier baseballs to help pitchers may be coming next year
There aren’t yet many developments to this, but here was Manfred yesterday when asked about resolving the issue — after the infamous sticky checks went on, strangely, directly on the TV cameras for over half of this past season.
11. Aaron Hicks will be playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic
After missing most of the 2021 season with an injury, he starts his comeback in the Caribbean — joining the ranks of Albert Pujols, his soon-to-be teammate.
12. And lastly, Adam Wainwright decided to go serve food outside of a courthouse yesterday
Just days after he won the dunk tank clown game, as he continues his drifting the earth doing good deeds.
He might even need to bring the singing back (see 2017):