There are, to invoke A's first baseman Scott Hatteberg, Cy Youngs
(Barry Zito) and Cy Olds (Roger Clemens), most valuable players
and least valuable ones (hello, Cesar Izturis!). Here is SI's
list of dishonorifics, a.k.a. the annual awards for the Most
Ridiculous Performances (MRPs) of 2003.
--LITTLE OFF THE TOP AWARD To then Mets shortstop Rey Sanchez, who
allegedly retired to the clubhouse to get a trim during a 13-4
loss to the Cardinals in April.
--SAMSONITE AGONISTES AWARD To Mariners closer Kazuhiro Sasaki,
who spent two months on the disabled list with fractured ribs
after falling on his suitcase.
--CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN AWARD To Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella,
who decreed that his players wear dress pants to home games,
explaining, "You're a major league player. You get paid like a
major league player. At least resemble one when you get to the
September 28, 2003
--HEDGING HIS BETS AWARD To Orioles manager Mike Hargrove, who
told reporters after righthander Sidney Ponson had been traded to
the San Francisco Giants, "I've got a special feeling for Sidney,
and I will in 20 years--unless he blows up my house or
--PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES AWARD To Giants outfielder Tony
Torcato, who, after being promoted from Triple A Fresno, arrived
in New York City to join the team on Aug. 14--the day of the
blackout in the Northeast. Torcato slept on the floor at JFK
International Airport before driving to Hartford, then catching a
plane to meet the club in Montreal. Torcato went 0 for 3 in two
games against the Expos and was sent back to the minors.
--GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN AWARD To the Reds, who on Aug. 15 gave
fans promotional card sets featuring fired manager Bob Boone,
fired coaches Tim Foli and Tom Robson, and five traded players.
--I CAN'T BELIEVE THEY ATE THE WHOLE THING AWARD To the Angels for
cutting pitcher Kevin Appier (owed $15.6 million), the Tigers for
cutting infielder Damion Easley ($14.3 million) and the Devil
Rays for cutting designated hitter Greg Vaughn ($9.25 million).
Those are the three largest contractual obligations to released
players in baseball history.
--BEAT THE TRAFFIC AWARD To Rangers outfielder Juan Gonzalez, out
for the season with a torn calf muscle, who cleaned out his
locker with two weeks left in the season and left the team to
return to his off-season home in Puerto Rico.
--NEVER LET 'EM SEE YOU SWEAT AWARD To A's reliever Mike Neu, who
earned his first career save by pitching three scoreless innings
against the Blue Jays. When he entered the game, Oakland was
--DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU AWARD To White Sox reliever Jose
Paniagua, who was released a day after his only appearance with
the team. Paniagua allowed four earned runs in one third of an
inning, then screamed at home plate umpire Mark Carlson and made
an obscene gesture to Carlson as he left the field. The nameplate
above Paniagua's locker at U.S. Cellular Field was replaced by
one reading LOST AND FOUND.
--HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL AWARD To Devil Rays prospect Delmon Young,
the first player taken in the June amateur draft, who said upon
signing with the club, "We should be able to win that World
Series title before 2010." --Daniel G. Habib