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MLBPA’s “Heart and Hustle” award has amusing candidates

Oct 26, 2010, 4:17 PM EDT

heart and hustle

Today the MLB players association released the list of 30 candidates for their annual “Heart and Hustle” award that’s “presented to an active player who demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit, and traditions of the game.”

A few things about the candidates list stood out to me …

• Matt Kemp is the Dodgers’ candidate, which is pretty extraordinary given that his own general manager publicly criticized his lack of hustle throughout the season. His heart must be off the charts to make up for it. Or something.

• Dustin Pedroia is the Red Sox’s candidate. His “heart” was so big that he missed the final 40 games of the season after trying to play through a foot injury that worsened. He did show a lot of “hustle” by taking infield reps from his knees while on the disabled list.

• Pablo Sandoval is the Giants’ candidate, which is a remarkable accomplishment for a 5-foot-11, 250-pound man who runs the bases like he’s wearing skates.

• I’m not sure if Twins candidate Nick Punto deserves the “heart and hustle” award but I’d certainly be in favor of giving him the “false hustle” award for sliding head-first into first base on every close play this decade.

• Of the 30 candidates listed, 17 of them can probably be described as “white guys.” Most of the time in surveys about “hustle” or its various synonyms Caucasians unfortunately tend to dominate, but in this case that’s right around MLB’s overall “white guy” population. Not surprisingly, the inaugural winner of the award back in 2005 was David Eckstein, but in fairness Albert Pujols was the winner last season.

  1. JBerardi - Oct 26, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    You know, If both Albert Pujols and David Eckstein have won your award, it might be time to revisit the criteria for that award…

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Oct 26, 2010 at 4:44 PM

      …or the usefulness of having the award to begin with.

  2. ThatGuy - Oct 26, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    Shouldn’t this be called the David Eckstien memorial award?

  3. scatterbrian - Oct 26, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    Why is race an issue here? I understand “hustle” and “heart” are usually crass descriptions for white guys, but ~57% of the guys on this list being white is not anything close to a racial bias. What sucks is this comment probably gets deleted like a few of the other dissenting comments earlier.

  4. hasbeen5 - Oct 27, 2010 at 8:16 AM

    Wow, comment deleted? At least he changed the post and took out the crap we called him on.

  5. Adam - Oct 27, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    Can we get a Nick Punto/Brett Gardner slide off for the award?

    Whoever gets injured first wins the award.

  6. thatguyinthecorner - Oct 27, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    What I think is funny is the “journalist” that wrote the article could not even get the organization that presents the award correct. Great research!

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