Everybody knows that you can’t be a legitimate newspaper column without having year-end awards. So without further adieu, I give you the never-acclaimed 2015 Cheap Seats Awards (CSA). While most end-of-the-year reviews focus on the positives, being a bastion of fair-and-balanced coverage requires the CSAs to include the worst as well. That sense of fair play has led to the highly creative names of The Bestie and The Worstie for our soon-to-be coveted awards. We tried to get Neil Walker to host this year, but the Buccos shipped him off to the Mets and the show must go on.
Bestie for Best Destruction of an Inanimate Object. Also known as the Jeff Reed Award, this year’s winner is Pirates utility man Sean Rodriguez. Serpico gave Bucs’ fans the only highlight of the Pirates nine-inning postseason. Rodriguez beat up a Gatorade cooler like a fresh-faced mob hitman beating up a snitch. His appetite for destruction earned him another one-year contract with the team.
Bestie for Sweetest Mustache. This award goes to Baldwin native and former Pitt head football coach Dave Wannstedt. Since Pittsburgh now has the Mustache Hall of Fame, mustaches are as important here as hockey is in Canada. Although he no longer works in the city proper, he is still involved in college football. He boasts one of the best native ‘staches since George Westinghouse.
Bestie for Team of the Year. The year’s winner is the Pittsburgh Passion professional women’s football team. These ladies brought home a second-straight world championship in 2015. The Steelers and Penguins are both in seven-year championship droughts while the Pirates drought is approaching middle age. Seems like all the heavy trophy-lifting around here is being done by the women.
Next Man Up Bestie. Pitt running back Qadree Ollison is the clear winner here. Although, I have to say that I detest the term “next-man-up mentality.” It’s not a mentality but a requirement. There is no team in any sport that doesn’t have a backup player ready when someone gets injured. Nobody plays shorthanded in a game because they don’t have a replacement. Stop saying, “We have adopted the next-man-up mentality.” It is in no way unique to anyone. Alas, Ollison wins it for filling in for the injured James Connor at running back for Pitt. He responded by rushing for more than 200 yards in his first game as a freshman.
Worstie for Worst Fan Trend. Pirates fans win here for their incessant “wooing” at PNC Park. There is only one Nature Boy and that is Ric Flair. We do not need 38,000 of him (all apologies to Buddy Rogers and Buddy Landell). Admit it. If it were another city whose fans walked around wooing like they just climbed Space Mountain, you would want to hit them with a Gatorade bucket.
Worstie for Worst Spelling of the Name Jeff. This award is a clear runaway for former Pirate Jaff Decker. Yes, it is pronounced Jeff, but a mistake on his birth certificate made him Jaff. Apparently his parents were too lazy to go back and correct it. But Jazzy Jaff is old enough now that he can change it himself. Another ex-Pirate Geoff Jenkins is a previous winner of this award.
Worstie for Worst Trade of the Year. And the winner is … former Jags kicker Josh Scobee. A draft pick was given up for a kicker that lost us a couple of games and was replaced by someone who never played in an NFL game. Had the Steelers traded two Beanie Babies, a Cosby Show DVD, and an old sandwich to the Jags for him, they still would have lost that swap.
Worstie for Worst Off-Season Move That Negatively Affected a Fan’s Life (the WOSMTNAFL for short) goes to the Pirates for not re-signing Pedro Alvarez. This move effectively ended the career of the fan known as Fake Pedro. Fake Pedro (also known as Demitrius Thorn) had received media attention (including a City Paper cover) and love from the fans because he kind of looked like Alvarez. He showed up to the games dressed as his quasi-doppelganger and oddly enough was a better fielder. Now what is Fake Pedro to do? He could lose weight, grow his hair out and try to be Fake Sean Rodriguez. His only other option is to move to whatever city signs Real Pedro and just hope those fans will embrace him. Poor Fake Pedro, it’s not easy sort of resembling a baseball player who hits .236.