Here at NotGraphs, we take comedy seriously. Example: Each morning, rather than perform the standard 500 knee bends and 500 jumping jacks, I stand on the porch and quip 1,000 times, “I just got out of bed and, boy, are my arms tired!” Additional example: Each night as I go to bed, instead of brushing my standard teeth and reciting the standard prayers, I commence the ancient practice of pretending to churn butter, which is something I do throughout the night and into the morning.
I’m not sure what churning butter – or pretending to churn butter – has to do with serious comedy, but the point is this: Using the newly announced FanGraphs Player of the Year Award as our muse and guide, we here at NotGraphs do hereby announce the NotGraphs Player of the Year Award!
(Hold for applause.)
(While holding for applause, brush teeth.)
The criteria for the award will be simple: Which player, through his on-field performance, his on-or-off-field antics or even his name – Quackenbush! – most deserves to be recognized for his hilarious contributions to the game? It is an attempt to honor outstanding funniness and to consider the relative merit of all players who contributed humorousity during the 2014 season, regardless (or even irregardless) of whether “humorousity” is a word.
Certainly, we recognize that we are not the first organization to create its own Player of the Year Award, as the Joking News, Hilarity America and the LOL Comedian’s Association all have similar awards, many of which, by necessity, come with a laugh track, because otherwise it’s just crickets and tumbleweeds. However, as we are a comedy-only site, and one that focuses heavily on attempting to quantify player-comedy value, we think it is likely that we may come to different conclusions than other organizations, and we would rather spend our time honoring players we think are worthy rather than trying to convince other organizations to adopt our methodology and/or our pet comedy dog, Chuckles, who at this very instant is humping the annual LOL Comedian’s Association Trophy.
And no, to answer the obvious question, the award will not simply be based on a player’s Laughs Above Replacement. Why? Well, because the math is extremely difficult, especially when your arms are tired and the abacus beads are heavy.
The NotGraphs Player of the Year Award will be voted on by one member of the NotGraphs staff – me! – because a lot of the NotGraphs guys appear to be gone. Has anybody seen them? Are they writing comedy jokes on a corner somewhere? True story: I sent up comedy flares last night in hopes of finding them, but all I got in return was Dane Cook offering a free-drink coupon in exchange for one good joke.
In any case, the award will be awarded – with Groucho glasses and a plastic lapel flower that squirts very funny water! – at an extremely hilarious time, such as when the player has finally gotten hold of a customer service agent.
The candidates thus far include:
Munenori Kawasaki (Funny Ha-Ha Category)
Jonathan Papelbon (Funny Weird Category)
Hunter Pence (Funny Weird And Ha-Ha Category)
Yasiel Puig (Yasiel Puig Category)
Adrian Beltre (Vaudeville Category)
Derek Holland (Ryan Dempster Category)
Justin Verlander (Schadenfreude Category)
Kevin Quackenbush (Quackenbush/Gosewisch Category)
Dan Uggla* (So Bad It’s Not Even Funny Anymore Category)
B.J. Upton (Uggla Category)
In addition, I will run a crowd-sourced ballot in the comments section, where you, as an ultra-humorous commenter whose coworkers just cannot appreciate true comedic genius, can place your own nominees, along with any comedy jokes I can give to Dane Cook.
So, don’t be shy in letting me know who you think the NotGraphs Player of the Year should be! There are a number of players having hilarious seasons – Quackenbush! – but only one will be honored as the humorousity-est player of 2014 as evaluated by a solitary comedy nerd whose arms are tired, and yet not so tired that he can’t pat himself on the back for doing all this.
*No longer active, except in the mind’s eye.
John Paschal is a regular contributor to The Hardball Times and The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.