(Editor’s note: Ah, New Year’s. A time of year for all of the various articles handing out “best-of-the-year” awards to come pouring out. Not to be outdone, The Pundit has joined in the holiday tradition with his first annual “Punny Awards.” One quick note: These awards will not include the current Flyers, Sixers, or any of the college basketball teams. Everything will be from teams that played the majority of their season in 2008. On to the awards!)
Award shows are really where it’s at. I mean, they’re so ridiculous. Famous audience members pretending to not posture for the camera. Cheesy video montages. And, my favorite, the poorly scripted and unenthusiastically delivered introductions to each award by disinterested celebrities who are probably half-tanked. I think that’s how we’ll run the Punnies.
And so, with that in mind, please put your hands together for Samuel L. Jackson, who will be presenting the Punny for Quote of the Year.
Samuel L. Jackson: PLEASE PUT THE MOTHER EFFING ENVELOPE IN MY MOTHER EFFING HAND! This year’s Punny for Quote of the year is…DAMN, I GAVE MYSELF A PAPER CUT!…Donovan McNabb, for “Overtime Rules!”
“I’ve never been a part of a tie. I never even knew that was in the rule book. It’s part of the rules and we have to go with it. I was looking forward to the next opportunity to get out there and try to drive to win the game…I hate to see what happens in the Super Bowl or I hate to see what happens in the playoffs. You have to settle with a tie.”
The Pundit: Yup, that really happened. And around the country, journalists and bloggers alike licked their lips. This will never touch Allen Iverson’s “Practice,” which obviously has a Lifetime Achievement Punny. But this one was pretty classic, nonetheless.
And now, to present the Punny for Most Surprising Team of the Year, here’s Plaxico Burress.
Plaxico Burress: Isn’t this a blast? Surprises can be fun, like, you know, surprise parties and stuff. Sometimes, they aren’t so fun, like when you shoot yourself in the leg. I mean, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, seeing as that particular gun wasn’t equipped with a safety, and was tucked into your sweatpants, but…wait a minute, yo. Who wrote this? I’m not reading anymore of this crap. This year’s Punny for Most Surprising Team goes to…The 2008 Philadelphia 76ers!
The Pundit: After 48 games, the Sixers were 18-30. Sure, they made the playoffs with a paltry 40-42 record – but they also finished the year on a 22-12 run. Did anyone really think, before the start of this season, that the Sixers would make the playoffs? Did you see Andre Iguodala stepping up like he did? Though I didn’t expect the Flyers to make the playoff-run that they did, I figured they would have a pretty good year. The Phillies seemed like a team destined come September, and the Eagles finished, albeit in infuriating fashion, right around where many people predicted they would. The Sixers were a surprise.
And now, to present the Punny for Game of the Year – here’s Andy Reid!
Andy Reid: Yeah, well, um, first of all, I just want to say that, cough, it’s great to be, um, up here and all. Cough, right. Anyway, this year saw some really, guffaw, great games by a lot of, snort, pretty good teams. Cough. Games where the players played their best, cough. Games where the coach, um, didn’t, cough, blow the game plan. Like, cough, running the ball 16 straight times, which, cough, um, you know, I gotta take credit for that, um, yeah, cough. Who wrote this, cough? Anyway, uh, without further, um, ado, the Punny for Game of the Year, cough, is… The Phillies’ 8-7, 13 inning victory over the Mets!
The Pundit: In the grand scheme of things, there were certainly more important games for all of Philly’s teams this year. You could make an argument for a slew of other Phillies’ games, like their Game 2 victory over the Brewers, or the Game 4 win against the Dodgers, or the epic Game 5 win over the Rays, the Series winner. But I have never seen a crazier game then the win over the Mets, which put them in first place, by the way. They overcame a 7-run deficit. Carlos Ruiz played third base. Chris Coste had four hits after entering the game in the eighth. Hell, relive it again here. One of the craziest baseball games I have ever seen, period.
And now, here’s the guy who called that game, to announce this year’s Punny for Moment of the Year. Ladies and Gentlemen, please stand to honor the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies, the one and only Harry Kalas!
Harry Kalas: Thank you, Mr. Pundit. Ladies and Gentlemen, there’s only one moment that could really be the Moment of the Year. After waiting 25 years for a championship in this town, is there any doubt? And didn’t every single minute, waiting in a rain-soaked, 48-hour delay, make you relive those 25 years? Ladies and Gentlemen, the Punny for Moment of the Year ended the pain – Brad Lidge’s strikeout of Eric Hinske to win the 2008 World Series!
The Pundit: I’ll never forget this moment, standing on a couch, arm-in-arm with my friends, barely able to look at the screen. And that pitch, that knee-buckling slider that God himself thought was pretty nasty, spun toward the plate in slow motion. And when that pitch crossed the plate, and the Phillies had won the World Series, it was as joyous and wonderful a moment as I’ve ever experienced in sports. In that moment, at exactly the same time, all of Philadelphia let out a yell of relieved joy. We did it – we won the World Series!
And now, here to present the Coach/Manager of the year is an old face – Buddy Ryan!
Buddy Ryan: I’m not going to read the crap they gave me. A bunch of bullshit, if you ask me. As a matter of fact, I’ll put 50 bucks in the hand of the man who can knock out that writer. Have at it, boys. The damn Punny for Coach of the Year goes to Charlie Manuel. Duh.
The Pundit: Down the stretch, he could do no wrong. He juggled the lineup when guys were beat up or struggling. He managed the bullpen masterfully. He made late-inning switches that were prophetic. And most importantly, he understood the personalities and abilities of his players, created an atmosphere that they felt comfortable playing in, and earned their undying respect and trust. That, and every time I watch the footage after the Phils won the World Series, where he uncharacteristically yells, “This is for you, Philadelphia,” I get goosebumps. He gets it. He gets us. And he’ll always be one of us. Thanks, Charlie.
And now, another transplant: please put your hands together for Allen Iverson, who will be presenting the Punny for Player of the Year.
Allen Iverson: Punny? He named the award Punny? I mean, Punny? Punny? The name of the award is Punny? Not Pundits? Not Pundits, not Pundits, Punny! The name is Punny! Anyway, the Punny for Player of the Year is…Brad Lidge.
The Pundit: I mean, he was perfect. Cole was amazing in the postseason, but he didn’t affect as many games as Lidge did. Howard started way too slow. If Lidge blows one game, just one game, the entire Phillies season may have ended differently. But he was perfect. Andre Iguodala had a great year, but he didn’t have much of an impact in the playoffs against Detroit. Marty Biron was out of his mind in the playoffs, but he wasn’t as good in the regular season as Lidge was, and even in the playoffs, Lidge was the better stopper. Nobody from the Eagles really stands out this year. This one is certainly up for debate, but I have to go with Lidge for Player of the Year.
Finally, we come to the Punny for Team of the Year. This team needs no introduction, so I won’t bother with one: the 2008, World Phucking Champions, Philadelphia Phillies.
A magical season, indeed. Will you ever forget Brett Myers drawing a walk against CC Sabathia, or the Shane Victorino grand salami that followed? Will you ever forget Matt Stairs’ homer in Game 4 against the Dodgers? How about Cole Hamels’ dominance throughout the entire playoffs? Or Jimmy Rollins leading off Game 5 against the Dodgers with a home run? What about the wild World Series Game 3 win in the bottom of the ninth, on Carlos Ruiz’s infield dribbler? Or Game 5? The damn rain delay. The absolutely crazy 3 1/2 innings that followed. Pat Burrell’s last hurrah as a Phillie with his eighth-inning double. Chase Utley’s fake-throw to first, throw-to-home play. Brad Lidge’s final strikeout. They will always be a part of Philadelphia history, and they are this year’s Punny winner for Team of the Year.
Thanks for tuning in to the First Annual Punny Awards. Surely, there will be disagreements – voice them here. I’ll be back on Friday with an Eagles vs. Vikings preview, playoff style. Happy New Year, everyone.