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Best New Ace 

Brandon McCarthy

Brandon McCarthy may have seemed like just another Billy Beane reclamation project when he was acquired for a pile of broken bats two seasons ago, but the big pitcher has turned out to be a major reason why the A's are still in the running in a race they should have been out of since Passover. Yet the reason to celebrate McCarthy, who is now the Athletics' number-one starting pitcher, has more to do with his character than his changeup. The hurler started this year on the cover of ESPN The Magazine (along with his equally fetching wife, Amanda) in an essay that explored how McCarthy learned to love his inner geek and turn stats into stardom. But even that pales before the standing ovation McCarthy earned for his blast at the loathsome "kiss cam," which allegedly entertains fans between innings at some big league ball parks. The kiss cam is between-inning tomfoolerly, where the camera folk find a pair of people sitting together and focus in, hoping that they'll kiss or mug for the rest of the audience. The gag that usually ends the focus on random ballpark couples is a zoom on a pair of the visiting team players sitting side-by-side in a dugout. Y'know, like they might be a couple, or, eeesh, kiss! McCarthy, unprompted, tweeted that the promotion was "offensive homophobia" and had no place in his heart. And thanks in part to McCarthy's views and those of his owners in Oakland, no place at an A's game either.

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(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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