Altuve Claims AP Male Athlete Of The Year

More Jardware For Jose...
(c) Major League Baseball
The honors keep rolling in for Astros second sacker Jose Altuve. On top of being the co-winner of the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year (with fellow Houston sports icon J.J. Watt), the AL MVP has now been voted the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year, as chosen by editors of AP sports bureaus around the country.

I may have to seriously rethink my belief of Houston as a media backwater where, in their minds, nothing important happens. Who knew one championship would bring this much attention?

Even better, Altuve is a fantastic role model for Houston fans to enjoy. His small stature, ever-ready smile and positive attitude make him instantly likeable while his family and Christian faith have kept him humble. He's the "little guy", in more ways than one, that everyone roots for. Well, everyone not based in Arlington, Boston or the Bronx.

Still, this is more than a baseball award. This covers all sports. Altuve beat out Lebron James, the king of the NBA. James had an MVP season but he lost in the finals to Golden State. Tom Brady, the MVP of the NFL, won his league title but was also embroiled in a suspension and feud over deflated footballs. There were no outside names like Tiger Woods or Lance Armstrong to dwell over. Altuve seems to have won this almost by default since he won an MVP, won the league title and stayed out of trouble.

Yet, with sports journalism becoming as politically correct as news journalism, one might have expected to see the editors choose quarterback Colin Kaepernick (who did not play this year) or a transgendered athlete just to make political hay over it.

With every major award Altuve wins, one can see the price tag for an extension getting higher and higher. You mean to tell me the league MVP, the Sportsperson of the Year, the Male Athlete of the Year earns just $6 million dollars per season from his employer? With Scott Boras as his agent, it wouldn't shock me to hear a contract offer exceeding $30 million per year now. Jim Crane had better be willing to pony up the money too because there might be mutiny on the bandwagon if the Astros let their hero walk in free agency.

The Astros could have probably negotiated a lower contract extension before this postseason began and made themselves look like shrewd business people. Now they're going to pay him $6 million this year and next (per his contract options) and either look like cheapskates or willing to watch him pull up stakes after 2019. That would be a truly sad ending for Houston fans.

In other news, we last reported that outfielder Preston Tucker had been designated for assignment. Since then, he has been traded to the Atlanta Braves for cash or a player to be named later. Preston's brother Kyle, is a high draft pick who is expected to reach Houston this season or next.

- Bob Hulsey