Alex Gordon, who just a short time ago was playing 3rd base for the Royals, was awarded a Gold Glove for his work this season in left field. Jeff Francoeur was a finalist in right field, but was beaten out by Nick Markakis. The last Royal to win a Gold Glove was Mark Grudizelanek's lifetime achievement-esque award in 2006.
I don't know if Gordon was the best left fielder in baseball, and right now, I really don't care. As one of the pro-Gordon Royals fans, I'm simply happy to see him earn some recognition. We heard quite a bit about Francoeur's arm (because we hear a lot about all things Francoeur), but it was actually Gordon who led the Majors with 20 assists. Let's just say, it wasn't Gordon that I remember some Royals officials glowing about on Twitter this summer. Amongst fans, my sense is that it was something of a surprise that Gordon was even a finalist, much less a winner.
But that's how Gordon's 2011 has gone. After years of injuries, uneven performance, and more than a little bad luck, Gordon revived his career.
Although I was mildly critical of the Royals above (more from the PR side of things) credit should go to the men involved in the decision to move Gordon off of third a few years back. I don't think Gordon was a disaster in the infield, but perhaps the new position helped him focus more on hitting. Certainly, his glove played this season as well. And moreover, since the move was made early enough, we have a smooth transition to the Shea Hillenbrand era at the hot corner.
In an era of widely available advanced defensive metrics, the Gold Gloves aren't what they used to be. This is a good thing. Nevertheless, for the time being, they're still a part of the conversation, and, perhaps just as importantly, part of the historical record. This award is thus a nice honor for Gordon, something that will stick on the back of his baseball card for the rest of his career. Congrats to Alex. Now let's see if he can muster a Top 10 MVP finish, which is sorely deserved.