“Thank, you Mark (Feinsand, the NY BBWAA chapter chairman). Before I get started, (Hall of Fame writer) Bob Elliott said he forgot to thank his son, Bob Jr., during his speech and wanted to make sure I did it for him. So, Bob Jr., Bob Elliott truly appreciates you being a great son and supporting him (laughter from audience).
“I’ve really been looking foward to this night for a long time. I first want say thank you to the Baseball Writers Association of America for this incredibly prestigious award. I want to congratulate all of the other award winners and recipients who are here tonight. It’s truly a privilege to be part of this night and be here with all of you guys.
“I want to take a moment to congratulate Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Prince Fielder, Troy Tulowitzki, Albert Pujols among many others who were also deserving of this award as well. It’s truly an honor for me to be surrounded by so many people in this room who share my deep love and respect for the game of baseball, including those who cover it, all the fans that are here today and all of us who play the game of baseball.
“I’d like to say thank you to the entire Milwaukee Brewers organization for believing in me, for drafting me, for helping to develop me as a baseball player and a person. I specifically want to say thank you to Mark Attanasio and his wife Debbie and their entire ownership group. I want to thank Doug Melvin, Gord Ash and our manager, Ron Roenicke, for all being here tonight and for your incredible support. Thank you, guys.
“I want to thank my teammates and the rest of our coaching staff for putting me in an environment and a position to succeed. For me, tonight is about them and what they have accomplished as much as it is about me. I know that if I didn’t play on an incredible team and I wasn’t a part of a special organization, I wouldn’t be standing here tonight.
“I want to thank my family for their love and support and encouragement. I want to thank them for instilling in me a lot of the values and morals that I live my life by today. I want to thank my dad Joe, my mom Diane, my brother Steve, my grandfather Bob and his wife Liz for all being here tonight and supporting me. I also want to thank my beautiful girlfriend Larisa for being here as well, for being my best friend. I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget you because that would be trouble.
“I want to thank my agency, CAA Sports, Marissa Edler, Terry Prince and my agent, Nez Balelo, for your endless support, for being one of my best friends and for being part of every step of this journey with me. Thank you.
“I also wanted to take a moment to thank the players association for supporting me throughout my career and especially for supporting me through everything I went through over the last couple of months. Thank you, guys.
“Sometimes in life we all deal with challenges we never expected to endure. We have an opportunity to look as those challenges and view them either as obstacles or opportunities. I’ve chosen to view every challenge I’ve ever faced as an opportunity and this will be no different. I’ve always believed that a person’s character is revealed through the way they deal with those moments of adversity.
“I’ve always loved and had so much respect for the game of baseball. Everything I’ve done in my career has been done with that respect and appreciation in mind, and that is why I’m so grateful and humbled to accept this award tonight. Thank you again to everybody and I hope you guys enjoy the rest of your evening.”