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October 26, 2008

Hank Aaron

Doug Koshima

Aramis Ramirez

Allan H. "Bud" Selig

Kevin Youkilis


KARL RAVECH: Hello and welcome everyone. I'm Karl Ravech of ESPN. Tonight we're here to present the 2008 Sharp Presents the Hank Aaron Award. Obviously tonight the circumstances are better, the game is going to start on time and everyone is in a little better mood. Let me introduce the dais, the Commissioner of baseball of course in the middle is Bud Selig.
The Hall of Famer, to his left is Hank Aaron.
Doug Koshima, the original Dice-K by the way, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sharp Electronics Corporation. He gave me his card, and it does, it's the original Dice-K.
Aramis Ramirez is here of the Chicago Cubs.
And Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox.
On behalf of Major League Baseball, I also want to acknowledge several guests that are seated in the first row. Billye Aaron, the wife of Hank Aaron is here.
Enza Sambataro, soon to be the wife of Kevin Youkilis is here as well.
Judah Zeigler, the Associate Vice President of Retail and Consumer Marketing of Sharp Electronics.
And Tim Brosnan is here, the Executive Vice President of Business for Major League Baseball.
The way this award work, there's a selection process consisting of 30 nominees, one from each club. That was presented to a special panel, which was assembled by Major League Baseball and MajorLeagueBaseball.com. From September 23rd to October 12th, fans were given an opportunity to vote on line from the list of 30 nominees to determine the American and National League representatives.
I would like to introduce the Baseball Commissioner, Bud Selig, who is going to explain the origin and the meaning of the Sharp Presents the Hank Aaron Award.
COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: Thank you, Karl. I want to thank all of you for joining us here tonight to honor Hank Aaron. One of the baseball's all-time great players.
We have two great hitters in Major League Baseball this year, who won this award, Aramis Ramirez of the Chicago Cubs, and Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox.
The Hank Aaron Award which is presented to the most outstanding offensive performers in the American and National League, was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Hank breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record. At that time the award was the first major award introduced by Major League Baseball in more than 25 years. Hank, I'd like to thank you once again for joining us in presenting this award. It's an honor to have you with us, as always.
I would also like to thank Sharp, the presenting sponsor of the award. Sharp is in its second year of sponsorship agreement with Major League Baseball, and I thank Doug Koshima, the chairman and chief executive officer of Sharp Electronics Corporation, pleasure to have you.
Aramis and Kevin, both of you had outstanding seasons in your respective leagues. Aramis finished the season batting .289 with 97 runs scored, a career high of 44 doubles, 27 home runs and a club high of 111 runs batted in.
Kevin had a career high .312 batting average with 43 doubles and led the Red Sox with 29 home runs and 115 runs batted in. Both of you are deserving winners of the Hank Aaron Award. You now join an impressive list of hitters that have won this award. Congratulations. (Applause.)
KARL RAVECH: We'll hear from both Aramis and Kevin in just a second. Before we do that, thank you, Commissioner Selig.
We're honored to have with us the original Dice-K, Doug Koshima, Chairman and CEO of Sharp Electronics, and I'd like to invite Doug to say a few things.
DOUG KOSHIMA: Thank you, Karl. Good evening, everyone. Before I make my comments, I'd like to say what an honor it is to be sharing the dais with Mr. Hank Aaron. A super athlete who exemplifies teamwork, sportsmanship and everything that has always been great about the game of baseball.
As an avid baseball fan, I can't think of anyone who could pay Sharp Electronics a greater compliment by allowing us to be associated with the award that bears his name.
We also are honored to be the official high-definition television of Major League Baseball. I think last night's game shows just how exciting the sport of baseball truly is. And showed that if fans cannot be at the game, there is simply no better way to watch it than in spectacular high-definition TV, which I did. (Laughter).
I did the end of All-Star Game in our office's boardroom. Even though I was attending the All-Star Game, I left around the eighth inning and watched the last part of the All-Star Game at the 65-inch high-definition TV.
The winners of this year's Sharp Presents Hank Aaron Award will each receive 65-inch AQUOS high-definition TV. So when they're not on the field, themselves, they'll be able to enjoy the game as it was truly meant to be viewed.
This year has been an exciting one for Sharp. As we have actively partnered with Major League Baseball in advancing the game through our sponsorship. It is fitting that in a year that included an amazing All-Star week at Yankee Stadium, and a World Series that is shaping up to be a true battle between two worthy teams. We come here tonight on the 10th anniversary of Sharp Presents the Hank Aaron Award to honor two of the current greats of the game.
As Commissioner Selig mentioned, the Sharp Presents the Hank Aaron Award honors the most outstanding offensive performer in each league during the course of the preceding season.
While the commissioner will share with you the accomplishments of this year's winner, I simply want to conclude my remarks tonight by saying on behalf of every employee in the Sharp family, congratulations to Aramis and Kevin, and thank you, Major League Baseball, and most importantly to Mr. Hank Aaron for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this very special award. Thank you.
KARL RAVECH: Thank you, Mr. Koshima. We are, privileged as Doug has pointed out several times, to be joined tonight by the Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, and it's an opportunity we all should enjoy to hear him say a few words.
HANK AARON: First let me thank the Commissioner. I certainly want to congratulate two players who are the honorees tonight, congratulations to you.
I suppose that after ten years, there are certain things I think that you look back and you say will never happen. And to have anything named after you or named for you, rather, is quite an honor. This to me is something that I think of each and every day, especially speaking to my wife, that I kind of pinch myself. I say, this is happening to me. And I am just so grateful for it, really. This is a tremendous honor for me. It's a tremendous honor that the Commissioner of baseball has bestowed upon me. I want to thank Sharp for all of the things that they mean, and I, too, look at baseball in high-definition. But the most important thing, I think, that these two players who are receiving the award tonight have demonstrated this past year what it takes in order to be a professional athlete.
We often think about baseball and we associate baseball with football, basketball, and believe me, I love it all. I love basketball, football, but when you think about what these two players put into baseball and you talk about the years that they had, we think about what it takes in order for them to have the kind of year that they had.
When they say they drove in 100-something runs, they didn't drive in themselves 100-something runs, there had to be a player on base before them, some players that protected them, some player that hit behind them, all of these things are taken into consideration. You don't get a chance so much to do that. I've watched both these players on television. I've watched the Cubs play, I've watched the Red Sox play and I know what it takes in order for you to be able to do and demonstrate some of the things that they did last year. And I just want to offer my congratulations to the two of them and just say keep on pushing, because that's what it takes in order to be the kind of player that I'm sure that most of you want to be.
And I was surprised tonight that Aramis, you had ten years playing?
HANK AARON: And you have four years. Then they said, how many years did you play in the All-Star Game? And I said 23. And they said, Oh, my God! 23 years, but it all works out, really.
And I just want to say, really, I offer my congratulations to the two of them and believe me, that it just takes teamwork and I'm sure that things are going to work out fine for them. Congratulations to the two of you, thank you.
KARL RAVECH: Thank you, Hank, very much. Tonight we all get to watch the game in person, and watch the highlights maybe on high-definition TV.
The numbers for Aramis were incredible. The two-time All-Star has got six straight seasons in which he's had at least 25 home runs and seven overall.
As the National League recipient of the 2008 Sharp Presents Hank Aaron Award, I'd like Aramis Ramirez to say a few words about what this award means to you.
ARAMIS RAMIREZ: Thanks and good night. First of all, I want to thank the real Dice-K, Sharp, the Commissioner, Bud Selig, and congratulations to Kevin and the fans for voting. I know they have a lot of choices, good choices, and they chose to vote for me. So thanks, everybody.
KARL RAVECH: Congratulations. Sometimes that high-definition television reveals a few blemishes that some of us don't want revealed. Kevin Youkilis is as hard a worker as he is, and the intensity he brings to the field demonstrates what the Red Sox have come to represent the last couple of years. Congratulations to Kevin, and let's get a couple of words from Kevin on what it means to win the Hank Aaron Award.
KEVIN YOUKILIS: You had to bring that up.
KARL RAVECH: I watch every night on television.
KEVIN YOUKILIS: I want to say thanks to Sharp, the original Dice-K. It's great to work with two Dice-K's in my career.
It's been an honor to win this award, and just sitting down and chatting with you in that green room is going to go down in the history books as one of the great things I've done in my life. Thank you for that. Commissioner, thank you. Congratulations to Aramis Ramirez. I want to say thank you to all the fans out there. We've got some of the best fans in all of baseball. And I want to say thank you to my teammates. Like Hank said, you can't win these awards without your teammates. You have to drive people in. You have to have guys hit behind you. I've been fortunate in my career that have had great teammates that have helped me excel to the next level.
I want to thank my family, and my beautiful fiance. I couldn't be here and doing the great things I do without them. So thanks again.
KARL RAVECH: Thank you, Kevin. There are a couple of microphones. We have a couple of minutes to ask questions of Kevin or Ramirez. Just raise your hands and microphones will get to you.

Q. For both of you guys, what do you think exemplifies what you did and what Aaron means? And how do you view it in terms of that?
KEVIN YOUKILIS: Well, I don't think I can ever compare myself to Hank Aaron in any way. It's kind of a -- I'll never see myself in that level. So to win this award, I don't know, I'm a little humbled by it. But it's great just to be able to have an award that's named after somebody that exemplified so much in this game and has brought so much history to this game. It's an honor just to be named in the same sentence. So for me I'm thrilled. I don't ever see myself in an award. So this kind of my first time of dealing with it. It's a great honor.
ARAMIS RAMIREZ: The same thing. I can never compare myself to a guy like Hank Aaron. I mean his numbers and just like he said, 23 All-Star Games. I'm only 21 behind. But I'm just honored having that award and sitting right next to him.
KARL RAVECH: Imagine what you look like in high-definition 21 years from now.

Q. Congratulations, Aramis. In Chicago you had a great run this season. There's a lot of disappointment in Chicago over the postseason. What do you say to the fans who are disappointed in Chicago?
ARAMIS RAMIREZ: I think they have reason to be, because we had a great regular season. We won 97 games. Best record in the National League, and we couldn't pass the first round for the second year in a row. But I think we're going to be in the playoffs every year. What can I say?
They've got a reason to be disappointed. But like I say, we've got a good chance to be in the playoffs again next year.
KARL RAVECH: Cubs-Red Sox in '09.
ARAMIS RAMIREZ: I'll take that.

Q. Kevin, how tough was it for you to play two different positions and concentrate on your offense the way you did?
KEVIN YOUKILIS: It wasn't as hard as the way people make it out to be. As hitters we do the same thing and the same routine day-in and day-out. So for me it was very easy going to the field and working on hitting. And BP, when I wasn't hitting, I would go out and play the position I was at, third base that day, first base when I played that. So for me it wasn't that difficult. I enjoy hitting more than I do probably playing the field. But we all have to play a position because guys like Big Papi are being the DH. So I'll kind of have a little tough time DHing. So I think that was the easiest thing, taking the same routine day-in and day-out.
KARL RAVECH: There we were giving you credit every night how hard it was to go from first to third.
Any other questions before we go? We do have a baseball game to play. Let's hand out the awards to the two, and allow the photographers to come up and take pictures with the trophies and Hank Aaron and the Commissioner, as well.

End of FastScripts

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