Dispatches > The Buzz
- It was unanimous-again. Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez became the first American League pitcher to win every vote of the Baseball Writers' Association for the league's Cy Young Award two years in a row. The writers chose Arizona's Randy Johnson for the National League Cy Young Award, his third. Mr. Martinez had a 1.74 Earned Run Average, the lowest by an AL starter since Luis Tiant's 1.60 ERA in 1968. Mr. Johnson joined Nolan Ryan as the only pitcher to record 300 strikeouts in three straight seasons. The Baseball Writers' Association gives the Cy Young Award annually to the best pitcher in each league.
- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) says it won't boost oil production soon, thus hurting chances that heating oil and other energy prices will decline in the coming months. The cartel, which produces 40 percent of the world's oil, is scheduled to meet again on Jan. 17 to reassess prices and production. Although prices are currently soaring, OPEC leaders claim that they will bottom out next spring when demand for heating oil tails off.
- Get ready for another postal rate hike. Starting next year, first-class stamps will cost 34 cents and other postal service rates will increase. The independent Postal Rate Commission approved the new rates, but rejected one-cent increases for postcards or a letter's second ounce. The commission also set a one-pound Priority Mail rate of $3.50 and raised the two-pound rate to $3.95. Until now, people sending anything up to two pounds have paid the $3.20 two-pound rate. Interim stamps are coming soon, probably before the end of the year to allow people to stock up for the change. They will carry a picture of the Statue of Liberty.
- Fred Rogers is hanging up his sweater for good. He taped the final episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, leaving a library of about 1,000 episodes running indefinitely on PBS. The host, now 71, has been taping only about 10 new shows each season for the last few years. Mr. Rogers, who started the show in 1968, says he will keep busy with his websites, publications, and special museum programs.