Saturday, November 16, 2013

Post MVP Thoughts

There was much less shouting over the AL MVP Award this year than last year, largely since a decisive bloc of voters decided back in May that they were going to be giving it to Miguel Cabrera again. He got off to a hot start, Mike Trout didn't, and that was that. There's lots of fun to be had in picking the bones of the ballots - the one guy who put Trout 7th because his team wasn't a contender gave Chris Davis of the 4th-place Baltimore Orioles his first place vote - and trying to untangle the logic that various voters used, but really, it comes down to this: Everyone votes gut feelings, and then constructs rationales to support it. If those rationales contradict the facts, or how the voter in question has voted in previous years, it doesn't matter, because all of this is just a seven-day wonder and a warmup for the really nasty fights over the Hall of Fame ballot that are coming up.

And really, it's ridiculous. I fully support the right of the voters to cast their ballots however they damn well please, and to come up with whatever nonsensical rationalizations they needs for those ballots in order to sleep nights. Where it gets stupid is when stuff like this gets characterized as the disputed border in the trench warfare between "old school guys" and "stat guys", and how A) a vote for Cabrera's HR totals is somehow a blow against the creeping modernism that's wussifying the game and delivering it into the hands of pasty nerds who ne'er a glove did put on, or B)a vote for Trout is a blow against the tyrannical, liver-spotted grip of the aged liches and dwimmorlaiks who guard the entrance to baseball Mordor. 
Get over it, folks. It's not that important. The argument is fun, at least until it gets frothingly personal, and that's part of why we love sports: the chance to debate this stuff. The idea that there's a moral imperative to this that exists outside of the momentary thrill of seeing the guy you like win (or lose) is assigning it more value than it's worth. Ultimately, what we're arguing about is the details of the argument we're going to have in fifteen years about these guys' Hall of Fame chances, and that's all. 
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