Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Well, at least the American League got it right. Guerrero spurred the Angels on to a division title and inspired the whole team to step it up a notch to get there. Even though Arte's Angels (hey, there's a catchy new name!) went down to defeat at the hands of America's Team of Destiny (or as I like to think of them, the Cursed Little Bandwagon That Could), Guerrero deserved the honor.

Too bad the writers are too blinded by the spotlight shining on Barry Bonds to come to the same conclusion for the National League.

Yes, Bonds' personal stats were amazing and, in most cases, league-leading. But to this observer, the phrase "Most Valuable Player" implies a value as applied not to one player's ever-increasing glory, but to that player's ability to elevate his team, to demonstrate that that team's fate would have been considerably different had he not been on the roster. If a player is most valuable primarily to himself, then how can he really be the Most Valuable? Certainly you can say that the 2004 Giants, with their mediocre batting order, would have been a lot further away from the postseason than they ended up without Bonds. But the fact is, the Giants still watched the postseason on TV like the rest of us schmoes.

Adrian Beltre, on the other hand, much like Guerrero, spurred his team on with a breakout performance in 2004, contributed mightily to 52 come-from-behind Dodger wins, and was instrumental in keeping them in the National League West lead for all but a couple of weeks or so over the course of the season. (Oh, yeah, and the Dodgers won their division too.)

So the writers award Barry the MVP honor because swings the bat like no one else in the history of the sport and he forces the managers to change their pitching strategy like no single other player ever has. Good! He should be keeping them on their toes, making them squirm. Adjusting to the talents of every batter in the opposing lineup is integral to how managers do their job, and if managers choose to pitch him out it's because they're trying to win a game, not contribute to Barry's highlight reel.

But Beltre's league-leading home runs, his all-around power at the plate and ability to use the entire field, and his prowess as a third baseman (that's offense AND defense-- how many of these writers gush on about how Barry can't or won't run down a ball in left field?) aren't good enough for more than six first-place votes?

Well, Adrian, Randy Johnson pitched a perfect game on the worst team in baseball this year, and he came in second in the Cy Young voting too. That oughta cheer you up a little before you put on the big suit and head up to Mr. McCourt's office with Mr. Boras for your big meeting. Here's hoping you're at third base in Chavez Ravine next year and for a good long while after that. The MVP award can wait.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree just because his name is Vlad.