Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Most Valuable Player?

Most Valuable Player?

             I'd like to start off today with a couple of trivia questions.First, who is the only player to win an MVP award and never be selected to the All-Star game?Second, who was the last player to win an MVP award while being part of a championship team?The answer to both:Kirk Gibson.His 1988 MVP season, which I'm convinced was given to him because of that one World series home run(even though the powers that be always claim the decision is always made at the end of the regular season),was unspectacular, to say the least.I mean 25 homers,76 RBI's and a 2.90 average aren't exactly world beating numbers(although he did somehow score 106 runs and steal 31 bases),and most people will say Daryl Strawberry and his 39 homers deserved the award.I myself think Gibson's team mate Orel Hershiser should have won it, although, as always, there are people who vote on these things who believe a CY Young award is the only thing a pitcher should win(Making Justin Verlander's 2011 season even more remarkable).

               So let's examine why it is that a championship team never has it's league's MVP on it anymore.One reason, I believe, is that too many teams can make it into the playoffs(and hold on to your horses, people,this postseason will have even MORE Wildcard's getting closer and closer to the NBA, for Chrissakes...),another reason is that everyone is realizing that pitching wins championships, although the last CY Young Award winner to lead his team to the top was Randy Johnson in 2001.Another area is the TEAM concept, as in getting players that compliment each other.Also, when there's a number of good players on one team, sometimes they can cancel each other out in the voting(Hellllooo Albert Belle),and someone from a lesser team gets in(Helllooo Mo Vaughn...I figured I'd stick with the same year,1995).

        It may be starting to turn around, though.In 2010,Josh Hamilton won the award for the pennant-winning Texas Rangers, a feat not accomplished since the Giant's Barry Bonds in 2002(Big difference, was getting off drugs(Hamilton) and one was most likely on them(Bonds, well,PEDs, anyway...).This year, so far,The Rangers look unbeatable, at least in the AL.In the NL, the Dodgers look to finally have their shit together(and Matt Kemp looks MVP bound),which would be a weird way to have it come back, another Dodger.Of course, this is all speculation, and it almost never works out the way the way you think it would. Like last year, for instance ,who thought ANYONE could beat that Phillies pitching staff?Who thought the Cardinals would win it all?Who thought my Red Sox would super-choke it down the stretch,making the 2007 Mets collapse look quaint by comparison?Maybe there's a baseball psychic out there, who knows...

                      There are 5 teams to never have had an MVP.All 5 are expansion teams(dating back to '62)Mets,Nationals(Formerly The Expos)Marlins,Diamondbacks,and Rays(the only AL team).Out of those 5, 3 have had CY young winners (Mets , Expos and Diamondbacks)and the only one to have never won a pennant among them are the Nationals/Expos(The Mariners,also an expansion era team,are the only other team never to have won a pennant).What does this all mean.Probably nothing.The Marlins have never won a division, yet have two World Championships, while the Expos had the best record in baseball in 1994, only to have to strike kill it.As of this writing,The Nationals are having a good year.Whether they're good enough to break the 43 year old curse, only time will tell.I tend to think no, but I also was planning a Tigers/Brewers World Series last year.Would have made Prince Fielder's move to the Tigers this year even more awkward.

          I truly believe though ,that the MVP of last season's World series was the mute button...  not hearing Joe Buck and Tim McCarver pretentiously over analyse the games made them more enjoyable..The MVP for the NFL's Pro bowl was whoever decided to cancel that borefest...The MVP for the hockey playoffs(all of them)will most likely, not be from this country... The NBA's season MVP will be...sorry,I know too many people from Cleveland to speak his ,lets see if this year breaks the MVP curse in baseball, because the only other curse left ain't doing it this year(Sorry,Theo)...                  


1 comment:

  1. While poking through the MVP lists to try to figure out something intelligent to say here, I was shocked to see (and apparently to have forgotten about) Jim Konstanty making off with the hardware in 1950. The reliever beat out Stan the Man who hit .346/28/109 (or .346/.437/.596 if you prefer). A subpar performance for him, but still. NL leaders in WAR that year were Ewell Blackwell & Eddie Stanky.