A DH can be the MVP.
I’m not saying this because I think they should hand the award to Papi. You can make a legit argument for A-Rod, and I wouldn’t criticize anybody who voted for him. He’s a great bat, a great glove, and a great all-around player. But this idea that Ortiz doesn’t deserve it because his job is somehow gravy since he doesn’t play the field is ridiculous. Personally, I’m not a fan of the DH. Maybe it’s because I grew up watching National League baseball, but I think it removes a wonderful element of strategy from the game. But it’s completely unfair to penalize a guy for a playing a position that Major League baseball mandates exist in the American League. If you have a problem with the rules, write Selig. But as long as it’s listed on a lineup card, it’s as legit as any other position and deserves the same amount of respect for excellence achieved. And while it is true that Ortiz only rarely ever steps on the field wearing a glove, he’s also left with half the chances to maintain a level of brilliance. Yes, manning the hot corner is an extra challenge for A-Rod, but it also allows him to receive admiration on a day when he goes 0-4 with three strikeouts by making a couple run saving grabs. In a weird way, one provides a safety net for the other. Ortiz, though, has no cushion. Every time he grabs a bat, he’s expected to do damage, and big time damage at that. And he’s come up huge this season. 144 RBI’s. .342 with men in scoring position. (His actual BA is .295, which really shows how good he is when it counts) I don’t have the stats in front of me, but I’d be willing to bet that he came through this year in more high pressure, must win scenarios than A-Rod. Than anyone in the league. Period. Plus, he carried his team for a good chunk of change. Again, I’m not saying he’s a lock. But anyone dismissing the idea as farfetched is missing the point entirely.
I’ve been joking with my brother Brian (http://bk.mlblogs.com/) all September that, if undecided between Carpenter and Willis for the Cy, the tie should go to the better batter. Now I’m not so sure that wouldn’t be what broke the tie for me. Their stats are so close, and while Carpenter’s team is going to the playoffs, that’s been a done deal for St. Louis since roughly August, with no real pressure on Carpenter to perform other than for pride, achievement and hardware. Willis, though, has been carrying his team in a futile battle for a wild card spot, and doing it brilliantly. It’s not his fault his division is ten times as competitive as the Central. And in the end, both pitched incredibly well. But Dontrelle’s a good enough hitter to actually hit 7th this season. And while that may seem arbitrary, so much of the actual voting is, anyway. In a weird way, this arbitrary reasoning for Dontrelle at least relies on something tangible.
Bartolo Colon wins it in the AL. If for no other reason than to keep a Yankee from winning.
Congrats Padres. You fended off the semi-surging Giants. With any luck, you’ll even finish out at .500 en route to your inevitable first round sweeping, while either of the more deserving Phils or Astros start their vacations early. Well done, kids. Well done.
Prediction: Yanks win the East. Cleveland takes the wild card. Someone in the Red Sox clubhouse will secretly resent Schilling for an entire off-season.
World Series: Cards v. Angels. Cards in 6.