Long Distance Fight Pick

Owing to JCL’s post regarding A-Rod’s momentary clutchness, I thought I’d see if I could pick a long-distance fight with YF(Moscow). We have a long-standing disagreement about the conceptual nature of the MVP, and I want to dig into this a little bit here. It’s clear that there are at least 4 players on the Yankees who would out-peak one Mr. A-Rod on the clutch-o-meter, those being Mo, Jeter, Sheffield, and Matsui. Though Jeter has had a rough year, he’s still made the bigger plays, hit the bigger hits – just witness his single/steal/steal/winning run scored a couple of nights ago to see what I am talking about. Sheff’s been the man, of all of them, through his shoulder pain. A-Rod has coasted into his top-three AL third basemen spot, but, as YF said earlier this year, is no longer the best at his position, league-wide. And he’s certainly not the most clutch. Is he the best athlete? Maybe. Is he the best hitter, historically? Maybe. Is he the most talented player on the team, purely speaking? In a vacuum, probably. But is he the MVP, just because he may be the most innately gifted player? Not a chance. No Yankee fan would reasonably argue this, to their credit.

Last year we saw the idiocy of rewarding the MVP to the player with the best numbers, and it’s a nice coincidence that that same awarded player is locally exposing that awards’ fraudulence. Yankees fans are watching first-hand that the MVP should go to a player who contributes the most, and not from a purely statistical standpoint. It’s time that YF(Moscow) chimed in and admitted that last year’s award was ridiculous – the MVP is for a player whose team would have no chance at winning without them, no hope at competing for a title. Players on losing, gutter-bound teams can’t and should not win it, regardless of numbers. They are not valuable for anything but merchandising and gate receipts. A-Rod is proving that this year, that nice numbers aren’t necessarily the bellwether of value. By most players’ standards A-Rod is having a hell of a year, if not by his own. His numbers are better than Derek’s, slightly better than Hideki’s when you consider the stolen bases, better than Williams’, Posada’s. The only guy he can’t compare to is Sheffield, but then again Sheffield didn’t have to learn a new position either. But he’s not even in contention for the most valuable player on his own team, not even in the top 4. He has been famously un-clutch, despite reasonably gaudy stats. Sheffield, Matsui, Rivera, and even Jeter, despite a career-low OBP and BA, are linchpins. Had any of them missed significant time, a la Garciaparra or Nixon, the Yankees surely would be looking up in the standings. It’s not so easy to stand out on a team with clearly more valuable players. Last year A-Rod won by virtue of comparison, not by virtue of accomplishment.

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  • YF retorts long distance, and briefly:
    A-Rod’s subpar 2004 (by his standards, anyway) has no bearing on his performance or MVP status in 2003. Last year he was the best player in the league, and deservedly won the MVP. In 2004 he is not the best player in the league and will not win said award. Who gets it? Manny? Sheff? Vlad? Ichiro? Pudge? I’m not caught up with the numbers.
    As for YF’s award philosophy, it has been previously well established on this site, as have the flaws in SF’s.

    YF August 27, 2004, 12:39 pm
  • That you include Ichiro in your list of possible MVPs indicates what a bizarro logic system you have in place to determine the candidates. Ichiro?! Are you kidding me?! Great player, sure. Great, potentially historic, year, sure. But valuable? To what end? To what level of success has he pushed the Mariners? Did you plant his name just to get me going? Why not I-Rod? Why not Carl Crawford? Or other guys having great seasons for shit teams? Why just Ichiro, why just the guy who is near a record, and not a whole host of other superb players contributing to nothing seasons?
    At least you are (maddeningly and confusedly) consistent, for that I offer praise. But not for much else with regards to this issue. Thank goodness you aren’t a voting member (and likewise for me, I suppose, with my biases).

    SF August 27, 2004, 1:46 pm
  • I did propose I-Rod–check my list.
    What’s maddening is your refusal to come to terms with a fact that is blatantly obvious: the most valuable player is the best player. In what universe could this not be true?
    As I’ve suggested in the past, they should rename the MVP the Player of the Year award, and then they can hand out some lesser prize to the player considered most valuable to his own team. (The Munson Award?)
    That’s it from YF for now…

    YF August 27, 2004, 3:41 pm
  • Sorry, missed I-Rod. I thought you were referring to Carlton.

    SF August 27, 2004, 3:58 pm
  • Nice to hear from YF under the circumstances. SF will take a shot at me for again agreeing with YF: the MVP is an award for the best player in the league not the player most valuable to a winning team. The award is intended to transcend the standings and should not be denied to any player simply because they play on a losing team.

    JCL (YF) August 27, 2004, 4:27 pm
  • The MVP, as apparently defined in all printed matter that I can dig up, is not for the “best player in the league”. The terms of the award don’t state anything of the sort. As far as I can tell, and with rudimentary research, the consensus is that the award is given
    “to annually recognize the one player in the league who has contributed the most to the success of the player’s team”.
    Admittedly, the BBWA doesn’t have any recorded terms for the award, but this is what almost every published definition of the term seems to be. It began with the Chalmers Award, originally awarded for the highest batting average, but was changed to award the player contributing most to his team’s success. It became the “League Award”, an odd award based on a random collection of voting rules, then in 1931 it was turned into the BBWA MVP. In NO case is there any verbiage that refers to the “best player in the league”. In fact, it seems explicitly not that, as far as I can tell. Your research may expose otherwise, and I’d be curious to see it.
    So, if you two believe that “value” translates into “best”, then that’s your prerogative. But there is no verbiage that specifically states what JCL presents as fact. Value is relative, in my opinion. A player on a basement-dwelling team, however great, has diminished added value, as their exploits cannot contribute to any significant accomplishment, or, in blunt terms, “success”. Are the Tigers “successful”? Have the Red Sox been “successful”? As Yankees’ fans, I assume I know your answer to that one considering the derision poured on the “failure” of the Sox to win a World Series despite several successful trips to that Series. Were the Rangers successful last year? Were the Yankees, for that matter? Your own standards of “success” seemingly defy the logic of your standards for this award, but who am I to hoist you on your own petard? I’m just the fan of a failed team.
    For sure, it is no fault of a player when they toil mightily for a dog, but, in my opinion, it also disqualifies them from the award.
    On one thing YF and I agree: two awards, one for the best year, another for the most valuable to his team. But even this concession by YF seems to belie his lack of faith in the definition or clarity of the reason one is given the award, despite his blunt assertions. If the award is so clearly for the most valuable player, and the most valuable player is clearly the best player, then why would there EVER be any need for two awards? I believe in two because I think there is enough ambiguity to those with thin logic systems that two would clarify things, not because my own standards are contradictory or because I have a hazy definition or understanding of the award. I believe others do.

    SF August 27, 2004, 9:21 pm

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