Not that it isn’t enjoyable

Not that it isn’t enjoyable to see Yankees and their fans disappointed, but Matsui not getting any vote at all from two writers (one from the Worcester Gazette, Sox territory, the other from Minnesota) is a bit lame (the Times points out that if he got those two writers’ 2nd place votes he would have won the award). Their predictable claim that he wasn’t really a rookie is no good to me. Sure, he had experience in Japan, but didn’t Kevin Bass hit like 50 home runs over there after being washed up in the Majors? Didn’t Larry Parrish make millions as a home run hero long after he was finished being useful in our home league? I think that Japan clearly has quality players, it has significant pressure to perform, and it has history, but it isn’t the Majors, and Matsui, however “experienced”, was still a rookie by definition, and played in one of the two toughest markets, pressure-wise, and played reasonably well. Did the two writers who left him off the ballot leave off Ichiro when he was a “rookie”? That would be worth checking out. My take is that though I wouldn’t have voted for Matsui for first place for the award because of the same qualification issue, I still believe he deserved a vote in some position. He was, after all, a Rookie by definition. (Mind you, this is a different situation from three years ago – at least I think it was three years ago – when two New York beat writers left Pedro off the ballot for the CY entirely, and he ended up finishing second. There was no legitimate explanation for that choice, in this case I simply disagree with the writers’ legitimizing rationale.)

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