The Curse of the Hit Dog may finally come to an end today.
Yes, I'm referring to the Red Sox' long, terrible MVP drought, no player having won the hardware since Mo Vaughn in 1995. After acrimoniously leaving Dan Duquette's soulless regime in 1998, Vaughn famously cursed the Red Sox, and the effects have been devastating.
First there was the Great Pedro Snub of 1999, when George King famously left Martinex off his ballot, arguing he didn't believe pitchers should be eligibe for the MVP one year after naming two pitchers to his MVP ballot.
Then, despite having the greatest pitching season in the history of baseball in 2000, Martinez could finish no better than fifth, thanks to the Red Sox' suckitude. Disastrous campaigns in 2001 and 2002 cost Manny Ramirez shots at the award.
In 2003, David Ortiz, Ramirez and Nomar Garciaparra finished fifth, sixth and seventh in the balloting, splitting six first-place votes among them — the same number that went to winner Alex Rodriguez. In 2004, Ramirez led the league in OPS for the eventual World Series winners, yet finished third behind Valdimir Guerrero and Gary Sheffield.
And who can forget the Grest Debate of 2005, when Ortiz and Rodriguez were locked in a close race for the award while the Sox and Yanks were locked in a race for the division. The Sox lost the division on a tiebreaker; Ortiz lost the MVP by 24 votes. Somewhere, Mo Vaughn flexed a tattooed bicep and smiled.
The Sox were out of it in 2006, costing Ortiz another shot at the MVP in a season where he surely would have won if Boston had even contended for a playoff spot, and last year, Alex Rodriguez was simply too good.
But could this year be the year? Dustin Pedroia comes in as the favorite, but Kevin Youkilis also has garnered support. Could they split the vote, allowing a dark horse like Carlos Quentin or Francisco Rodriguez to slip in and keep the curse alive?
We'll know in a few short hours.