Hands on the Throat: Vol 2

YF, in his own inflammatory way, asks a legitimate question in the thread below, even as he posits an incomplete answer to his own question.  The question of choking deserves another entirely different thread, and one that deals with the question of "what is" in far more intelligent terms than those that YF puts on the table.  This is because there are numerous types of "chokes"; it’s not a black and white world.  There are team-wide chokes (the Sox in 1978, the Sox in 1986, the Yankees in 2004).  There are individual "chokes" (Dan Jansen, Thomas Bjorn, Jean Van de Velde).  There are individual chokes within team efforts (Scott Norwood, Grady Little in 2004, Calvin Schiraldi or Bob Stanley in 1986, Mariano Rivera in the playoffs the last few years).  So it’s an amorphous question, this one that YF asks our readers and fails to answer.

All of these chokes have something (or some things) in common.  First, there is the timing of some of these efforts.  In cases of both individual and team catastrophe, it’s usually at the point of virtual championship.  For Van de Velde, it was on the 72nd hole of the British Open. For Scott Norwood it was the last play of the Super Bowl on a kick to win the trophy. For Calvin Schiraldi (or Bob Stanley, or Rich Gedman) it was the inability to close out a World Series just one strike away.  For Mariano Rivera it was throwing a routine comebacker into center field in the 7th game of the World Series. Second, there is the sense of utter collapse, of failure in the moment after a long effort which brings brilliant success into view, within momentary reach.  For Dan Jansen, it was falling on one of the turns in the Gold medal final in an Olympics after coming back to reach said finals (two times, at that). For the 1978 Red Sox it was the two month squandering of an enormous lead and then the death blow of Bucky Dent in front of a home crowd (on my 10th birthday, no less!) For the Yankees last year, it was a five day spiral into ignominious history after holding a never-before-overcome-in-the-history-of-the-game-3-0-lead, a journey that must have unfolded more painfully for Yankees fans each day as the trajectory of their failure became more apparent and more colossal.  In all of these cases, either individual or by team, the failure was accomplished against all odds, defeat grasped literally from the jaws of victory.

So YF posits a good question: what is a choke?  It’s one worthy of debate.  But YF does a terrible job explaining what, in his own mind, makes a choke (perhaps all that schlag went to his head). My own criteria for a "choke" are admittedly my own, and by these measurements, this faltering Red Sox team doesn’t even come close to qualifying. 

42 comments… add one
  • Speaking of an apparent and colossal failure…how about this post?

    tom yf September 20, 2005, 7:05 pm
  • Sorry about that post, SF. We let little Tommy stay up late tonight, until 7:30. He also gets a little testy when he doesn’t have his afternoon nap or bottle and we didn’t realize he had grabbed the family laptop.

    tom yf's mom September 20, 2005, 7:27 pm
  • Choke shmoke. Ortiz has 2 home runs already tonight. Why do teams let him beat them? Manny’s cold: let him hit into DPs until he proves he’s not going to.
    Re the MVP: Why should A-Rod win over Ortiz when Ortiz has better hitting stats? Not because A-Rod plays in the field, but because he plays so well, runs well and steals bases. He’s made himself the best 3B in the league, and he saves games with his defense.
    Ortiz has to have much better offensive stats to be his equal.

    john massengale September 20, 2005, 9:00 pm
  • Manny’s cold: let him hit into DPs until he proves he’s not going to.
    Manny is 4-4 with 3 RBIs and 2 HRs tonight.

    SF September 20, 2005, 9:09 pm
  • Well ain’t that a revoltin’ development.
    I’d still let him show he can do it this this week against someone other than McClung. Manny’s a great hitter, but when he cools off he’s a lot easier to pitch to than Ortiz. Over the last week, Manny has 3 rbis, Ortiz 10. I’d let him prove he can do it. If he gets hot, you go to Plan B.

    john yf September 20, 2005, 9:55 pm
  • My mom commented! How did she find the time between pleasuring sailors and watching the Yankees?

    tom yf September 20, 2005, 10:08 pm
  • Thomas Bjorn?!
    Clearly SF has thought about choking quite a bit, and from the rather vituperative tenor of this post–and despite his protests to the contrary–it would seem to this observer that the Sox’s current skid, slide, fall, collapse, choke–you choose the term–has my coblogger very much unhinged. Buck up.

    YF September 20, 2005, 11:22 pm
  • PS: What metrics are we using to judge Ortiz vs Arod offensively? Note that A-Rod is ahead in OPS: 1.020 vs. 1.018.
    And he plays defense. Well.

    YF September 20, 2005, 11:27 pm
  • I just wanted to point out that Scott Norwood is/was not a choke. It was freaking a 48 yard field goal, for crissakes! Leave the poor guy alone.

    Nick September 20, 2005, 11:52 pm
  • Oer the last 30 days:
    A-Rod: .337 AVG/ .434 OBP/ .654 SLG/ 10.88 OPS/ 9 HR/ 21 RBI/ 13 BB/ 26 K/ 3-4 SB-SBA
    Ortiz: .327/ .428/ .812/ 12.30/ 15 HR(!)/ 33 RBI/ 18 BB/ 17 K/ 0 SBA
    I couldn’t get just in September, so I don’t know about ARod, but Papi is hitting something like .345 with 10 homers and 21 RBI this month. I think that if he has 50 HR/ 150 RBI, he will carry this team to the postseason, and doesn’t that make defense irrelevant? It doesn’t matter how he gets it done; Only that it is done. If ARod has a final two weeks than Papi does, then I can’t really complain if he gets the award, but as of now, it should be Papi’s.

    Laura September 21, 2005, 6:05 am
  • Okay, I found the September stats. Here is Ortiz’s line:
    .358 AVG(!)/.452 OBP/.836 SLG/12.88 OPS/10 HR/22 RBI/14 BB/10 K
    So those are even better than I thought they were.
    Here are ARod’s:
    .329/.413/.586/5 HR/15 RBI/6 BB/17 K
    These numbers are perfectly respectable, but at a point this important in the season, I would say that I’d want David Ortiz at the plate, and I think that I’d say that even if I wasn’t a Sox fan, unless of course, I was a fan of the opposing team, in which case, John’s right (*shudder*), I would probably rather see Manny. Nut anyway, ortiz is winning games for us constantly. he got that offense going last night and will keep it going over the next two weeks, I’m sure.

    Laura September 21, 2005, 6:14 am
  • SF has thought about choking quite a bit
    Exactly. I have thought a lot about it. I have lived through all sorts of chokes. So I think I would have a reasonably good amount of insight as to whether this year constitutes a “choke”. It doesn’t, not only because the season isn’t over yet, but because it lacks any of the critically dramatic dimensions that I describe above.
    Just blowing a lead doesn’t a choke make.

    SF September 21, 2005, 7:14 am
  • Ortiz is having the best offensive season. A-Rod is having the best season. He contributes more to his team.
    That is not a THEORY. It is based on what A-Rod has actually done at bat, on the bases and in the field, this year. A DH CAN win, but Ortiz should not this year.
    he got that offense going last night
    My point exactly, about not pitching to him.
    He is doing so much damage, that I think others will do less damage with him on base than he does standing at home. Make the others perform, instead of letting Ortiz lead them.

    john yf September 21, 2005, 8:20 am
  • Ugh, the ol’ “what’s the best way to judge the ‘V’ in ‘MVP’ debate”. Tiring.
    Can we all just agree to disagree? Yankees fans think A-Rod. Sox fans think Papi. Yankees fans are wrong.
    And never the twain shall meet.

    SF September 21, 2005, 9:36 am
  • That’s very broadminded of you, SF. As always.
    If you don’t pitch to Ortiz, he can’t beat you.
    You can’t stop hitting to A-Rod, and if you put him on he can steal second and third, unlike you know who.
    He won one of the games last week by making the game ending double play rather than going for the single out. He won one game I can remember by stealing third. Ortiz can’t say that.

    john yf September 21, 2005, 10:04 am
  • Wrong. Papi is the most valuable. He has the better nickname. He is more charismatic. He also works as a hot dog vendor when the Sox are in the field. He doesn’t see a shrink. He’s more cuddly. Do I need to go on?

    SF September 21, 2005, 10:15 am
  • SF, how silly and disingenuous to throw all reasoned objectivity out the window regarding the Ortiz v. A-Rod MVP debate. I know you’re joking but let’s have your official statement on this issue. You have to agree with yanks fans on this one. Unless you truly are being hypocritical. You rail on against YF when he shows an inkling of fandom, and then when a legitimate baseball discussion (with an easy answer mind you) comes up it’s all “let’s agree to disagree” and both viewpoints are valid yada yada she went home in the morning and she said she’d see me around.
    By any metric, A-Rod is the better player this year despite the warm feeling people feel about the Cookie Monster. The debate is over before it begins. In this case, Sox fans are wrong.
    Yanks fans never questioned the legitimacy of Pedro’s Cy Youngs. He obviously deserved them. And A-Rod OBVIOUSLY deserves the MVP.

    Nick September 21, 2005, 12:25 pm
  • I’m sorry, Nick, but I just don’t get it. Ortiz has carried this team over the past month. ARod has won some games with defense and speed combined with offense, but Ortiz has won just as many, if not more, on offense alone. His numbers in the clutch are just way to good to overlook. I did agree with your statement on walking Ortiz, John, so you don’t have to take something that I wrote and tell us again, since after I wrote it, I agreed with you.

    Laura September 21, 2005, 12:41 pm
  • Fine. Give Slappy the MVP- heck, give him the gold glove while you’re at it (because he obviously deserves that, right YF?).
    The question remains, would that really make up for:
    1. The slap heard round the world
    2. His epic 2-17 performance in games 4-7 of the ’04 ALCS
    3. The MFY not making the playoffs this year
    Individual awards have a sheen taken off of them when the team fails.

    NV in SD September 21, 2005, 1:05 pm
  • Laura, I don’t deny Ortiz’s greatness. Jesus, everytime I look up and I see that the Sox have scored, I KNOW it’s an Ortiz homer. He’s an amazing hitter, and his timing, of course, is impeccable. That said, every game is important, if April hadn’t happened like it did the Yanks would be running away with the title. And there was a stretch when A-Rod was singlehandedly carrying this team in late May (if memory is correct) and that’s the major reason why the Yanks have any chance at the post-season. If you then acknowledge that both players have carried the team at certain points during the season, you have to look at other stats to define who in fact has been better the whole year. Because A-Rod plays very good defense and because Ortiz doesn’t, A-Rod contributes to a whole set of categories that Ortiz does not. Also, his offensive stats actually are a little better than Ortiz’s if you factor in the ball parks they play home games in. It’s no insult to Ortiz if A-Rod wins the MVP, so why have a problem admitting that he’s having the better year?

    Nick September 21, 2005, 1:06 pm
  • Laura, you are being vague on what you mean by “won games”. Ortiz has hit a bunch of game-winning hits, but how is that more important than the hits prior to Papi’s that kept the score close in those games? The bottom line is this: if the Sox’s pitching weren’t so damn good at keeping games close, Ortiz’s hits would be in garbage time instead of “in the clutch”. You can’t predicate your argument on small sample size situations like “close and late” or “2-out, runners in scoring position”, because if batters had 500 ABs a year in these situations, the resulting situational numbers would resemble their career numbers. Ortiz is an other-worldly hitter, and some of his hits this year have come in very timely situations. However, hitting in the first inning is just as important as hitting in the ninth inning when it comes to winning games. Ortiz only has a decent advantage over A-Rod in CONTEXTUAL numbers, like those aforementioned, and RBIs. Ortiz’ numbers over the season, however, are slightly worse than A-Rods (with significant advantages held by Slappy in AVG and OBP, the stat MOST HIGHLY CORELLATED WITH WINNING), and that’s before adjusting for the fact that Alex plays in a park unfriendly to right-handed hitters, and Ortiz plays in that shithole bandbox.
    Oh yeah, Alex plays awesome defense, and he can run.
    It’s not a contest, unless you want to be ignorant enough to make it one.

    tom yf September 21, 2005, 1:07 pm
  • Honestly, Nick? Really? He OBVIOUSLY deserves the MVP? That’s preposterous. He doesn’t OBVIOUSLY deserve the MVP. Not yet. And neither does Ortiz. Here’s why: (Disclaimer: this is MY opinion, nobody else’s)
    1. The season isn’t over yet. I myself privilege the MVP for a player on a team in contention, and moreso on a team that succeeds in making the playoffs. If the Yankees fail to make the playoffs, that’s a strike against Rodriguez, I admit through no fault of his own. (YF and I have been through the mill on this one and we disagree about the merit of this criterion, but it’s subjective, and it’s my own, so there you go). The same strike will exist against Ortiz if the Sox fail to make the post-season. Specifically, I won’t go on the record as to who I think should get the award until the season is over, to be consistent. If both teams wind up in the post-season then look at the numbers on October 3rd, think carefully again, and then flip a coin. And therefore it should be clear that I was joking about Yankees fans being wrong in an earlier comment (though Papi is most definitely cuddlier, and that should be worth something).
    2. Rodriguez plays the field, Ortiz doesn’t. Certainly a strike against Ortiz. A big one. One that has to be made up by
    3. …the subjective judgment that a player is “carrying” his team. In my subjective and biased eyes, Rodriguez isn’t carrying the team, as superb as he is. He’s helping lift the team. Small. Chacon. Rivera. Those are the guys who have carried the Yankees to contention, the first two quite shockingly. Ortiz has most inarguably carried the Sox, for more than just this month, but especially this month. September performances are privileged, weighted to a degree. I think it’s correct, though the weight given, in my case, is perhaps less than some of the voters, who seem to really privilege September performances.
    When it all comes down to the voting, if I were entrusted with that power (which I am rightfully and thankfully not), I would be deciding between Rodriguez and Ortiz, and I think both guys are worthy, deserving candidates at the moment. But I don’t think you can say, legitimately, that one guy is clearly the deserving winner, at least not yet. There’s absolutely no obviousness, besides the dual candidacy of these two players, even with just 10 games left in the season. And you know what? If the Sox make the playoffs and the Yankees don’t, and Rodriguez wins the award? Then congrats to him, it would be hard to say that there was a mistake in that choice, even though by my own judgment it should have been different.
    So fancy that, a Sox fan acknowledging the “legitimacy” of a Yankee taking an award. In advance. Even though he might not win it.
    P.S. As for your wickedly generous admission that you never questioned Pedro’s Cy Young awards, well, nice job, Einstein. A five year old could have acknowledged those awards, such were his differentials from the league average and the distance between him and the next-best candidate. That isn’t the case with Rodriguez or Papi this year, which is bad for the ease of casting a vote but good for this website!

    SF September 21, 2005, 1:12 pm
  • “Carried” vs. “helped lift”? Weak.

    tom yf September 21, 2005, 1:22 pm
  • Brilliant response, Wittgenstein, but, of course, you’re wrong because A-Rod’s differentials ARE that much better than the league average and they are greater than Ortiz’s differentials from the league average. Any metric will demonstrate this for you. For instance VORP or win shares. But I see your view on the necessity for the season to end before you can designate a winner. I don’t agree with that and I don’t agree with your view that players on teams that don’t make the post-season are eliminated from MVP contention, but I won’t be able to convince you otherwise. I won’t be able to convince you of the obvious. I apologize for accusing you of being disingenuous.

    Nick September 21, 2005, 1:26 pm
  • One thing lost in this debate (hey, wasn’t this discussion supposed to be about choking?) is that the season ends with a Sox-Yanks series, a series which very well might decide which one of the two teams makes the playoffs. As SF says, these awards are very subjective. So that last series may decide not only the MVP — a game-winning homer by either Ortiz or A-Rod could seal it — but may also play a huge role in the Cy Young. (A couple big saves, or a single blown save, by Rivera would make a huge difference for his chances.)

    Earl September 21, 2005, 1:39 pm
  • You don’t need to convince me of anything regarding Rodriguez, if you distill my post. I think he’ll be a deserving MVP winner, no matter who wins the division, even if events transpire and I myself might have voted differently. That’s the bottom line in this whole thing – it is very easy, perfectly legitimate, to see Rodriguez as the MVP. Any Red Sox fan who can’t admit that and insists that it’s Papi and only Papi is not living in the same world as me.
    Conversely, you clearly will feel like Rodriguez was robbed if Ortiz wins, that there isn’t a planet on which you could possibly consider him even getting a vote. I don’t think it’s that cut and dry, in fact I think that opinion (and please confirm that as your opinion so I am not accused of putting words in your keyboard) is equivalently blinded, considering the season has Ortiz is having.

    SF September 21, 2005, 1:46 pm
  • Yes, I do think it’s that cut and dry, which is not the same thing as saying I don’t understand you and other Red Sox fans’ views on the subject. I happen to think that you are very wrong in this debate but that’s because we have different definitions about what makes one player’s season better than another.

    Nick September 21, 2005, 1:57 pm
  • Nick: Sometimes you just can’t win an argument. Joe Morgan’s never gonna get Moneyball, and apparently certain readers of this site can’t handle the fact that a player’s cumulative value is not a matter of late game theatrics, however nice.
    SF and this poster have always disagreed on how to choose the MVP. As far as I’m concerned, and I think this reflects the prevailing sabermetric thinking, for what that’s worth (and i know Bill James has made this argument, and that’s worth A LOT in my book), the award should go the player who has put up the best season. The player of the year. And not just the player of September (Or maybe we should make Robi Cano MVP?). Ortiz and A-Rod have both had wonderful offensive years. A-Rod’s gotten on base a bit more often and hits for a higher average. Thanks to his recent onslaught (and it has been magnificent), Ortiz slugs at a higher clip. Park effects obviously favor Papi. But there’s no getting around the fact that A-Rod plays defense, and has played it well (especially well in the second half), and that he has speed that Papi does not. That’s why his VORP and WARP scores are higher. I love Papi. In the bottom of the 9th, I’d love to see him up for my team. Maybe more than A-Rod. But that doesn’t make him the MVP.
    PS: For SF to suggest that Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon have carried the Yanks, whereas Ortiz has had no help is basically inane. But if he really believes such tosh he should have his choice for Executive of the Year all set, (and nevermind the MVP): Brian Cashman.

    YF September 21, 2005, 2:02 pm
  • Nick, if you want to dig even deeper than VORP, you would see that Ortiz is doing a better job of driving in runs, he absolutely KILLS A-Rod in RBI opportunities driven in. Does this make him more “clutch”? Or would you just point to Manny and say “look who hits behind him”. I say this somewhat flippantly, because I don’t think you can only isolate statistics or, like some Sox fans only rely on the crutch of dramatic game winning home runs or wonderful Septembers (go here for a link to a discussion of last year’s award).
    There are lots of stats that we can use to make our case, and they tell us a huge part of the story and take us a good deal of the way to our decision. The last little bit is subjective, and we can dredge up any justification for why we vote the way we do, from our hometown allegiances and seared images of walk-off home runs all the way to our understanding of VORP. In the end, both guys are legit candidates, and I wouldn’t be angry if either guy won, though I think if Rodriguez wins it means that the Sox will be on an early October vacation, so I will be annoyed for other reasons.

    SF September 21, 2005, 2:03 pm
  • For SF to suggest that Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon have carried the Yanks, whereas Ortiz has had no help is basically inane
    Reel him in! We have a big bite on the line!
    Of course A-Rod is much more valuable to the Yankees, and much more valuable than just about anyone in the league, hence my belief that he is one of only two bona fide MVP candidates, and not the other guys. Yeesh.

    SF September 21, 2005, 2:07 pm
  • A curiosity: if Ortiz played first base, but played it as a mediocrity (or poorly, for that matter), what would that do to his MVP chances? What would Yankees fans think of his candidacy then?
    Serious question.

    SF September 21, 2005, 2:15 pm
  • Presumably, it would reflect in overall statistics and would hurt his candidacy. Plus, fans would see and subjectively experience his errors, perhaps hurting his chances in the public perception.

    Nick September 21, 2005, 2:23 pm
  • Clarification: for the sake of this discussion let’s assume he puts up the same numbers but also plays the field regularly.

    SF September 21, 2005, 2:31 pm
  • I assumed that when I responded. I meant his defensive metrics would hurt his overall value in statistical terms.

    Nick September 21, 2005, 2:33 pm
  • Yeah, plus the wear and tear of a season the field could have a deleterious effect on his plate performance. But that’s neither here nor there.
    SF: I think A-Rod deserves this award, but if Ortiz wins I would agree he is worthy, if not the right pick. But it would be the second time A-Rod got completely jobbed. If he’s the best player in the league, and he keeps losing the award in years when he’s deserving….that just doesn’t seem right.

    YF September 21, 2005, 2:39 pm
  • YF: Say hello to Ted Williams. Or are we going to hear a contradictory yet spirited defense of DiMaggio and his hitting streak as the reason Williams got robbed, one which reveals your conflicted psyche?

    SF September 21, 2005, 2:49 pm
  • Williams deserved it, A-Rod deserves it. I hate to be argumentative here because, SF, because I feel like you are trying to keep an even keel, and simply say that Ortiz is worth a good hard look, and you have been conceding a lot regarding Alex–more than most sf’s normally would–but I just can’t give on this. I think at this point you have to give Alex the award, barring Papi hitting 25 homers in the next ten games.
    And it’s not a hometown thing. I think to not give it to A-Rod flies in the face of a lot of things we’ve learned, as fans, about how to evaluate the performance and value of a baseball player in the last decade+. Should the arrogant pretty boy with the superior VORP, WARP, OBP, and plus defense get it, or the cuddly media darling with all the late inning homers? This is deeper, to me, than Yanks vs. Sox, or A-Rod vs. Ortiz. How long can we tolerate ignorance in the media regarding baseball stats, even post-Moneyball??
    Excuse me now, this soapbox is giving me vertigo.

    tom yf September 21, 2005, 3:51 pm
  • I have to at least partially agree with SF on how a team’s performance affects an MVP candidate. I think that only player son teams in contention should win it. For instance, I don’t think that A-Rod should have won in ’03, if only because he was on a last place team. You will notice that once he left, Texas began to play much better, but let’s just think of that as coincdence. The Rangers could have come in last place without him. The Yankees, however, as Nick pointed out, would not be in contention without him, but at the same time, I think that the Sox would be even worse off without Ortiz. All I’m saying here is that I think that Ortiz is a more important part of the Red Sox, who up until recently, won most of their games with offense, than A-Rod is to the Yankees. I think that they wouldn’t neccisarily be great without him, but the Red Sox would be evn worse off without Papi. And I did earlier say that if A-Rod wins it I would give him all the credit in the world, but not if Ortiz continues his September tear. September is considered do or die time, Nick. It’s more appealing to a voter to see great September numbers than great May numbers. That’s how Vlad Guerrero won it last year. Not that he didn’t deserve it, but Sheffield, Manny, and Ortiz all had comparable numbers, correct? So how can it be that way last year and not now?

    Laura September 21, 2005, 3:57 pm
  • Also, someone (Tom? John? Someone else?) said earlier that stats like close and late dpn’t matter. But they do, because it’s a pressure situation. Of course it’s got something to do with timing and like, but you’re forgetting about the psychological part of the game. A lot of guys would freeze in a situation where they can make or break the game. Not to say that A-Rod wouldn’t hit a game winning homer like Ortiz in one of these situations, but of course they matter. It’s much easier mentally for a player to hit a home run early in the game or in a blowout than it is close and late, just as it’s easier on a pitcher to pitch a shutout or no hitter in a blowout than in a game that’s 1-0. It’s not proven. It’s just common sense.

    Laura September 21, 2005, 4:04 pm
  • One last thing about close and late. Most teams would use their best pitchers against him. Against Ortiz, there would very likely ba a “lefty specialist” with great numbers against lefties. In a blowout, they use the mopup guys. Therefore, it is definately not the same situation.

    Laura September 21, 2005, 4:08 pm
  • Laura, apparently it’s easier for Ortiz to hit a homer in the late innings:)

    Nick September 21, 2005, 4:11 pm
  • This is deeper, to me, than Yanks vs. Sox, or A-Rod vs. Ortiz. How long can we tolerate ignorance in the media regarding baseball stats, even post-Moneyball??
    I am with you (and YF too) on this one, to a degree, and in general. But using the MVP vote this year to illustrate that ignorance isn’t quite right. I don’t think the decision between Ortiz and Rodriguez this year for MVP is the best example of this ignorance. If we were having an argument about Rodriguez vs. someone like Jeter (used as an example not to antagonize, but because Jeter is a very specific type of player, and undebatably valuable and integral to the success of the team), then I think you have a great case for the ignorance of sportswriters of which you write – clearly they would be voting sentimentally for a player with lesser capabilities of significantly weaker statistical performance at the expense of a far more skilled and, by your standards, “valuable” player.
    But with these two guys, Papi and A-Rod, we have two inarguably great years (statistically and otherwise) by vital players on contending teams. Like YF said about Ortiz, even if you think he’s statistically inferior he remains “worthy”, and that makes the decision difficult, subjective, and arguable. But not wrong, unjust, or inexplicable. This year, when Ortiz and Rodriguez finish 1-2 the sportswriters actually will have gotten it right. Whichever way it goes.

    SF September 21, 2005, 5:43 pm

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