Monday, November 21, 2011

JV Wins MVP, But That's Not What Makes News

Progressive Field, home of the Indians, is an amazing ballpark. In fact, it is my favorite stadium that I’ve had the pleasure of watching a Major League ballgame at, beating out Comerica Park, Tiger Stadium, The Great America Ballpark in Cincinnati, Miller Park in Milwaukee, and The Rogers Center in Toronto (in no particular order).

So there. Don’t say that I never said anything nice about Cleveland. Because I’m not going to for the rest of this piece.

Justin Verlander won the AL MVP today, picking up 13 of the 28 first place votes, overall. Good for him, as he was amazing this year and I’m proud and honored that he plays for the Detroit Tigers. Personally, I had him third after Jose Bautista and Miguel Cabrera. So I wasn’t going to throw a fit if he didn’t win.

But what amazes and pisses me off is that one guy, Jim Ingraham of Cleveland’s News-Herald, left him off of his ballot completely. How is it that a guy with the honor/responsibility of casting something as important as an MVP vote could leave the eventual winner off of his ballot? Are there really ten more valuable players in the American League than Justin Verlander to Ingraham?

No. Of course not, unless he’s a complete moron. But Ingraham is making this about himself and his opinion that a pitcher shouldn’t be eligible for the MVP. Never mind that pitchers ARE eligible for the award. Jim just thinks they shouldn’t be, so he decided to be the guy to try and screw Verlander out of the award in case the other voters disagreed with him. How mature.

Let’s hear from the man himself.

“I’d wrestled with this for a long time. If I was ever going to vote for pitcher for MVP, it would be him this year,” Ingraham said. “He hasn’t appeared in 79 percent of their games, any starting pitcher really doesn’t appear in 79 percent of his team’s games in a year."

There is nothing in the rules saying a player must appear in 79% of a team’s games. I’m not sure where that number came from, as I have taken this quote directly from the News-Herald’s site.

“Would you vote for an NFL quarterback for MVP if he only appeared in three of his team’s 16 games, which would 21 percent? So that’s part of it. 

Another part of it is I think they’re apples and oranges. The guys that are in there every day, there’s a grind to a season that a starting pitcher doesn’t, I don’t think, experience the way the everyday position players do playing 150, 160 games.”

Dude…you’re doing it wrong.

Look at it this way. Verlander faced 969 batters this season. And he dominated them. Now let’s take another dominant MVP candidate in Cabrera. He had 688 plate appearances. So Verlander had nearly 300 more head-to-head matchups than Cabrera, who played in 161 games this year.

And it’s not like Verlander went out there every five days and spent the rest of the time, say, drinking beer and eating chicken. His side sessions and preparing for opposing teams were invaluable in his success this year. Also, Verlander’s dominance allowed Jim Leyland the luxury of using his entire pen in the two days before JV’s starts, knowing they wouldn’t be needed on Justin’s day. And the day after? The pen is rested again. Only Roy Halladay and maybe CC Sabathia can match Verlander in consistent greatness every time out, in my opinion, giving teams the advantage to save the bullpen.

After a Tigers loss? Verlander was 16-3. Sounds like he was pretty valuable at preventing losing streaks, as well.

So just because a guy like Cabrera, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Bautista are out there, standing around, scratching their balls, and maybe affecting the ballgame 4-6 times per game on a daily basis shouldn’t overshadow a guy that affects EVERY play every fifth day. I give you the overall number again: 969 vs 688. If anything, maybe we should be valuing starting pitchers MORE in the MVP voting.

Again, do I fault someone for valuing a position player higher? No, because I tend to do so as well, thus my preference for Bautista or Cabrera winning. But to discount someone as brilliant as Justin Verlander was in 2011 and leave him off a ballot entirely should be a crime and Ingraham's voting ability should be taken away permanently. I also suggest removing his genitals with garden shears. But that's just me...

If you want to make a statement, vote Verlander 8th, like the other Cleveland writer, Sheldon Ocker did. Don’t be an ass and make yourself the news, Ingraham. You prick. Because that’s what you did with your non-vote. Congrats on your shameless self-promotion that you’ll now get for all the wrong reasons.

But should we be surprised that the Cleveland writers would value a dominate pitcher so little? Ask Cliff Lee and Sabathia how much the city of Cleveland values ace-type pitching. They’d rather spend their money on Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore.

I’m sure Ingraham will capitalize on his newfound national fame with a full article defending his defenseless actions in upcoming days. And you can be sure that Your Party Host will be waiting anxiously for it. In fact, I’m dying to read it. If you happen to see it before I do, be sure to tip me off. I’ll be happy to reward you with a profanity-laced rebuttal to it here at DNR.

EDIT: He already defended himself here. My response will be up tomorrow.

But for now, join me in congratulating Justin Verlander on his American League Most Valuable Player award, despite the sabotage attempt of a dickbag writer in Cleveland, America’s saddest city. Manny Ramirez left, Albert Belle left, CC left, Lee left, Jim Thome left (twice), LeBron James left, and so on, for one reason or another. Even Bernie Kosar left to go win a Super Bowl in Dallas. Star after star has left Cleveland over the years.

And now the credibility of Cleveland’s writers has left them, too.

As if I wasn’t embarrassed enough to be from Ohio…


H2OPoloPunk said...

Cleveland is the asshole of America. Only there can a river (Cuyahoga) catch fire. It's fucking Hades, and the Cuyahoga is the River Styx.

Jay Hathaway said...

I will give Cleveland one bit of credit:  Great Lakes Christmas Ale.  Holy shit, that's a great winter brew.

Jay Hathaway said...

Also, thank you, Rogo, because I was beginning to think I was the only one who understood that a starting pitcher experiences a significant amount more head-to-head matchups in a season over position players (think Will Ferrell in Zoolander-"Doesn't anybody notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!").  Not to mention the pressure involved.  If Ajax strikes out (,  do you think he walks off to the bench wondering, "Man, can Phil Coke bail me out of this one?"  No, of course not.  He is likely thinking, "Damn, glad I can catch that fuckin' baseball so well, because I'd be working at a sports bar if I couldn't" (sorry).  The point is, the game is not necessarily screwed if one position player has a terrible game.  Sure, pitchers can be bailed out, too, after a rough day, but I think it's much more difficult to work from behind in such a way.

Spockmaster said...

I read the user comments left on his "response", I think only like 3 of 24 or something agreed with him (I was actually expecting more).  My favorite response was this one:

" Do you also have a difficult time assembling small furniture or is your failure to follow simple instructions limited to MVP voting? "