FanDuel - WFBC

November 21, 2006

Morneau is your AL MVP: What makes this even more impressive is that he was splitting votes with a teammate, Joe Mauer. That has hurt past candidates, including David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Morneau is the second Canadian-born player to win the MVP.

posted by BullpenPro to baseball at 01:45 PM - 66 comments

A little shocking. I fully expected Jeter to take this with Ortiz second and the Mauer/Morneau team thrid and fourth. He's a deserving guy, who had an outstanding year and was huge for the Twins - but Jeter had a great year and I thought his numbers and play was more exemplary. Despite my anti-Yankeeness, I thought he should have won. Also - ESPN got this one dead wrong.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:54 PM on November 21

Sorry, but this is a joke. Morneau was not even the most valuable player on his own team.

posted by holden at 01:58 PM on November 21

I have to say I am shocked and suspect a lot of this has to do with an anti-Yankee anti-Jeter backlash since he was pretty much coronated with the title in the midst of the season. I don't understand how a guy can be a MOST valuable player if he is on the same team as two other guys (Mauer and Santana) who are so valuable. When you take in that factor and look at the Yankee's record after they lost Sheffield, Matsui and (effectively) ARod for half the season, Jeter essentially held the team together with his bat and his legs and his glove. And they finished with the best record in baseball. I say Jeter was robbed. Some day I would like to see someone do for baseball what Dberri, Schmidt and Brook (The Wages of Wins) did for basketball with their wins produced statistic.

posted by drkwanda at 02:03 PM on November 21

Here are all the vote totals. I am surprised it was Morneau. I would not have voted for him as the MVP of his team, but that might be weighted by my dubious sense of his character ever since he threw a punch at Torii Hunter as a rookie. He definitely had solid numbers, his team definitely overachieved with his help, and he didn't sneak onto the top of this list -- he won by more than a full first place vote.

posted by BullpenPro at 02:03 PM on November 21

(Is every year's MVP selection doomed to turn into a debate on what "MVP" is supposed to mean? Probably.) I don't know if it's really all that shocking. Jeter and Morneau had very different jobs on their teams. Jeter's job was to get on base and get across the plate; Morneau's job was to clear the bases. Both did their jobs very, very well. But what happens when you remove those guys from the lineup? Is it easier for the Yankees to replace 118 runs scored, or is it easier for the Twins to replace 130 RBI? I think the Twins get the slight edge, but I also think that it's not an overwhelming choice. Hence the slim 14-point differential in the voting. It could've gone to Jeter, and I wouldn't have complained too much, but I don't think he was robbed.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 02:10 PM on November 21

Like the NL, it's all about the home runs.

posted by rchugh at 02:19 PM on November 21

Like the NL, it's all about the home runs. Uh then Ortiz would have won?

posted by jerseygirl at 02:27 PM on November 21

I sense a bit of a lack of the typical reasoned, objective analysis from some of our Canadian contributors. I still hold out hope for grum... (And Jeter, like me, grew up in Michigan, which is practically Canada -- where's the love???)

posted by holden at 02:31 PM on November 21

Like the NL, it's all about the home runs. Morneau finished 12th in the AL in home runs. I don't think this is just about home runs. I think it was a complex balance that, in the end, gave more weight to standard run production numbers (HRs, RBIs), the overall performance of a player's team (whether they were in the playoffs or not), and the whole DH thing.

posted by BullpenPro at 02:31 PM on November 21

Uh then Ortiz would have won? Maybe if he raised his avg. by like 20 pts.

posted by yay-yo at 02:37 PM on November 21

Maybe if he raised his avg. by like 20 pts. And thus the circle is complete. Now where were we?

posted by cl at 02:49 PM on November 21

I am pleasantly surprised to see Morneau as the AL MVP. Like almost everyone, I was surprised it wasn't Jeter. However, in every column I've read that says Jeter should be the MVP, I've been seeing one argument that absolutely makes me gag: that Jeter "held the team together" when Sheffield and Matsui went down. Please. I'm supposed to believe that Jeter should get major credit for limping along with a bunch of nobodies like Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi and A-Rod (who despite a "disappointing" season still had awesome stats), until the bleeding was patched with the acquisition of Bobby Abreu? I donít buy it. Besides that, another columnist (I forget which) said Jeter didn't deserve accolades for his leadership specifically because he left A-Rod hanging out to dry when the criticism barrage kept up. The A-Rod situation may have hurt Jeter more than we realize...apparently something didn't sit well with many of the voters, and it could be that as much as anything else.

posted by TheQatarian at 02:57 PM on November 21

Actually, the more I look at this, the more I'm inclined to agree with holden. Frigging joke. Morneau was maybe (maybe) the MVP of the last four months, but how can you have three guys all be MVPs and one guy actually win it? Were the Twins kidnapping BBWAA families?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:57 PM on November 21

I wouldn't say homers is all they look at. But it is true that all they look at is batting which is only half the game of baseball. I think this is where baseball executives make the same mistake NBA execs make and which Dberri et al emphasize in their book. NBA management teams get distracted by scoring average. In baseball people only look at what they feel is measurable -- batting. When you take into account defense and clutch hitting then the picture changes somewhat. Morneau had a better batting year than Jeter (according to OPS) and is an above average defender (compared to Jeter who supposedly ranks near the bottom of shortstops). But when you factor in clutch hitting the scales tilt. Look who ranks at the top of win shares, a stat compiled by Bill James to see how a player contributes to his team winning.

posted by drkwanda at 03:00 PM on November 21

I sense a bit of a lack of the typical reasoned, objective analysis from some of our Canadian contributors. I still hold out hope for grum... I am a Canadian and don't have the irrational hate-on for the Yankees or Red Sox that many do. Morneau was not even the most valuable player on his own team. Santana only won 19 games. The Twins won 96. I still do not understand how a player who only pitches once every 5 days could possibly win it, outside of winning 25-30 games and going well and above what other pitchers have been doing in their era. If you mean Mauer, he hit for a high average and played excellent defence but his power and run contribution numbers pale in comparison to Morneau. And despite the injuries, you can't say that Morneau had the benefit of a better lineup than Jeter did. Cano, Damon, Abreu, Rodriguez (despite the fact his "off" season was still way above average for a major leaguer), Posada, Giambi are all above average, potential all-stars. The fact that the Yankees had so many injuries and still finished the way they did shows how deep their lineup was. There's no way the Twins would've competed with two or three key injuries for long term periods. In the end, I think that Jeter, put on the Twins without Morneau, woudn't have resulted in the Twins winning 96 games. He doesn't replace the power, or the need for pitchers to make Mauer a better out that Morneau did. Morneau on the Yankees? Likely a very similar, if not better, result. I think that's the difference.

posted by dfleming at 03:01 PM on November 21

Yes, I'm Canadian, and yes, I happen to think that Derek Jeter has been overrated these past few years. That's not a valid counter-argument, though. I think it also has to do with a team's perceived depth. You know what most of these writers are imagining? Both Morneau and Jeter were cornerstones for their teams this year, sure. But if Derek Jeter suffers a season-ending injury in May, the Yankees make an expensive trade for Julio Lugo, plug the holes like no other team can, and they probably still make the playoffs. If Morneau goes down, the Twins plug in a replacement-level rookie, production spirals, and they finish fourth in the division. It may not be completely accurate, but it's a common conception. Head-to-head, Jeter was probably a better player than Morneau last year. Hands-down, every GM in this league would take Jeter over Morneau if offered either for the same money. But for an MVP award, Jeter's perceived value is diminished by the system around him (that same system that drove him in from second base and buoyed his MVP-worthy stats, incidentally). Is it fair? No. But it happens. Heck, it's why Cito Gaston hasn't had a job in ten years. Look, I'm not saying that Morneau is an overwhelming choice for MVP. I'm just saying that I wasn't shocked to the bone when I found out he won, and here's why. On edit: also, what dfleming said.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 03:03 PM on November 21

He was the first Twins player to hit 30 or more home runs in a season since 1987, and his 130 RBIs rank second best in team history to Harmon Killebrew's 140 in 1969. Which really goes to show you how offensively challenged the Twinkies have been for a long, long time. And yay-yo, reading comprehension is your friend.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:11 PM on November 21

Santana only won 19 games. The Twins won 96. I still do not understand how a player who only pitches once every 5 days could possibly win it, outside of winning 25-30 games and going well and above what other pitchers have been doing in their era. I don't understand how you can only refer to the games the pitcher actually won when stating his case for the MVP. I rarely see anybody break down offensive stats ONLY for games the player's team won as an argument for who should get the MVP. Santana had 24 quality starts. That means that he single-handedly put the team in a position to win a number of times equivalent to 25% of the team's total victories last year. Can you say for certain that any other player on the Twins single-handedly kept the team in the game 24 times last year. Morneau had home runs in 31 games last year, only 25 of which were Twins victories. Additionally, his RBI totals in individual games made up the difference between losing and not-losing (i.e. tying or winning) the game only 12 times. I'm not really a stat guy, but I bet a compelling argument could be made that Santana influenced at least as many Twins victories as Morneau. For the record, Frank Thomas and Jermaine Dye each had game-deciding RBIs (by the above criteria) 16 times, Ortiz 18 times, and Jeter, who really isn't supposed to be an RBI guy, did it 13 times.

posted by BullpenPro at 03:38 PM on November 21

Some day I would like to see someone do for baseball what Dberri, Schmidt and Brook . . . did for basketball with their wins produced statistic. posted by drkwanda at 2:03 PM CST on November 21 Look who ranks at the top of win shares, a stat compiled by Bill James to see how a player contributes to his team winning. posted by drkwanda at 3:00 PM CST on November 21 But . . . but . . . well, I guess I don't need to tell you about Win Shares. How about Runs Created?

posted by yerfatma at 03:44 PM on November 21

Maybe if he raised his avg. by like 20 pts. Comment icon posted by yay-yo at 2:37 PM CST on November 21 Well the Oritz comparison was in response to... ah the hell with it. Brilliant.

posted by jerseygirl at 03:57 PM on November 21

Okay, I was just kidding on the Canadian thing. To answer a couple of the points directed to my earlier comments above, I think Mauer is more valuable than Morneau because of his position. It is a lot easier to find a 1B who can mash than to find a catcher that fields his position very well and also swings a mean stick (as Mauer does in both cases). Ditto for Jeter -- his offensive contributions from the SS position are much more valuable than Morneau's production from 1B. But this all gets back to how you measure value, which no one (not even the BBWAA) appears to agree upon. For me, it goes to value above a replacement player. For others, maybe it's homers and RBIs and batting average and other stats.

posted by holden at 04:44 PM on November 21

And yay-yo, reading comprehension is your friend. You got me there. If only I would have stayed in school past the 2nd grade. . . But honestly, its unfair to say that Ryan Howard won the NL MVP on the basis of home runs alone. Like the NL, it's all about the home runs. He hit well over .300 and had almost 150 RBI's. Ortiz was lucky to finish 3rd in the AL vote. All his votes were gained 2 years ago in the playoffs with his dramatics.

posted by yay-yo at 05:09 PM on November 21

Bait set.

posted by BullpenPro at 05:16 PM on November 21

I love how everyone and their grandmother did nothing this past season but ridicule and put down A-Rod for his crappy play, how he never produced one clutch hit, how he couldn't field or throw, how he wasn't a team guy, etc., but when trying to explain why Jeter shouldn't have won the MVP they claim "He should be great playing on the field with A-Rod." Please. I won't say Jeter "Held the team together," because another poster will have to battle his gag reflex, but what I will dare to assume is if Jeter would have struggled at any point during the past season, or had slumped, or had started the year slowly, the Yankees would have struggled to win the division. I truly believe it was his consistent play all season long that allowed the team to keep rolling despite the A-Rod circus, losing Cano, along with Matsui and Sheffield. Also, Abreu didn't show up until later in the year, and even he endured his struggles. I've always loved Jeter, but I never thought I'd see him put together a year in which he was so rock-solid from opening pitch through early October. I like Morneau, but the award should have been Jeter's this season.

posted by dyams at 06:15 PM on November 21

Bait set. I said I wasn't going to, and I won't. Oh, fuck it. This may be one of the worst selections I've ever seen. I'm now going to type something that I never thought I would: I can't believe how badly the writers screwed over Jeter. I don't think Jeter wins the MVP in a walk. I don't even know if Jeter wins the MVP for sure. (I kept tossing him and Mauer around in my head as MVP, leaning more towards Jeter than Mauer.) But I do know that Morneau wasn't the most valuable player, or the second most valuable player...on his own goddamn team! Proof that the writers are insane:

  • Mauer wasn't picked on four ballots. How the hell can a rational baseball writer not believe that Mauer was not one of the top 10 players in the AL this year? How could four of them make that same fucking mistake?
  • Johnny Damon got a 5th place vote from someone. That means they thought he was more valuable than at least eight of the following players: Mauer, Morneau, Jeter, Thomas, Dye, Santana, Hafner, Guerrero, Sizemore, Ortiz, Thome, Guillen. Not in my world, he wasn't.
  • A.J. Pierzynski appeared on a ballot. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!
The last time the writers fucked up this badly would be 1987, when George Bell won. That can almost entirely be based on the writers' fetish for RBI. Here, I don't know what the hell was going on. The only category that Morneau led the league was in sacrifice flies. Not RBI (Ortiz). Or Average (Mauer). Or OBP (Ramirez). Or SLG (Hafner). Or OPS (Hafner). Or HR (Ortiz). Or total bases (Ortiz). Just to give you an idea of how odd Morneau's pick is, I've mixed two sets of stats together. One is Justin Morneau (1st in voting), the other is Paul Konerko (23rd in voting). Plate Apperances: 661, 643 Hits: 177, 190 Runs: 97, 97 AVG: .313, .321 OBP: .381, .375 SLG: .559, .551 HR: 35, 34 RBI: 113, 130 1B Fielding %: .994, .995 You'd think there would be a bit more of a spread between two players at similar positions, where one wins the MVP award and the other gets one 7th place vote and 3 tenth place votes... The NL MVP vote I can understand. I might not agree heartily with the result, but I can understand it (and the arguments why it isn't an bad vote). This...this is just off-the-charts, fucking crazy. I've always loved Jeter, but I never thought I'd see him put together a year in which he was so rock-solid from opening pitch through early October As good as he was this year, he was even better in 1999, the other year he was a legitimate contender for the MVP (with IRod, Martinez and Alomar).

posted by grum@work at 07:04 PM on November 21

I find myself ashamed for actually thinking that Morneau was a good choice.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 08:01 PM on November 21

Morneau on the Yankees? Likely a very similar, if not better, result. I think that's the difference. Morneau as the Yankees' shortstop? I think that would be an unmitigated disaster. You can't just swap a .900 OPS shortstop for a .934 OPS 1B and consider it even. Jeter as the Twins 1B? Not great power, but his OPS+ was 138 compared to Morneau's "MVP-level" 140, so you wouldn't be losing that much with the bat. The defensive spectrum (1B, corner OF, 3B, CF, 2B, SS, C), when read left-to-right, is a list of the easiest defensive positions to the hardest defensive positions. Players can usually shift left on the spectrum without causing any problems, but going to the right usually requires more skill. That's why you can't just substitute a SS with a 1B and call it even, but you can substitute a 1B with a SS and make it work. It's also why Mauer (144 OPS+ at catcher) was (in my opinion and many, many others) more valuable than Morneau (140 OPS+ at 1B).

posted by grum@work at 08:14 PM on November 21

First off, thanks to dyams for avoiding using the evil phrase about Jeter. I should clarify that I would not have been outraged had he won, as there were several very reasonable arguments for Jeter to win, just that his leadership was not one of them, between having multiple mega-stars around him even without Matsui and Sheffield and the way he left A-Rod twisting in the wind. As a Minnesotan and a Twins fan, I totally agree that Mauer's overall game is more valuable than Morneau's, but nobody judges defense unless a player doesn't play defense at all (i.e. Ortiz). I think the reason Morneau got the votes over Mauer and Santana (aside from the bias against pitchers, which I happen to agree with...they have their own award, let them be happy with that) is that Twins fans chanted "MVP!" every time Morneau came up, so he got the "campaign", and those who didn't want Jeter to win (and I believe those people are out there) had to unite behind somebody, and Morneau seemed as reasonable as anyone. That being said, Morneau is not totally undeserving. He carried the Twins from June through early August, taking them from well below .500 into contention. (It was actually Torii Hunter that got them over the hump into the playoffs...he was absolutely insane once he came off the DL.) Morneau's numbers would have been other-worldly had he not started so slow, and his surge coincided with the Twins' rise, not coincidentally. It's not crazy that Morneau won, but it's certainly not the slam dunk that Santana's Cy Young was.

posted by TheQatarian at 08:27 PM on November 21

Morneau is a great player for many years to come don't get me wrong. I thought that he would win it. But I'm a Yankees Fan and I was a little dissapointed when I heard Jeter didn't win. I personally don't think Jeter will ever win one if he doesn't hit over 20 homers and 100 RBIs. Great average and SBs but I guess it's not enough these days. Better luck next year.

posted by yachts360 at 08:34 PM on November 21

I personally don't think Jeter will ever win one if he doesn't hit over 20 homers and 100 RBIs. Someone better build a time machine and go back to 1999 and give him his MVP.

posted by grum@work at 09:03 PM on November 21

Great post by Grum When you put Morneau's numbers next to Konerko everything in his case just evaporates. I still think the main problem, as exemplified even in this discussion, is how much emphasis people put on batting and how little they put on fielding. I repeat - look at the Bill James stat Win Shares (yes Yerfatma I just got that one hour after my first post). Jeter is 6 games higher than Morneau and 2 full games higher than his nearest competitor -- Mauer! Morneau wasn't even the MVP on his own team! It's a Anti-Yankee Anti Jeter backlash

posted by drkwanda at 09:07 PM on November 21

Thanks Grum! You posted exactly what I was thinking- but with more insight, stats and substance than I could produce. This was as mind boggling of a selection as I have ever seen.

posted by urall cloolis at 09:24 PM on November 21

newsday has the voting breakdown.

posted by goddam at 09:49 PM on November 21

Thanks goddam for posting the link to the voting breakdown. I thought this wasn't supposed to be public. Anyone know if the NL breakdown is out there as well?

posted by holden at 10:07 PM on November 21

Here's a link to Mike and the Mad Dog on WFAN in NY interviewing Joe Cowley, who voted Jeter 6th. Listening to this just makes me sick that these idiots (referring to voters like Cowley, who also put AJ Pierzynski on his ballot) vote on what is the most prestigious award in baseball. I think the logic here on all sides is somewhat flawed, but Cowley just comes out looking like a complete idiot.

posted by holden at 10:12 PM on November 21

Great link holden.

posted by urall cloolis at 10:37 PM on November 21

Cowley just comes out looking like a complete idiot which isn't easy to do when talking to mike and the angry puppy.

posted by goddam at 11:03 PM on November 21

BBWAA is out of touch. I think this headline is very appropriate.

posted by mjkredliner at 11:04 PM on November 21

Joe Cowley, who voted Jeter 6th. Looking at his ballot (from goddam's link), I honestly think he put 15 names in a hat (10 legitimate choices and 5 random names) and drew 10 of them for his ballot. Pierzynski? Jeter 6th? Mauer missing from his ballot all together? Dye ahead of Ortiz AND Thomas? ARod ahead of Hafner? Seriously, how can he still be allowed a ballot next year? In local news, if I see Allan Ryan (of the Toronto Star) this weekend when I roll into town, I'll be sure to kick him in the nuts for leaving Mauer off his ballot. Putting Morneau at #1 is understandable for him because he's obviously supporting his fellow Canadian, but not being smart enough to vote for Mauer too?


BTW, I think this vote should just about end that old canard about good players on the same team "splitting the vote". Here, the Twins had 3 players finish in the top 7 in voting, and one of them still had enough push to end up on top.

posted by grum@work at 11:17 PM on November 21

Crazy Home Town Voting List:

  • David Ortiz - his only 2nd place vote from a New England writer
  • A.J. Pierzynski - his only vote from a Chicago Sun-Times writer (who also didn't vote for Mauer)
  • Frank Thomas - three 2nd place votes, two from Oakland writers (and one from a psychic writer in his new team's town, Toronto)
  • Michael Young - his only vote from a Dallas writer
  • Raul Ibanez - 8th place vote from a Seattle writer
  • Travis Hafner - 2nd place vote from a Cleveland writer (the only vote he received in the top 5)
  • Gary Matthews Jr. - his only vote came from a Texas writer

posted by grum@work at 11:32 PM on November 21

Just bizarro. Jeter wins the two awards he had no business winning and loses the award I though sure he'd win (and had no problem with). It's a Anti-Yankee Anti Jeter backlash posted by drkwanda Then how do you explain his winning everything up to this point? Doesn't wash. Ortiz was lucky to finish 3rd in the AL vote. All his votes were gained 2 years ago in the playoffs with his dramatics. Sometimes you write things that confuse me. I tell myself to ignore it because it's so ridiculous you can't possibly believe it. Yet it's so mind boggling, I'd think you'd have problems making it up out of the blue. This is one of those things.

posted by justgary at 12:00 AM on November 22

Why, oh why, must grum be so convincing?

posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:35 AM on November 22

I was shocked that Morneau won cause I thought that Jeter would be "crowned" "King of the World" For the first time in a long time the voter got it right. Morneau was was indeed the MVP of his Team and and of the League. He carried the Twins when Mauer and Santana didnt, I called this along time ago, and people thought I was nuts!

posted by daddisamm at 04:38 AM on November 22

You can Throw all the stats you want at this aruguement.. Morneau emerged as the leader of the Twins. He indded deserves this award. Mauer will get his MVP award soon enough. And you know, Jeter might win one again, down the road . So enough wit the "Jeter was robbed"

posted by daddisamm at 04:48 AM on November 22

You can Throw all the stats you want at this aruguement.. Morneau emerged as the leader of the Twins So you feel Nelson de la Rosa was a legitimate MVP candidate in 2004?

posted by yerfatma at 05:43 AM on November 22

* David Ortiz - his only 2nd place vote from a New England writer It was Shaughnessy wasn't it?

posted by jerseygirl at 06:32 AM on November 22

The Morneau-Konerko comparison falls flat with me simply because Konerko's team didn't win anything, and that generally counts for something in being "Most Valuable", unless you're A-Rod or Andre Dawson. And to be honest, a Morneau-Jeter comparison has an "apples-and-oranges" flavor to it. Either choice was fair. But I think this may be the first time that a player won the MVP and people debated whether he was even the best player in his own apartment, let alone on his team. (Mauer is his roommate.)

posted by TheQatarian at 07:29 AM on November 22

falls flat with me simply because Konerko's team didn't win anything But it's not MVP of a team that goes to the playoffs. I do like the apartment point though.

posted by yerfatma at 07:38 AM on November 22

These BBWAA guys aren't taking their jobs seriously enough. It's not an oppotunity to give a guy like Raul Ibanez props for a good season because that's your beat and he's a good guy. Gary Matthews Jr.? Again - hey, great year Gary, now get the fuck off the MVP ballot. It's a joke. Morneau deserves credit for having the year he had - but in no way is he the actual MVP of the AL- no matter how you consider the award: He wasn't the best hitter around. His metrics are astonishingly low compared to many others. He has at least one teammate, if not two teammates who's metrics show them to be just as valuable, if not more valuable. I swear people just fell in love with 2-out RBIs. As far as I'm concerned, it can't be about "What you think would happen if the team didn't have him." That's completely speculative. It should be about performance. And really, in most ways - Jeter's performance was better than anyone else's - all things considered. The thing is - baseball has advanced far beyond the classic average/homers/RBI measurements. There are better ways to determine performance. Actually, my biggest complaint centres around the fact that by most accounts, Mauer is far more valuable to the Twins than Morneau is. It's staggeringly obvious.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:23 AM on November 22

These BBWAA guys aren't taking their jobs seriously enough. It's not an oppotunity to give a guy like Raul Ibanez props for a good season because that's your beat and he's a good guy. Hear hear!!

posted by SummersEve at 08:51 AM on November 22

Mauer set things up for Morneau. While Mauer had more hits, Morneau had bigger hits including one to beat the Yankees in the bottom of the 9th. I look at it this way, if the Yankees don't have Jeter they still have a shot at the playoffs. If the Twins don't have Morneau they finish a distant 2nd to Detroit and don't even sniff the playoffs. Santana? pitchers have Cy Youngs and shouldn't be voted for MVP. Ortiz? A DH is tough to vote for when they only play half a game.

posted by mn sports nut at 08:58 AM on November 22

I'm just surprised nobody's brought up the race card yet.

posted by qbert72 at 09:09 AM on November 22

As far as I'm concerned, it can't be about "What you think would happen if the team didn't have him." That's completely speculative. It should be about performance. And really, in most ways - Jeter's performance was better than anyone else's - all things considered. Isn't the MVP a speculative award? It actually is an award for the person who was most valuable to their team. Not the person who filled up more boxes on the stat sheet. That's why it's such a tough award to give out. I suggest you take Jeter's lead on this and take the high road. Jeter was definately a strong candidate for the award and could have easily won it. But if he did, people would be on here cying about how Morneau and Mauer were robbed because they played on the same team. I personally despise the Yankees, but I have a new found respect for DJ because of the class he showed in losing the MVP vote.

posted by yay-yo at 09:21 AM on November 22

Isn't the MVP a speculative award? No. Or they could vote for next year's winner right now. I'm referring to the practice of people imagining scenarios that didn't happen, i.e. "What if the Twins didn't have Morneau." That's speculative reasoning and faulty logic. You can't pretend to know the outcome of an unknown. Too many people seem to approach the MVP debate like this. I agree that there is a nebulous nature to the award that isn't all translated into statistics - like performance in big games, etc. (I'm thinking specifically of Morneau's 5 for 5 performance in a crucial September game), but there should be a balance that, as shown by the voting breakdown, clearly isn't there.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:11 AM on November 22

Just shown on SportsCenter: Morneau from June 8 through Oct 1: .362 BA 23 HR 92 RBI

posted by yay-yo at 10:15 AM on November 22

It is a hard award to give out, that is why it behooves the BBWAA members to take the time to review stats, video, etc. (including defensive ones) on a daily basis, and to make their decisions based purely on objective analysis. Although it is only human nature to pull for the players you cover on a daily basis, journalists, by definition, are supposed to be objective in their duties, or so I was led to believe. Suggestion: If the award is to go to the player that is most valuable to their team, then why doesn't each team conduct an internal vote of who they feel is MVP of their team (such as many teams do at end of year banquets etc.) and then submit the 1 player that they choose to nominate to be eligible for the award? This would eliminate the splitting of the vote by teammates. Strong cases can be made for both winners, don't get me wrong, but I also feel that in the case of a very close call, the history of the players value to their team should also be taken into consideration, kind of a "you must knock out the champ" (See Barry Bonds 2001-2004 vs Albert Pujols 2001-2004) attitude if you will. Jeter has been as valuable as to the Yankees, year in year out, as almost anyone who has worn the pinstripes, and you tell me, who in the Cardinals lineup this year had Albert's back? I'm just surprised nobody's brought up the race card yet. Then why did you? I have a new found respect for DJ because of the class he showed in losing the MVP vote. Jeter has always displayed class as far as I can remember, this is nothing new on his part.

posted by mjkredliner at 10:23 AM on November 22

Suggestion: If the award is to go to the player that is most valuable to their team, then why doesn't each team conduct an internal vote of who they feel is MVP of their team (such as many teams do at end of year banquets etc.) and then submit the 1 player that they choose to nominate to be eligible for the award? A-Rod would never even sniff the MVP that way. Jeter has always displayed class as far as I can remember, this is nothing new on his part. Very true, nothing surprising about the way he has handled this.

posted by bperk at 10:38 AM on November 22

That Cowley clip is hilarious. I seriously do not know how Chris Russo got a job in radio. He has one of the most painful voices to have to listen to of anyone in show business. I think it's great to hear him call somebody else out for being clueless. Dude, you're a Giants fan. They left New York 50 years ago. Please go find them. I think it's time to put the solemn act of voting for the MVP into perspective. It's not like the voters today are making a mockery of a long upstanding and sacred process. This thing has been screwed up from day one. It bears repeating at this time of year that Ted Williams batted .400 one year and won the triple crown in two others, and didn't win the MVP in any of them. The second time he won the crown, one writer left him off the ballot altogether. And you can't get on Cowley too much for not knowing what Jeter did on a Friday night in August against the Red Sox. Cowley doesn't cover either of those teams, and he has a job to do that I'm pretty sure is at least a full-time job. And at that time, the White Sox, which he does cover, were having their own issues. It's not like these guys get a week off from their jobs to study the candidates in detail. In fact, if the ballots are indeed submitted before the playoffs start, well, the season ends Sunday night and the playoffs start the following Tuesday afternoon. That leaves Monday to sort it out, while still doing your post-mortem on your club's season, giving a preview to the playoffs, and writing a column about who you're thinking of voting for. I will say that Cowley's using comments from two (yes, he said "two") players about who they would rather pitch to -- Jeter or A-Rod or Cano -- is really lame. I can't believe there are too many pitchers that would rather pitch to Manny than to Ortiz. His point escaped me there. It felt like he was in a corner and really had no decent defense. He showed enough disdain for what "you guys do in New York" to reveal the motivation in his vote, which was inevitable. Somebody was going to anchor Jeter, and I'm glad for Cowley's sake (and for ours) that it didn't make a difference. Bottom line, individual awards in a team sport, and this particularly poorly defined one, are almost always going to be fraught with inconsistencies, politics and general silliness. There's no point trying to figure out how to "fix" the system. Morneau had a great season, was not an outlandish choice, was voted ahead of his teammates on all but two ballots (where he was behind Santana, not Mauer), and should be the headline for this award, not the guys who didn't win.

posted by BullpenPro at 11:22 AM on November 22

individual awards in a team sport I've always thought baseball was an individual sport masked as a team sport. I mean, isn't 90% of the outcome decided by the duel between pitcher and batter? Maybe it's the hockey fan in me, but how can you "cover your teammate's back" in baseball? I understand that if you're followed by a strong hitter, the pitcher is more likely to not want to give you a walk, but your team's lineup and batting order is all decided by management, not between the players. In any case, we should all be glad that the BBWWAA is so in love with retarded stats and unable to evaluate offensive contribution with regards to defensive ability. It means that the Big Blind Establishment still exists, and that there's still room for new Bill James to appear. If they got everything right, what would we argue about? Oh, and I like mjk's suggestion that each team selects one representative to appear on the MVP ballot.

posted by qbert72 at 11:57 AM on November 22

Just shown on SportsCenter: Morneau from June 8 through Oct 1: .362 BA 23 HR 92 RBI Just shown on SportsFilter: The season started in April. But if arbitrary splits is what you want to judge players by, then I'm all for it: How about against the teams they battled with for the AL Central title? vs Detroit Morneau: .836 OPS Mauer: .939 OPS vs Chicago Morneau: .809 OPS Mauer: .840 OPS How about important innings? 1st inning (establishing a lead is important) Morneau: .620 OPS Mauer: .875 OPS 9th inning (the make-or-break inning) Morneau: .536 OPS Mauer: 1.130 OPS How about playing at the same position? As a DH (where hitting is all that matters) Morneau: .485 OPS Mauer: 1.202 OPS How about situational hitting? Runners In Scoring Position Morneau: .976 OPS Mauer: 1.041 OPS 2 outs, Runners In Scoring Position Morneau: .927 OPS Mauer: 1.200 OPS

posted by grum@work at 12:04 PM on November 22

There's no point trying to figure out how to "fix" the system. Agreed. There is nothing really wrong with the voting system. It's just that some of the people doing the voting are either lazy, stupid or not paying attention. Which, in retrospect, is the same for almost every voting process of which I can think. This is a bad result. As I saw somewhere else, it's "Jethro Tull beating Metallica for the Hard Rock / Heavy Metal Grammy award a few years back"-bad.

posted by grum@work at 12:12 PM on November 22

It's not that bad. To make it this bad, they would have had to give the MVP to Michel Platini.

posted by qbert72 at 12:34 PM on November 22

I seriously do not know how Chris Russo got a job in radio. He has one of the most painful voices to have to listen to of anyone in show business. I absolutely adore him and his voice. One man's trash, I suppose.

posted by yerfatma at 01:00 PM on November 22

Typical stupid choice. Morneau didn't get make my top 10, might not have even made my top 20. A pretty typical very good but not great slugging first baseman with poor defensive skills. As has been pointed out, he had the exact same season as Paul Konerko. Morneau won because the writers are too obsessed with stupid stats like RBI than on-field value. Maybe some day they'll learn to understand what really helps ballclubs win on the field, as opposed to who accumulates the statistics that make for good, albeit often false, narratives in the daily papers. Frank Thomas' 4th place finish is just as silly. Frank's a Hall of Fame player, but this was at best the 10th best season of his career. I could see a reasonable case for Jeter, Mauer, Santana, Hafner, Ortiz, Carlos Guillen and Sizemore. Personally, I really don't mid a writer throwing his 10th place vote to someone in order to say "good effort" But to give such a vote to AJ Pierzynski, who I'm not sure was among the ten most valuable White Sox in 2006, is beyond absurd.

posted by spira at 03:47 PM on November 23

I've always thought baseball was an individual sport masked as a team sport. I'm sure this is not an uncommon belief. Recipe: 1 part Baseball Tonight highlights 1 part Designer Stats made to draw out individual accomplishments .25 part MLB marketing 700 parts Free Agency and the Baseball Players' Union Shake well. Baseball is still a team sport, sprinkled with a few Roger Dorns and desperately clutching the few Rod Carews, Roy Whites and Pete Roses ("Charlie Hustle" Pete Rose, not "Charlie Hustler" Pete Rose) that are still around. Maybe it's the hockey fan in me, but how can you "cover your teammate's back" in baseball? What, you've never seen a baseball brawl? Seriously, maybe you mean something more specific that I am not picking up, but I would put all of the following into the "cover your teammate's back" category in baseball. 1. When a pitcher plunks a player on the other team after one of his own teammates has been hit, he is getting that teammates back. 2. When a player strikes out or pops out with one out and a man on third and the next batter drives in that run with two outs, I would say the second hitter got the first hitter's back. 3. When an infielder makes a diving stop and comes up firing, the throw is wide, and the first baseman makes a leaping tag play on the runner, the first baseman got the infielder's back. 4. When an outfielder makes an error that allows two runs to score and the next inning a teammate hits a grand slam, I would say that's getting the outfielder's back. 5. When a starting pitcher throwing a gem gets into trouble trying to get through the ninth inning of a close game and a reliever comes in and gets out of the jam, that's getting the starter's back. I think these examples show that pitcher-to-hitter, hitter-to-hitter, fielder-to-fielder, hitter-to-fielder, and pitcher-to-pitcher we are watching teammates in a team sport picking up some backs. It's just that some of the people doing the voting are either lazy, stupid or not paying attention... This is a bad result. I can't tell what this is, really. Every single ballot had Morneau in the top four. That's a lot of lazy stupidity to have fall into sync all together. Plus, both Minneapolis writers, who I would think have a better view of the Twins than any other writer, picked Morneau first and no other Twin higher than fifth. The popular view in the media was that Jeter was the favorite to win the award. The lazy thing to do would be to give the vote to Jeter. The stupid thing to do, presumably, would be to pick against Jeter just to pick against him, and if the voters were doing that I would think the anti-Jeter vote would be more spread out. The Newark (NJ) Star Ledger picked Morneau above Jeter. Maybe there is something that Morneau was bringing to the table that extended far beyond his Konerko-like stats, something that the folks with clubhouse privileges saw that made him an easier selection than we think he should have been. The Twins fans in this thread don't seem to have a problem with Morneau over Mauer and Santana. I think Morneau is getting short shrift by the repeated suggestion that he didn't deserve the award. The voting was too consistent to really credibly suggest that this was a case of random error.

posted by BullpenPro at 01:09 PM on November 27

Just shown on SportsCenter: Morneau from June 8 through Oct 1: .362 BA 23 HR 92 RBI Just shown on SportsFilter: The season started in April. But if arbitrary splits is what you want to judge players by, then I'm all for it: How about against the teams they battled with for the AL Central title? The stats show that Morneau was hot during the stretch that the Twins were actually winning. He compiled the majority of his numbers in "crunch" time and brought the team back from 10+ games. Im sure you could find some stats that support any player being the MVP but then again "value" is a very subjective term.

posted by yay-yo at 12:20 PM on November 28

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