Monday, November 14, 2005

END THE CHARADE

It is time to end the charade. Since when did the most valuable player voting turn into the most impressive statistics? Has it always been that way? Why is the award not given to the 1988 Kirk Gibson every season? Are the baseball sportswriters so pressured by public perception and so insulated within their own beat that they have to have to just vote on meaningless and empty statistics rather than form an actual opinion based on research, perception, and knowledge?

I know how this looks to everyone reading: bostonsportpage.com is upset that a Boston player did not win the MVP. I admit, it seems like Yankee-hating to the max again, but having watched David Ortiz day after day for the past three years can make one think that this is what it was like watching Ted Williams or Babe Ruth or Willie Mays or Hank Aaron or Frank Robinson in their prime.

Just based on the past three years, I can confidently state that David Ortiz is the greatest clutch hitter in baseball today, if not ever. For what is the definition of the most valuable player? I would say it is for the player who is so indispensable that without him, the team would not be contending for a playoff spot (voting closes before the playoffs begin). Vlad Guerrero rightly won the MVP in 2004 simply because he picked up his team on his back and carried them to the finish line the entire month of September. I thought Ortiz should have been MVP that year, but I had no problem with it going to Guerrero as he was the most valuable player at the end of the regular season. Ortiz made the pick look foolish by simply having a surreal post-season.

So Guerrero is rewarded for having a monster September, but Ortiz has a monstrous August and September and still is denied the award? A batter’s value is reflected by his role in the lineup. Outside of Ozzie Smith, Mark Belanger, or Brooks Robinson, no player has ever made a case for MVP candidacy with their glove. The playing in the field excuse is just that: an excuse.

Withou David Ortiz, the Red Sox do not make the playoffs, and likely are just a .500 team. A-Rod, on the other hand, barely cracks the top five in most valuable on his own team:

1. Gary Sheffield: Sheffield is the Yankees MVP, as he was in 2004.
2. Mariano Rivera: Take away Mo, and the Yankees drift to mediocrity.
3. Hideki Matsui: When the Yankees needed a big hit, Bobble-head Matsui and his patient hitting stroke would strike fear into the hearts of relievers.
4. Derek Jeter: Over-rated, no doubt. But he leads by example and is the Yankees third most dangerous hitter in the clutch (although watching him strikeout or meekly ground out so many times this season to end the game was priceless).
5. Big Unit: In the second half of the season, forget Aaron Small or Shawn Chacon (here is a bold prediction: combined in 2006 Small and Chacon win 13 games), the Big Unit was the ace in the hole that allowed the Yankees to climb to first and keep Regular Joe, king of the A.L. East crown in town.
6. A-Rod: Old Puffy Lips himself finally makes a showing, and I could almost put steroid-abuser Jason Giambi here ahead of him. Yet this bozo wins A.L, MVP? A tragedy. A travesty. Where is Jesse Jackson for this crisis?

Herr Steinbrenner said in a statement to the AP: A-Rod demonstrates the talent, hard work and dedication of a true winner. I look forward to great things for many years from A-Rod as a Yankee. I like that: he demonstrates the talent of a true winner, but in reality he is selfish, stat-obsessed loser, the type whose team improves when he leaves. And as a great Yankee manager, Casey Stengel, once said: You can look it up!

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PATRIOTS:

VICTORY!


A win is a win is a win. The Dolphins are far from a contender, but they are tough at home and there is no doubt no one wants to go into the Orange Bowl, or Joe Robbie Stadium, or whatever they call the stadium and play a tough, physical team that smacks you around on defense and runs over you on offense.

It is actually mind-boggling that the Patriots are still standing at this point, let alone in position for a home playoff game (although it says a lot more about the hideous quarterbacks in the AFC East not named Tom Brady). Starting all-pro running back? Gone. Starting left tackle and right tackle? Gone. Starting wide receiver (who was top ten in the AFC in receptions)? Gone. Starting tight-end who doubles as the best blocking tight end in football? Gone. Starting center? Gone (in the third quarter). Starting strong safety, back-up strong safety, starting cornerback, nickelback and top backup cornerback? All gone. Starting all-pro defensive end? Barely able to play for the first time in six weeks. Yet amazingly the team is still standing.

Of course, the most amazing part of all those injuries is that the Patriots actually had money available under the cap to sign six or more players (minimum salary only, but still, that is a lot more than most teams have available who are lucky to have money for one player). This point is the least-reported, never shouted about on WEEI, but easily why the Belichick-Pioli combo deserves so much praise. They could have re-signed Joe Andruzzi and Ty Law and ate up the cap and had no money to pick-up an extra DB or four when they had injuries. All you bozos who were shouting about spending to the cap this off-season to sign these over-priced veterans need to take a seat and shut-up (oh wait, that is right, you are all conspicuously quiet!).

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CELTICS:

FRIENDS OF LAFRENZ:


Big Raef made the most of his opportunities with the ball in his hands to show once again why Danny Ainge made the right choice to get rid of Antoine and pick-up Raef (Jiri Welsch, who brought us a number one in a few years, I believe) and another #1 pick which turned into their starting point guard, Delonte West. Of course, they got Antoine back again for next to nothing and traded his ass again, but that is another article for another day.

It was nice to see the Celtics win a laugher for a change.

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