Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Time to Talk about MVP

Picking up the sports page this week I’ve noticed that it has become quite fashionable for the ink stained wretches (Ted Williams favorite term for baseball writers who ripped him) to debate the merits of choosing between Miguel Tejada (the top traditional candidate) and A Rod, the “how can we overlook the year he had on a last place team candidate” for American league MVP.

I’m waiting for the writers who line up on the side of A Rod to be consistent and start including Magglio Ordonez, Mike Sweeney, and Jim Thome in their list. These players have had fabulous seasons and while we are at it how about Manny Ramirez, Nomar Garciaparra, and Eric Hinske.

See, all these players have put up outstanding numbers on teams going no where, the same place the Rangers have gone in 2002.

Nomar’s hitting .313, plays great defense, and has driven 114 runs, and if I was starting a team he would be very close to my first pick.

When was the last time a writer considered Nomar for the 2002 AL MVP award?

Point being, if you want to define the award as the best player in the league, there are a whole bunch more to consider and Miguel Tejada slips from the focus of the debate to seventh or eighth on the list of worthy candidates.

The writers who argue for A Rod are inconsistent in their presentations if they immediately pit A Rod against Tejada or Jason Giambi or Alfonso Soriano and don’t include all the fabulous players in the league in the discussion.

There is more to say, so click below and let’s continue.

The key to the whole discussion is defining the criteria the Most Valuable Player Award.

No one in baseball has given the voters guidelines for the award.

The Sporting News, a weekly publication considered the Bible of Baseball from 1880 to 1975, defined their award given annually as the Player of the Year.

End of debate. Clear definition.

Based in St. Louis, under that definition, it became easy for the Sporting News to give the award to the hometown Cardinals Stan Musial who had fabulous numbers, and overlook Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and others who really led their teams to NL pennants in the 40’s and 50’s.

So, it is all in the definition.

I choose to honor the player who was most valuable on a team that was in contention during the year. When a team is 30 games from the lead, statistics become misleading as they are piled up in completely meaningless baseball situations.

I call it offensive indifference.

When a base is stolen in the eighth inning with nothing at stake, the official scorer won’t credit the runner with a steal if the defense ignores the runner.

I look at A Rod’s numbers the same way. How many of his RBI’s and homers came with his team down by an insurmountable amount of runs late in the game?

More than just a handful, I’m sure.

For me, my MVP drives in runs in big games, when everyone in the park and on the field knows that the clutch situation of the ball game is at hand.

The big hit usually comes against the best reliever or starter that the opponent has.

If I steal bases, I want to be the player who steals a base in the eighth inning with my team down by a run with everyone in the park knowing that I’m going and I still get it done.

Over the course of 162 games on a winning team, the guy who gets the job done for his team in the clutch with the world watching, is the MVP.

The A’s offense is rated average at best. The team will win over 100 games, possibly with the best record in the league. Take Miguel Tejada off this team and the A’s offense will struggle mightily for runs. No one is mentioning Eric Chavez or Jermaine Dye for MVP, Miguel Tejada has been the man all year long on the winningest team in the league.

That’s my definition of an MVP.

If it isn’t Tejada for MVP, then on my ballot it is Giambi, Garret Anderson, or Soriano.

Frankly, A Rod isn’t in my top five.

Pedro Martinez is the best pitcher in the league, he finished the year 20-4, but the Cy Young award debate is a story for another day.


1 Anonymous { 09.24.02 at 3:02 pm }

right on the mark-tejada wins hands down

2 marty { 09.24.02 at 3:55 pm }

From Marty:

This response came in thru E-Mail, and is a worthy rebuttal.

The problem with defining the MVP as you have is described in your very words. You don’t think Tejada ranks even in the top seven or eight in terms of this year’s best players, yet you want to give him the ultimate award? There’s something wrong with that.

Also, if you’re going to factor out all of A-Rod’s “meaningless” at-bats, then do so for Tejada as well. Anytime Zito, Mulder or Hudson is pitching and the A’s lead by three or more runs, the game is over. So shouldn’t anything Tejada contributed in those circumstances be deemed “meaningless”? You presume pitchers are just piping fastballs for A-Rod to hit because he plays on a bad team. Then why is it that he has more than twice as many walks as Tejada, this despite having a better hitter (Palmeiro) hitting behind him?

Almost everytime A-Rod comes to the plate, he knows he MUST produce. Such is the state of the Rangers’ pitching staff. Now that’s pressure. Meanwhile, Tejada knows if he grounds out with the bases loaded in the third inning, he’ll probably get another chance to be the hero later on because the A’s pitchers will keep the score close. So in that sense, there’s far less pressure on Tejada to perform than A-Rod.

You make yourself look silly throwing the names of Ordonez, Sweeney, Garciaparra and Thome into the equation. They are having GOOD seasons. Please don’t confuse them with what A-Rod is going. Here we have a SHORTSTOP who has a chance to hit 60 homers, has nine more HRs than any other player in the league and 11 more RBIs. And playing almost every inning of every game on a very bad team, he still has made just 10 errors in the field. This is – by far – the greatest season by a shortstop of ALL-TIME.

And you want to give the award to someone else? C’mon …

3 marty { 09.24.02 at 3:59 pm }

From Marty:

Here’s another response, this time from Charlie in New Jersey explaining why he wouldn’t give the MVP to A Rod.:

“With “A Rod,” Texas went nowhere. Without Soriano the Yankees would have gone nowhere instead of to post season. Soriano will become the greatest of all Yankee second sackers and in time will rank in power,glove and speed with the best 2nd basemen to ever play this game. I’m telling you Marty, the guy’s in a class by himself however I have a feeling that your guys will defintely knock off the Yanks in the playoffs; I’m assuming they’ll meet either meet in one of the rounds or in the ALCS.

And I’ll tell you who should be right up there with “Sori.” Mr. Tejada. That man is a class act who ranks with Jeter and right behind Nomar and “A Rod”. I think Tejada will get a lot of votes for MVP.”


4 marty { 09.24.02 at 4:50 pm }

From Marty:

Here’s another E-Mail response. I’m still waiting for someone to define the meaning of the award.

You hit something I’m kinda passionate about.

“I politely disagree. Nothing against Tejada, who has had a great year, but

let me put it this way: If A-Rod was on the A’s and Tejada was on the

Rangers, the A’s would have already won the World Series and the Rangers

would be even further out of it. No doubt in my mind about that. Put

Tejada on the Rangers and no one even considers him. In my opinion it’s

not even close (MVP voting)

The point is, except for BB in the NL, A-Rod’s stats stand out over

anyone this year, (inc Giambi, Soriano, Garciaperra, Pedro, et al) .

ps: keep in mind, I thought Giambi should have won it last year over

Ichiro and was shocked at those voting results, so anything is possible.”

5 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:14 pm }

6 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:51 pm }

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