Ken Rosenthal defends the selection of Justin Morneau as MVP, and appears to be trying to get in as many old school/anti-stathead cliched chestnuts in his column as possible.
The whole thing is completely subjective and debatable, which drives statistical analysts crazy, but makes baseball fun.
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Was he as purely valuable as Mauer and Jeter, middle-of-the-diamond defenders who ranked 1-2 in the A.L. in batting average? Probably not. But then why did most of the Twins endorse Morneau? Simple: They believed that his importance to the team transcended his numbers -- which, by the way, were pretty darned impressive.
There's something to that, no matter how many times analysts cite VORP and runs created and all the other newfangled statistics that point to Mauer or Jeter as more deserving MVPs. For those who must know, the Indians' Travis Hafner led the AL in runs created per game last season. Terrific. He also was a designated hitter who appeared in only 129 games for a team that finished fourth in a five-team division. Runs created per game doesn't tell you that, does it?
For the 1,653rd time, the award is not for best stats, not for best hitter, not for player of the year; it's for MVP, however that is defined by voters in a given year. The choice of Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard over Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols as NL MVP, while less controversial than the AL outcome, also reflected a willingness by voters not to simply paint by numbers.
Howard led the NL in home runs and RBIs, but Pujols was stronger in virtually every other statistical category, not to mention a far superior defender. Again, late-season performance made a difference: Howard almost single-handedly lifted the Phillies into contention after they traded right fielder Bobby Abreu. Not even his post-Aug. 1 stats adequately reflected the impact of his surge, but Phillies fans certainly understood its importance -- and I'm guessing that many Cardinals fans did, too.
As for the AL, it's downright amusing to hear statistical analysts rally to the defense of Jeter, a player they've trashed for years, screeching that his defense was overrated. That's true to an extent, but for heaven's sake, watch the games. Jeter's value is almost immeasurable. Never was that more apparent than this season, when Alex Rodriguez was a basket case and Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui were injured and Jeter was the rock of the Yankees, day after day.
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Whatever your opinion, you're entitled to it.
Impressive...in one column, we get, "watch the games," "he transcended his numbers," "the award is not for best stats," pointing out that some new-fangled stat doesn't tell you something or other, saying that what makes baseball fun is something statheads don't like, and the "everyone is titled to their opinion" nonsense.