Let's Get Rid of the MVP! (Flip Side to Let's Lynch the Landlord)
There is an argument a-brewing on ESPN's baseball regarding the AL Most Valuable Player. The argument basically boils down to this: A) Alex Rodriguez is the best player in the league. Everyone seems to agree to this. B) The pro-A-Rod-for-MVP side argues that he is the most valuable player because of argument A. He has no control on his team sucking. Give him the hardware...finally. C) The anti-A-Rod-for-MVP side agrees with A and B, but disagrees with the Pro's since in their world MVPs must come from not only a winning team but a contender. Some of the Anti's are against Barry Bonds getting the award since his team may not even qualify for the playoffs even though they have contended all year. Tony Gwynn proffered this opinion in the A's game last night. These are the same people who voted for Sammy Sosa over Mark McGwire in his historic 1998 campaign just because Sosa played on a team that got the wild card via a one-game playoff (with Bonds' Giants, and so it goes) and then were ceremoniously sacrificed to the Braves (4 runs in three games).
I do not agree with the Anti argument mostly because my live is too busy (hard to believe) to deal with picayune details like what an MVP award means. Look how valuable was Ichiro to the Mariners last year when they won by 14 games. Bill James set his year at 36 win shares. Each share is worth a third of a win. Ichiro was worth 12 wins to the M's over the season. Never mind that that is behind Jason Gimabi's 2001 total of 38. If the Mariners lose 12 games they are still in first. If the A's lost 13 games (Giambi's total), they, well, they'd still win the wild card, but you get my point.
Besides, the MVP did not have such a narrow definition some years back. Ernie Bank won it twice with a team that finished 6 out of 8 clubs. Is that worse than A-Rod's Rangers finishing 4th in a division of three playoff contenders? Who's prepared those particular hairs? Not me.
Mark Kreidler had this to often in summary on A-Rod's candidacy:
Isn't that what being a league MVP is significantly about, a player's ability to take a good team and by his own work elevate it to playoff level?
I've never understood the backlash against good players on winning teams, a kind of popular blowback for one's having the audacity to be part of an organization that doesn't stink. Can we really devalue Ichiro's excellence because the Mariners were winners before he came along? On that basis alone, whole rafts of Yankees -- Alfonso Soriano, Bernie Williams, Giambi -- are just wholesale ignored....
Still, you're likely to hear it aruged that Rodriguez's Triple Crown threat of a season should be rewarded by the American League MVP. In truth, the chance for a Triple Crown chase is the reward, because it comes along so rarely in the game's annals. They give out an MVP in each league every year. For Rodriguez, maybe next year.
How many years does A-Rod have to get shafted with this tripe?
I'm sick of it. They hardly ever get it right, especially in the AL. Let's get rid of the damn thing already. Let's have a new award called the Best Player award. You vote for the best player in the league and be done with it. If the Mark Kreidlers of the world define it as the best player on a playoff team, we change the name to The Best Player Irrespective of Team Performance Award. What the Hell, am I talking about? These nimrods will still vote for the Juan Gonzalezes of the world. "Ooh. look at the pretty RBIs." The best thing to do is just ignore it and wait for the real award, the Rolaids' Fireman of theYear award.