Today the BBWAA will give out the only award that looks to have any kind of intrigue or potential controversy to it: AL MVP.
This year’s award throws a couple of time-tested argument starters out there: should a pitcher win the MVP? Should the MVP winner come from a team that didn’t go anywhere? Is year-long excellence somehow less impressive for MVP purposes than a guy who has a late dominant surge that carries a team into the playoffs? And what if that late surge couldn’t quite do it because all of that guy’s teammates were eating fried chicken and drinking beer?
Justin Verlander, Jose Bautista, Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson and Jacoby Ellsbury all fall into that matrix somewhere. I have no freaking clue how it will break down. My gut tells me that Verlander will get it. Why? Because I imagine that when the Sox crapped out on the last day of the season Ellsbury lost support and that those people — storyline voters, I’ll call them, who wanted to give it to him on the theory that he was carrying Boston into the playoffs — will defect to Verlander in greater numbers than Bautista.
And yes, that’s not far removed from me just pulling it all out of my butt. Cut me some slack. I’m a little tired this morning.
One thing I’m more sure about: anyone who throws a fit about the MVP voting this year is just trying to start a fight because they’re bored. It’s OK, I do that all the time, but it’s hard to see oodles of daylight between these candidates in my view. I’d probably vote for Bautista, and I’ll get a little miffed if Verlander doesn’t win due to people simply leaving him off their ballots entirely, but there just doesn’t seem to be any room to call whatever results we get an atrocity.
Adjust your rage accordingly.