The guy who left Verlander off his MVP ballot admits he ignored the voting standards

94 Comments

Remember that time you went to work and your boss was all like “you can’t do such and such because it’s expressly against company rules and actually undermines the policies we’ve established” and then you said “screw that, I’ma do what I’ma do” and then nothing happened to you.  Jim Ingrahm of the News-Herald never had a day like that:

I was one of the 28 voters for the American League Most Valuable Player Award … I was the only voter who didn’t include Verlander anywhere on his 10-player ballot. This was my reasoning: The short version is I don’t believe pitchers should be eligible for the MVP Award.  My not voting for Verlander had nothing to do with evaluating what Verlander accomplished this season … I can’t think of any other sport in which a player who didn’t play in 79 percent of his team’s games could be voted the Most Valuable Player in his league.

Except, the very ballot that Mr. Ingrahm fills out says this right on the face of it:

“Keep in mind that all players are eligible for MVP, including pitchers and designated hitters.”

Note: the rules don’t say that you have to vote for pitchers and many don’t. But pitchers are eligible. Ingrahm says nuts to that.

If Ingrahm doesn’t think that Justin Verlander’s contributions were actually as valuable as ten other players, great, he should leave him off.  But to expressly refuse to even evaluate or consider the possibility and to leave him off his ballot because of that violates the guidelines that the very organization which sanctions the award has established.

That usually gets you in trouble.  I’m guessing it won’t here. It should.

UPDATE:  Was just asked by someone why this matters. The idea: lots of voters probably leave pitchers off their ballots for the same reason. They just don’t admit it. Indeed, no one is required to say why they voted how they voted, so who cares if Ingrahm just gave voice to what happens all the time anyway? My answer: it’s a question of legitimacy.

There are all kinds of rules that get violated by all kinds of people every day. People applying their own standards, be it at work, out in the world, wherever. It’s just part of the deal.   We endure it because, really, we can’t do much about it. The guy isn’t going to hire the woman because he’s sexist? Well, unless he’s an idiot, he’s never going to admit it or otherwise tip his hand, and thus stopping such practices is difficult.

But when someone so clearly and openly flaunts a rule, don’t we have to do something about it? I mean, people are given almost total latitude in some walks of life and we understandably let it pass.  When they push things even further and then expressly admit they’re doing so, don’t we, at some point, have to do something? Otherwise we basically admit that the rules are a total fiction and then what’s the point? This guy is basically taunting the very organization that gives him his vote. He’s telling the BBWAA “your standards are quaint, but I have my own.”

Put differently, he used his vote as a political statement. Not as baseball analysis. They have a BBWAA meeting each year at the Winter Meetings. He should make his political statements there. If he wants pitchers off the ballot, make a motion to that effect and see what his colleagues decide.  Don’t screw around with your protest votes in so openly a manner. To do so undercuts the legitimacy of the organization which you serve.

New Marlins owners are going to dump David Samson, keep the home run sculpture

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Miami Herald reports that the future Miami Marlins owners, Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, have informed Major League Baseball that they do not intend to retain current team president David Samson. Derek Jeter will replace him as the person in charge of baseball and business operations.

Samson has been a polarizing figure in Miami and has been seen as Jeff Loria’s front-facing presence in many ways. He led the effort for the team to get its new stadium, which led to political scandal and outrage in Miami (not that he didn’t get his stadium). In 2014, he appeared on “Survivor.” He did not survive.

What will survive, however, is the famous home run sculpture in the outfield at Marlins Park. You’ll recall some reports earlier this week that Sherman and Jeter were thinking about removing it. If so, they’ll have a lot of hurdles to jump, because yesterday the Miami-Dade County government reminded them that it was paid for by its Art in Public Places program, it is thus owned by the county and that it cannot be moved without prior approval from the county.

I know a lot of people hate that thing, but it has grown on me over the years. Not for its own aesthetic sake as much for its uniqueness and whimsy, which are two things that are in extraordinarily short supply across the Major League Baseball landscape. Like a lot of new and different bits of art and architecture over the course of history, I suspect its initial loathing will increasingly come to be replaced by respect and even pride. Especially if the Marlins ever make another World Series run, in which case everything associated with the club will be elevated in the eyes of fans.

On this score, Sherman and Jeter will thank Miami-Dade for saving themselves from themselves one day.

Jon Lester to miss one or two starts

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jon Lester had a terrible outing yesterday, allowing nine runs — seven earned — and leaving the game before he could complete two innings.Lester entered the afternoon with a 3.99 ERA. He exited with a 4.37 ERA. Later the Cubs said that Lester was suffering from left lat tightness.

The Cubs are now saying that Lester will miss 1-2 starts. They are sending him to see Dr. Stephen Gryzlo for a more in-depth exam, and it’s possible Gryzlo will determine the injury is more serious, but at the moment the assessment seems cautiously optimistic.

Mike Montgomery will fill in for Lester for the time being.