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.