We argue about every possible award around here because, heck, what else is there to do when there are no baseball games going on? But while it’s easy to come up with any kind of argument for one guy over another for the MVP or the Cy Young or whatever, it’s not easy — and most folks don’t even try — to argue about who wins humanitarian awards.
Stuff like the Clemente Award, which goes to “the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship and community involvement.” Most of us have no way of measuring even one player’s level of community involvement, let alone compare him to 29 other nominees, all of whom have clearly shown great sportsmanship and have made humanitarian efforts or else they wouldn’t have been nominated. Which is one of the reasons why the fact that the Clemente Award has a fan vote component makes little sense.
But that doesn’t stop T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com from saying that Michael Young was jobbed when Clayton Kershaw won it the other day:
Young has been the Rangers nominee for four straight years. He has yet to win it, unlike Pete Rose , Sammy Sosa or Curt Schilling …
It is one that Young richly deserves. If Young doesn’t represent everything that Clemente Award embodies then they might as well stop giving it because their standards are way too high.
I appreciate that Sullivan sees Young and his charitable work up close and has a greater appreciation for it than any of us do, but I really don’t know how one can talk about this sort of thing like a gold glove or something. To say, as he implicitly does, that Kershaw is somehow not as deserving seems, well, kind of rude given that we’re talking about humanitarian things here and not objective baseball value. And when Sullivan throws in Young’s “day-to-day accountability with the media,” — which is not something the Clemente Award is designed to reward — one wonders what the heck the motivation is for this in the first place.
I’m sure Michael Young is a good guy and embodies the things the Clemente Award values and honors. But to argue about the Clemente Award as if it’s like any other award seems rather awkward.