I take it back. Heyman’s MVP column was not all that convoluted after all. That’s because I just read Buster Olney’s and I can’t recall anything as confounding. And that’s with 98% of it being excellent.
It’s behind a paywall so you may not be able to read it. But I will do it justice in summary. Really — I am not adding my own gloss here. This is a faithful summary of Olney’s reasoning:
- Doing something because “that’s the way it’s always been done” is stupid;
- Voting for MVP award winners based on them being on a winning team is the way it’s always been done and that’s stupid. Writers do it, though, because they are slaves to this precedent which started in the 1930s.
- It shouldn’t be this way. The MVP should go to the best player regardless of how his team finishes in the standings.
- “I also think [Mike] Trout is the best player in baseball, and he unquestionably provides the most value to his team of any player in the sport.”
- He then says that if he had a vote he’d vote for Miguel Cabrera because “the MVP voting is chained to the past, for now: That’s the way we’ve always done it. Because the criteria hasn’t changed — and until it does, the precedent should continue to carry interpretative weight.”
I repeat: all of that precedent is stupid. It should no longer stand. But it binds me, Buster Olney, to say Miguel Cabrera is the MVP despite the fact that I think Mike Trout is “the best player in baseball, and he unquestionably provides the most value.”
I’m sorry. We’re through the looking glass here.
I tweeted the upshot of this post a few minutes ago. Here was Buster’s response to me:
@craigcalcaterra Yes, much more effective to go all Ted Cruz and make it all about me, rather than the problems with the system.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 1, 2013
I guess I can get why he might consider my criticism of his stunning incoherence here to be a personal attack (though he’s the one calling people names). However, I personally see it as an instance in which one of the most influential opinion makers in all of baseball is making a strong argument that he himself is afraid to follow.
Question: If Buster can’t listen to his own reason and conscience with respect to this matter, why should anyone else?