No, you don’t re-vote the MVP award in light of Ryan Braun’s positive test

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You figured someone would say this. That someone is Fox’s Jon Paul Morosi, who makes the argument that the BBWAA should be allowed to re-vote the NL MVP award if Ryan Braun’s positive test for testosterone is upheld on appeal.

At the outset, it’s worth noting that the BBWAA has no intention whatsoever of doing this. It’s not the official position of the organization. It’s simply Morosi’s personal view. So let’s take a look at that view.

The leading premise — really the only premise — of the argument is that he doesn’t want the sports writers to feel like schmucks:

The BBWAA awards — MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year — are the most significant individual honors in North American professional sports. They have more permanence, and inspire greater debates, than similar honors in the NFL, NBA and NHL. And the voters should be able to say their process was just. Ultimately, it is up to us — the writers. They are our awards. We vote on them. We present them to the players. We have license to determine the procedure by which winners are determined.

He basically says “oh those poor sportswriters who didn’t know Braun may have been taking banned substances deserve another chance.”  But he acknowledges that the positive test allegedly came after the season was over and the voting was all done, so how exactly were the writers hoodwinked?

Morosi goes on to note that the BBWAA didn’t go back and change the votes for when Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez and others won postseason awards. The distinction: that was a long time ago and the voting for Braun was recent. It’s unclear what the cutoff is supposed to be. A year? Three years? When the writers stop feeling hurt? I think that might be it, actually.

Morosi is allowed to feel however he feels about this. But it’s pretty clear that this is about just that — feeling — and not about some objective idea of justice and propriety when it comes to postseason awards. This is about throwing out all of the presents your boyfriend bought you two days after the breakup.

And because of that it’s just the latest reason why I’m coming around to the idea that the sportswriters shouldn’t be in the business of handing out these awards in the first place. There’s too much narrative and emotion read into it. And it really doesn’t have a place.

Ryan Braun was the NL MVP. It happened and it’s history and if it came at a time when he was using banned substances, then that’s part of the history too. The sports writers should then do what they do best: place that history in context and tell the stories to readers.  Not act like this has anything to do with them.

Red Sox survive back-and-forth affair with Astros, win 8-6 to take 3-1 lead in ALCS

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Game 4 of the ALCS on Wednesday night between the Red Sox and Astros was a thrilling back-and-forth affair with seven lead changes. Ultimately, the Red Sox emerged victorious with a hard-fought 7-5 victory.

The Red Sox wasted no time getting on the board, plating two runs in the top of the first inning against Charlie Morton thanks to a walk, hit-by-pitch, wild pitch, and a Rafael Devers single. In the bottom half, José Altuve hit what appeared to be a game-tying two-run home run to right field off of Rick Porcello. Mookie Betts leaped and was interfered with by fans in the stands, so Altuve was called out instead. The ruling was upheld after review.

In the bottom of the second, the Astros officially scored their first run when Carlos Correa knocked home a run with a single. The Red Sox immediately got it back when Xander Bogaerts doubled in a run in the top of the third, running the score to 3-1. In what would become a trend, the Astros also responded as George Springer drilled a solo homer and Josh Reddick hit an RBI single of his own to tie the game at 3-3. Tony Kemp added a solo homer down the right field line in the fourth to put the Astros on top for the first time. Bogaerts hit another RBI single in the top of the fifth to re-tie the game at 4-4. Correa followed suit in the bottom half, hitting his second RBI single of the game to give the Astros back the lead.

Jackie Bradley, Jr., who hit a soul-crushing grand slam off of Roberto Osuna in Game 3, hit another homer in Game 4, a two-run shot in the sixth off of Josh James. In the seventh, the Red Sox loaded the bases with two outs and Lance McCullers, Jr. entered to try to put out the fire. He did not, briefly, walking Brock Holt to force in a run and make the score 7-5. McCullers did end up getting out of the inning without any further damage. Just for good measure, though, J.D. Martinez tacked on a run in the eighth with an RBI single to make it 8-5.

Ryan Brasier got five outs and Matt Barnes one in the sixth and seventh. Manager Alex Cora decided to call on Craig Kimbrel for a six-out save when the bottom of the eighth rolled around. The 2018 postseason hasn’t been kind to Kimbrel as he had given up runs in all three of his appearances. Kimbrel gave up hits to the first three batters he faced. Kemp led off with a single but he tried to stretch it into a double and was thrown out at second base by Betts. Kimbrel then hit Alex Bregman with a pitch and surrendered a double to George Springer, putting runners at second and third with one out. Altuve knocked in a run with a ground out to make it 8-6, but Kimbrel saw his way out of the inning by striking out Marwin González.

In the ninth, Cora decided to keep Kimbrel in the ballgame despite his continued struggles. Kimbrel got Yuli Gurriel to pop up to start the inning, but then issued back-to-back walks to Reddick and Correa. Kimbrel got out number two by getting Brian McCann to fly out to right field, then walked Tony Kemp to load the bases. Cora decided to stay with Kimbrel as Bregman came to the plate. Kimbrel threw a first-pitch, 97 MPH fastball that Bregman laced into shallow left field. Andrew Benintendi charged in and dived, catching the ball just in time to save the game, ending it for an 8-6 victory. Of the 18 half-innings, the two sides failed to score in only seven of them.

The Red Sox, now up three games to one in the ALCS, will try to close it out on Thursday night in Houston. If the Red Sox win, they will return to the World Series for the first time since 2013.