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Clay Buchholz owes Donald Trump everything

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We’ve talked about this before, but if I had to guess, I’d say that there is a greater percentage of Donald Trump supporters in major league clubhouses than in locker rooms of any other major sport. Be it demographics, temperament or any other factors, most folks who cover baseball for a living agree that ballplayers are a pretty conservative lot in the aggregate.

As such, “Ballplayer supports Donald Trump” is not really a story, at least if it doesn’t involve more, such as the ballplayer himself making outlandish statements or going down the Curt Schilling rabbit hole or what have you. A lot of ballplayers support Trump. Big whoop.

Not many can claim they support Trump as much as Clay Buchholz does. Indeed, his support of Trump is at a completely different level. It’s personal. Very, very personal. Why? Bob Nightengale tells us in this column today:

It was 10 years ago when Buchholz and about a dozen of his Boston Red Sox teammates and friends went to a UFC Fight in Anaheim, Calif. They went to an after-hours party as guests of Trump, who knew they played for the Red Sox.

“I remember him saying, “Ok, who’s single here and who’s married?’’ Buchholz said. “I told him I was single. That’s when he introduced me.’’

He met Lindsay Clubine, a model on the show Deal or No Deal, who was helping host Trump’s “Affliction: Banned Fight’ event.”

The two of them got married a year later and now have three children. Buchholz says “if not for the president none of this possible. He’ll always be a good friend. I’m able to tell my kids that the President of the United States introduced their mom and dad.” Makes sense. Indeed, it’s a pretty expected reaction for someone in that situation.

Whatever your politics, it’s OK to be loyal to the one who introduced you to the love of your life. Even if they’re vile and terrible! For example, Twitter introduced me to my wife, and I remain loyal to it even if it’s a warm and steamy pile of garbage. Love is blind.

Mookie Betts, Christian Yelich win MVP Awards

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Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts and Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich were announced on Thursday evening as the winners of the 2018 Most Valuable Player Awards as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Betts, 26, led baseball with a .346 batting average, a .640 slugging percentage, and 129 runs scored. He also put together a .438 on-base percentage with 32 home runs, 80 RBI, and 30 stolen bases while ranking among the best defensive outfielders. According to Baseball Reference, Betts was worth 10.9 WAR, the highest total by a position player since Barry Bonds in 2002 (11.8). It was the 21st time a player compiled a 10.9 WAR or better since 1871. The others to do it along with Betts and Bonds: Cal Ripken, Jr., Joe Morgan, Carl Yastrzemski, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Ty Cobb, and Honus Wagner.

Betts is the first Red Sox player to win the MVP Award since second baseman Dustin Pedroia in 2008. Other members of the Red Sox to win the award include Mo Vaughn (1995), Roger Clemens (1986), Jim Rice (1978), Fred Lynn (1975), Carl Yastrzemski (1967), Jackie Jensen (1958), Ted Williams (1946, ’49), Jimmie Foxx (1938), and Tris Speaker (1912).

Angels outfielder Mike Trout and J.D. Martinez each received one first-place vote with Betts receiving the other 28. Trout finished in second place with 265 overall points, Indians infielder José Ramírez finished third with 208, and Martinez finished fourth with 198. They were followed by Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Matt Chapman, Khris Davis, Blake Snell, Justin Verlander, Mitch Haniger, Aaron Judge, Xander Bogaerts, José Altuve, Blake Treinen, Andrelton Simmons, Whit Merrifield, Edwin Díaz, Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorius, Jed Lowrie, Trevor Bauer, Aaron Hicks, and Chris Sale.

Trout is now one of four players to finish second in MVP Award voting four times, joining Stan Musial, Ted Williams, and Albert Pujols. Trout was the runner-up behind Miguel Cabrera in 2012-13 and Josh Donaldson in 2015.

Yelich, 26, led the National League with a .326 batting average, a .598 slugging percentage, and a 1.000 OPS. He also put up a .402 on-base percentage with 36 home runs, 110 RBI, 118 runs scored, and 22 stolen bases while playing above-average defense in the outfield.

Yelich is the first member of the Brewers to win the MVP Award since outfielder Ryan Braun in 2011. The other Brewers to have won the MVP Award are Robin Yount (1982, ’89) and Rollie Fingers (1981).

Nearly a unanimous choice, Yelich was voted in first place on 29 of 30 ballots with NL Cy Young Award winner getting the other first-place vote. Cubs infielder Javier Baéz finished in second place with 250 points and Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado finished in third place with 203 points. They were followed by Freddie Freeman, deGrom, Paul Goldschmidt, Lorenzo Cain, Trevor Story, Matt Carpenter, Max Scherzer, Anthony Rendon, Ronald Acuña Jr., Aaron Nola, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Jesús Aguilar, Anthony Rizzo, Nick Markakis, and Eugenio Suarez.

Coincidentally, both MVP Award winners hit for the cycle this season. Betts achieved it on August 9 while Yelich did it twice, on August 29 and September 17. Yelich also finished two home runs and one RBI short of the Triple Crown.

The BBWAA voters submitted their ballots before the start of the postseason, so the fact that the Red Sox won the World Series and that the Brewers made it to Game 7 of the NLCS had no impact on the award results. That the Red Sox won a franchise record 108 games during the regular season and the Brewers won the NL Central tiebreaker over the Cubs certainly could have been factors for many voters, however.