Today, Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers took home the AL MVP Award. The truth is, he deserves it. Roger Clemens was the last player to win the Cy Young and MVP in the same season. Verlander did it with a pretty slender frame and the neck size of a normal human, which makes it all the more impressive. To be a starting pitcher and go 24-5 in this day and age of baseball, you should be awarded goblets encrusted with the finest jewels. If any pitcher deserves this honor, it should be a guy like Verlander. Truth is, the guy seems so nice but he is not your friend whilst on the mound. The last time I remember being this afraid of a pitcher, was Pedro Martinez in 1999 when he was 23-4. Imagine having to stand in the batters box against the new AL MVP. Justin Verlander throws harder as the game goes on. You might see a 94 mph fastball in the 2nd inning and then in the 5th he is up to about 97, but the 7th and 8th is when you get the 101 mile express. It is big, fast, and mad as hell. Congratulations to Justin on an amazing season. Tigers fans were lucky to be able and enjoy his season.
You are probably already wondering what this has to do with Brauny not winning the MVP tomorrow. Well, I will not keep you waiting any longer.
Not more than 2 months ago, it seemed like most of the baseball “purists” felt like the MVP Award should go to a position player. These gentlemen seemed to be of the belief that the Cy Young is exclusively for pitchers already. Therefore, a pitcher could receive votes, but the underground brotherhood of sports writers/voters would silently choose a position player the MVP. In a stunning turn of events, Verlander edged out Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox. So many writers and tv analysts debated, whether a pitcher should be crowned the Most Valuable Player when they do not play everyday. Yet in the end, none of that mattered. Verlander won the award and no one was disappointed or upset.
Those same experts/writers believed that Ryan Braun should win the MVP because we was on a winning team. They always say, “The Best Player on the Best Team”. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, where the playoffs were never really in the picture, Matt Kemp was on pace to win the Triple Crown until almost the end of August. There was still a possibility that he could do it with about a week left in the season. Kemp had one of the finest offensive seasons imaginable; 195 hits, 39 HR’s, 126 RBI’s, .324 batting average, a .399 on-base percentage, and he scored 115 runs. But, he played for a team that was never really a contender for post season play so the voters were never going to let him be the MVP.
So, if we refer to the beginning of this article (and the title), you will note that most writers did not believe that a pitcher should be serious contenders for the MVP award. Yet, when the voting came around it was Verlander who wore the crown. The purists went against their old timey, pipe smoking, yachting magazine reading ways, and picked the guy they said they wouldn’t. That is why Ryan Braun will not win the NL MVP tomorrow.
Ryan Braun will be a close second place when the award is announced and Prince will probably be third. The same people who said they would vote for him because of the Brewers being a playoff team, will have turned against him because Matt Kemp’s numbers are too good to ignore. Braun had an excellent season, but if it is based solely on numbers…Matt Kemp was the best player in the National League this year.
I truly believe that if he was on the Phillies, Matt Kemp would win by unanimous decision. There would be no debate at all. First in home-runs, first in RBI’s, and third in batting average!! The guy almost won the freaking Triple Crown. It’s been four decades since Carl Yastrzemski won the Triple Crown. Matt Kemp will win the award and no one will be disappointed or upset.
Ryan Braun had an amazing season, but there will be other opportunities for him to win MVP Awards. Next season he will be the leader of this team and I think he will thrive. We can all take pride in knowing that it took a near Triple Crown to show up the season he had with the stick.
It’s an honor just to have two players even in the discussion. Which is pretty awesome too!!!
On a slightly more serious note, I would like to take a moment to offer my condolences to the family and friends of Greg Halman. Halman was a promising minor league prospect for the Seattle Mariners. He was found stabbed in the Netherlands this morning, where he died. I live here in Seattle and there is a great deal of sadness hovering over the city today. For what it is worth, my heart goes out to all of those impacted by this very sad situation.