A-Rod, your MVP.
Thatís fine. Call it provinciality, but after watching David Ortiz deliver all season long with a dependency usually reserved for men and women in brown suits -- and no, we donít mean those old school Padres unis -- Iíd toss a vote in the direction of Big Papi. Rodriguez? A fine choice that can not be discounted by members of Red Sox Nation simply because heís ďone of those.Ē
Even though heís a Yankee, take a look at the numbers, folks, and itís clear to see what the writers were thinking about.
Alex Rodriguez is the American League Most Valuable Player. Nothing wrong with that, really.
But Ortiz should be the guy. Without question.
Yes, we like A-Rodís numbers just fine, and are fully aware that he led Ortiz in most offensive categories, at least the ones a majority of the voters seemingly look at to make their decision. But while Rodriguez hit .021 better than Ortiz and had a superior OBP (.421 to .397), he had just one more home run while Ortiz had 18 more runs batted in. Based on the numbers youíll see next spring when Topps rolls out its 2006 edition, itís advantage A-Rod.
Still, itís a little like watching a Bruckheimer flick, isnít it? All the explosiveness, yet with little soul to the story. Ortiz is like a war movie, with the same amount of firepower and sound, but with substance instead of glitter.
Rodriguezís supporters like to point out that Rodriguez not only played a position, but that he was also far better in batting average and on-base percentage. When? 2005, sure. Thanks.
Oh, Rodriguez had some late-inning heroics over the course of the year, but does his stature define him as being that sort of player? No. Does Ortizís? Um, where ya been?
In late-inning, close-game situations (seventh inning or later with the batting team ahead by one, tied or having the tying run on base, at bat or on deck), Ortiz came through with far greater efficiency than Rodriguez this past season, batting .346, driving in 33 runs, 11 home runs, and -- get this -- an .846 slugging percentage, almost double A-Rodís in the same category. Rodriguez, meanwhile, drove in 12 and hit four home runs in late, close games for the Yankees.
Not to place too much emphasis on one set of numbers, but what that tells you is that when the game was on the line, when his team needed him the most, Ortiz came through at a rate about triple that of the Yankees third baseman. Triple.
"We win games that other teams are going to lose because we have David in our lineup," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said late last season after a game that featured yet more Ortiz heroics.
Most Valuable? Call me crazy, but that virtually defines the term, no?
And thatís just it. Far too many voters merely looked at the ďholy trinityĒ of batting average, home runs, and runs batted in, saw Rodriguez led in two of the categories, and checked his name off. Simple as that, yet again demeaning the award of what it was intended to be, handed out to the player who meant the most to his team. Is there any doubt on the Red Sox that was Ortiz? On the Yankees, was Rodriguez really more valuable than Mariano Rivera? Hell, Aaron Small?
Of course, the others that refused to vote for Ortiz first for MVP are the dogmatic ones basing it on the mere fact that there is a D and an H next to Ortizís name on the ballot, an idiotic stance to be sure.
Letís be clear, this isnít discounting defense by any stretch. But how the baseball writers can be so high and mighty about not voting for a DH is quite beyond my comprehension. By my recognition, Ozzie Smith never won an MVP Award, right? Oh, thatís because itís mainly based on offense? How stupid of me.
Well, Roger Clemens and Dennis Eckersley really must have been quite the two-way players when they won both the Cy Young and MVP Awards.
Juan Gonzalez must have played a Gold Glove caliber defense in 1998, the year he won the award.
If the baseball writers want to use history as a barometer for such a claim that a DH has never won the award, well that same timeline shows plenty who received the award in spite of their defensive woes. The sad part is, if Ortiz played a terrible first base, heíd probably have gotten more consideration. With some voters, itís not about how well you play the position, just that you played it to begin with, a theory that is so incredibly stupid on many levels.
Ortiz didnít play defense in the 2004 ALCS, yet won that series MVP for obvious reasons. Imagine the likes of George King sitting in the back of the press box that night refusing to vote for the guy who almost single-handedly destroyed the Yankees because at no point did he strap a glove to his hand.
Nobody in the media is more self-righteous than a baseball writer with a vote. Some act like their decision is a matter of curing cancer, while others see the ďholy grailĒ and mail their vote in on their way to Olive Garden for the night. With this line of thinking, Ortiz will never win an MVP Award, no matter how many carbon copy seasons he puts together. Perhaps one of the gameís most clutch hitters of the past 40 years will come up empty because he doesnít bring a Mizuno to the park every day. That, my friends, is what they call a joke.
The final MVP tally (331-307 in favor of A-Rod) was closer than I thought. But the bottom line is that Rodriguez simply has too many people in his favor, too many voters who donít understand the true meaning of the words, ďMost,Ē ďValuable,Ē and ďPlayer.Ē
Best Player in the Game? Alex Rodriguez.
Most Offensive Player in the Game? Alex Rodriguez. (No pun intended.)
Most Valuable Player in the American League? Alex Rodriguez. So they will say.
By its very classification the award belonged to David Ortiz. He IS the most valuable player. No doubt. Heíll just never possess the hardware to prove it.