Let’s compare something shall we?
Frank Thomas – Two Time MVP Award Winner
Tony Gwynn – Zero-Time MVP Award Winner
I know these two were never in direct competition for the award, but let me ask you a simple question. Can you tell me who deserved to win the two years that The Big Hurt won back-to-back MVPs? Hell, can you tell me who deserved to win in any of the years?
Better yet, can you tell me who won 6 years ago without looking it up?
Tony’s highest career finish in MVP voting was third, which came back in 1984. After that, he couldn’t do better than 6th (1997). I guess that means he’s pretty terrible at playing baseball. So much worse than whoever finished 1st through 5th those years, right? Man, it really ruins my perception of Tony Gwynn and his 1st-ballot Hall of Fame career that he didn’t win that SUBJECTIVE AWARD!
Look, don’t get me started on WAR, but people are acting like a vote for Miguel Cabrera is a vote flushed down the toilet. That’s what bugs me. They’re both really freakin’ good players. The Trout supporters are so wrapped up in their argument that any slight consideration anyone might give to Cabrera (or god forbid anyone else besides the two) is treated like a vote for a bench player. Miguel Cabrera? Pssh, that guy isn’t worth a bag of balls! He’s honestly the worst baseball player to ever step on a field, why can’t you see that!!!
If you get all riled up about how someone picked the player you liked less, ask yourself if you’ll actually care by the time March rolls around. How about next November?
Awards are good for the players and their agents. They’re fun to debate, but when people get so passionate that they name-call and act like they’re going to have an aneurysm, it’s time to step back and ask why it matters that much to you to be “right” on what comes down to an opinion poll.
If I was given a vote, I’d pick Trout. But, that’s because both players had an amazingly productive season and what it comes down to is I don’t want to reward someone that I know drinks and drives and, to me, shows very little shame about it. How’s that for an argument. Screw WAR, my acronym is MADD. And yes, I know the MVP shouldn’t be based on off-field behavior (just like it shouldn’t be based on post-season performance), but we’re talking about people voting for another person and there’s no guarantee that things like that won’t happen.
It’s an opinion. That’s all it is and that’s all it should be taken to mean. What one person considers to be “most valuable” may not meet the next person’s criteria.
Switch the conversation to basketball for a second. In the 1996-97 season David Robinson was sidelined for all but 6 games due to injury. His San Antonio Spurs went from 1st place in their division (59-23) the year before to a laughable pushover (6th in the division, 20-62) instantaneously. I would say that David Robinson should have won the MVP award for his missing season because his value to his team was extremely apparent. The basketball voters didn’t agree and decided to “play it safe” and vote for someone that “played during the season” like always. Cowards.
Back to the comparison above to wrap this up. Did Frank deserve his MVPs? I don’t know. If you go by WAR, Griffey had him beat both times (who finished 5th one of those years – SCANDAL!). Did Tony ever deserve to win? I have no clue. Maybe. But when it’s all said and done, they’re both legends to some degree and both will be in the Hall so who cares? It’s not like they don’t get the proper recognition in other ways.
Personally, I’d take either Frank Thomas or Tony Gwynn on my team. Who’s ultimately better? How much does it matter? I don’t think you could go wrong and I don’t think fans would fault either decision.
Now, how someone could vote for Buster Posey over whoever the hell finished second in the NL race I’ll never understand! I demand a recount!