17
Sep 12

GUEST POST: A famous sportswriter on the MVP race

The NL MVP race is heating up and Ryan Braun looks like he should be the favorite, but he's not because, well, you know. Tyler Maas already chimed in on this over at the AV Club. Now, we asked a very famous and prestigious sportswriter from CBS/ESPN/Fox/USA Today to add his two cents to the argument. Here is what he says.

A little boy walked up to me the other day. He was straight out of a Hallmark card. Baseball glove, backwards hat and one of those t-shirt jerseys of his favorite baseball player, Buster Posey, that hung just a bit too loose on the young man. His dad recognized me from the paper, he thanked me for my years of excellent work (you were too kind) and introduced me to his young son Jonny. The boy looked at me, eyes full of wonder and a future so bright it nearly blinded me, and asked "Mistah Sportswritah sir, is Bustah gonna win the MVP?" I patted the young boy on the head and said "He has my vote, son."

This is what the 2012 NL MVP race is all about. Children's favorite baseball player's winning baseball's most prestigious award. If I had it in me I'd vote for Chipper Jones because of all he's done for Major League Baseball in his career. Or maybe I'd vote for Bryce Harper who has taken the Nationals from an also-ran to a World Series favorite. Sure, their numbers don't look as good as Buster's, but their hard work and determination display the kind of qualities you would like to see in every young man. They aren't ghetto thugs who only play baseball in between getting tattoos. They are heroes who kids love and look up to. Just like I looked up to Johnny Bench and hated Reggie Jackson, these kids look up to Buster Posey and hate all the me-first, money grabbing homerun hitters of today.

Okay time to come clean on something. I voted for Barry Bond and I voted for Mark McGwire. I might have even sent out a Christmas card of Mark McGwire and I standing near home plate at Busch Stadium the year he hit all those homeruns. That sure didn't make my wife happy. So unhappy that she left me, but at the time it seemed like a good idea. A lot of things did. It was a different time then. I was young (45) and I didn't know any better. Seeing these great heroes, these Greek Gods in baseball form play the way that those guys did it was hard not to get swept up in it. Back then it was all about stats and numbers. Role models be damned. It was a very hedonistic time in baseball's history and some of it's darkest days.

When we found out the truth about those guys it was tough, but it allowed us into this age of enlightenment. You see, numbers are no longer what's important. Sure, they help. Matt Holiday's 27 dingers and 96 RBIs are impressive, but you take one look at that team and you know that it's Yadier Molina's team. He is their emotional core, their hero and their MVP. Take Yadi away and you have the Houston Astros. Just stating the facts, but that's what matters. The MVP is about more than who has the best batting average or who has the most RBIs. They are about the intangibles and winning. Before I vote for the MVP I ask myself four questions:

  • Did this guy's team make the playoffs? (most important)
  • Is this guy a stand-up guy? (most important)
  • Will I at any point in my career regret this vote? (most important)
  • Is this guy a hero to little kids? (most important)

It's not a perfect science. For example I got it wrong last year when I voted for Ryan Braun. He seemed to meet all the criteria and then some, but after a few months we all learned the awful truth about Ryan Braun. He was a cheater and he let down America's youth. I wouldn't want my son watching him, even if he did talk to me. He didn't end up getting suspended, but it was true. That's how things work in this country. I've never regretted a vote more in my entire life and that includes the time I tried to write Mark McGwire into the Hall of Fame while he was still playing. I regret that vote more than my ex-wife regrets marrying me. (Sorry, Ethel.) I'd love to put an asterisk on that vote and that award because Ryan Braun let me down and he also let down a nation of children. I will never vote for Ryan Braun again and neither will most of my sportswriter friends. It doesn't matter how many home runs he hits.

Not when there are guys like Buster Posey out there. In my mind he is the hands down MVP. David Wright? Great hitter, but he is clearly unable to carry his team to wins. Not a winner. Andrew McCutcheon? Definitely a "dark horse," but he's a bit too "street" for me. Matt Holiday? He's not Yadier Molina. Yadier Molina? He's not Buster Posey. And he's Mexican. Or Puerto Rican. Whatever.

Buster Posey is baseball's white knight and we are blessed to have him in our game. Unlike the Sosa's and Bonds' of years past he isn't a false idol. He is a true Greek God worthy of our worship and if I have anything to say about it he is the 2012 National League MVP. This votes for you, little Jonny!


08
Feb 12

If Ryan Braun is guilty…

And still, we wait.

I don't know about anyone else, but I am having trouble living my day to day life without worrying about the fate of Ryan Braun. I have a kid and a job and tons of friends (okay, two) and like life responsibilities, but the potential suspension of a baseball player is dominating my thoughts and crushing my dreams. Most nights I just put a "Free Ryan" tshirt on my Japanese pillow Kimiko and cry myself to sleep. It's rough because seriously, what if Ryan Braun is guilty? What if he is really gone for 50 games? What is going to happen? What are we going to do?

I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to... Continue reading →


20
Dec 11

Meet the new Milwaukee Brewers infield!

I don't know about you guys, but I am already sick of all this Ryan Braun stuff. Just tell me if he's suspended or not and for how many games if so. That's all I care about. I don't care how or why or who gave him what, all I care is how it affects my watching him. Seriously. (Quick aside: If he does have the herp like everyone seems to think, you should all shut up about it. I guarantee the girl he got it from was worth every cold sore. If you get my drift. WINK NUDGE.) Let's just forget about it for awhile and talk about happier things. (Also, buy the shirt.)

The 2012 Milwaukee Brewers are going to look a lot different than the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers, but that doesn't mean they aren't going to still be freakin' awesome. I mean, let's just look at the 2012 infield. We lost/we're losing Prince Fielder, but overall the infield is going to be better than it was last year. I know that sounds crazy, but it's true! The Brewers are going to be better than they were last year without Prince. Believe that.

Let's meet the new and improved Milwaukee Brewers 2012 infield. Continue reading →


10
Oct 11

Seven

Yes, there was Braun.

And yes, there was also Prince.

And UGH, there was Greinke.

via @mkollat

But when I think of where I was and what happened on 10/9/2011 in Game 1 of the 2011 NLCS I will think of only one person and that person is Yuniesky Betancourt. MY MAIN MAN YUNIESKY BETANCOURT. YUNI YUNI YUNI YUNIIIIIEEEEE.

Yuni has gotten a lot of crap from people throughout the season and rightfully so, but one thing we should never discount is that when he swings the bat at a (good) pitch and makes (good) contact he can do very good things. He has power in that bat of his which is probably why he swings it so damn much. We can argue the merits of Yuniesky Betancourt as a major league shortstop until we are blue in the face, but the fact remains that Yuni can hit a lot better than a lot of shortstops out there. Yes, other people have higher batting averages and higher OPS, but Yuni is always among the top half of ISO because he just hits the ball harder than most people. Yuni isn't the best, but he is not without value. He is a valuable member of this team. 0.5 Wins Above Replacement is still above replacement and we shouldn't forget that.

That being said, is Yuni the most MLB playoffs baseball player ever? Continue reading →


30
Jul 10

I believe in the church of Rickie Weeks

Rickie Weeks is my favorite baseball player. In one of our earliest post I wrote about my fandom for him. When I lived in Alabama I specifically went to see him (and some Prince guy) play in Double-A. He is the first and only of the current Brewers that I've ever bought a jersey for. I've had the "Rickie Weeks sucks"/"No he doesn't and here's why" argument so many times in my life that I can do it while I'm sleeping. And now after all this sitting, waiting, watching, wishing; this season, specifically in the last two months, Rickie Weeks has proven all of my arguments and defenses of him to be worthwhile.  It's been kind of great. I knew he was good, but I never had a clue he could be THIS good.

To be completely honest, I kind of got burned out on the whole "being Rickie Weeks biggest supporter" thing. I'd just been through too much, you know? This team did not live up to the expectations I had for it, whatsoever and the fact that Rickie Weeks personally let me down a few times was the icing on the cake. I took it out on him. Watching him strike out three times in game-on-the-line scenarios in an extra inning loss to the Pirates really did a number on me. Especially considering I bet beers on him having a good game that day.

The turning point for me came on Wednesday, June 9th a night game against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park. The Brewers were losing to Carlos Zambrano, Randy Wolf was giving up homeruns at a breakneck pace and this was like the 30th game in a row that the Brewers had lost while I was wearing my Rickie Weeks jersey. So I did what any fan who was pissed at his team and in the midst of his eleventh or twelth beer would do, I threw my jersey into the stands. Continue reading →