GUEST POST: A famous sportswriter on the MVP race

milwaukee brewers September 17th, 2012

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!

The World Belongs to Ryan Braun

milwaukee brewers November 29th, 2011

Ryan Braun won the MVP award last week.

Woo-frackin'-hoo.

There is an argument to be made, a very good one in fact, that Matt Kemp should have won the MVP award. He had more homeruns, more steals, played a tougher position, had a better WAR and a bunch of other stuff too. Matt Kemp had a great season and if you said he should have won the MVP I wouldn't argue with you too much. These two players were very close statistically and either choice was a good one.

The justification that many are using for the choice of Braun over Kemp is that the Ryan Braun played on a playoff team and Matt Kemp didn't. This speaks to the question of what exactly the word "valuable" in Most Valuable Player is supposed to mean. Many writers who vote on these awards take the word valuable and equate it with wins and losses. Since the Brewers won a ton more games than the Dodgers that made Ryan Braun more "valuable" than Matt Kemp. This is a simple argument that is backed up by years of MVP voting going to players from winning team. It is not wrong to think this and since the word "valuable" has never been properly defined by Major League Baseball it is hard to fault the writers for voting this way. It's just the way it's always been and the way it will always be. Winners get more credit.

However, this is not why I believe Ryan Braun won the MVP. It helped, sure, but it is not the real reason that Braun was chosen over Matt Kemp. The reason I submit to you as the reason Ryan Braun won the MVP is simple: The World Belongs To Ryan Braun. Read the rest of this entry »

Casey McGehee, Milwaukee’s Dark Knight

milwaukee brewers August 4th, 2011

"You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." - Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight

Casey McGehee was a hero. He came from the Cubs two years ago (where they didn't think he was worthy of being a backup on their team) and ended up playing better than their much higher paid third baseman while becoming a hero to Brewers fans everywhere. His story was a good one, the kind of story that can only happen in baseball, a story of a guy who scouts didn't think much of who suddenly started hitting better than he ever had before in his whole life. He became a star and Brewers fans fell in love with Casey McGehee much in the same way they are falling in love with Nyjer Morgan today. His jerseys were everywhere and he could do no wrong in the eyes of his fans. Casey McGehee wasn't a top draft pick or the son of a former major leaguer, he was a working class guy that looked like he'd fit in great in the parking lot. Casey and the Brewers were a perfect match and love blossomed.

And then this season started. Read the rest of this entry »

St Louis Cardinals season preview

milwaukee brewers March 30th, 2011

The season is just around the corner and the Milwaukee Brewers are currently one of the favorites in the NL Central, but that doesn't mean it's a sure thing. There are still five other teams that want the title who will be fighting for it all season. Do they have a shot? That's what we're going to find out as we work with fans from other teams to figure out how everything is going to play out and exactly what it is we're dealing with. That's right it's the 2011 NL Central Previews!

Today's Guest: A guy who really likes Budweiser

How good are the Cardinals going to be this year? Awesome because the Cardinals are clearly the Budweiser of the NL Central. The Brewers and the Reds are like Miller Lite and Coors Light, decent but far inferior to Budweiser, the Cubs are as bad as the Old Style they serve at the park and the Astros and Pirates are like Steel Reserve and Natural Ice or something, no way you would ever choose them over an ice cold Bud.

Think about it, Albert Pujols is the best hitter in baseball right now. He is hands down the Budweiser of Major League Baseball. Read the rest of this entry »

BOBBY VALENTINE TO MANAGE THE MILWAUKEE BREWERS!??!?!?!?!

milwaukee brewers October 27th, 2010

What's the time? Rumor time. What's the time? Rumor time.

Despite not being known as a candidate by Tom Haudricourt until yesterday (and even then it's only because Ken Rosenthal told him) it is now rumored that Bobby Valentine will be the next manager of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Bobby Valentine, currently an ESPN analyst, has been managing since the 1980s, but is most famous for managing the Mets and his stint in Japan (they even made a movie about it). Bobby Valentine has never won his division in Major League Baseball, but he has managed to take two Wild Cards, lose a World Series and win a championship in Japan. So he's not completely incompetent. Still, his resume is far from impressive (his Mets teams predictably had large payrolls) but this has never stopped him from being the most popular managerial candidate for any managerial opening that comes up in any given season. Name a team and Bobby Valentine has been connected to it's managerial position.

At this point it's only a rumor. This time offered up by Bill Scott of the Wisconsin Radio Network (what is with these radio guys and unsubstantiated rumors?) who says that Bobby Valentine would be looking for a three year $10 million dollar contract. When reached for comment Jeff Suppan said "And I thought I was a ripoff." Seriously. THAT. IS. INSANE.

I'm on record as saying that I don't think managers make a big difference as far as game to game goes. It's important for them to manage the personalities in the clubhouse, but as far as game to game goes I don't think they do much of anything. Spending $10 million dollars on someone, money that could be better spent in the draft (where the Brewers pulled a Montgomery Burns last year) or on the team (where they need to find suitable replacements in always important underwhelming starter and past his prime closer positions), is ludicrous and I hope that they don't do it. I hope this rumor turns out to be just as false as the Bob Brenly one. Then we can write off Milwaukee radio as being just as stupid as Milwaukee newspaper. That'd be fun.

As for Valentine himself, he's probably a good manager. He'd probably do a good job. Just like anyone else he has his good qualities and his bad. Let's look at some.

  • He claims to have invented the wrap sandwich, choosing to ignore thousands of years of Mexican eating habits.
  • He once came back to the dugout wearing a fake mustache after being ejected. Fake mustaches, much like exposed cleavage, is always okay in my book.
  • He actually thought this out loud on TV despite it making zero sense:
    After a very well executed sacrifice bunt by Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, Valentine spews out a pseudo-statistic, commenting that a pitcher who bunts well can improve his record by four games -- "changing a 8-8 record into 12-6".
    Uhh, yeah.
  • Along with Tom Selleck, Brad Pitt and David Letterman; Valentine is a Sigma Chi.
  • And then there is that whole Whartongate thing.

I don't think Bobby Valentine is the right guy for this team. He wants too much money, he loves media attention too much and he's shown a history to not get along with either his players or his management. Also, he wants ten million dollars.

NEXT!

blank