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!


29
Aug 12

Yo is my bro

Well it kind of looks like this is going to be Brewers Appreciation Week because I am all about the love right now. These guys deserve it. Aramis Ramirez has been killing the baseball lately and that deserves kudos. I could write twenty five hundred words about Ryan Braun anytime, any place. I could do it every single day if I wanted to. He's that good, but you know who never really seems to get his due? Yo. We hardly ever talk about Yo which is weird because Yo is freaking awesome. Yo is my bro.

Yovani Gallardo has always been outshone by his fellow starters. When the Brewers got Marcum we knew that Marcum would be #2 to Yo, but we still thought about Marcum more. Marcum was new, Marcum was exciting and Yo was still Yo. Then the Brewers got Zack Greinke and Gallardo took a clear backseat. Zack Greinke was a former Cy Young winner with all the potential in the world. He seemed like he was a constant threat to pitch a perfect game or strike out a billion batters. Yo? Yo would get like nine strikeouts and be done by the sixth inning. This was always the perception at least. As it would turn out it was Zack who'd rack up the strikeouts and be done early. Yo would do that too, but he was still the best bet of the three to go deep into a game. (Think Game 1 of the NLDs.) Who knew? Continue reading →


25
Jul 12

RIP 2012 Milwaukee Brewers

Well, the improbable has become the basically impossible and I am throwing in the towel on the 2012 Milwaukee Brewers playoff hopes. Notice I said playoff hopes and not the team itself? Yeah, that's how you do it. There is a lot of summer left with basically nothing to do so watching the Brewers is still going to be one of the cornerstones of my life until the season is over. I will still want them to win baseball games because watching my favorite baseball team win games is fun for me. I've never understood why some people take on the opinion that once a team is eliminated from the playoffs they should lose every game for the rest of the season to improve their draft pick. What fun is that? You people watch too much basketball. I'm not saying the Brewers should be adding pieces or not doing trades to improve themselves for the future, but if Yovani Gallardo is pitching and Ryan Braun is hitting then that can be a fun team to watch. You should want those guys to win especially if you, you know, have tickets to a game and want to have a good time. This isn't rocket science. This is rocket science:

It's okay to still like a baseball team that isn't going to the playoffs. If you don't agree just watch the Packers practice in sweatpants or whatever.

I really had high hopes for the 2012 Milwaukee Brewers and there has been nothing that happened this season to make me doubt those high hopes. Things simply didn't go their way. Their shortstop got hurt, their bullpen wasn't that good which was exacerbated by the fact that some of their better arms had to fill in for injured starting pitchers, a handful of players decided not to show up in April, John Axford had his wisdom teeth pulled and decided it would be fun to pitch like he was still in the middle of surgery and luck never once felt like it was on the Brewers side. A few breaks the other way and this team is right in the thick of it, but if I start agonizing over "what ifs" now I might start crying. WHAT IF ROENICKE DIDN'T GO MARCUM THEN NARVESON IN GAME 6 GUYS!? WHAT IF HE USED BEST RELIEVERS INSTEAD!? WHAT IF!?

/looks at unused NLCS game 7 ticket
/cries

Continue reading →


19
Jul 12

Making sense of John Axford

JOHN AXFORD IS THE WORST PITCHER EVER AND I HATE HIM AND IF IT WASN'T FOR HIM AND HIS STUPID BLOWN SAVES WE WOULD PROBABLY BE IN FIRST PLACE AND BE BIG TIME BUYERS AT THE TRADE DEADLINE LIKE WE'D PROBABLY GET PRINCE BACK AND COLE HAMELS AND PAUL MOLITOR AND JESUS AND BATMAN AND A NEW MANAGER WHO COULD PROBABLY JUST BE BATMANS BUTLER ALFRED BECAUSE HE SEEMS REALLY SMART. MAN CAN YOU GUYS BELIEVE THAT ROBIN DIED IN DARK KNIGHT RISES? ANYWAYS IF IT WASNT FOR STUPID AXFORD PULLING A derrick turnbow THEN WE'D PROBABLY HAVE ALL THOSE GUYS AND JOSH HAMILTON TOO AND THEN WIN LIKE A MILLION WORLD SERIES. WE COULD HAVE LIKE REALLY COOL COMMERCIALS WITH AARON RODGERS AND RYAN BRAUN BEING LIKE YO CHECK OUT MY RING DUDE, NO YOU CHECK OUT MY RING DUDE LOL. THE POINT IS I HATE JOHN AXFORD AND HIS STUPID MUSTACHE AND I HOPE HE FALLS OFF A BRIDGE INTO A MILLION GALLONS OF WATER THAT IS ON FIRE AND IT BURNS HIS HAIR OFF BECAUSE HE NEEDS TO CUT IT OFF ANYWAYS BECAUSE IT ANNOYS ME WHEN HE IS ON TV BLOWING A SAVE AND I DON'T WANT TO SEE HIM PITCH EVER EVER AGAIN.

HE WAS COOL LAST YEAR THO.

I don't know maybe I'm just defensive about people who overreact to things, but that's how everyone sounds to me when they talk about John Axford. Crazy, irrational, stupid; basically like any girl who has ever dated me for over three months.

Not that a lot of the vitriol towards John Axford is undeserved. He hasn't really done his job all that well this season. He's had trouble locating his pitches which leads to walks and bad counts which lead to big homeruns. It's not been a real fun time to be John Axford this season and he knows it, just like you know that watching John Axford has not been very fun. But has he really been that bad? Continue reading →


11
Jul 12

Milwaukee Brewers: Up In The Air

By and large Brewers fans have given up on the 2012 season. It's over they say. Sell they say. Rebuild they say. It's hard not to blame the people that say this. The Brewers currently sit at 40-45, eight games out of first place and six games behind the second Wild Card. A run at this point seems impossible, but as I've said before it isn't impossible only improbable. It's not over yet. Things are still very much up in the air.

And there are at least two people who agree with me on this. One of them is Ryan Braun who said that he thinks the Brewers are "right in this thing" and the other is Doug Melvin who will wait until these next nine games over before making any tough decisions. Some people might think that this is shortsighted or that Doug (or maybe even Mark) are thinking with their heart more than their head, but personally I like it. This isn't Katie and Tom's marriage, there is still time to turn this thing around.

Three teams ahead of the Brewers in the Central. They are all in the thick of playoff contention and the Brewers next nine games are against them. The team deserves a chance to prove itself against those teams. If they don't, sell. If they do? Well.... Continue reading →