OK, look, I don’t want to say I told you so. But … Yeah, on Thursday night — for the first time in baseball history — both the American League and National League MVPs won the award unanimously. In the American League, Shohei Ohtani got all 30 votes — he became the first player in baseball history to TWICE win the award unanimously.
I appreciate you and all other journalist/bloggers/fans/etc that are challenging the absurdities involved with this A's move. There seems to be a lot more questions than answers, and I think it is fair to hold the owners accountable. Unanimous? Really? I don't think this story is over.
I consider myself a huge Joe P fan, and I hate to be snarky, but I hope this is the last of the MLB awards rabbit hole articles. Just felt like you were desperate for something to write about, and made me not love baseball even more.
How in the name of all that is holy, did it take Joe DiMaggio 5 times to get in the hall of fame? And when he did, 28 people didn’t vote for him? I can’t even fathom how that happens.
Option/shift 8!!! I bet I have typed "degrees" 10,000 times, roughly the A's average attendance
I don’t think the Hall of Fame voting is veering towards group think any more than usual. There are still arguments on PEDs (see Ramirez, Manny; Rodriguez, Alex; and Pettitte, Andy), still some fights on players like Jeff Kent. I suspect if Kenny Lofton, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy and heck Joe Nathan were returned to the ballot there would be some fights. I think instead is that the current ballot doesn’t have too much drama on it. You have a bunch of gimmes (Mauer & Beltre) and then many players who are just creeping onward. I think Beltran will bring out some debates, so will Jimmy Rollins. But most importantly the PED era has now passed us by, and NOTHING we discuss now compares to that, and the OTHER debates via the Committees are all behind closed doors.
If anything I think the BBWAA should formally have an open debate, and then vote on people the writers want to see the Hall consider. Basically revisit its past ballots.
The interesting thing about DiMaggio is that he did so well with the MVP voters, yet did relatively poorly with the HOF voters, some of whom were the same guys.
In my 70 years I have watched the A's wander around North America searching for a home. 1955 they moved from Philly to KC for all of 13 years. 1968 they pack their suitcases and head to Oakland, and now to Vegas. The only teams to move more are the barnstorming teams from the 20s and 30s. I purpose a rule where the owner can't pick up and move more than 3 times in a hundred years.
Kidding about unanimity critique, right? Have read for a bit now, and no offense but since becoming a blog this ‘column’ has RAILED / belittled other BBWA writers (and announcers) who didn’t think like the author. Sound arguments in many instances. A little grudgy personal in others. And it’s all good. It’s human. But to critique now about ‘unanimity’ of thought after scorching the field in a few corners … well, it’s a competitive business. But let’s not be “shocked! Shocked! …”. 🙂.
Speaking of unanimity, MLB owners vote was the LEAST surprising of all this years ‘awards’. It’s called CYA — regardless of logic and merits to Bay Area market, who thought ANY ownership group would BLOCK another ownership group? What kind of ‘hair’ would that subjectivity add to their own franchise valuations — if when THEY want to sell /move? This is no NFL — MLB has no Jerry Jones stirring the pot. In fairness, suspect that’s bc most teams —- shhhh — are now largely owned by PRIVATE EQUITY firms. Not some ‘wonderful life’ family ownership. No. MLB franchises are now ASS(ET)S. And when it comes to ASS(ET)S, liquidity is the name of the game. Not ‘adding covenants’ to potential franchise sales. Related. Someone at SBNation pointed out, SF Giants now have a GIANT market. All to themselves. So should be spending money on team like … . Nah, that part “Wonderful Life” got right. Bay Area MLB is ‘any color, as long as it’s “Potterville”.
So none of the MLB owners gave a passionate Rebecca-like speech (Ted Lasso) imploring the owners to not simply think with their wallets, but to think about the fans? I'm shocked I tell you, shocked.
Joe, I understand your point about the Derek Jeter speech, but who would really act differently? Every year, readers have the choice to renew their subscriptions here at Joe Blogs. If, say, 90% of us do so, you are probably a happy man and that’s that. But if all but one renewed? You’d probably dwell on it, no?
The thought that writers vote alike to avoid controversy and trolls is an interesting one, though I will point out that it does not work that way in the Hall voting, even for writers that make their controversial picks (and non picks) public and write explanatory articles (some of which kind of make you wonder if the guy actually knows anything about baseball).
That may be a part of it, regardless. But what I have thought is that social media, while it takes politics to extremes, often leads to groupthink when it comes to sports. These guys that vote for awards are all wired in, even the ones that do it reluctantly, because of their job. They all see the same stuff.
When was the last time were surprised by an award? When was the last heated debate? Maybe Cabrera's triple crown year when Trout had a big lead in WAR? Though I will point out that much of that lead was in fielding, and voters pay little attention to that, and some of the rest is in baserunning, in which they only pay attention to gaudy numbers . (I wonder if Trout had stolen 50 instead of 49 that year, how many more votes would he have gotten? Definitely more, but probably not enough, because triple crown was the equivalent of Acuna's 70/40 this year in the gaudy number fashion, and it was WAR people against gaudy number people. This year, with Betts only having 0.1 more WAR, the gaudy number was the clear winner)
I am not sure I will ever be surprised or taken aback by an award again. I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.
I had a thought recently that baseball has become a math and science sport. And I love and appreciate math and science and don’t think we can fully understand baseball without them, but I feel deeply that baseball is a poetry sport, a sport about the humanities. When it becomes too rigid it loses its wonder to me and that is what sticks out to me about the unanimous voting Joe talked about.
The combination of:
Internet demands that voters disclose their ballots
Analytics absolutists insisting that there is one true measure of absolute value
No sane person would voluntarily put up with that crap for the sake of a nuanced argument. It’s just so much EASIER to go along with the crowd.
Could some of the HOF voting be explained by strategically taking votes from someone a writer knows will be elected and giving them to a more close case the writer favors?
Maybe I missed this elsewhere, but has there ever before been a unanimous 1st place and 2nd place for MVP, like there was in the NL this season? How about for any of the other awards? And four guys getting all of the top-4 votes - had that ever happened before?
If it's that hot in Vegas now, think how hot it will be when they finish the stadium. The southwest isn't getting any cooler....