Thursday, September 14, 2006

What Lasts

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Most people look back on high school as – well - memorable anyways. Whether you were a jock, dweeb, waistoid, farm boy, party girl, motorhead, brain, fry or geek, you probably have some deeply ingrained memories. Whether you want to or not.

Baseball is the same way. It cuts across social groups, plays with your emotions and imprints its moments in your memory. It also has a less desirable similarity – the popularity contest. Otherwise known as the MVP vote.

Remember when the class valedictorian lost the class presidential vote to the homecoming king? You didn’t bat an eye. You knew it was a popularity contest that was decided long before the election.

The MVP isn’t much different. The history of the award suggests that the sports writers often act like they are still in high school, which is weird, because I suspect a lot of them wouldn’t want to relive it. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the media has anointed Derek Jeter (the totally dreamy prom date) as MVP over the Canadian exchange student or our hometown boy. After all, our guys are really only sophomores.

So fight the fight, if you must, but understand that this is likely going the way of that student council election. You’ll need to shrug it off, kibitz with your friends in study hall and savor what you can of the memories. They’re what lasts, anyways.

17 comments:

Jim H. said...

Jeter as prom date for the baseball writers. Excellent metaphor!

Jeter is having a good year. Would the Yanks win without him? Very likely. Would the Twins be where they are without Morneau? Probably not. Ergo, Morneau is more valuable to his club than Jeter is to his.

But as Max Schulman pointed out a generation ago, there's no logic when it comes to love.

Jim H.

HVS said...

It's been said in many other places, but it bears repeating: No Yankee should be able to be the MVP.

It just doesn't make sense. Just as jim h. said, they could've won without Jeter.

Anonymous said...

Side note, but Joe Mauer's BB/K rate of 1.68 is above and beyond everyone else in the league this season. In fact, that is the best rate of at least the past 7 years. I'm curious how his 2006 plate discipline stacks up historically, but I can't find a site that has older BB/K data, ESPN was the best I could find. If anyone else could sniff this data out, I think it would make for some interesting results.

Matt

blackslacks said...

Just a few stats (as of 9/14) to antagonize the OBNOXIOUS Yankee fans that surround me here in NJ...
1)Morneau's 33 HR account for 26% of the Teams total (127).
2)His 120 RBI account for 17.8% of the Twins total (676)
3) RISP/2out
Morneau 9/28=.321
Jeter 7/36= .194
Dye 7/35= .200

AND. . .
Late Inning Pressure Situation (google it for definition!)
Batting Avg.
Morneau- .343
Jeter- .206
Dye- .182

Who would you really want stepping up for you at the Prom?!

WV and/or RK said...

Wow, I think blackslacks about says it all there. Jeter's value as MVP diminishes even more when you consider how his defense has been on a steady decline, as several bloggers and national columnists (like Rob Neyer, I have the link on my page) have pointed out.

Morneau, however, is steadily improving both offensively and defensively. I think him winning a gold glove seems far fetched now but he seems greatly improved and who knows in the future.

Anonymous said...

Even as a die-hard Twins fan, I have to be perfectly honest. I would vote for Derek Jeter for MVP, if anyone cared what I thought. He might lead the league in batting, and he's OPSing over .900. But statistics aside, there is no way the Yankees would be where they are this season without Jeter. MVP is Most Valuable Player, which is not the same as best hitter. Jeter is the heart and soul of the Yankees, and he has been for the past decade and 3 (or 4) world champions. He is the undisputed clubhouse leader, a guy that even superstar hall of famers, such as A-rod, look to for leadership. He exudes an unbeatable confidence in himself and his team.

Yes, the MVP shouldn't be a lifetime achievment award, but often it is (A-rod in 2003 just to name one) and no one is more deserving than Jeter. Morneau and Mauer will both get their time, we all know that. This year belongs to Jeter.

HVS said...

From the heart of White Sox country, an argument for Johan for MVP:

No Papi-larity contest; vote Johan

Intern Thomas said...

Anonymous:

You realize that the problem with the "Jeter is the Heart and Soul of the Yankees" argument is that they have not won a World Series since he has been named captain, and they suffered the worst collapse in baseball history to the Red Sox under his "leadership".

Maybe if Jeter was as valuable a a leader as the media hype says he is, they wouldn't have blown that 3-0 lead in 2004?

Nick N. said...

He is the undisputed clubhouse leader, a guy that even superstar hall of famers, such as A-rod, look to for leadership. He exudes an unbeatable confidence in himself and his team.

... According to who? One can't just assume that Jeter is some type of great leader because the media says so. I don't recall him sticking up for A-Rod when Rodriguez, one of the best hitters in baseball history, went on a little cold streak that got the media and all the fans on his ass.

Being a captain of a team is an extremely overrated quality in my mind. It's like when people claim that the Red Sox's slide was completely due to the loss of Jason Varitek. Ummm, no. Varitek was hitting .245/.336/.416. Not exactly carrying the team.

I'm not necessarily pushing Morneau here, because I'm still not sure that he's a better candidate than Jermaine Dye or Johan Santana, but I really don't think the "leadership" argument should be working in Jeter's favor, nor should the fact that he's "OPSing over .900" (so is Mauer, and Dye is OPSing over 1.000).

Dylan said...

The way I look at it is this: If you had to choose one player in the league to start your team, and you did it based only on this year's performance, who would you pick? By definition, you would choose the player you considered to be the most "valuable."

I'd pick Santana.

Anonymous said...

Die-hard Twins fan here. Jeter legitimately belongs in the MVP debate. His VORP is #2 in the majors (behind only Hafner). Check it out at Baseball Prospectus. Here's the link:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=99976

hvs said...

Here's the correct link for the Position Players by VORP.

The fact that the other MVP candidates being discussed are well down on that list should give you some idea of how limited VORP is for defining who the MVP should be.

Intern Sam said...

Much as I love the Prospectus boys, their undying faith in the new stats they've invented has proven to be a bit misguided over the last several years. VORP, in particular, is a very flawed calculation, in my opinion, because of the way it defines a "replacement player."

But in checking the current list of Win Shares (to see it, click my name above,) my preferred all-around stat if I have to use one, I was surprised to discover that Jeter is the #1 player in the AL in that category as well! Through 9/12, he has 30 win shares, as opposed to 28 for Mauer, 25 for Morneau, and 24 each for Dye and Santana. (Even more interesting is that there are four NL players ahead of Jeter, and two more tied with him. This from the supposedly pathetic and inept senior circuit?!)

Of course, many would argue that Win Shares are as flawed a stat as VORP, so use your own filter...

Eric said...

Does anyone else think "anonymous" the "die hard Twins fan" is really a Yankees fan in disguise? Methinks the lady (or gentleman) doth protest too much.

HVS said...

I agree with Eric. Especially with lines like this:

Yes, the MVP shouldn't be a lifetime achievment award, but often it is (A-rod in 2003 just to name one) and no one is more deserving than Jeter.

The MVP shouldn't be a lifetime achievement award, but let's treat it like one anyway? That makes tons of sense.. And not spoken like a "die-hard Twins fan."

Anonymous said...

Annoymous here, the same poster who said Jeter should win MVP. I used to post on TwinsGeek as KyleLohse, and have been posting on this site on and off for over three years now. I'm not sure how many of you have been following this site for that long, but I'm sure the Geek himself knows who I am. And I am a die-hard Twins fan - it sounds like many of you are just die-hard Yankee haters.

I'm glad to see his #2 VORP and #1 Win Shares, it gives a stronger statistical grounds to my emotive argument. The writer at the Chicago Sun Times makes a good point, although he makes it about Santana. Forget statistics, what does your gut tell you? For those of you who scoff at the notion of a clubhouse leader having any tangible effect on a team, what would you say about Mike Redmond? Would we be where we are today without the clubhouse leadership of Mike Redmond?

It was poetic baseball justice to see the Red Sox win the world series, and Jeter winning the MVP will be in the same vein. He deserves it, and he will likely win it. I hope true baseball fans will appreciate that.

Walter Hanson said...

There is only one reason why Derek Jeter even has a shot of being the MVP. That's because George Steinbenner not to mention the financial resources the Yankees have can afford to go out and get players to make up for the horrible injures. While the Twins had to callup a minor league outfielder to replace Steward the Yankees could go out and trade for Abreu and Liddle.

Imagine the record of the Twins and Yankees if on July 31st the Yankees had to stay pat while the Twins could've traded for Abreau and Liddle or maybe Sorriano.

Jeter is an MVP candidate because of the money of the Yankees!

A true MVP is a person who if you took him out of the team they will colapse. As the Yankees proved injured superstars don't matter when you have their large payroll.

A more worth candidate for MVP is either Morneau or even Dye. Without them the Twins and the White Sox won't have a chance to make the playoffs.