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Friday, October 15, 2004
the mvp is generally withheld from players on losing teams. further, one must make the playoffs to guarantee full consideration. it is a situation decried by sabermetricians, who blithely ignore team wins and measure greatness on run margins.

but team wins are important. great players have much more of an impact on team wins than other players do. yes. a winning team is more likely to have a great player.

and that's what we're looking for: the truly great.

journalists are not stupid. it took me a long time to realize this. they may not speak the language of sabermetrics, but they have other ways of understanding things. the "winning team" rule of thumb is one of these ways.

and they recognize that it is only a rule of thumb. alex rodriguez won the mvp last year, on a last place team. it does happen. it just doesn't happen often. as it shouldn't.

so we got two things to talk about: the al mvp, and the nl cy young.

al: yes yes yes it's gonna be vladimir guerrero but it shouldn't. be. guerrero. he. had a great finish but he's basically the same as gary sheffield, and sheffield's slightly better.

remember, yankee stadium is rough on righties. look at arod's dropoff. and sheff is a warrior. he played most of the season suffering the extreme pain of a partially separated shoulder, taking cortizone shots like i take advil. and while the yankees were going through terrible injury and performance issues in july and august, he kept them winning by hitting a home run every other day.

but sheff's not the choice either. ichiro was better. he played for a losing team, but his teammates were crap. and he broke the god damn hits record! he was the clear choice in 2001; he would be a fine choice in 2004.

but the best choice is johan santana. take a look at the twins roster and name one other great player. i dare you. who do they got? nobody. lew ford is their second-best player. and they won the division by 9 games. sure it was the al central, but it wasn't that bad this year.

265 strikeouts. 54 walks. 228 innings. in a hitter's era. domination.

it's time to watch arroyo beat the yankees. maybe i'll do nl cy young later, but it's randy johnson. then lidge, then sheets. who will win it? clemens.
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