Friday, September 02, 2011

Sox, Pats, and the Value of Verlander...

Apparently, all it takes to get me back in the groove, is a major hurricane romping up and down the East Coast...and a Sox/Yanks series, a spirited fantasy football draft, and an even more spirited discussion during said draft, about a certain baseball award.  Yep, you're man is back in top form, and he's ready to preach the truth.  And it's not like the truth those Jehovah's Witness's have been pedaling around the greater Attleboro area, this past week.  Trying to pray on people that don't have power, those tricky, self righteous bastards.  No, it's the real truth.  Or, ya know, at least my version of it...

So, friends.  You gotta ask yourself.  Are you ready for the coming of Rooch Nation?  I'm sure you are.  But even if you're not, take a spin through my latest gospel and I'm sure I'll have made you a convert before the sermon is through...

Now get your read on, my followers, because the last thing you want is to not be prepared when the man comes to pass judgement on you.  And I think we all know that I'll be coming to pass judgement.  After all, it's what I do best...

I wonder if John Sterling said, "It's a Cervelli-bration for Cisco the Kid!"
Yeah, I'm bettin' he did. At least in his own mind...
Red Sox Update
Last Week: 4-3
Overall: 83-53, 1/2 game ahead of NY Yankees in AL East

Losing 2 of 3 at home to the Yankees is never a good thing, but seeing as both teams have all but sewn up playoff spots, it's really not too much of a bad thing, either.  I know that's sacrilegious to say, but I'm just preaching the truth.  More or less, this series wasn't ever really going to tell us anything, and it didn't.  What?  Should I now not want the Sox to get home field advantage because the Yankees beat them at home?  Of course not.  These teams are about dead even, and the 3 games they played at Fenway went a long way towards proving that.  All that's left now, is a fight to death for the division crown and home field in the AL.  And seeing as just a half game currently separates them with 26 left to play, I'm thinking that's gonna make for some good wacthin' from here on out.  Both on the field, and on the scoreboard...

But that's not what baseball fans want to talk about, right now.  They wanna talk about whether Justin Verlander is a worthy MVP candidate, or not.  How do I know this?  Well, aside from ESPN stealing my thunder and making that topic their front page story this morning, it was also a main talking point during my fantasy football draft, last night.  That's right, baseball talk during a fantasy football draft.  Like I said, it was a sports orgy, last night.  Or if I didn't say that yet, I've been meaning to, and will surely say it again at some point...

You can't spell Justin Verlander without "value". A coincidence? I think not...
Here's the deal with Major League Baseball.  They go out of their way to keep the definition of MVP so ambiguous, simply to promote discussion and debate about it.  Well, mission accomplished, I guess, but I'm pretty sure they shouldn't be taking pride in the fact that their most valued individual award doesn't even have any defined criteria...

And that's where the argument lies.  What the Hell does MVP even mean?  Literally, it means Most Valuable Player, of course, but again, those words are so ambiguous that even when taking literally it's tough to figure out the definition.  Valuable to whom?  And who defines said "value".  And what's the deal with "player"?  That means a pitcher is eligible, right?  Like I said, I'm convinced they set this thing up in the hopes of consistently stirring up debate, and while they've certainly succeeded, that very aspect of it is what, at least in my mind, diminishes the importance of the award...
Did Pedro deserve the MVP in 1999? You bet
your mango tree he did...
That being said, had I a vote, I'd be voting for Justin Verlander for MVP.  Why?  Because the way I interpret this award that's purposely left open to interpretation, is that the award should go to a player who's the most valuable to a team that's actually contending.  This year, that's Verlander in a landslide.  Adrian Gonzalez, Curtis Granderson, Jacoby Ellsbury.  They're all great players, but remove one of them from their respective teams, and that team still makes the playoffs.  Remove Verlander from the Tigers, on the other hand, and I'd be willing to predict that while they may still be leading the AL Central, it wouldn't be by nearly as wide a margin.  That's why Jose Bautista isn't a viable candidate, either.  He's ill, there's no denying that, but take him away from Toronto, and they still suck.  So I'm not sure where that "value" lies...

And while I'll submit to you that his numbers aren't historic, they're still pretty damn great (20-5 2.38 ERA 0.90 WHIP).  Not a whole lot better than we usually see from your typical Cy Young winner, but that's all relative.  We're not comparing him to years past or players past, we're comparing him to the players in the here and now.  And in the here and now, he's not only the best pitcher in the American League, but he's the most valuable player, probably in all of baseball...

Feel free to blame this Ted, even
if it isn't really his fault...
That's where he wins it, too.  On the word "value".  The "best" player in baseball this year (or at least the AL) is one of the 4 guys I mentioned above.  Not Verlander.  He's the best pitcher, there's no doubt.  Just not the best player.  In my top 5, sure, just not #1.  That's why, when all is said and done, he won't win the MVP, even if by the literal definition of the award he's the clear cut winner.  Because nobody actually uses the literal definition.  It'll go to someone with gaudy offensive numbers, as it always does, only furthering my claim that they just need to rename the award to the best position player, or something along those lines, instead of parading around this "most valuable" crap when everyone knows it doesn't really apply.  But they won't, for the very reasons I've been saying all along.  The same reason why they announce about one of these awards per week, months after the season is over.  Major League Baseball likes to provoke discussion and debate.  After all, it's good for business.  However, much like in our everyday lives, what's good for business, isn't always what makes the most sense...

Yep, for better or for worse, that's the world we live in.  At least the "sports world" we live in.  And I'm not trying to be melodramatic about the plight of man, I'm just here to help you fine folks read between the perpetually evaporating lines...

You've got my vote, Justin.  Unfortunately for you, I'm afraid that's just not gonna cut it.  Sorry, bud...

Sound the bell.  School's in, sucka...
Patriots Update
Week 1: @ Miami Dolphins (0-0) (Monday Night Football)

It was a flat out sports orgy, last night.  Fantasy draft, Pats/Giants, Sox/Yanks.  So I'd be lying to you if I said I watched much of the Patriots final pre season tuneup.  But that doesn't mean I'm not completely prepared for this season to get underway.  After last night's draft, I may have to focus more on the Atlanta Falcons than I had anticipated (I drafted 4 of them), but I'll still have one eye firmly fixed on Foxboro, and make sure to keep you up to snuff on all things New England each and every week...

Which reminds me.  You're gonna wanna set as the first place you go at about lunch time each and every Friday from here on out.  Why?  Because apparently, I'm one of the premier NFL and NCAA handicappers on the planet.  I know, I wasn't aware of this, myself.  But the numbers don't lie.  Over the last 5 years, I've won EVERY YEAR, and at a clip that'll actually make you money.  Granted, I still don't trust myself enough to actually bet on these things, but that shouldn't prevent you from raking in the sweet, sweet casheesh.  And I'm, serious, too.  Just take a look at the archives.  I win, I win often, and I win a lot of games that the so called "experts" miss.  I know, arrogant as Hell, but the numbers speak for themselves.  So every Friday, friends, stop here before you make that call to your bookie.  Trust me, it'll be worth the investment...

...although after all that, I'd steer clear of my picks 'til about week 3.  Definitely just jinxed myself...

And that's it for me this week, boys and girls, but before I go, allow me to handle a little house cleaning:

*Congrats to Team for advancing to the 2nd round of the playoffs.  I was there in person for the rousing 18-3, series clinching win, and I have to say those boys are really doing my proud.  Just a great group of guys, with a great team mentality, and obviously I wish them nothing but the best moving forward.  Give 'em Hell, boys, and let's big home that big ass trophy!

*I'd also like to thank all of you that have been voting for me in the Most Valuable Blogger Awards, and ask that you keep those votes coming.  I may not literally share in the spoils of victory, but a win for me is a win for us all, so let's show those Teds up there what we're all about!

OK, pimps.  Enjoy the long weekend, and I'll catch you on the flipman.  And trust me when I say, I'm with ya.  I can't freakin' wait for football to start, either...

Teddy Williams...



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