Monday, November 14, 2005

Mike Celizic: Assclown.

Normally I've reserved my attacks upon an article to Lupica's nonsence, but here goes Celizic again with his half assed justifications of why he's throwing A-Rod under a bus.

Ortiz, not A-Rod, should be AL MVP
It's time voters wake up and allow a DH beat a field player for award

Mariano Rivera was the best pitcher in the American League in 2005, and there really wasn’t an argument about that. But he didn’t win the Cy Young Award because: A) he’s a relief pitcher, and B) Bartolo Colon had 21 victories.

Actually, there was a pretty big argument about that, especially since the voters didn't think he was the best pitcher in the American League. Johan Santana might also have an argument about that. Who didn't have an argument against that? You?

Now, a similar injustice is, I fear, about to take place in the American League most valuable player vote. David Ortiz was the most feared and best clutch hitter in the league, and there isn’t really an argument there. But Alex Rodriguez will probably win the award because Big Papi is a designated hitter, and a DH has never won the MVP.

Well, you can't argue with something that can't be quantified with statistics, like "fear."

In the conservative world of professional baseball writers, if something has always been done one way, no other reason is needed to justify continuing to do it that way. Rivera couldn’t be the Cy Young winner because someone else with an ERA nearly two runs higher had won 21 games, and baseball tradition says that if a starter wins 20-plus, a reliever can’t win. And if a player is a DH, he can’t win the MVP. That’s the rule.

There is no such rule.

So Ortiz can’t be the MVP because another position player had a year that, on paper, looks nearly as good and in some ways better than his. And A-Rod led Papi in home runs 48-47, in batting average .321-.300 and in slugging percentage .610-.604

I love that. On paper. Which means, the only way to look at something without bias. Whenever a sportswriter wants to justify something that clearly flies in the face of all statistical data, he will start off with saying "the opposite looks good on paper, but..." and then go into a crazy rant. My guess? Crazy rant to come. And what do you mean "in some ways"? How about in almost every single way?

But Ortiz had 88 extra-base hits to A-Rod’s 78 and 148 RBIs to A-Rod’s 130.

Ok. Ortiz had more XBH. Anyone still using RBI as a definition of success and in the same article arguing for voters not to count pitchers wins as important has a screw loose.

But the biggest numbers are the ones that count more than any other, and that’s production from the seventh inning on in games in which his team is either a run down, a run ahead or tied. That’s clutch time, when games are won or lost, when a team’s best hitters are standing in against the other guy’s best reliever, when the pressure is ratcheted up to nearly intolerable levels.

Actually it's funny, but runs scored in the beginning of a game count just as much as runs scored late in the game. I know it's a silly concept, but if you score early and don't have to come back, it's actually better for your team overall. Your starters are more able to cruise, your bullpen doesn't need to be as abused... why isn't anyone questioning why Ortiz's early game numbers aren't as good? Is he slacking? Of course not, such scrutiny is reserved for Rodriguez alone.

Ortiz had 78 at-bats in clutch time and he emerged with a .346 average, 11 home runs and 33 RBIs. A-Rod had 75 at-bats in clutch time, and he hit .293 with four dingers and 12 RBIs.

That’s nearly three times the homers and RBIs when Ortiz’s team most needed them. There’s not a player on the Red Sox who won’t tell you that without Big Papi, they don’t make the playoffs. No one in Boston will argue that anyone else on the team or in the league was more valuable.

Ok, first of all, you don't base an entire season by picking and choosing 70+ ABs. Secondly, I will give you that Ortiz was the Sox's MVP. But how is telling us that the Boston players think Ortiz should be MVP supposed to convince us? You think the Yankee players wouldn't say A-Rod was the MVP? I bet if you ask the Indians, they support Hafner (who - incidentally - was a DH that had better overall stats than Ortiz).

In New York, it’s a different story. Fans there won’t argue if A-Rod gets the MVP, as I suspect he will. It’s been, after all, 20 years since last a player in pinstripes won the MVP. That was Don Mattingly. The Yankees figure they’re overdue.

But if you asked Yankees fans who the team’s MVP is, I don’t think A-Rod would win the vote. Rivera would probably win for the very good reason that no one was more critical in the Yankees’ winning the division than Mo. Jason Giambi might even finish higher than A-Rod, because, as good as A-Rod was, Giambi’s hitting from June through the end of the year was the real difference-maker in the Yankees’ run. Derek Jeter, the most feared clutch hitter in the Yankees lineup, would also take votes away from A-Rod.

Yes, the Yankees have more well known and popular players than the Red Sox. The MVP isn't a popularity contest. Also how in the world can you say Giambi would deserve it over A-Rod? Rodriguez carried the team the whole season.. and yet we should look at Giambi's numbers from June on? What if A-Rod decided to take April and May off? How is Jeter "more clutch" than Rodriguez? Oh yes, Celizic is one of the writers who lauds Jeter as the greatest post season player of all time, and A-Rod as a posst season dud even though Rodriguez's post season stats far outshine Jeter's.

And if a player isn’t the MVP of his own team — and A-Rod would not win the fan vote for that honor — then how can he be MVP of the whole league?

He can’t, but he probably will be.

Again, this isn't a popularity contest. And did you take a fan poll, Mike? Because my bet it Alex would indeed win it, unless we let casual fans vote who don't follow the game very closely in which case Jeter would win it. Nobody else even has a shot.

For the Red Sox, it’s been 10 years since Mo Vaughn last brought an MVP award to Boston.

Vaughn is an interesting object lesson here. If he had been a DH, he wouldn’t have won. Albert Bell actually had a better year in 1995, but Bell didn’t win both because the writers liked him as much as they liked colonoscopies and because Vaughn was indispensable to the Red Sox while Bell was just one of several great players in the Indians’ loaded lineup.

It didn’t matter that Vaughn was fat and immobile and less than a sterling fielder; he was barely average. He played the field, so he qualified.

Whoa. Stop right there. First of all the man's name is BELLE, you idiot. If you're going to be a sportwriter, you should at least know the names of the players you're going to be using as examples.. especially well known players. But you do bring up an interesting point: the writers didn't like Bell(e) so it cost him votes. Gee. You're a writer. You don't like A-Rod. Think he'll get your vote? My bet: it costs him. I won't even go into the fat and immobile comparison for the other guy.

There have been, in fact, a number of MVPs who were liabilities in the field, including Jason Giambi, Frank Thomas, who won it twice, and Jose Canseco. Barry Bonds has been average at best in the outfield in recent years, but it hasn’t stopped him from winning in the NL. Other NL winners include such ham-handed performers as Sammy Sosa and Kevin Mitchell.

Ok, but they were so heads and shoulders above the competition that the runs they produced far ouutweighed the runs they allowed.

I’m not putting A-Rod in the same defensive category as the above. A-Rod is a superior third baseman — a gold-glove candidate. Unlike Thomas, Giambi, Canseco and the others, he makes his team better every time he pulls on a glove and trots out to his position. But the MVP isn’t given out to the best fielder. As we’ve seen, being one of the worst fielders is no hindrance to candidates.

So why in the hell did you bring it up?

The point of all this is that no one was more valuable all season long to his team than Ortiz, and his teammates would be the first to say that. A-Rod wasn’t even the most valuable Yankee.

Why? Because you think a fan ballot wouldn't crown him the winner?

Somebody needs to let the baseball writers know that the DH has been here for more than 30 years and will remain here for at least that many more. It’s a position, it’s on the team, and one of them was the MVP of the AL.

Yes, but it's also a position that needs to be taken with some scrutiny since it's essentially half a player. But you're right, a DH should be able to win the award. Just not this year.

It’s time to do the right thing and give Ortiz was he earned.

Yes. Second place.

Mike Celizic writes poorly for and is a freelance writer based in New York.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 10:00 AM   0 comments


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