Monday, November 20, 2006

Ryan Howard Is Your MVP

In the end baseball writers are fans, too, and what is clear now with Ryan Howard’s selection as the National League’s MVP is that most of them must have been caught up in all the excitement this kid generated every time he came to the plate. It's tough to choose anyone over Albert Pujols when your team needs a base hit, but it is tougher to choose anyone over Howard when you just want something to cheer about. Perhaps the greatest tribute to Howard's magical season is that hardly any writers gave a damn about the Phillies' fortunes overall but day in and day out the majority of them clearly wanted to know "How'd Howard do?".


Anonymous RickSchuBlues said...

My feeling is that the writers went with the wave of good feeling Howard was producing in the waning weeks of the season, more than they voted objectively. They knew it would be close, so no one could technically fault them for voting for Howard, but really, for it to have been 20-12 in first-place votes indicates that people were just caught up in the feel-good story of it all. Pujols is a force without which the Cardinals would have had no chance whatsoever. The Phils, meanwhile, had other players like Utley and Rollins who had fine seasons. I don't mean to take a single thing away from Howard, and I think he deserves the recognition...but probably not the award. I don't think there's room for "oh, but he won it last year" sentiments in award voting.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Tom Goodman said...

RSB: As usual, you make good points. I think the vote for Howard was in part a "feel good" story, but, then, he backed up those good feelings with a helluva lot of production. And I think voters recognized he would have exceeded those totals including the magical 61 HR mark had the Phils only had a live person in the number five hole instead of Burrell (with decreasing appearances on merit) and Conine (who showed his age after his initial burst in a Phillies' uniform). The Cards would not have made it to the playoffs let alone Series without Pujols, but the Phillies wouldn't have made it to the AFL without Howard.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous RickSchuBlues said...

True - and believe me, I hate to even voice an opinion to say Howard maybe didn't quite deserve it, because he *is* a great story and had such an awesome year, and why would I even think to rain on the parade? You could argue it either way, and not be able to make a strong case *against* either one. But I guess I just don't like the idea of the voting being influenced by emotional consideratons, as in, "this guy's been so great for the game". And I get the sense it was.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed RSB. it's a shame if it that's the way the voters were swayed.

4:00 PM  

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