Homerism in the AL MVP vote

Homerism in the AL MVP vote

Where were the voters from that didn’t vote Judge in as MVP?

Where were the voters from that didn’t vote Judge in as MVP?
Image: Getty Images

You smell that?

It’s coming from the Los Angeles area. And it stinks.

When the American League MVP voting results were released on Thursday, something smelled awfully bad.

Sure, New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge easily beat defending AL MVP Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels. The Bronx Bomber received 28 of the 30 first-place votes.

That wasn’t the issue.

For sure, Judge — who batted .311 with 62 HRs and 131 RBI — didn’t have to win the award unanimously for it to be legit, on the up and up.

The red flag came from the two first-place votes he didn’t get. Both came from L.A.-based writers who obviously cover the Angels more than the Yankees.

Sam Blum from The Athletic copped to voting for Ohtani. And reportedly, the other Ohanti vote came from Greg Beacham from the AP.

There’s no need for name-calling. Though, if we went that route, Beavis and Butthead might fit.

It was hard to look at this any other way than the two writers were probably homers, voting for the player they cover and see the most.

For sure, Ohtani had a case, but…

It would be one thing if there were a few votes for Ohtani, the dual threat, and they were sprinkled all over the country.

But this was a clear case that Judge had put on a historic 2022 season, one for the ages. He led the league in almost every offensive category.

On the other hand, Ohtani led a sideshow. His team finished 16 games under .500 and 33 games out of first place. To win the MVP off of that kind of season, you would have had to have had historic seasons both from the mound and at the plate.

The problem with the Ohtani vote is that he’s NOT the best hitter in the game and NOT the best pitcher in the game.

If he was the best pitcher and won the AL Cy Young over Justin Verlander, and had the same offensive output, the case would be stronger for him.

This notion that because he pitches and hits he should be the MVP every season because no one has done this in the game since Babe Ruth walked the Earth is flawed.

It should simply be based on the season a player had that particular season. Period.

And it’s also hard to believe that winning shouldn’t play a factor in a player being the MVP. It’s about winning and not just compiling stats.

Plus, let’s be honest, Ohtani didn’t have a meaningful at-bat or a pressure-packed pitch since June after his team lost 12 games in a row and got their manager, Joe Maddon, fired.

For sure, Ohtani had a better year in 2022 than he had in 2021 when he won the AL MVP, especially in the pitching department. The only issue is that Judge put on a historic season and we watched him set the AL home run record in a single season. His 62 bombs finally passed the mark of 61 that was held by Roger Maris back in 1961.

It was amazing to watch.

And normally, baseball writers are great when it comes to honoring the most deserving players with their votes. This time was questionable.

In 2012, there was a debate. Writers wrestled with who should be the AL MVP. There was a solid base that believed that the Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera should win the award. It was mostly the old guard of writers who still held mad respect for a player winning the Triple Crown. That season, Miggy led the league in batting average, HRs, and RBI.

But Mike Trout put together a magical season that the analytic people were crazy about. He led the league in war at 10.5. The younger, newer writers tried to discount the idea of RBI and how it wasn’t more important than on-base percentage and steals.

In the end, old school beat new school and Cabrera was voted MVP by the BBWAA.

It’s OK for writers to get it wrong. For sure, it’s not an exact science. The only problem this time around is that the two writers who got it wrong both work in the L.A. area.

Yes, it felt like home cooking. Except this time, it reeked.

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.