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OC Register: Alexander: Shohei Ohtani is a worthy MVP, if you discount the ‘value’ part


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The world according to Jim:

• We’ll stipulate that Shohei Ohtani has had three of the greatest seasons in baseball history in the last three years. Taking both pitching and hitting into account, he’s been the unanimous American League MVP in two of those years and could have been MVP in 2022 as well but for Aaron Judge’s 62 home runs.

But it must also be noted: Ohtani has won two MVPs and Mike Trout has won three, his first in 2014 when the Angels won their division. But in the other four seasons (2016 and ’19 for Trout, ’21 and ’23 for Ohtani), the Angels as a team were a combined 56 games below .500, 91 games out of first place and 58 games out of a playoff spot.

Which leads to this question: What happened to the “valuable” part of the Most Valuable Player award? …

• The official voting rules from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America say that the winner “need not come from a division winner or other playoff qualifier,” and that the standards include actual “value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense,” as well as “number of games played,” and “general character, disposition, loyalty and effort.”

The definition of value, obviously, is open to interpretation. And yes, the Angels were in the hunt for a brief while this summer before fading, and they were 9-16 after Ohtani’s season ended because of injury on Sept. 3. But they were already 13½ games out of first and 12½ out of a playoff spot by then. …

• And maybe I’m the only one left who takes the idea of contribution to winning seriously. Then again, if you define value as “the only reason your team remains watchable as its season circles the drain,” Shohei is indeed the MVP. No one else could have done so with those Angels. Presumably, we’ll see going forward just how much his talents contribute to a team with a legitimate shot at the postseason. …

• The crazy (or maybe not so much) part of this year’s awards voting: Both MVPs, both Rookies of the Year and AL Cy Young winner Gerrit Cole all won in unanimous votes. Historically, BBWAA voters have been a famously cantankerous lot, but I wonder if the influence of social media – and particularly the trolls who gang up on those who don’t give their favorites enough love – has resulted in an unhealthy orthodoxy? …

• Ronald Acuña Jr. received all 30 first-place votes in the National League MVP voting, and he’s a deserving winner as the best player on the league’s best team. Mookie Betts got all 30 second-place votes. But if you watched Betts all season and saw not only his performance at the top of the lineup but his ability – and willingness – to move between right field and second base or shortstop because of the Dodgers’ personnel needs, wouldn’t you at least consider voting him first and Acuña second?

Maybe, if “value” matters. But probably not if you’re just looking at numbers, which is where most of the voters seem to be looking. So why not just call it Player of the Year? …

• Full disclosure: I voted for NL Manager of the Year. Skip Schumaker of Miami is a worthy winner, and I had him No. 3 on my ballot, with Atlanta’s Brian Snitker No. 2 and Dave Roberts on the top line. I took into account how Roberts handled not only a platoon-heavy lineup (including the creative use of Betts) but also an injury-riddled starting rotation – one for which he didn’t get any midseason reinforcements at the trading deadline – and still got the Dodgers to 100 victories. …

• The crazy part of that voting? Arizona’s Torey Lovullo received as many first-place votes (four) and second-place votes (five) and one more third-place vote (7-6) than fellow UCLA alum Roberts. Yes, the D-Backs overachieved dramatically, but Arizona still finished – checks notes – 16 games behind L.A. in the NL West. And remember: This is a regular-season award, and votes were due before the playoffs began. …

• Updated take on the James Harden trade: Sure, maybe the pieces will eventually fit. But if you’re a Clippers fan weren’t you wincing the other night in Denver when Coach Ty Lue felt he had to go with a small-ball lineup and keep Ivica Zubac on the bench against Nikola Jokic? And aren’t you concerned that in the process of adding another star your team sent away guys who do a lot of the little things that help the stars function?

As Lue noted in Janis Carr’s story posted Thursday: “We don’t have much depth, I guess at a certain position. It’s just a whole different scheme, you know. Now we have James Harden. So, you know … different.”

Wonder what he really thinks. …

• Does it seem like the people who championed a Formula One race for Las Vegas are trying to smash a square peg into a round hole?

Saturday’s race will begin at 10 a.m. local time to appease European viewers. And thanks to a delay because of a loose drain cover, Thursday’s practice runs didn’t conclude until 4 a.m. on Friday morning – bizarre even for Sin City. Meanwhile, outrageously priced ticket and hotel packages seem to have been received tepidly, even among the high rollers they were meant to attract.

Oh, and lest we forget, the way construction crews were tearing up the Strip for months beforehand to lay down the racing surface did not exactly create goodwill. …

• Then again, things could be worse, and might indeed get that way. MLB’s owners made it official Thursday: John Fisher, the current leader in the Pro Sports’ Worst Owner competition, is coming to ’Vegas and bringing the A’s with him.

The owners’ vote, too, was unanimous, so draw your own conclusions.

jalexander@scng.com

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This argument has long been the domain of dimwits and it appears that won't be changing any time soon. 

A million dollars could fall out of Jeff Bezos' back pocket and it's loss wouldn't mean much to him. For most people, though, that's a gigantic amount of money. None of that changes the value of the money, though. It's still worth a million bucks regardless of whether it's in Jeff's pocket or mine. 

Tying an award given for individual performance to team results (in a sport involving 25 other guys on the roster each game, at that) is so monumentally stupid and illogical that one wonders how he has a job writing about sports. Sadly, it was a popular view even ten years ago, and there's enough holdouts to ensure it sticks around a bit longer. But it can't die any too soon. 

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I think this guy and other old head dumb fucks like him (who have also espoused this not new idea) has something approaching a super power when it comes to a contrarian desire to not understand things and also writing articles about how he doesn’t understand anything.  Anyway.  Has made a career out of watching sports and doesn’t understand the MVP award. Very good.  
 

 

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7 minutes ago, UndertheHalo said:

I think this guy and other old head dumb fucks like him (who have also espoused this not new idea) has something approaching a super power when it comes to a contrarian desire to not understand things and also writing articles about how he doesn’t understand anything.  Anyway.  Has made a career out of watching sports and doesn’t understand the MVP award. Very good.  
 

 

If all GMs had the benefit of hindsight and they got to go back to opening day of 2023 and there was a draft (with only the regular season counting), what player gets picked #1 overall?

It’s Ohtani.  That’s the easiest way to determine the MVP.  Who would you want in your team over anybody else?  The player you pick first overall is the player you view as being the most valuable.

And it’s the league MVP.  League.  Some idiots get caught up in language about value to their team, but they fail to acknowledge something as basic as it gets. What other value is there other than what they do playing for their team?  Everything they do is for their own team.  Duh.

There is some space to give some credit for who is a “leader” for a winner.  But that has to be a tiebreaker.  Otherwise it wouldn’t be a league wide MVP, it would be called like the Most Valuable Team layer that reaches the postseason.  That’s not the purpose of the award.  It is to acknowledge who had the best year.

If Ohtani won 24 games as a starter and hit 70 homers, the Angels probably would not have made the playoffs.  But this fool writer would say he isn’t the MVP?  Just dumb.

You can’t “lead” a team through bad pitching and/or devastating injuries.  A player can only do what they can do.

It’s an individual award to be given to the player everybody would want on their team over all the other players.

It’s really not that complicated.

If these guys want a leadership award strictly for a player that gets to the postseason, then create it.  But stop trying to make the MVP something it isn’t.

 

 

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I don't think the writer is claiming that Ohtani isn't valuable he's just saying that the Angels suck.

21 hours ago, AngelsWin.com said:

• We’ll stipulate that Shohei Ohtani has had three of the greatest seasons in baseball history in the last three years. Taking both pitching and hitting into account, he’s been the unanimous American League MVP in two of those years and could have been MVP in 2022 as well but for Aaron Judge’s 62 home runs.

But it must also be noted: Ohtani has won two MVPs and Mike Trout has won three, his first in 2014 when the Angels won their division. But in the other four seasons (2016 and ’19 for Trout, ’21 and ’23 for Ohtani), the Angels as a team were a combined 56 games below .500, 91 games out of first place and 58 games out of a playoff spot.

 

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