I figure I should make this another relatively quick entry, just because I am on vacation and I want to enjoy the outdoors a little. So here we go…
This morning, due to my struggling to figure out what to blog about, I decided to check out espn.com for some inspiration. I was hardly inspired by the centerpiece article on Brett Favre’s signing with the Minnesota Vikings, but that is a long story that many others have complained about already, so I will leave it untouched upon in this blog.
I did, however, notice a link at the bottom of the page, titled “Joe Mauer vs. Mark Teixeira.” It also happened to be a poll. As some of you may have discovered by now, I like polls. I enjoy voting on them as well as seeing the results of other peoples’ votes. So you can imagine my joy when I noticed this poll about one of my favorite baseball topics: the MVP race.
As my main rooting interest (the Red Sox) lies in the American League, I would say that I have a little more expertice on the goings on in the AL than in the NL. Therefore, I was even more thrilled that the poll concerned the AL MVP race. At this point in the season, the MVP race is usually narrowed down to 2-4 players that really deserve it and have a chance at winning. In the AL this year, the race is roughly down to 2 players: Mark Teixeira and Joe Mauer. While others are certainly close to them, these two are the front runners and it will most likely stay that way.
As with all awards races, there is constant debate over who of the two deserves the award more, who is better, etc. I like these discussions, because they really get me thinking and they allow me to apply a lot of baseball knowledge (as well as learn new things) in the process.
When I got to the poll, it was as simple as can be: “Who gets your American League MVP vote?”- Mauer, Teixeira, other.
I paused for a minute after reading this, carefully thinking over my answer. For this I had to rethink the criteria of an MVP. According to wikipedia.org, the MVP award was originally created to “honor the baseball player who is of greatest all-round service to his club and credit to the sport during each season; to recognize and reward uncommon skill and ability when exercised by a player for the best interests of his team, and to perpetuate his memory.”
Of course, the main idea of this quote is the part about being the greatest all-round service to your club. The player who is of most service to his club is, therefore, the “most valuable” player in the league.
When you run both Teixeira and Mauer through these criteria, both match that main idea. Teixeira has led his team to the best record in the MLB, and Mauer has carried his team to still be relatively in the running for the Wild-Card. However, a common accusation of both of these players (particularly Mauer, I think) is that each may not even be the most valuable player on his own team. Mauer’s teammate Justin Morneau won the MVP award in 2006, and has remained among the leagues top players since then. Teixeira is on one of the most star-studded lineups in baseball, including 2 time MVP Alex Rodriguez, and likely the best hitting shortstop of all time, Derek Jeter.
However, I believe that this season, both Mauer and Teixeira have been more valuable to their teams than any of their teammates, so those accusations can be forgotten in this argument.
The next criteria- “uncommon skill and ability.” Of course both of these players have uncommon skill and ability, as they are both even in the MVP race. This one isn’t even worth contemplating for very long.
And finally, these skills are “exercised for the best interests of his team.” I think that both of these players have used their skills to help their team. Both teams are in the hunt for the playoffs, and both have respectable records. While the Yankees have a very good all around team, Teixeira has been the main reason for their passing of my Red Sox in early August. Mauer has been playing as good as ever, and although his team has been great at times, he is largely the reason they are still in the chase.
After contemplating all of this (and remarkably, I didn’t really bring stats into all that much of it), I decided to vote for who I felt deserved the award most, and that was Mark Teixeira. While Mauer is one heck of a player and could very well win the award, I think that Teixeira deserves it, because he has led his team to take the league (and the Red Sox) by storm. If the Yankees end up going far in the playoffs (let’s pray they don’t!), it should be even more enforced that Teixeira is the MVP.
After I voted, I found that nearly 70% of people had in fact voted for Mauer. I can see why they would do so. However, I’m standing by my decision. What do you think?
Thanks for reading.