Can you smell it?
It comes from the Los Angeles area. And it smells.
When the results of the American League MVP voting were announced on Thursday, something smelled awfully bad.
Sure, New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge easily beat AL reliever Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels. The Bronx Bomber received 28 out of 30 first place votes.
That was not the point.
Sure, Judge — who hit .311 with 62 HR and 131 RBI — didn’t have to win the award unanimously for it to be legit, up and down.
The red flag came from two first-place votes he didn’t receive. Both came from L.A.-based on writers who are obviously more about the Angels than the Yankees.
From Sam Blum Athletic got away with voting for Ohtani. And Ohanti’s other vote reportedly came from Greg Beacham AP.
There is no need for naming. Although, if we go that route, Beavis and Butthead might fit.
It was hard to look at it any other way but the two writers were probably local and voted for the player they cover and see the most.
Of course Ohtani had issues, but…
It would be one thing if there were some votes for Ohtani, the dual threat, and they were sprinkled all over the country.
But it was an obvious case that Judge had set up a historic 2022 season, one for the ages. He led the league in almost every offensive category.
On the other hand, Ohtani led a secondary performance. His team finished 16 games under .500 and 33 games out of first place. To win MVP offf of a season like this you would have had to have historic seasons both from the mound and at the plate.
The problem with the Ohtani vote is that he is 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 idea 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. Time period.
And it’s also hard to believe that winning shouldn’t matter a player who is MVP. It’s about winning and not just compiling statistics.
Plus, let’s be honest, Ohtani hasn’t had a meaningful at-bat or pressure-filled pitch since June after his team lost 12 straight and manager Joe Maddon was fired.
Ohtani certainly had a better year in 2022 than he did in 2021 when he won the AL MVP, especially in the pitching department. The only thing is Judge put up a historic season and we watched him set the AL home run record in a single season. His 62 hits finally eclipsed the mark of 61 held by Roger Maris in 1961.
It was amazing to watch.
And usually, baseball writers are great when it comes to honoring deserving players with their votes. This time was doubtful.
In 2012 there was a debate. The writers wrestled with who should be the AL MVP. There was a solid foundation that believed Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera should win the award. It was mostly an old guard of writers who still had a maddening respect for a player who won the Triple Crown. That season Miggy led the league in batting average, HR, and RBI.
But Mike Trout put together a magical season that had the analysts going crazy. He led the league in tackles on 10.5. The younger, newer writers tried to play down the idea of RBI and how it wasn’t more important than on base rate and steals.
In the end, the old school won out over the new school, and Cabrera was named MVP by the BBWAA.
It’s okay for writers to get it wrong. Of course, this is not an exact science. The only problem this time it’s that the two writers who went wrong both work in L.A. area.
Yes, it felt like home cooking. Except this time, it smelled.