Would all the Derek Jeter worshippers please catch the next train to ShutYourYapsVille?
As we recently learned, it was possible for a Minnesota Twin to win the AL MVP award and not have the universe instantly collapse in upon itself in a spasm of righteous anger. However, the more I hear about how Jeter was “robbed” of the MVP award, the more I come to realize that a sudden cataclysmic end to civilization as we know it would at least quiet the shrieking furies that are disappointed Yankee fans. What Jeter apologists forget is that not everyone in America worships at the alter of the Pinstriped Devils. It’s all well and good that Jeter is a good player on a good team, but does that make him an MVP? Apparently, the majority of baseball writers in American League towns don’t think so. And that is where the story begins and ends.
The MVP award, like the Cy Young, is handed out after votes are counted. Hence, if you don’t like the outcome of the vote, then perhaps you ought to look at what influenced the voters.
Morneau and the Twins didn’t buy the award (they squeeze nickels until the coins bleed) and an army of Washington lobbyists certainly weren’t dispatched across America to put their formidable powers of persuasion to work. In fact, deep down, the Twins probably wish that Morneau hadn’t won the award as it will now be harder to keep him for the long term due to his greater potential earning power. Winners of an MVP award simply cost more to retain.
Jeter was simply held to a high standard of performance and found wanting by MVP voters. The story is as simple as that. All the carping in the world about how Jeter should have won doesn’t change the fact that he had, at best, a good but not great year. If a good, but not great, year is now the gold standard for MVP play, then the award probably isn’t worth winning anyway and the Yankees could hand them out in the locker room like towels for all I care.
Until then, AL MVP voters clearly have stated a preference for awarding the trophy to players who have great years. Even if they don’t play for the Yankees.