Cheap Seats

Votto wins MVP in a landslide

It's not news that the sun comes up in the morning. So why should it be news that baseball writers screwed up the National League MVP balloting?

Cincinnati's Joey Votto won the award in a landslide over St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols. It's not Votto's selection that bothers me. He's a worthy MVP who earned what he got. It's the landslide part that ticks me off.

A comparison of the players' numbers had all the indications that the race would be very close. The fact that it wasn't proves the writers didn't judge the individuals by their performances as much as they punished Pujols because he had a crummier supporting cast.

Pujols won two of the three triple crown statistics, won the Silver Slugger as the Senior Circuit's best offensive first sacker and he won the Gold Glove as the best defensive player at the initial base. The result? He gets one of 32 first place ballots. And some knucklehead voted him the sixth best player in the NL.

Besides the one ballot on which he was given the top rating, Pujols finished second on 21 ballots, third on eight, fourth on one and sixth on one, according to a release from the Baseball Writers Association of America.

I am completely sick of the hypocritical criteria of how a team fares in its divisional race.

What difference does the overall team's performance make? The Reds won five more game than the Cardinals and then completely tanked it in the playoffs. Was it Pujols' fault that the Redbirds missed the post-season? Or were the facts that Brad Penny missed more than half of the season and Kyle Lohse spent the whole year either on the DL or pitching ineffectively to blame?

I would argue that the Cardinals wouldn't have even been in the playoff picture if not for Pujols carrying the club on his shoulders. Meanwhile, the Reds offered a more balanced attack. Subtract both players from their respective teams and I would bet that Cincinnati finished ahead of St. Louis in the standings.

What do the writers have against Pujols? They gave two of his MVP awards to Barry Bonds. They don't have a problem giving the MVP to Andre Dawson when the Cubs finished last. They don't have a problem giving it to Ryan Howard in 2006 when his team didn't make the Playoffs -- and Pujol's club won the World Series. They didn't have a problem giving it to Bonds in 2004 when the Giants spent October at home...

So why is it such a big deal now that Pujols narrowly missed the playoffs? Judge the players on their own merits and let the chips fall where they may.