The world of sports media is now divided into two. On one side there are 22 fossils who shall travel the remainder of their days obstinately justifying and re-justifying the shallowness of their brain-process and, on the other side, there shall be every other person in sports media who will be able to sit there wide-eyed, mouth agape, and point; all while secretly thanking their lucky stars that they escaped being documented as an asshat for failing to recognize Willie Mays 2.0 when he was right in their midst and that was what they were paid to do. (You can see it starting all over the place.) And the Ignoble Twenty-Two cannot claim that they simply were denied the chance to see Trout often enough in person to properly appreciate what was happening. (Whicker pens his own Lyle Spencer 4000 games idiocy in that piece wherein he rambles "Visit any post-game clubhouse and you will hear...")
Those 22. Those lonely, angry, eternally defensive 22. They were sent up to the front of the class and tasked with solving the math problem on the whiteboard. In front of everybody. Including the cute little red-headed girl in the second row. So they pulled out their "stats" and scrawled them in great big bold colors (using crayons and the permanent markers they carry in their back pockets, not the dry erase makers sitting in the tray). Then, to stretch out their presentations, they wrote out in long hand the words "Batting Average" and "Runs Batted In" and "Home Runz" and "45 Years exclamation point exclamation point exclamation point exclamation point." Too bad for them that these answers were incorrect, and incorrect in easy and obvious ways, to all the other kids in the class - especially the cute little red-headed girl in the second row since she (of course) is the one who gets A's on all her homework.
The trick now is to spew your ignorance with conviction. Be bold. Be proud. Sell it. Act like you own the truth. Eddie Murphy it, mutha fucka. And whatever you do never, ever, back down. You sit as the rear guard, the last line of defense for all those old-timey highlight filmstrips in black and white. You few are all the Heritage, History, and Honor that myopically looks only backwards, and sees backwards in all the ways that didn't really matter, if they ever even existed at all. And be patient. You have a long time before the first person finds you and asks the question: "If Josh Hamilton, a different guy on a different team playing in a different town in a different division, had hit just three more home runs in 2012, how would you justify that meaning Miguel Cabrera would have been less valuable to his own team?" But, I have to warn you, it's always going to be lonely. None of the fans of the 2012 Detroit Tigers are going to be hunting you down in the future to shake your hand and congratulate you on your wisdom. They will have moved on by then. Most, if not all, of them will be wishing desperately that they had Mike Trout playing in Detroit.
- I was going to help you all move on by walking through Baseball Reference and list out all the other instances where the voters got the MVP vote wrong according to WAR, and got it wrong even worse than 2012. But then Marc Normandin sent out a notice and saved me all that work!
- Meanwhile, it also helps to understand the uphill battle that rookies have always had trying to draw MVP votes. This shitstorm of sad thinking is old, folks. Really, really old. If there is anything we can set out as a a target and an objective for bloggers to accomplish on behalf of world good it should be to wrest away from the grip of the BBWAA any and all power and control over defining who is and is not of what value when, where or why. After all, folks, I still insist that we remained focused on this truth: every single Major League Baseball General Manager voted Mike Trout. Every. Single. One.
- So you all know that a 38 and 39 year old Torii Hunter signed with the Detroit Tigers for 2 years and $26 million. Now I ask you, what are the odds of a Vlad Guerrero, who will also be 38 & 39 over the next two seasons, being half as productive with a bat as Torii Hunter? Do you think Vlad would take a 1 year flyer for $5 million?? What could a Vlad still do in that 2-hole? Better than Abreu did? Better than Morales will? Just thinking out loud. Probably shouldn't do that too much at my age.
- Why the Vlad thought? Well, it's not like the Angels are not busy filling up their franchise with ex-major leaguers and minor league deals these days.
- Mike Trout was voted by MLB Alumni the 2012 Heart & Hustle Award Winner. It is also announced that Trout is in the running for the brand-new MLB MVP award, covering all players from BOTH leagues, to be announced December 4th during the 2012 Winter Meetings. Are you voting on the 2012 Gibby's?? As I wrote it up last week, Trout is up for a slew of honors! Vote!!!
- Anybody have an update on C.J.Wilson, B-Boy?
This Date In Baseball History: 1961 - The Mets unveil their new logo. It never occurred to me that the reason that the Mets colors of Blue and Orange were selected to replace the departed Dodger Blue and Giants Orange..........1966 - After Sandy Koufax's final season, Roberto Clemente edges out Koufax for the NL MVP, marking yet one more time the player with the higher WAR loses the recognition..........1976 - the Angels sign Free Agent Don Baylor away from the A's (being traded from Baltimore for Reggie Jackson earlier). Three years later Baylor will become the first Halo AL MVP...........1977 - Current Twin, but future Halo, Rod Carew named AL MVP..........1988 - BBWAA boneheads another award and honors The Prince Of PEDs, Jose Canseco, with a unanimous AL MVP...........1995 - Current Red Sox, but future Halo, Mo Vaughn is named AL MVP. (Tim Salmon comes in 7th, tying for his highest ranking, and Jim Edmonds and Gary Disarcina also garnered votes)...........2000 Jeff Kent tops The Rajah Of 'Roids Barry Bonds to take the NL MVP..........2004 - Vlad Guerrero becomes the second Angel to win the AL MVP..........2005 - Current Cardinal, but future Halo, Albert Pujols is named NL MVP, his first of three...........2009 - The BBWAA name Andrew Bailey(!) AL Rookie Of The Year. Quick, where is Andrew Bailey now??...........2011 - Ex Angels Future Manager, Joe Maddon, now with the Tampa Bay Rays, is named AL Manager Of The Year. His second. Ugh.
- It's Collusion Talk time once again. Ken Rosenthal has been chatting with MLB Player's Union folk. And do you know what union folk hate the most? They hate the idea of teams being fully informed concerning the actual market for any player. They hate it so much they put it into the CBA. One can only blame the owners for being stupid enough to agree to that, but there it is. My favorite part of that article is where they use an example of the New York Yankees and Scott Boras as a benchmark event, where Boras complains that the front office fabricated information. This is, of course, the same Scott Boras who fabricated bidding teams in order to drive up the price of Alex Rodriguez. And the same Scott Boras who fabricated statements so as to trick Johnny Damon into accepting a slightly larger offer from the Yankees. Major League Baseball owners are the smartest idiots of which I know.
- I know this was brought up the other day by Los Angeles de Anaheim, but I felt it was a tad overlooked. So I am linking to it again. The hottest prognosticator on the planet took some time off from predicting kings and queens and returned to his roots in order to recreate on baseball for a moment. Not that we needed it or anything but Nate Silver, one of our current gods of math, took some time and effort to explain that, yes, Mike Trout was the Most Valuable Baseball Player in the Major Leagues in 2012. And his very best line, the one that skewers Tiger fans and ancient cronies everywhere is the line that explains "It’s the traditionalists who are using statistics in a way that misses the forest for the trees." Detroit, of course, has already convinced itself that facts are without merit when it comes to cherished opportunities to bask in the glory of archaic subjectivity, so they dismiss Silver as little more than the same old, same old.
- Deadspin, meanwhile, takes dead aim at how the Good Old Boy Network really works. Essentially, LaVelle E. Neal III lays out out an extremely strong reason for Trout as MVP. Then LaVelle gets votes Vice President of the BBWAA. Pause. LaVelle actually votes Cabrera. I especially like the tweet pasted in the article, where Evan Grant pretty much tells all the rest of us to go eff ourselves, because that award belongs to them.
- As Bud Selig looks the other way during the Florida Marlins fire sale, why isn't Jerry Dipoto looking directly at it? How come these guys are going elsewhere??
- Speaking of the Marlins, Hat tip to HBT. I love these Taiwanese animations:
(A roundup of this week's LA Angels-related rumors and transactions...as if you just woke up, recovering from last weekend's Links.)
- Jerry Dipoto is not in pursuit of a pure closer.
- Dipoto expects to focus on upgrading the rotation via Free Agents rather than trades.
- In the event that you are not following, sending Bobby Wilson to Toronto allows the Blue Jays to send Jeff Mathis to Miami. Mathis decidedly did not displace J.P. Arencibia and blossom into any Major League force. Instead, he was made expendable by Bobby-friggin-Wilson. Take note, Lyle.
- Hiroki Kuroda in our "Plan B" in case Greinke fails to re-sign.
- Brace yourselves. We might feel some aftershocks should the Royals start making a big splash.
(Quick hits of interesting stuff that sit out on the fringe of our baseball emporium...)
2012 Fun Home runs, a look back..........Brian Fuentes has retired, preserving the future health of paper airplanes everywhere...........Matthew Pouliot went apeshit on his keyboard at that whole Miguel Cabrera lead his team to the playoffs and Mike Trout didn't thing. I am pretty sure that the first time he composed that, it was in all caps and coffe was spilling all over this desk.........Speaking of Angry Men, Grant Brisbee goes all Successionista on baseball in a major protest over the AL MVP vote result..........Some of you might have been wondering, but here is the rationalization for backing Trout from the last rational man in New England..........Anybody out there still trying to follow Lenny Dyskstra?
And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday for beer:
Friday, Saturday and Sunday shall run the Sierra Nevada Tap Take-Over Weekend up in San Leandro. It's advertised as a Beer & Food Event, to be hosted at Porky's Pizza Palace...............Friday in Los Angeles Brewster's Bar & Grill serves up a Winter Warmers Beer Appreciation Night. This social gathering will deliver a tasting of "Fantôme de Noël, Cismontane Black’s Nocturne, barrel aged Struise Tsjeeses Reserva, Haandbryggeriet Bestefar, and Affligem Noël", among others. Saturday in San Francisco, BevMo! is launching their Holiday Beer Fest at Fort Mason Center, Herbst Pavilion. I gotta give 'em credit. That's the longest selection of brews I have seen for a tasting event all year!
Meanwhile, for anybody looking for something fabulous down San Diego way, email Dono Romantico. His is the superior list.
Stay safe, everyone!