• HaroldHecuba: Mike Mussina is EASTERN EUROPEAN, not Italian....

Like most people with 9-5 jobs, we umpbumpers like to email each other rather than do actual work. Today’s email topic: the MVP voting, and specifically Umpbump’s MVP selections.

Paul: So just looking over our MVP picks so far, i realized something – why aren’t there more MVP candidates out west? So far, the only one of us to mention a player west of Houston was Nick’s pick of Martin. We’ve had Pujols, Berkman, Han-Ram, Utley, Howard, Chipper, Beltran, Mauer, Pedroia, Quentin, A-Rod, Youk, Huff, Sizemore, Halladay, and Martin.

Sarah: well let’s think–the NL West sucked so hard you can’t really have an MVP from any of those teams, I think. While I love Martin, I don’t think he really had that kind of year—the obvious MVP on that team in the second half was Manny Ramirez, without whom they would not be in the playoffs. But Manny disqualified himself by being a dick. Then there’s the AL West. First, the Angels. Whom would you pick from them? Again, the player who has carried them down the stretch was Tex, a midseason acquisition. Their starting pitchers have been the season-long key for them, but I don’t think any of them has had the kind of year that could crack the position-player-heavy MVP. The Rangers had some tantalizing players, but a) didn’t make the playoffs and b) don’t have a real clear candidate. Bradley didn’t play in enough games (IMNSHO) and the sentimental fave in July, then-triple-crown threat Josh Hamilton, faded during the second half. I think we generally have an East Coast bias on UmpBump, but I also think the West is just weak right now in both leagues. :-/

Paul: I came really close to putting Hamilton at #4 on my list. I wouldn’t say he faded in the second half. He still OPSed .874, which isn’t that much worse than his first half. I just think the media stopped caring because it had ceased to be a novelty story.  And voting for Lincecum isn’t a terrible idea.

Coley: I didn’t vote for Hamilton because he played for the Rangers and the Rangers sucked this season. They finished 21 games out of first place and four games under .500. I don’t think a player’s team needs to make the postseason in order for that player to get my vote. But the team does have to be good, and the Rangers weren’t good. The Cardinals were good, they just got stuck in a tough division. Ditto the Astros.

Paul: Texas was -66 in run differential. Houston was -31. and yes, the al west sucked. but they still had to play al central and east teams. so i think the two cancel out. To me, there’s not that big of a difference between the two teams. Besides, the Rangers led the AL in scoring. It’s not Hamilton’s fault that the pitchers are terrible.

Coley: I don’t use run differential when I evaluate if a team was good or not. I use wins and losses. And I agree it wasn’t hamilton’s fault that his team’s pitching was bad. But the reality is good players on bad teams don’t get MVP consideration. That’s how we’ve chosen to interpret the word “valuable.” If you want to argue that we should reconsider our interpretation of valuable, I’m all for it. Frankly, I’d go a step further and argue that we should get rid of the MVP award and give a Player of the Year award instead.

Paul: Ah. Therein lies the differences. I didn’t pick who I thought would win. I picked who I thought should, and W-L records and the talent level of his teammates don’t factor into my decisions. If you disagree, that’s fine, not gonna argue.

Coley: I didn’t pick who I thought would win. I picked who I thought should win based on what have become nearly universal standards: that a player is awesome, and that his team is a winner. Again, I think the latter standard is silly. But it doesn’t make any sense to ignore it, when everyone with a vote thinks it’s important.

Paul: i think you’ll at least agree that conventional wisdom isn’t always correct. and if you personally think it’s silly, why can’t you ignore it?

Coley: You’re probably right, Paul. It does make sense to ignore conventional wisdom if you don’t agree with it. You’ll probably sleep better at night. But the price you pay for ignoring the realities of MVP voting is that your opinions may be easier to ignore.

Paul: touche.

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