AL MVP And the Minor Controversy That Followed
So Miguel Cabrera won the AL MVP. A while back I said that he should win. I also said that when I looked at Trout’s numbers after hearing someone on the radio talking about the debate about which player should when, it was closer than I had thought. However, I thought that because the Triple Crown so historically significant, because his team was in the post-season, and because he switched positions so Prince Fielder could join the team, he deserved the MVP.
When Cabera won, I saw this piece by Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, and was very annoyed. I read it again and am still annoyed. I think it’s very arrogant and condescending toward those who think Cabrera should have won the award.
I agree that the vote should not have been a blow-out, and that when you take defense into consideration, it is quite close. And I think we have gotten to the point where defense is more valued, thanks in part to sabermetrics. However, his whole “I can’t believe how backward these non-sabermetric people are, why don’t they leave the Dark Ages?” attitude is uncalled for. He makes Bill James seem like Galileo challenging the Catholic Church. Oh, poor Bill James, no one wanted to listen to his stats at first.
One of my posts was about sabermetrics. I am not against it at all. I think it has added a nice dimension to the game, and fans can get a better idea of how good a player is. However, it can be taken too far. When stat-heads think stats are all that matters (and it seems Passan falls into that group) you can lose the human element to the game. Some things just cannot be measured empirically. Sabermetricians are the materialists of baseball. I don’t subscribe to the belief that if something cannot be measure, then it does not exist.
Passan has a very “if you’re not for sabrmetrics, you’re against it” attitude in this article. It’s a very black and white for him, it seems. He also tips his hand to some biases as well, comparing people who are suspicious of the stats to those who deny global warming and evolution. This sets up a bit of a contradiction in that the sabermetricians were the ones that doubted the efficacy of traditional stats and that was good according to Passan, but now if someone dares not love sabermetrics, well, then they’re just simpletons. There are scientists who have doubts about the limits of evolution, legitimate ones. This is not to say they don’t think it exists, as Passan would have you believe, but that there are flaws and it’s okay to determine what it can and cannot do. (For the record, I doubt doubt global warming, but I think the press gets carried away with it at times when they don’t know what they are talking about and can be too dismissive of those who might think otherwise.)
This is like WAR and the overall idea of sabermetrics. Overall sabermetrics has made a good contribution, but hey WAR is a vague stat based on a fictional player. I really don’t think you should base an MVP vote on WAR which is what Passan is basically doing. But I guess I now fall into Passan’s doghouse of dolts because I dare questions something involving sabermetrics.
Am I overreacting? Probably, but I can’t stand arrogance, and this article is very arrogant.