It’s time to play Family Feud … sort of.
Honestly? Today’s effort was going to be about Jazz rookie Kevin Murphy and how, on a very deep team, he can’t seem to get off the bench. He’s a really nice young man; a dedicated husband and father, who’s trying to be patient during his first season in the NBA.
But I suppose I’m going to have to save it for another day.
See, last week Detroit Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera won the American League Most Valuable Player award. In a race that wasn’t nearly as tight as some might have thought, the pudgy third baseman won the award rather easily, outdistancing Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout, this year’s Rookie of the Year winner and arguably the best player in baseball.
Trout, a former Salt Lake Bee, is what they call a five-tool player. He has a cannon for an arm, can run like a deer and play outfield like Willie Mays. He can also hit for power and for average.
He’s got some Mickey Mantle in him, let’s just say that. And if you don’t know who Mickey Mantle is, well, shame on you.
Cabrera isn’t exactly twinkle toes out there in the field. Sure, he can handle third base, but he’s not there for his skills in the field. But when it comes to hitting, the guy’s an artist.
In fact, he won the triple crown this year, leading the AL in batting average, home runs and RBIs.
The last time anyone did that, gas was around 30-cents a gallon and people were still using rotary phones. Not only was there no such thing as the Internet or hybrid cars, we hadn’t yet put a man on the moon.
Before Cabrera did it this season, Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski was the last triple crown winner.
And, yes, he won the AL MVP that year. He also got the Red Sox into the World Series, just as Cabrera did with the Tigers this season.
To me, winning the first triple crown in 45 years — while getting your team to the World Series — is more than enough to win the MVP award. To others, including my own son, a baseball nut just like the old man, the fact Trout got overlooked is something of a travesty.
As if to illustrate just how much the world has changed since the last time anyone won baseball’s triple crown, my son and I have begun debating Cabrera vs. Trout on, of all things, Facebook.
That’s right, it’s a Facebook family feud.
Wonder what 1967 would’ve thought about Facebook?
Look, I’ve got nothing against Mike Trout, believe me. I really admire the guy and I absolutely love the way he plays baseball. Plus, I think it’s pretty cool he played here in Utah and actually developed an affinity for our state.
I think any other year he deserved to win Rookie of the Year as well as MVP, something that hasn’t been done since 1975, when Boston’s Fred Lynn did it. Unfortunately, he happened to break into the big leagues in 2012, the same year Cabrera won the first triple crown since LBJ was in office.
Sadly, there are a few sports fans currently asking, “LBJ? LeBron James wasn’t even born in 1967.”
(For anyone who didn’t know, LBJ stands for Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States).
I suppose that also illustrates my point. Times have changed and even in the sports world we view things differently.
In the 45 years between Yaz’s triple crown and Cabrera’s, we’ve gone from chatting over the backyard fence to posting things on Facebook. Back then, if a guy led the league in hitting, homers and RBIs, he deserved to win the gosh darn MVP award. Today, people get on their iPhones, find Facebook and post something about how Mike Trout got ripped off.
To back up the argument, they use new-age, Moneyball-type stats like “Wins Over Replacement,” which theoretically reveals Trout to be a more valuable player.
Granted, he probably is.
But that doesn’t mean I’m changing my stance. To me, the beauty of baseball lies in its details — in its history — not in today’s sabermetric formulas.
Mike Trout isn’t the first “best all-around” ballplayer to miss out on an MVP award and he won’t be the last. Come to think of it, Miguel Cabrera isn’t the first big-bat/big butt slugger to win it, either.
But, as I told my son — or, rather, as I posted on his Facebook page — I guarantee we’ll never forget who won the 2012 AL MVP award.