Okay, So Maybe Dave Cameron Does Care

In mid-August, FanGraphs‘ Dave Cameron posted something that bothered me quite a bit. In a column titled “Why Do We Care?”, Cameron wrote about the pointlessness of fans getting riled up when the right baseball player doesn’t win the award he deserves. The most important quotes:

I get why baseball players might care, since they have financial incentives tied to who actually gets the award and such. I get why their families might care, as shiny trophies are always fun to hand down through the family. I get why the writers care, as it gives them a chance to have their opinion heard. I just don’t know why we’re supposed to care.

. . .

If they want to think that Teixeira was the most important player to his team in the league this year, that’s fine. Most of us probably disagree, and we’re under no obligation to report that as any kind of factual statement. I’ll be telling people that Mauer was the most valuable player in the American League for 2009, and I’ve got a mountain of information to back it up. How other people view the definition of the word value has no real world impact on me.

Twitter isn’t dying because people over 50 aren’t using it, and Tapas bars are doing just fine without an early bird special. Mauer’s legacy, and the history of the game, will be just fine without Tyler Keper’s vote, too. We’ve got better ways of capturing what happened on the field than through an award based on an esoteric argument about the definition of a vague word.

Let them vote for whoever they want. I don’t care.

I disagreed rather strongly with Cameron, going so far as to post my reaction to his piece. Well, now it turns out that maybe Dave Cameron himself disagrees with Dave Cameron. Today, in a column titled “Seriously, Someone Voted For Miguel Cabrera?”, Cameron posted about the ridiculousness of one voter giving Miguel Cabrera his first-place vote for the AL MVP. Important quotes:

Seriously, there is no argument for a first place vote for Miguel Cabrera. Mauer’s team made the playoffs, beating out Cabrera’s team for the last spot. Mauer hit better. Mauer fielded better. Mauer played a more important position.

None of those facts are disputable. A vote for Cabrera being more valuable in 2009 is like a vote for the sum of two and two being five. It’s not an opinion – it’s a lack of understanding.

So, writers who criticized Law for his vote and pointed to it as evidence that he’s screwing up the process, you are hereby required to do the same thing to the Cabrera voter. At least Keith had a reasonable explanation for his vote. There is no reasonable explanation for a Miguel Cabrera first place MVP vote. It’s just stupidity on display.

I happen to totally agree with Cameron’s thoughts on the AL MVP result. But that whole “let them vote for whoever they want, I don’t care” thing didn’t quite make it until 2010, did it?


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