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September 11, 2006

Ortiz: King Jeter Ain't Got Nuthin' On Me

From ESPN.com -

David Ortiz, the American League leader in home runs and RBI, says Boston's fall from the American League playoff race should not disqualify him from the race for the AL's Most Valuable Player award.

But Ortiz told reporters after the Red Sox's 9-3 win over the Royals on Sunday that he thinks that's what's going to happen.

"I'll tell you one thing," Ortiz said. "If I get 50 home runs and 10 more RBI [which would give him 137], that's going to be a round number that no one else in the American League will have."

"But they'll vote for a position player, use that as an excuse. They're talking about [Derek] Jeter a lot, right? He's done a great job, he's having a great season, but Jeter is not a 40-homer hitter or an RBI guy. It doesn't matter how much you've done for your ball club, the bottom line is, the guy who hits 40 home runs and knocks in 100, that's the guy you know helped your team win games.

"Don't get me wrong -- he's a great player, having a great season, but he's got a lot of guys in that lineup," Ortiz continued. "Top to bottom, you've got a guy who can hurt you. Come hit in this lineup, see how good you can be."

This sound familiar to anyone? Think back about five and a half years, April 2001, to when Alex Rodriquez (then) said (about Jeter) in an interview with Esquire Magazine:

"The thing about Mike Lupica that pisses me off is that he makes me look like the biggest @#%$ in the world, and then he takes a guy like Jeter and just puts him way up there. Jeter's been blessed with great talent around him. He's never had to lead. He can just go and play and have fun. And he hits second—that's totally different than third and fourth in a lineup. You go into New York, you wanna stop Bernie and O'Neill. You never say, 'Don't let Derek beat you.' He's never your concern."

I wonder if Big Papi will ever live to regret his words on Jeter the way that A-Rod does now?

Here's the thing now where Ortiz might be right - in terms of the MVP Award this season. Last week, I made my case here for Jeter. And, to try and help the Jeter cause, I sent a link to my study to several well-known baseball writers.

One of them, who now writes for a major national publication, wrote back to me and said:

"I don't see how 12 HRs gets it done for MVP. Sorry."

So, I know for a fact that at least one writer is thinking the same here as Ortiz - that it's just about HRs and RBI.

And, if you look at how the award has been given out in recent years, there's more proof that voters seemed to love homer and RBI totals.

From the Yankees fan perspective, I say "Keep rooting for Boston to finish in 3rd place this year." It should be impossible for a D.H., on a third place team, to win the MVP unless he's head and shoulders above the rest of the league offensively.

And, this season, Ortiz is no better than Travis Hafner or Jermaine Dye in terms of being an overall slugger. Therefore, his case for the award, if Boston finishes third, should be as weak as Ortiz whining about Jeter's chances now.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at September 11, 2006 01:05 PM


Lemee guess, the writer you quoted is one that regularly calls into Kay's radio show? And his name rhymes with Damon?

Posted by: Jen [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 11, 2006 02:01 PM

I won't disclose the guy's name - because he is a nice guy, at least to me, outside of his view of Jeter's MVP chances. Sorry.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 11, 2006 02:03 PM

Is it redundant to state here that homers and RBI's are WAY overvalued?

Posted by: brockdc [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 11, 2006 02:04 PM

S'ok. I understand.

Posted by: Jen [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 11, 2006 02:05 PM

Rafael Palmeiro had a lot of HRs and RBI. How many MVPs should he have gotten?

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 11, 2006 02:42 PM

Just like all the other awards, sometimes the voters get it right, many times they don't.

Criteria is based on whichever way the wind blows. Sometimes they'll give it to a player on a 1st place team, sometimes they'll give it to a player on a last place team, sometimes they'll give it to a power hitter, sometimes they'll give it to a slap hitter, sometimes it's a position player, sometimes it's a DH. And on, and on, and on.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 11, 2006 02:53 PM

David Ortiz was always one of those Red Sox that, no matter how bad he killed us, I never really HATED him the way I hate Varitek or Schilling. He always seemed like a roly-poly, happy-go-lucky guy. But honestly, I think it's pathetic when players do this sort of stuff. In my opinion, players should never openly campaign for personal accolades. Teammates, coaches, managers, team owners, and local reporters/TV commentators should do all of the electioneering for individual awards and the players themselves should worry about winning ballgames.

I'm not saying Ortiz has T.O.-levels of selfishness, but I do think that it's pretty unseemly and pathetic for a guy like Ortiz to be openly carping for an MVP when his team has gone into the toilet and has no chance at making the playoffs.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 11, 2006 02:57 PM

It's funny to me how jealous so many other players are of Jeter, yet the guy never talks sh*t about anyone and couldn't care less about doing so... man, I love #2... beyond being a great player, a heroic person

Posted by: Athos333 [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 11, 2006 02:58 PM

I'm not a big fan of Steven Goldman, but he wrote an excellent article about the recent MVPs on the YES web site (he broke it down year by year and showed how badly the writers have gotten it over that span).

If you read baseball writers regularly, you know they don't know much about baseball, and it's never more obvious than when they give out awards. This is particularly true of the Cy Young. For the most part they look at wins, despite this being the least important thing in a pitcher's stats. Unless it's a clear-cut decision -- as it is this year, with Santana -- they usually screw it up.

I also don't buy into this idea that an MVP has to be from a playoff team. Should Ryan Howard not win an MVP if the Phillies finish outside of the Wild Card? I don't think so.

I think the race is between Dye and Jeter -- with Dye winning it if the White Sox rally.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 11, 2006 03:09 PM

Go easy on Papi. Poor guy. MVP aspirations are all he has left now that he's fighting for the 7th best record in the AL. Actually thought this was out of character for him. However, now that he said it, guess it's in character. I can understand why he dumped on DJ. Surely he remembers that Nomar's better.

I named my lab retriever Jeter because he'll run through walls and sacrifice his body to get the job done in the field. I'm going to order a monogramed collar that says MVP.

Posted by: #15 [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 11, 2006 04:48 PM

Must be tough hitting in that lineup in front of Manny Ramirez. But since ESPN has declared him a non-entity, and Ortiz apparently agrees, send him on over and we'll see how Jeter can do hitting front of him.

Posted by: hopbitters [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 11, 2006 05:06 PM