You know the binary. Old-school baseball types versus the statistical pencil pushers. Gut vs. Stats. Brad Pitt vs. Philip Seymour Hoffman. Mike Trout vs. Miguel Cabrera.
Many will cry foul (and already have here and here to start) that Miguel Cabrera won the AL MVP. Stating that it showcases that baseball is slow when it comes to paradigm shifts. That the statistical-heavy baseball geeks movement has not taken a hold of baseball’s culture and that baseball (including many baseball writers) are still stuck on the importance of counting stats.
I’m not convinced.
Sure, Cabrera won the AL MVP, solidifying many fears that the torch held to the Triple Crown would surmount Trout’s excellent year. But that doesn’t mean things haven’t changed and that baseball is still stuck in an outdated way of thinking.
After all, it 28 writers who voted. 28! That’s it. Now look at the list.
If you take the top 20 newspapers by circulation in the country, 13 did not have writers who voted in the AL MVP vote. However, The Providence Journal, (circulation 94,357) was represented. So was the Tacoma News Tribune (circulation 78,453). And nothing against these writers. I am sure they are fine writers. I really do!
The point is that while the BBWAA attempts to include writers from every team’s market, it isn’t particularly representative of how the majority of baseball writers feel about Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout. It’s just a small sample size. A very, very small poll.
And that doesn’t even take into consideration the internet. Only four writers from three websites (ESPN.com has two writers) got to vote. No Baseball Prospectus, no Fangraphs, no Fansided or Sports Blog Nation.
So in the end, Miguel Cabrera goes into the record books and gets to hang the hardware because of 22 votes. And 22 is a small number of people that couldn’t even fill most movie theaters. 22 isn’t even an entire baseball team! 22 people would be considered a small college class. 22 is the number of players on the field playing a football game.
What does this say about the state of baseball and sports journalism?
Nothing. Nothing at all.
Cabrera goes in the record books but a closer look reveals its just 22 guys (yep, all men) out of 28 who put him there.