Bill Ballou and the Hypocrisy of his MVP Vote
By Michael Hllywa
Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols (5) and center fielder Mike Trout (right) watches from the dugout in the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
We should have seen it coming. I saw it coming. It didn’t matter that Mike Trout was once again the best player in all of baseball, Miguel Cabrera was a virtual lock to win his second consecutive MVP Award. I was actually more surprised that Trout finished second with Chris Davis coming in third place despite the fact that he led the AL in home runs and RBI.
Every year though, there are outlier votes. Evan Grant gave Michael Young a first place vote in 2011. Last year, Sheldon Ocker was the only writer to enter Mike Trout’s name as anything other than first or second (he gave him a third place vote). Instead, He slipped Adrian Beltre into the second place slot.
This year, we have another puzzling vote.
I don’t know who Bill Ballou is, nor did I have any clue as to what the Worcester Telegram and Gazette was before yesterday. But I do now. And as I am sure you have heard from around the interwebs, Ballou gave Trout a seventh place vote. Which is of course, preposterous.
Angels beat writer and MLB.com contributor, Alden Gonzalez, rounded up a few quotes from some of the 30 voters who took part in the MVP voting. Here is what Ballou had to say:
"I am a strict constructionist re: “valuable”. If the award were Player of the Year, Trout would get my vote. I’m of the school that in order to have “value” you have to help your team be good, at least to the point of contending. The Angels didn’t truly contend. To fully develop that logic, players from non-contenders should not be listed on the ballot at all, but the BBWAA insists that we fill out all 10 slots, so I did, even though I did not think there were 10 worthy candidates from contending teams."
OK, well, that’s a tough pill to swallow. I guess I can understand the whole “contending team” argument, even if it is an incredibly weak argument because, you know, its an individual award. But, for the sake of giving a little bit of ground, I’ll let that one slide even though I really don’t want too. But thanks to the BBWAA and their apparent policy on making the votes and who voted for whom public, we can analyze Bill’s ballot. Below is the ballot that Mr. Ballou submitted.
Alright, one through six all played for contenders. Josh Donaldson got some love. Not bad. There is Trout at seven. Eight is David Ortiz…Wait? What?
Correct me if I am wrong, but, in the quote above, Ballou stated that he “did not think there were 10 worthy candidates from contending teams.” Which means that, if he had found 10 candidates, Trout wouldn’t have even made the list. But he has Ortiz – The MVP of the World Series – in eighth place with Evan Longoria rounding out his ballot in 10th place.
Now, I’m not one to thumb my nose at the establishment but…Yeah, that’s a lie. Bill Ballou, you’re a bold faced hypocrite. You go and give some cockamamie statement about the importance of an MVP candidate being on a contending team, but forget that you placed not one, but two players who played on non-contending teams ahead of players who actually appeared in the postseason. Do you think we are dumb, sir? Did you think we wouldn’t notice that?
Unlike last year, I was prepared for Mike Trout to not win the MVP. Old-school voters simply haven’t come all the way around to the thinking that there is more to this game than shiny counting stats. Or that maybe Miguel Cabrera’s numbers were inflated thanks to the lineup around him. Or that the Tigers won the Central thanks also to Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez being studs in the pitching rotation. Its fine, whatever, moving on.
However, for Ballou to not only blatantly force Trout down on his ballot for no reason whatsoever, but to also assume that he would be able to get away with his shenanigans, is an entirely different thing. You, sir, are pathetic. Worse even than Mitch Albom and Jon Morosi. They at least stay the course when poking us with a pointy stick. You on the other hand, are a hack who should probably stick to writing about Minor League Hockey.
Mike Trout would have been “Player of the Year,” but not “Most Valuable Player.” I can’t even…I mean…ugh.