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Voter who kept Joe Mauer from unanimous MVP explains himself … sort of

Mar 4, 2010, 12:48 PM EDT

Just one vote kept Joe Mauer from joining Albert Pujols as a unanimous MVP last season and Tyler Kepner of the New York Times recently spoke to Keizo Konishi of the Kyodo News about why he cast his ballot for Miguel Cabrera instead.
In addition to going into some convoluted logic about the Twins’ lineup being better without Mauer than the Tigers’ lineup without Cabrera, Konishi also admitted to being “unaware of the details” surrounding Cabrera going 0-for-4 with six stranded runners after spending the night at a police station following a drunken altercation with his wife.
“If I had known what was going on there, my vote would probably be different,” Konishi said. “Or maybe, I don’t know. I would have to think about it again.”
Whether or not you think Cabrera’s off-field incident and subsequent struggles in the next game should impact his candidacy, my question is why one of just 28 votes for league MVP went to someone who didn’t pay enough attention to the league (or didn’t wait long enough to send in his ballot) to know “the details” of something like that involving a star player? MVP voters should know more than the average fan, right?
Konishi also explained that Mauer skipping the World Baseball Classic because of an injury played a part in his voting for Cabrera, because “the World Baseball Classic is a huge deal for the Japanese people” and “Cabrera played to the semifinals.” All of which might be somewhat relevant if the WBC was part of the MLB regular season, but it isn’t.
I appreciate Konishi’s willingness to explain his ballot in a public forum, but I certainly don’t appreciate the lack of insight and logic that went into his decision making. His vote made little sense, the reasoning behind his vote makes even less sense, and his having a ballot in the first place perhaps makes the least sense of all. Oh well.

  1. Charles Gates - Mar 4, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    So you’re saying it’s a good thing that HOF voters look at MVP finishes before casting their vote, right?

  2. Spice - Mar 4, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    I am glad that baseball writers are restricted in their voting to inconsequential things like MVP awards and the Hall of Fame. Scary what would happen if they had the opportunity to vote for important things like healthcare, taxes,law, public safety……. Well come to think of it, they probably would do no worse than the elected members of Congress.

  3. overseas mail - Mar 4, 2010 at 1:09 PM

    you’re mad that a baseball writer (from japan) didn’t wait until the day after an UNSCHEDULED game to send in his ballot?

  4. Old Gator - Mar 4, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    I suspect that Konishi had just stumbled home from the Ginza after ingesting a little too much fu ku gutspot and putting the bill on his Kyodo News expense account. I suggest he do penance by going down to the Asakusa bazaar and buying a newly repainted Hideki Matsui bobblehead in his Los Angeles, Culver City, Sherman Oaks, Pasadena, La Canada Flintridge, Tarzana and Foothills Angels of Anaheim, Pismo Beach, Orange, Santa Ana, Fountain Hills, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Hawthorne, Gardena, Compton and Torrance uniform, and offer it up to Kuan Yin at the Shoji Temple. He’ll feel better, and so will Joe Mauer. And he might yet subtract the ten or fifteen additional incarnations he demerited himself with that incredibly stupid vote.

  5. Old Gator - Mar 4, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    Probably do better. At least we know no public funds would be spent on steroids or HGH.

  6. Aaron Gleeman - Mar 4, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    The game in question was not unscheduled.

  7. Matt - Mar 4, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    What an idiot….Basically he is a biased voter…ditch him.

  8. Sadface - Mar 4, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    Hey, I write about baseball on my personal blog sometimes. That makes me at least as qualified as this guy.
    Sadly, I’m sure his voting privileges won’t be revoked even though, no matter who he voted for, he has demonstrated that he is clearly not qualified to be voting at all.
    I don’t care that he voted for Cabrera. What I want to know is how is a writer with a vote not aware of a national story like that?!? Also, as mentioned in the article, the MLB regular season has nothing to do with the WBC and vice-versa. WTH kind of logic is that?!?

  9. Beanster - Mar 4, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    Oh Konishi-san, better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

  10. Dan in Katonah - Mar 4, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Not to be a jingoist a-hole, but why the hell does a writer from the Kyodo News have a vote for the AL MVP? Has there been an expansion to include the Nippon Ham Fighters in the AL (far)East?
    I know the consideration of participation in the WBC is about as stupid as not voting for a clear HOF’er on the 1st vote so as to deny a unaimous election, but it is just completely idiotic that this guy has a voice in an MLB election.
    Makes me wonder who Murray Chass voted for as the NPB MVP…

  11. TLime - Mar 4, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    I blame A-Rod

  12. JPlum - Mar 4, 2010 at 4:52 PM

    One of these things is not like the other
    One of these things just doesn’t belong
    Not from CA, I suspect? Pismo Beach is at least three hours and maybe as much as five north of the rest of your cities listed. Plus, I’ve been dying to use some Sesame Street lyrics in a comment.

  13. IdahoMariner - Mar 4, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    I was JUST about to commend you on your list of LA-area communities (La Canada-Flintridge was my favorite) when I, like JPlum, saw “Pismo Beach”. As a former resident of both Santa Monica (near-ish to Angels) and San Luis Obispo (12 miles north of Pismo) I can tell you that, yes, one of these things is not like the other. But I would put the distance at a 4-hour drive, if I’m behaving on the 101.
    As for the yahoo who voted for Cabrera…I mourn that it is a Japanese journalist, because you can’t help but sound like, as Dan from Katonah put it, a “jingoist a-hole”. That said, why DOES the Kyoda News guy have a vote, if there are truly only 28 votes? WTF? Shouldn’t it be, I dunno, writers covering the 30 teams? (so, 30 voters, all from MLB cities)

  14. Old Gator - Mar 4, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    I only fly out to California for (a) the American Literature Association conference in San Francisco every other May and (b) when my urge to hit Burrito King (on Hyperion just west of the I-5 Glendale exit) becomes overpowering. But when my late pal Alan – with whom I was playing a spirited game of Ouija Scrabble the other day – was road manager for the Jan and Dean “Deadman’s Curve” comeback tours, I was out that way an awful lot. I also took the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers’ advice and got stoned and went to Disneyland. Among lots of other stuff. But yeah, I’ve spent a pretty decent amount of time in California…
    Ergo, I know Pismo is a long way from LA. I even know it’s a type of clam. It’s just that every time I mention the Angels I take their already preposterous name a little further afield. Stick around for a few more weeks; we’ll start with Ensenada and work our way down to Cabo, and then we’ll throw in Yreka and work our way up to Vancouver (especially now that the craziness is over). Eventually, I figure I have to head east as well. I just hope I get to Yellowstone before the caldera blows again.

  15. frightwig - Mar 30, 2010 at 2:37 AM

    “Not to be a jingoist a-hole, but why the hell does a writer from the Kyodo News have a vote for the AL MVP?”
    Because he’s a Mariners beat writer, and member of the BBWAA, who covers the team (and, of course, Ichiro) for a news organization that just happens to publish in Japan.
    Clearly, the guy isn’t such a sharp analyst, had specious reasons for his vote, and shouldn’t be given a ballot again, but that fact that he writes for a foreign audience shouldn’t in itself disqualify him (or others like him) from voting on MLB’s honors and awards.

  16. Bill@TDS - Mar 30, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    The thing is, as far as I can tell (I did some searches around their website way back when, but of course it’s almost all in Japanese), he writes primarily about Japanese baseball. I don’t care what language you write in or what audience you write for, but you should probably cover the league you’re voting on.

  17. sand0 - Mar 30, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    He made the vote to be different and stand out. This isn’t the first time a writer has done this, nor will it be the last. Votes should not be given to Japanese writers that have nothing to lose by using said vote for a purpose other than picking the best player. If this was a US writer from Texas or something he’d catch hell for a stupid vote and lose credibility. This Japanese voter probably caught little or no flak over in Japan over his misuse of the priveledge.
    Well, that or he is just incredibly stupid. Cabrera!!?! I could understand like an A-Rod vote or something but not Cabrera. Guy might not even be top ten.

  18. Frank - Mar 30, 2010 at 6:02 PM

    If there was any doubt that there are many, many morons among baseball writers, this is the ultimate proof.

  19. SLH - Apr 1, 2010 at 10:43 AM

    IIRC, aren’t MVP votes cast by two writers covering the team in each city in the league? I would assume that this individual qualified for his ballot as a beat writer for the Mariners, however farfetched that may seem to the rest of us. Not that that’s an excuse, but he may have come by the ballot at least semi-legitimately.

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