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The guy who left Verlander off his MVP ballot admits he ignored the voting standards

Nov 22, 2011, 8:57 AM EDT

New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers - Game 3 Getty Images

Remember that time you went to work and your boss was all like “you can’t do such and such because it’s expressly against company rules and actually undermines the policies we’ve established” and then you said “screw that, I’ma do what I’ma do” and then nothing happened to you.  Jim Ingrahm of the News-Herald never had a day like that:

I was one of the 28 voters for the American League Most Valuable Player Award … I was the only voter who didn’t include Verlander anywhere on his 10-player ballot. This was my reasoning: The short version is I don’t believe pitchers should be eligible for the MVP Award.  My not voting for Verlander had nothing to do with evaluating what Verlander accomplished this season … I can’t think of any other sport in which a player who didn’t play in 79 percent of his team’s games could be voted the Most Valuable Player in his league.

Except, the very ballot that Mr. Ingrahm fills out says this right on the face of it:

“Keep in mind that all players are eligible for MVP, including pitchers and designated hitters.”

Note: the rules don’t say that you have to vote for pitchers and many don’t. But pitchers are eligible. Ingrahm says nuts to that.

If Ingrahm doesn’t think that Justin Verlander‘s contributions were actually as valuable as ten other players, great, he should leave him off.  But to expressly refuse to even evaluate or consider the possibility and to leave him off his ballot because of that violates the guidelines that the very organization which sanctions the award has established.

That usually gets you in trouble.  I’m guessing it won’t here. It should.

UPDATE:  Was just asked by someone why this matters. The idea: lots of voters probably leave pitchers off their ballots for the same reason. They just don’t admit it. Indeed, no one is required to say why they voted how they voted, so who cares if Ingrahm just gave voice to what happens all the time anyway? My answer: it’s a question of legitimacy.

There are all kinds of rules that get violated by all kinds of people every day. People applying their own standards, be it at work, out in the world, wherever. It’s just part of the deal.   We endure it because, really, we can’t do much about it. The guy isn’t going to hire the woman because he’s sexist? Well, unless he’s an idiot, he’s never going to admit it or otherwise tip his hand, and thus stopping such practices is difficult.

But when someone so clearly and openly flaunts a rule, don’t we have to do something about it? I mean, people are given almost total latitude in some walks of life and we understandably let it pass.  When they push things even further and then expressly admit they’re doing so, don’t we, at some point, have to do something? Otherwise we basically admit that the rules are a total fiction and then what’s the point? This guy is basically taunting the very organization that gives him his vote. He’s telling the BBWAA “your standards are quaint, but I have my own.”

Put differently, he used his vote as a political statement. Not as baseball analysis. They have a BBWAA meeting each year at the Winter Meetings. He should make his political statements there. If he wants pitchers off the ballot, make a motion to that effect and see what his colleagues decide.  Don’t screw around with your protest votes in so openly a manner. To do so undercuts the legitimacy of the organization which you serve.

  1. Jeremiah Graves - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:05 AM

    I just want to punch all of these holier-than-thou sports writers in the junk sometimes.

    It’s like grow up and stop trying to make it all about you and your own shyte. It seems like half of ’em do this stupid stuff just to ensure they’ve got material for another piece the next day telling you exactly why they made the totally outlandish move they made.

    I get that this time of year is slow for news, but turning yourself into the story seems a bit ridiculous just to fill some inches in the next morning’s paper.

    • skids003 - Nov 22, 2011 at 12:11 PM

      This knucklehead should have his right to vote revoked. Just because he doesn’t agree doesn’t give him the right to make up his own rules.

      • Old Gator - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:27 PM

        He didn’t “make up his own rules.” The rule mentions that pitchers are eligible; it doesn’t require anyone to vote for a pitcher. He simply stated that he feels pitchers shouldn’t be eligible for the award, with which I completely agree, and so he didn’t vote for one.

        I don’t know how he feels about designated hitters, but I don’t think they should be eligible either. Actually, I don’t even think they should exist.

      • dan1111 - Nov 25, 2011 at 9:51 AM

        I agree with Gator. This is a complete non-story.

        Ingrahm believes that, in his judgment, a starting pitcher is not valuable enough to be the team’s MVP, due to the limited number of games in which he appears. This in no way contradicts the rule that pitchers are eligible. Utility infielders are eligible, too, but most people would exclude them based on the limited role they play. Most sabermetrically minded people would not vote for a closer for MVP for a similar reason. Whether Ingrahm’s conclusion is wise or not, he is making an evaluation based on the contributions of the players involved.

        It would be different if he said “I won’t vote a pitcher for MVP because they already get the Cy Young award. MVP should be only for hitters.” That really would be flouting the rules, because it would exclude Verlander for a reason other than performance.

  2. drmonkeyarmy - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:06 AM

    First, I would like to say that I have no problem with a pitcher being MVP. However, the instructions merely state to keep in mind that pitchers are eligible. At no point does it expressly forbid people from failing to consider pitchers based upon personal beliefs, rather it just affirms the eligibility requirements. Furthermore, perhaps a writer could believe that everyday players carry more value than starting pitchers. Therefore, based upon that belief, positional players would have a greater inherent value to that person. I don’t believe that but I don’t think it is out of the realm of possibility for others to believe that. I guess my over arching point is, I don’t see why the writer should get in trouble for his voting on an ambiguously defined award.

    • joshfrancis50 - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:30 AM

      I’m with the Dr. on this one. If he doesn’t feel a pitcher can be one of the 10 most valuable in the league, that’s his choice. At least he attempts to back it up with some logic (only 21% of innings played), however misguided. I happen to personally disagree with him and I don’t think he’s wrong. I just don’t think he’s right, either.

    • edog623 - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:57 AM

      This is the view I’m taking too. He didn’t break any rules. The rule says all players are eligible. He considered it, gave his reasoning, and didn’t vote for Verlander. If this is the biggest problem in the BBWAA awards then it’s one of the smallest ones in years. Hat’s off to Ingrahm for giving an explanation knowing it would be bashed.

    • Francisco (FC) - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:02 AM

      Maybe but he says flat out that pitchers shouldn’t be eligible. That’s unambiguous and the rules saying pitchers are eligible are unambiguous. Let’s cut the bull shall we? It’s not that he thinks position players have more value, he states that pitchers have 0 value. There is no rule stating you have to consider pitchers but excluding them explicitly is contrary to the spirit of the MVP voting. Whatever else you want to argue about thus guy you can’t say he’s following the policies and guidelines established by his organization in 1931. That’s unquestionable. What’s not clear is what the BBWAA intends to do about it (if the rest of his peers care at all)

      • dan1111 - Nov 25, 2011 at 10:00 AM

        He doesn’t state that “pitchers have 0 value”. He just thinks they contribute less than position players due to the number of games they play. I think he is wrong on, but it is at least logical.

        And it’s not like his thought process was: “Pitchers shouldn’t be eligible…Verlander was clearly the most valuable, but I’m not going to vote for him anyway. Hahahahaha!” He clearly doesn’t think that Verlander was the most valuable. That’s his whole reason for thinking that pitchers shouldn’t be eligible. So there’s nothing wrong with his vote.

    • dabendschein - Nov 22, 2011 at 12:04 PM

      I agree with ‘drmonkeyarmy.’ What this guy said basically is that based on how little impact each individual pitcher has on his team because of how little they play that no pitcher could possibly do well enough to qualify for the MVP top 10. I don’t agree with him, but I don’t think he is ignoring instructions. He did say he disagrees with the instructions, but I don’t think he has ignored them: he evaluated all the pitchers in the league and decided none of them belonged on his ballot because they don’t participate in 79 percent of the innings played by their team. The rules don’t say that he HAS to have a pitcher on the ballot.

  3. theonlynolan - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    When you look at the amount of batters a pitcher faces and compare it to the amount of plate appearances a position player gets a SP usually ends up with more. He doesn’t really play much defense and obviously in the AL he doesn’t hit but he’s a player and he should certainly be given consideration for the MVP award. A pitcher may pitch only 20% of a team’s games but he affects his teams chances of winning more than any other player on the field.

    • cowhawkfan - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:26 PM

      That’s why there is a Cy Young Award!!

  4. lembeck4 - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    It didn’t cost Justin the award, thankfully, but Ingrahm certainly went out of his way to reinterpret something that wasn’t up to him to reinterpret. His whole “explanation” seems a narcissistic and contrarian pile of crap in my opinion – guy just wanted to be a blowhard and used his pulpit to do so.

  5. Jonny 5 - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:12 AM

    I’m with Ingrahm though. I think he’s right about it. Verlander was only the MVP of the Tigers every 5th game.

    Plus looking at his post season numbers both times he made it to the post season……. Well, let’s just say he looks more like a #5 pitcher than an MVP. His post season numbers suck pretty much. The only reason the BBWAA picked Verlander as MVP was to support their own case for giving the man Fellatio at every chance and claiming he was taking the Tigers to the playoffs all by himself. When in reality he only helped every fifth game. And then tanked in the playoffs pretty much, just like he did in 2006.

    • paperlions - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:20 AM

      Boy, that’s just embarrassing.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:34 AM

        Best part of HBT…it’s why I love it so much…agree with me or you are embarrassing. LOL. Stay classy, HBT.

      • paperlions - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:52 AM

        It has nothing to do with agreement, but horrible logic and an apparent lack of familiarity with the process.

        The post-season is irrelevant. Votes are due before the post-season starts, as it is a regular season award. So any reference to post-season performance is dumb.

        More importantly, Verlander had an effect on more baseball plays this year than any hitter did, because he faced far more hitters than any single hitter has plate appearances…if you combine the plays during which his pitching and defense were involved, the number will be similar to or greater than the number of plays in which a position player is involved hitting or fielding. In short, the effect he has when he pitches is more than 5 times greater than the effect an “everyday player” has each day.

        You can argue about the relative value of Verlander compared to the position player candidates and I won’t say anything; these are not legitimate arguments.

    • Chris K - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:21 AM

      Pretty sure the MVP is based on regular season performance only and voted on before the playoffs begin…unless we’re including performance from previous years in MVP voting?

    • purnellmeagrejr - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:23 AM

      You may be with Ingraham but it don’t look like anybody’s with you. Distorting the importance of any of the players shows a lack of understanding of the rules of baseball – a game built on balance.

  6. purnellmeagrejr - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:21 AM

    I emailed this dude, “Would YOU vote for a batter that gets up only 1 in every 9 times – as opposed to a pitcher who has to face all 9 batters and – in the National League – has to hit as well?”

    Why I would bother to go to that trouble is probably more disturbing than the fact that this guy has no understanding of the beauty and balance of baseball and yet makes a living writing about it.

  7. theonlynolan - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:22 AM

    Jonny 5, the award voting is done before postseason play begins. And yes he only played in 1 out of 5 games but he pitched to an average of 22 batters in each of those games. As opposed to a position player who will only come to bat about 4 times a game.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:26 AM

      You are ignoring the notion of defense when that argument is made. I don’t agree with J5 on this, but that is a faulty argument.

      • theonlynolan - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:30 AM

        Obviously defense plays a factor. The good news is we now have the ability to show how well a pitcher actually pitched and those numbers are only a couple clicks away.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:39 AM

        And yes he only played in 1 out of 5 games but he pitched to an average of 22 batters in each of those games. As opposed to a position player who will only come to bat about 4 times a game

        Quoting from another thread:
        Verlander faced 969 total batters. He walked 57 of them (912) and struck out 250 of them (662 remaining). 24 Batters hit HR (638). He had a 40% fly ball rate, so .40*638 (255). He also had a 17.7% LD rate so .177*638 (113) = 638-255-113 = 270 “Defensive Chances” which I’m not sure how we can calculate; however, he did have 12 putouts and 33 assists. So 969+12+33 = 1014

        Jacoby Ellsbury – 732 PA + 388 putouts+6 assists = 1126 [and this leaves out all his contributions on the base paths]
        Jose Bautista – 655 PA + 233+13 = 901 [and this leaves out all his contributions on the base paths]

        The good news is we now have the ability to show how well a pitcher actually pitched and those numbers are only a couple clicks away.

        Ellsbury – 9.4
        Bautista – 8.3
        Verlander – 7.0

    • phukyouk - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:31 AM

      See i do not understand this argument. Yea a pitcher faces 20-27 batters per game but there is an award dedicated to JUST that. As i said yesterday, after he throws his pitch there is almost nothing else he can do to effect how it plays out. Pitchers are rated, among other factors, on Win/Losses and ERA ( i know that many think that Wins don’t count). I mean if Verlander had an ERA of 4.3 but all his other number were exactly the same shouldn’t he still win the MVP? in that case there was no negative impact on the team or the players but i would bet all the money under A-rod mattress that there is not a single person here that would say he was MVP material.

      • theonlynolan - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:52 AM

        There is an award for the best pitcher in the league called the Cy Young Award. There is also an award for the best hitter in the league called the Hank Aaron Award. The MVP is supposed to be the most valuable player. Saying a pitcher has his award ignores the fact that hitters have theirs too.

      • phukyouk - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:35 AM

        this is an award for an overall player… how can you say that Verlander was more valuable as an overall player than Cabrera or Grandy or Elssberry or anyone that has more impact on each and every play?

      • theonlynolan - Nov 22, 2011 at 11:52 AM

        To be honest I dont think Verlander was the AL MVP this year. I would’ve voted for either Ellsbury or Bautista. My argument is about the process this particular voter used to reach his conclusion. Pitchers are players and therefore are eligible for the MVP. It’s Ingram’s line of thinking that caused Pedro Martinez to lose to Ivan Rodriguez.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:33 AM

      Your point about 22 batters on average, compared to 4 ab’s per game, well the batters do play 5 times more games, so it kind of evens out then doesn’t it?

      If everyone is so adamant about Verlander getting this then why did much better pitchers get shunned in the past?

      Yes, voting is done in exclusion of the post season, I added that just because it’s relevant to his value. Verlander was far from the best player in the post season. Even if it’s after the fact of the voting.

      • theonlynolan - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:37 AM

        On the topic of regular season award voting his postseason performance is irrelevant. And yes that’s what I’m saying it basically evens out because Verlander affects just as many at bats as a regular position player, if not more. Pitcher wins are largely irrelevant. If his ERA was 4.30, I don’t care if HR wins 30 games he’s not the MVP.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:51 AM

        Verlander was not the most valuable player on the Tigers. The guy who has an OBP of .448 in 161 games, and helped the team win 95 games.

        Even if Verlander pitched like Brad Penny the Tigers make it to the playoffs in first place. So much for most valuable player….

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:18 AM

        Johnny now you are overstating the hitter’s importance. Not all PA are created equal. Not every hit or every walk will result in a team win. Quite often they are left on base. It’s brazen to declare thata guy with .448 OBP is responsible for 95 wins. He contributes but he’s just 1/9 of the line up. He plays everyday but his actions are diluted throughout a 162 game season.

        If it evens out then doesn’t that mean pitchers are just as worthy as position players for the MVP?

        Also you may choose to ignore the fact that post-season play has no bearing on the MVP but it doesn’t make you right and any argument based on it will only undermine your position when you’ve been told more than once why you’re wrong to include it in your posts.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:51 AM

        FC, not every great pitching performance equals a team win either. Not without guys like Cabrera to give you run support. I’m not basing my argument on the post season, it’s something to note, that’s all. I’m sorry, but even a mediocre pitcher in his spot would have resulted in the Tigers winning the division. They then get there and he performs like a mediocre pitcher. Again, not the cornerstone of my argument. Just a point on his overall value even if it doesn’t impact the voting. I feel that a pitcher has to pitch like Pedro did at his best to be MVP (which he didn’t win btw). You can disagree if you’d like, but I feel there were better candidates than Verlander this season.

    • cowhawkfan - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:34 PM

      So, Verlander had more effect in the number of plays, but isn’t having an impact on a larger number of games more important? Verlander impacted only the games he started, an everyday starter effects 4-5 times the number of games. If a pitcher wins 30+ games, I would agree he should be MVP, but otherwise, I generally believe a position player should win the award and leave the CY Young to everyday players. I do believe pitchers should be eligible for the award, but just not win it unless they are absolutely brilliant. Pitchers should also be eligible for the Player of the Year Award. And yes, I do believe there is a major difference between MVP and POY.

  8. phukyouk - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:26 AM

    While i am against pitchers winning the MVP i cannot agree with what this guy did. he has a responsibility to follow the rules and vote in the guy he thinks deserves it most. he did almost the complete opposite. He basically said ” well i kinda think this guy is worthy but since he is a pitcher I’m not going to vote for him”. In my opinion he should be stripped of his right to vote going forward.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:29 AM

      He is just using a different definition of value. The criterion for voting is really ambiguous. He is essentially saying that although Verlander had a great season, I don’t think he is as valuable as an everyday player. I disagree, but he shouldn’t be stripped of his right to vote based upon his definition of value.

      • theonlynolan - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:33 AM

        But he seems to be saying no pitcher should ever be voted MVP. Does that mean if by some miracle Roy Halladay reproduces Gibson’s ’68 season and leads the Phillies to another 100 win season his accolades should go ignored?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:39 AM

        If that is his personal belief then yes. Like I said above, I personally have no problem with a pitcher being MVP. However, I’m not going to criticize this guy for his beliefs on MVP voting. The award is so damn convoluted anyway with so much room for interpretation of wording and whatnot.

      • phukyouk - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:41 AM

        his definition of value is not the problem. its the fact that he said ” the rules say this but they are stupid rules so i won’t follow them”. for that he should be stripped. I mean in all seriousness if a player has a monster year 60 HR 175 RBI and a BA of .375 but he wasn’t a nice guy should the voters say, “well he has the numbers but hes such a douche lets give it to someone else”? no.. they would do that in private and never speak a word about it and we would all go aout our day. but heaven forbid they make it a public announcement and all hell breaks loose.

        And no, i am not saying that it is ok to do it if noone knows but to be so loud and blatantly announce it it beyond stupid and it says that you honestly do not care about the rules.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:43 AM

        Actually part of the criterion for voting is personal character, so if people are going to abide by the voting guidelines then the mythical player being a dick would have to be factored in.

      • phukyouk - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:47 AM

        Dr – I cannot comment cause i honestly do not know all the factors of how to win the MVP. what i can tell you is that as Craig stated above ” “Keep in mind that all players are eligible for MVP, including pitchers and designated hitters.” ” but this guy flat out ignored that rule. on those grounds he should not be allowed to vote anymore. clearly he has his own agenda to push ( which i tend to agree with) but the ballot, as Craig stated, was not the place.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:36 AM

      He just values an everyday player more. That’s all he’s saying.

  9. El Bravo - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    Pie is my MVP.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:39 AM

      Damn right Bravo. Anybody who prefers cake over pie is down right embarrassing.

    • theonlynolan - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:40 AM


      • Jonny 5 - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:12 AM

        I think we can agree on that.

    • RickyB - Nov 23, 2011 at 6:06 PM

      Really don’t think Felix should garner any votes …

  10. northyorkjays - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    Jim Ingraham did NOT admit he ignored the voting standards – he admitted he disagrees with them, and used his ballot as a show of such. The rules for MVP say to “keep in mind that all players are eligible for MVP, including pitchers,” but that’s an afterthought after it lists the criteria for MVP. Let’s go over the first two –

    1. Actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense.
    2. Number of games played.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:53 AM

      1.Even if Verlander pitched like Brad Penny the Tigers make it to the playoffs in first place. So much for most valuable player….

      2.He only pitched one fifth of the games….

  11. joshfrancis50 - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    This has a witch hunt feel to it. Who cares? He defines value as participating in more than 21% of a team’s innings. So what? It isn’t that he didn’t “consider” Verlander. He did. He totally did. He considered that any pitcher who plays less than 21% of his team’s innings isn’t worthy of being the most valuable player in the league. That’s his choice. Misguided, but his choice.

    I understand that people feel he has resolutely excluded pitchers from his ballot; he clearly has said so. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t considered a pitcher’s value compared to other players and decided that position players are more worthy.

    I’ll say again, I think this line of thinking is poor, possibly lazy, and likely trolling for attention, but I don’t think its indefensible.

    • theonlynolan - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:46 AM

      How can someones line of thinking be poor, lazy and most likely serve no purpose except to troll for attention and at the same time be defensible?

  12. ricofoy - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    BBWAA and legitimacy does not belong in the same article. They’ve been screwing deserving winners since 1941.

  13. byjiminy - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:50 AM

    Craig, I’m just not following your logic. The rules require you to consider pitchers. They don’t require you to vote for them. He’s free to judge the players by any criteria he wants. All the rules say is that pitchers aren’t summarily disqualified. I may not agree with him, but he’s not flouting any rules. Nowhere do they say, a great pitcher is worth more than a great hitter, and you must vote for the pitcher over the great hitter or you are not following the rules.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:53 AM

      Go read his piece again. expressly says that he is not considering pitchers and that he is not going to judge them. He is summarily disqualifying. Them. He admits that in clear terms.

      • chip56 - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:56 AM

        Craig, if the guy had said that he left Verlander off his ballot because he doesn’t think a pitcher, who only plays one out of every five games is more valuable than everyday players – would you have a problem with it?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:02 AM

      I don’t see how that’s different. He’s saying that in no case ever will he consider a pitcher to be one of the ten most valuable players in the league. It doesn’t leave open the possibility that a pitcher could go 35-0 with 0.76 ERA in a high-offense year and be one of the top 10.

      If he says that never, in his lifetime, has he seen a pitcher who was one of the top 10 most valuable players ever, OK, whatever, as long as he leaves open the possibility that he could one day.

      Put differently: insanely high standards are fine. Standards which totally buck the established rule are not.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:08 AM

        You are also making the assumption that he won’t reevaluate his position if somebody comes along and puts together the type of ridiculous season you mention.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:09 AM

        I’d pick THAT pitcher as MVP. Or can we only consider it if his team reaches the playoffs?

    • byjiminy - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:04 AM

      Just to be clear, I don’t agree with him; I just read his column and it’s infuriatingly illogical. He says a quarterback who only played in a fifth his team’s games would never win MVP. His argument rests on the implicit idea that all players’ contributions to a game’s outcome are comparable. A starting pitcher can contribute almost as much to a win as all his teammates put together — say in a 1-0 victory. Or even a 3-2 victory, or any victory; run prevention is exactly as important as run production, and while fielders must be given some credit in run prevention, each fielder’s contribution is tiny compared to a stunningly effective starting pitcher. It’s not like there aren’t ways to quantify a player’s contributions, like win shares, WAR, value on the trade market, etc. It’s stupid to categorically rule out pitchers. It’s just not against the rules (and no stupider than the logic behind the evaluation many voters use for hitters).

      But seriously — he thinks the Tigers would have been better off without Victor Martinez or Alex Avila than than without Jason Verlander? That’s his official position. Wow. I’d love to do some trades with this guy.

      • bozosforall - Nov 22, 2011 at 11:17 AM

        Mark Moseley, Placekicker – 1982 NFL MVP

        So much for the “QB who plays in only 3 games” theory.

  14. Bill - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    Man, I just couldn’t disagree more with this. Yeah, they say to keep in mind that pitchers and DHes are eligible. They also say to consider things that nobody considers (or I hope they don’t), like number of games played, general character and disposition. And they expressly put the entire thing in the discretion of the voter.

    So if he wants to leave pitchers off because he doesn’t think a pitcher should win, it’s hard to see what’s wrong with that (he says, knowing he’d do exactly the same thing). It’s a lot more egregious to give or remove credit for playing or not playing on a playoff/contending team, which violates at least two distinct parts of the instructions.

    That said (as a post I have going up in ten minutes says in way too many words), Ingraham does it for a totally indefensible reason — the number of actual games during which the pitcher is on the field. That’s just stupid. But it’s not a dereliction of his duty or anything like that.

  15. chip56 - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:54 AM

    First of all, he’s not wrong for not voting for Verlander. There are a lot of people, myself (and it appears Jose Bautista) included who wonder if you can really be considered the most valuable player in the league if you only impact one out of every five games. Where the voter is wrong is in saying he doesn’t believe that Verlander (or any pitcher) should be eligible and that was the reason he left him off his ballot. That’s not his call, nor should it be. If you want to leave him off the ballot, do so because you don’t think he deserves to be there based on your understanding of the term “most valuable” and then when asked about it state plainly “I don’t think a guy who plays every fifth day can be considered the most valuable player on his team let alone in the league.” There is absolutely nothing wrong with that argument.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:58 AM

      Is that not the basically what he is saying though? By refusing to evaluate pitchers, the implication is that he holds them less valuable than position players.

      • hansob - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:16 AM

        …and that’s his opinion. which he is free to express as a member of the BBWAA and voter for the MVP. We can tell him he’s wrong in his opinion, but he’s still free to express it and look like a fool.

      • Bill - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:51 AM

        Not necessarily (though I do think that is basically what Ingraham believes, which is silly). That he doesn’t believe pitchers should be eligible for MVP because the other one of the two major awards is exclusively reserved for them is an equally plausible implication.

      • bozosforall - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:05 PM

        So if “pitching and defense” wins championships, shouldn’t hitter be the least valuable players in any race to decide an MVP?

        Why is it that teams are always scrambling for pitching but not so much for hitting, if pitchers aren’t “valuable”?

        Give the position players their own award (call it the “Willie Mays Award”, for excellence both at the plate and in the field, effectively excluding both pitchers and DHs, since they don’t do much of one or the other).

        The MVP is for EVERY player, the “value” being EVERYTHING that they bring to their team to effect winning.

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:21 PM

        I disagree Dr. in the sense that if it were up to him NO pitcher EVER would be eligible for the MVP. That’s where he is violating his guidelines and spirit of the rules in voting.

  16. largebill - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:00 AM

    My opinion on this is a mixed bag. I normally like Ingraham’s writing. I’ve never noticed any past columns on his awards voting. Personally, I think pitchers should be eligible, but I would tend to give greater weight to everyday players in most instances. Having said that, there will be years like this one where a pitcher has an outstanding season and it clearly was a key factor in his team’s success. We could get bogged down in endless debates on what “valuable” means as that is a subjective term. Manning hasn’t taken a snap for the Colts this year, but in no other season has his value to his team been more obvious. Every play in baseball begins with the ball in a pitcher’s hand. Obviously it isn’t always the same pitcher. Starters go every five days and more often than not don’t finish the game.So there is some validity to Ingraham’s point of Verlander not participating in 79% of games. I can accept a voter allowing that to influence how much value he assigns to a players season. That is why there are more than just a few voters. If one person’s point of view is way out of line with the majority it doesn’t really affect the results. In the end, the right guy (IMO) won the award.

  17. hansob - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    Can’t believe I’m going to stick up for the guy, but…

    Just because he’s admitting he will never vote for a 35 game a year pitcher, and acknowledging that pitchers are eligible according to the rules, doesn’t mean he’s deliberately flaunting the rules. His threshhold, which I can see virtually all of us disagree with, is that a player needs to be involved in more than 20% of his teams games to have the proper effect on a season. I’m pretty sure if some freak came along and started 120 games and pitched 800 innings, he’d get this guy’s attention. For him, it’s not about the position. It’s about the other 4 days a week where Verlander doesn’t play.

    Completely disagree with his assessment of Verlander not affecting his team as much as an every day player, but I don’t think he flaunted anything.

  18. philliesblow - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    If starting pitchers aren’t valuable because they only play ~21% of their teams games, wouldn’t it be reflected in their pay? Here’s the breakdown by position for the 25 top paid players in 2011:

    Catcher – 1
    3B – 1
    Infielder – 1 (Michael “no position but a 1st palce vote” Young)
    1B – 4
    Outfield – 8
    Starting Pitcher – 10

    Not saying that all these pitchers were smart investments (Zito, AJ, Lackey), but it seems that MLB teams see starting pitchers as pretty damn valuable. Money talks, BS walks.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:10 AM

      I find Evan Grant’s logic regarding Michael Young more ridiculous than this guys logic for freezing out Verlander.

      • bozosforall - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:08 PM

        At least Grant didn’t automatically exclude a player solely because of what position he played. Grant’s logic supported his opinion, whether your opinion is that he did or not. And your opinion is no more valid than his, since they are both nothing more than opinions. It’s just that his mattered in one very important regard, while yours never will in the sphere of the baseball world.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:30 PM

        Well, you are commenting on my opinion on a fairly popular baseball blog, so apparently by opinion means something “in the baseball sphere”.

    • hansob - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:19 AM

      It would be interesting to ask this guy if he’d rather have 4 Verlanders, or the quartet of Ellsbury, Granderson, Cabrera, and Bautista. When you put it that way, he might actually see the light, or at least a glimmer of it.

      • phukyouk - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:38 AM

        The Phils bascially had 4 Verlanders and see how well that worked out?

        NOTE: please do not post the number for Doc, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels i was simply trying to make a point

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:43 AM

        The Phils bascially had 4 Verlanders and see how well that worked out?

        Ran away with the division and had the offense come up flat in the postseason? Or do you want to judge a team over a 5 game sample rather than 162?

      • phukyouk - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:53 AM

        not what i meant. but towards the end of the season they had that 9 game losing streak which the “4 verlanders” could not stop. My point is that i would take a great every day player over a great pitcher all the time.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 22, 2011 at 11:17 AM

        Except they had the division wrapped up by then, no reason to push it as they already locked up HFA. Same with the Yanks. You don’t fault them for those losses against TB.

      • cshearing - Nov 22, 2011 at 11:20 AM

        4 Bautistas. No question. I see no light. :p

      • cowhawkfan - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:24 PM

        I think you made his point…if a pitcher pitched every day (as if you had 4 Verlanders), he could be MVP, but pitching less than 79% of the time, you can’t win MVP. I would argue that if Braun played in 25% of his teams games, he wouldn’t be MVP either, even if his per game stats were the same.

  19. bozosforall - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    What are most teams chasing this offseason? PITCHING

    What are most teams chasing every offseason? PITCHING

    What are most teams willing to pay the most for? PITCHING

    What single position gets drafted most in the MLB draft (including the first 18 of 30 draft spots in the 2011 MLB draft)? PITCHING

    Case closed.

  20. bozosforall - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Another reason why pitchers are more valuable:

    If you FAIL as a pitcher, you can always reinvent yourself as a position player. Just ask Rick Ankiel, Adam Loewen…even Mark McGwire.

    Babe Ruth might be the only successful pitcher to have ever succeeded as a pitcher and later choose to become a position player. Then again, he was light years above any other hitter in baseball, so he proves to be the very rare exception to the rule. I’m sure if one looks hard enough, they may find others (though not on Ruth’s level).

    • philliesblow - Nov 22, 2011 at 2:40 PM

      It’s gone the other direction also. I remember Dave Steib was an outfielder and converted to pitcher. There are more recent examples, just can’t remember the names.

  21. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Reading the update, I have to ask: are middle relievers eligible for MVP? The rules would indicate that they are, but they will never receive a single vote from anyone. If you asked any writer why, they would give you a response similar to what Ingrahm said.

    But the guy should have his vote taken away going forward. As other people above say, he did not mere say that he feels it is impossible for a pitcher to match the value added by a position player, as he defines value; he said pitchers should be eligible and that he did not even consider Verlander’s performance in making his decision. The rules say who is eligible, and if they are eligible they should be considered, even if quickly dismissed. His vote and subsequent remarks add up to a protest or even civil disobedience. If his principles demand such action, so be it, but there are consequences for such actions and he should be forced to deal with them.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:28 PM

      the bold part was supposed to say “pitchers should NOT be eligible”…stoopid lack of an edit button….grrr…

      • bozosforall - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:30 PM

        I’d gladly trade the stupid “Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down” button for an edit button here.

  22. bozosforall - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    phukyouk – Nov 22, 2011 at 10:38 AM
    The Phils bascially had 4 Verlanders and see how well that worked out?

    NOTE: please do not post the number for Doc, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels i was simply trying to make a point

    Your point fails. Pitching usually wins championships. Hitting rarely does. The Phillies are the rare exception of that level of pitching failing to win a title. Only proves that there is no such thing as truly being able to buy a title.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:31 PM

      Rare exception…really? Atlanta Braves?

      • bozosforall - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:19 PM

        14 years in the playoffs, one title. Yeah, they really maximized the value that they got for all that money. Pffft….

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:32 PM

      Not being able to buy a title? Florida Marlins?

      • bozosforall - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:33 PM

        Don’t know if it was worth it in the long run, given that it cost Huizenga the ownership of his team.

  23. Walk - Nov 22, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    When someone blatantly does what mr ingrahm did was more than just breaking voting rules. He broke the trust placed in him as one of the few who are trusted to understand the nuances of this profession. Again he did this with a blatant disregard and there should be some type of punishment or censorship from his peers.

  24. normcash - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    Sorry to be a language nazi, Craing, but when you said “flaunts the rules” what you meant to say was “flouts the rules”…

  25. cowhawkfan - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    Uh, duh! Sounds to me like he did do an analysis and decided that someone who “didn’t play in 79 percent of his team’s games” wasn’t as valuable as someone who plays more games. If having states to back up your position isn’t analysis, what is?

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