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John Maffei explains why he left Yasiel Puig off his NL ROY ballot

Nov 11, 2013, 10:31 PM EDT

Yasiel Puig Getty Getty Images

It’s that time of year again. Every once in a while, we’ll see a member of the BBWAA cast a vote for a hometown player for an award while a more deserving player is snubbed. It happened tonight with the National League Rookie of the Year Award, as John Maffei of the San Diego Union-Tribune was the only voter to leave Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig off his ballot.

Maffei gave a first-place vote to Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez, who went on to win the award. He then voted Cardinals right-hander Shelby Miller second, citing his performance in a pennant race. Per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, here’s Maffei’s logic behind the decision to go with Padres second baseman Jeff Gyorko over Puig for third place:

Maffei said he realized Puig would finish strongly in the voting. He said his third-place vote was not about rejecting Puig but about rewarding Gyorko.

“A second baseman hit 23 home runs and played great defense,” Maffei said. “Maybe Puig’s antics were in the back of my mind, but I really think the guy [Gyorko] deserved a third-place vote. I just felt he deserved it, not that Puig didn’t.”

Gyorko got two votes for third place, the other from Jack Magruder of Fox Sports Arizona.

You have to love the line about Puig’s “antics.” “Maybe” it was a factor? Say no more.

I can’t say I agree with Maffei’s logic, but at least he isn’t hiding from criticism. Fortunately, his vote didn’t have a significant impact on the outcome.

  1. braddavery - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    Are they not allowed to vote for who they want to vote for.

    • raysfan1 - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:51 PM

      Is DJ not allowed to write that he feels a voter’s reasoning is illogical?

      • braddavery - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:59 PM

        Of course he is. I didn’t say otherwise.

      • babyfarkmcgeezax - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:03 PM

        Is braddavery not allowed to question why D.J. would imply all writers should be required to vote for Puig?

      • raysfan1 - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:12 PM

        Oh goody, a series of silly rhetorical questions to which we can all say “yes” and to which I/bradavery/DJ never said otherwise.

      • raysfan1 - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:15 PM

        Is babyfarkmcgeezax not allowed to question me for questioning bradavery about why he’d question DJ?

        ( Didn’t want you to feel left out!)

      • raysfan1 - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:43 PM

        Oh, I forgot to engage my sarcasm font. Every comment above was in jest.

    • indaburg - Nov 12, 2013 at 8:56 AM

      Of course. Did DJ say otherwise? He’s saying he disagrees with his logic. DJ is pointing out that not voting for him because of a personal grudge (aka Puig’s so called antics) leaves the voter open to justifiable criticism. The award is supposed to go to the best rookie, not who you like as a person. That said, the right player won.

      • stex52 - Nov 12, 2013 at 9:43 AM

        But, Indy, as I make my case below, it’s hard to figure Gyorko in the top three. I should know, he spent most of the year on my fantasy team.

      • yahmule - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:32 AM

        Gyorko was doing pretty well until the groin injury derailed his season. He was brutal when he first returned, but he showed outstanding power once he got settled again. The most encouraging thing was his poor walk rate showed some sign of improvement in September. hopefully, that’s the beginning of a trend and not just a statistical blip.

  2. tonystrong - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    Just another loser voter who puts his personal feeling above of the facts. It’s like the losers who won’t vote first time hall of famers in no matter what, keeping deserving first ballot hall of famers from receving the 100 percent of the vote they deserve. I don’t even know what this guy was trying to prove anyways. The ROY vote was a 2 dog race and I get the personal attachment he has to the player but in this case, when the top 2 are so far ahead of everyone else, there really is no reason to do this. I’d have more respect for him if he did it in a close race, then the gesture means something and doesn’t make him look like the back of a horse!

    • doctornature - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      Puig was asked about Maffiel’s comment and if he had any thoughts about the quote’s significance, to which he replied:

      “Maffiel’s a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”

      This is just another example of Puig’s value, injecting just enough Shakespeare into the clubhouse to whip the Dodger’s out of their funk and make the players hold their collective heads up high.

  3. kingscourt25 - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    It’s a Dodgers thing. He picked Ian Kennedy over Kershaw for the Cy Young in 2011.

    • yahmule - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      What a chucklehead.

  4. Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    “Because I’m a dumbass.”
    — John Maffei

  5. chrisernst82 - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    I didn’t get to watch a lot of Puig this year besides the playoffs but he looked lost in RF. Strong arm doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t know who to throw it to or throw it so hard it has no chance of reaching its intended spot. He couldn’t have played like that all year but Gyorko did play great D and did hit 23 HR in a park that power hitters don’t usually thrive. I can see why he made the vote.

    Picking Ian over Clayton is like picking Courtney Love over Pauino Gretsky in a beauty pagent.

    • bigmeechy74 - Nov 12, 2013 at 2:39 AM

      lol so the guy that basically turned their season around and saved mattingly’s job should maybe lose his vote to gyorko because he looked lost in RF in the playoffs? that’s absurd

      • koufaxmitzvah - Nov 12, 2013 at 6:58 AM

        Arguments can be made that Kenley Jansen becoming the closer turned the season around. Or Andre Ethier playing a stellar center field turned the season around. Or Hanley Ramirez replacing Nick Punto at shortstop and as the main offensive cog turned the season around. (Seriously, Punto was our main offensive threat from April through most of May.)

        Puig was not the only reason the Dodgers turned their season around… by going 42-8. One guy doesn’t do that; a team does.

        Gyorko is a good player. Glad he’s getting some recognition.

      • bigmeechy74 - Nov 12, 2013 at 8:20 PM

        save the “ethier playing a stellar center field” stuff. come on. But I know Puig wasn’t the sole reason. I know one guy can’t do that much in baseball. But he had a better year than gyorko.

      • lew24 - Nov 12, 2013 at 4:21 PM

        Koufax…I understand your comment about a it was total team effort…I get that. I saw this team before June 3rd and after June 3rd. This team was different and had a different spirit and attitude. Puig was a huge part of that. Hanley was big too but he was injured most of the year. Maybe you and I were watching different teams!

  6. babyfarkmcgeezax - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    Is raysfan not allowed to use the sarcasm font or make comments in jest?

    • raysfan1 - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:15 AM

      If you prick us, do we not bleed?

      • stex52 - Nov 12, 2013 at 8:03 AM

        If a bear defecates in the woods, will we not surely step in it?

        And stay away from that literary stuff! This is your first warning. :-)

      • raysfan1 - Nov 12, 2013 at 8:14 AM

        When OG posts comments, do we not have to look up his references?

  7. jaysfan64 - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    Um.. just as an example of how underrated this guy is…isn’t his name Jedd Gyorko?

    • stex52 - Nov 12, 2013 at 8:04 AM

      Well, as long as we are arguing the merit, I had Gyorko on my fantasy team most of the year. Would have traded him for Puig in a heartbeat.

      • cur68 - Nov 12, 2013 at 6:25 PM

        I scouted both guys for FL. Puig was so much better, he could have salsa danced his way around the bases and I’d STILL want him on my team. He hits The Right Way: into the seats or to the wall.

  8. baseballisboring - Nov 12, 2013 at 3:04 AM

    It’s a shame…there are so many people who would LOVE to be able to vote on these awards, who would actually honor the process instead of perverting it by indulging themselves.

    • gloccamorra - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:22 AM

      Those guys had to wait for ten years of membership in BibWah to get the vote. It’s like a lawyer who gets appointed judge. After being on the other side for so long, it’s his turn to be an arrogant sphincter.

  9. skeleteeth - Nov 12, 2013 at 6:11 AM

    If only Chris Coghlan were here to explain to us the significance of the RoY award.

  10. Paul White - Nov 12, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    “You have to love the line about Puig’s “antics.” “Maybe” it was a factor? Say no more”

    This is the line that strikes me as unfair. I think Maffei got the vote wrong…Puig was more deserving than Gyorko. Not much question about that. At the same time, he stood up and gave an explanation that seems honest on it’s face. Not a train of logic that I agree with, but I have no reason to question his honesty by presuming he is lying about the weight he gave to Puig’s “antics”. He gave his top two votes to two perfectly defensible guys, then admitted Puig’s behavior may have been a factor in why he gave his third vote to a hometown guy – something commonly done and somewhat understandable in this case because Gyorko really did have a nice rookie season worthy of some sort of notice. I’m not sure we can expect a sportswriter to do better than that in explaining a questionable vote. Calling his honesty into question when he does so probably doesn’t make any of these guys more willing to be forthcoming.

    • stex52 - Nov 12, 2013 at 9:40 AM

      Gyorko had an okay rookie season. Fernandez, Puig, Miller were all clearly better. I would argue for Adams at StL or Grigorius about as soon as I would Gyorko. Maybe even Rendon. He was K machine early in the season and struggled again when he came back from his injury.

      I think Gyorko has a bright future but he’s a tough case for ROY.

      • Paul White - Nov 12, 2013 at 9:56 AM

        “Puig was more deserving than Gyorko. Not much question about that.”

        Did you just skip over that part of the comment? I’m not questioning whether Maffei cast a bad vote. I agree, he did. I’m saying it’s unfair for DJ to question Maffei’s motives for doing so.

      • stex52 - Nov 12, 2013 at 10:09 AM

        Fair enough. But I find stating his motivation insufficient. Inasmuch as he is voting for ROY, he really should pick the three best rookies. The homer part of it makes it doubly bad.

  11. Charles Gates - Nov 12, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    Jedd Gyrko is now checking ‘get single ROY vote’ off his bucket list.

  12. hushbrother - Nov 12, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    John Maffei? Isn’t he the guy from Bar Rescue?

  13. elwaysagenius - Nov 12, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    At least it wasn’t a first place vote.

  14. mvrunner - Nov 12, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    I can’t believe there are this many comments about one writer’s back-of-the-ballot choices. The right guy won by a mile, as he should have. Debating who should have come in 2nd is kind of … dumb.

  15. Kevin Gillman - Nov 12, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    This is why writers shouldn’t vote for awards. They seem to allow either personal feelings about the person, or perception get in the way of actual performance. Either get the current players to vote for awards, or HOF players. I would even accept GMs and managers to vote.

  16. northbeachtom - Nov 12, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    His vote didn’t matter. Without researching, does anyone know who came in second or third last year or year previous? Puig didn’t get the award unanimously so this is a nonstory other than an LA hack upset about 3 votes for third place.

    The guy didn’t vote for Puig because he thinks Puig is an Fn – ahole which is the issue. He would have won hands down if that was the award but this is ROY which many around the league voted the same as Maffei for first. So Puig doesn’t get a set of steak knives … big deal.

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