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Does St. Louis have the biggest homers in MVP voting?

Nov 16, 2013, 7:55 PM EDT

yadier molina getty Getty Images

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina finished in third place in the National League MVP voting, ever so slightly behind Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt in second place. Pirates center fielder and winner of the NL MVP Andrew McCutchen received 28 of 30 first-place votes; the remaining two were given to Molina by two St. Louis area writers: Rick Hummel and Derrick Goold, both of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In fairness to Goold, he was very open about his thought process in arriving at his conclusion to place Molina first, even putting together a “matrix” comparing the various stats compiled by all of the contenders and joining Brian Kenny on Clubhouse Confidential to defend his ballot.

However, as Reuben Fischer-Baum of Deadspin shows, St. Louis has been the most homerish in MVP voting since balloting was made public prior to the 2012 festivities. Molina benefited from it not only with the two first-place votes, but also Hummel’s decision to list McCutchen third behind Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter.

It is worth reiterating, however, that we have had only two years and the Cardinals’s recent success does bias the sample. It could be the case that another city’s writers are bigger homers, we just don’t see it because the team they cover doesn’t have players in the mix for the MVP award, like the Cubs.

  1. jhaegs - Nov 16, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    Look at Craig posting under Bill’s name… It’s just sad.

    • spudchukar - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:40 PM

      Yeah, Bill Baer, sycophantic toady.

  2. greej1938l - Nov 16, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    I’m not surprised

    • dwrek5 - Nov 16, 2013 at 8:12 PM

      Aren’t all local scribes going to be biased? If you see what a player does everyday, stuff that can be measured and not measured, and do not see another player on a regular bases, you are going to be biased.

      • arizonagrit - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:53 PM

        Ask Nick Piecoro that question.

      • gloccamorra - Nov 17, 2013 at 1:59 PM

        Some of them aren’t biased, they’re just dumb. One San Diego sportswriter mentioned he never votes for a player in his first year of eligibility to the HOF, and added, “Sorry, Tony”, meaning Tony Gwynn. So the guy who saw Tony Gwynn’s entire career, including eight batting titles, never voted for him. Remember, the same BBWAA members vote on all the awards, and with thought processes like that, it’s no wonder there’s a controversy with nearly every post-season award.

  3. dwrek5 - Nov 16, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    Voting Yadi 1st is not near as big of a travesty as voting him 9th and 10th. I’m looking in your direction Miami…

  4. Caught Looking - Nov 16, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Goold’s bigger travesty is not using Excel to put together that matrix.

  5. nandeezy33 - Nov 16, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    Who cares!?!?!? All of MLB Awards voting is a complete scam and a disgrace to baseball.

    Half of the writers vote is based off of traditional principles. The other half vote on principles from saber metrics. It truly is a laughing stock. Keith Law….I’m looking at you.

    • 18thstreet - Nov 17, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      I need to look up the word disgrace to check what it means.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 17, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      It truly is a laughing stock. Keith Law….I’m looking at you.

      $10 says you’re a Cards fan

      • cardsman - Nov 18, 2013 at 11:52 AM

        10 bucks says you are not… genius

      • cardsman - Nov 18, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        sabermucktrix are a blight on baseball

    • gloccamorra - Nov 17, 2013 at 2:08 PM

      Your mistake is dividing that group into only two factions. They get to vote just by being BBWAA members for ten years.

      Many of them don’t even cover baseball anymore, covering primarily football, tennis, hockey, basketball, or some other minor sport, some write general sports columns, and some have long-term jobs only because they have incriminating photos of their boss or are related to him/her/it.

      That’s why the number of voters has increased over the years, now numbering triple the number that voted in the first HOF ballot. This item is just another indication it’s time for BBWAA to thin the herd.

  6. fearlessleader - Nov 16, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    I am a Cards fan who thinks McCutchen was a very deserving winner. That said, I honestly do not know how a first-place vote for Molina could be considered remotely controversial. He had another spectacular defensive year, essentially shut down the running game of the Cards’ opponents, was one of the league’s top hitters, and handled a mostly-rookie pitching staff to a 97-win season—all while logging more innings than any other catcher in the league despite a DL stint.

    Maybe the question should be “Why was this race so one-sided when Molina just had one of the best all-around seasons you’re ever going to see from one of the most important positions on the field?”

    Hummel’s ballot, by the way, was completely ridiculous, but take a few minutes to read Derrick Goold’s explanation of his choices; if this is “homerism,” it’s the most thoughtful version of it I’ve ever seen: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/birdland/goold-why-i-voted-for-molina-as-nl-mvp/article_74ef3d15-1b7e-5f40-9048-dae5b58667bf.html (The Pittsburgh voter who put Yadi 9th didn’t have nearly such good reasons….)

  7. redbirdgrandma - Nov 16, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    And nothing said about a Pittsburgh writer putting yadi ninth? Justify that.

  8. hpt150 - Nov 16, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    The two Minnesota beat writers who left Pedro Martinez off their ballots entirely for the MVP voting in 2000 spring to mind. He nearly won that award in spite of them, such that had he been on their ballots at all, he would gave taken home the hardware.

    • Kevin S. - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:02 PM

      Didn’t George King of the NYP do that, too?

  9. tfbuckfutter - Nov 16, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    Best media in the country.

  10. plmathfoto - Nov 16, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    I’ve always found a strong midwest bias in coverage and dare I say arrogance, they always accuse the media of being Northern biased because of NY, but even the fans are the same way, look at the whole Cardinal fan thing.

    Was piggybacking a bit on the post above with the Minnesota writers leaving Pedro off, but going back farther, look at 1988 when Kirk Gibson won the nl mvp (and remember the voting is done before the hr off Eckersley in the world series). I know that’s not midwest, but it’s the backlash against the North as the Mets had at least 2 or 3 guys who deserved it more than GIbby that year.

    I also think the Sporting News being based in St Louis had something to do with this too.

    • modans55 - Nov 17, 2013 at 4:40 PM

      An “accusation” of bias against the Cardinals? Really? So, the ballot cast by Clark Spencer, of the Miami Herald, putting a 10th place vote on Yadi is a “perception of bias”? You’re saying that Freddie Freeman, Hanley Ramirez, Carlos Gomez, Andrelton Simmons, and YASIEL PUIG….who garnered a grand total of THREE votes….were all more deserving than a Gold-Glove and Silver-Slugger Award winning catcher who shuts down every opponents running game?
      How about placing a “homer” label on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Bill Brink? All he did was put Yadi in 9th place behind not only Gomez and Freeman, but also Joey Votto and Shin Soo Choo, the latter of which received ten whole votes, none higher than 6th. Let’s not disregard Bill Center from San Diego who thought that Jay Bruce deserved more recognition than Yadier Molina by casting a 7th place vote for Yadi.
      Yes, it is a valid argument that Andrew McCutchen and Paul Goldschmidt each had a year on par with Molina and it could be argued that not one of those three deserved a vote lower than 4th place, which saw Goldschmidt receive five votes ( three 5th and two 6th) while Molina was the recipient of ten lower than 4th ( six 5th, a 7th, two 9th, and a 10th).
      “Perceived bias against the Midwest” and the Cardinals in particular? The numbers don’t lie.

  11. jre80 - Nov 16, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    They have to be homers or not cardinal would ever get a vote on anything. For example, a few yrs ago when Keith Law voted for Javier Vasquez for cy young costing waino of the cy young award.

    • Kevin S. - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:04 PM

      Keith Law took as much care to explain that vote as Derrick Gould did his, and voting Waino second would not have given him the CYA that year.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:13 PM

        Whoops, it was Carp who came in second, not Wainwright. The whining that year was that Law and Will Carroll didn’t have Carpenter on their ballots. Since nobody could argue with how one ordered Lincecum/Wainwright/Carpenter that year, taking Vazquez off Law’s ballot and Haren off Carroll’s ballot gives Carpenter two extra points for the two more third place votes he would have picked up and Wainwright two extra points for turning a third into a second. Still would have left the totals at Lincecum 100, Carpenter 96, Wainwright 92. Stop crying about it.

      • ghostofjimlindeman - Nov 17, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        Hey Kevin who did local Bay Area voters pick for Cy Young that year? Timmy was clearly the better pitcher considering he wasn’t even able to win over THE GUYS WHO WATCHED HIS EVERY GAME!!!!

    • cohnjusack - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:10 PM

      –2.87 ERA, 219 IP, 238 Ks, 5.41 K/BB ratio, 20 HR
      –2.24 ERA, 192 IP, 144 Ks, 3.79 K/BB ratio, 7 HR
      –2.63 ERA, 233 IP, 212 Ks, 3.21 K/BB ratio, 17 HR
      –2.48 ERA, 225 IP, 261 Ks, 3.84 K/BB ratio, 10 HR

      Sorry, which one of these is the outrage? The one who lead them all in K/BB ratio?

      Sorry, Wainwright did not deserve the Cy that year. Vazquez had a great year and I believe he was chosen over Carpenter, not Wainwright (due to Carpenter throwing by far the fewest innings). Linecum won and probably should of. Please, stop complaining about a pitcher who had a lower ERA, more K’s,a a better K ratio and gave up fewer home runs winning the CY over Wainwright.

      • cohnjusack - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:12 PM

        EDIT: He put Vazquez 2nd and Wainwright third. I think he was wrong, but…come on, that vote wasn’t that bad at all. The only way you can claim it was is by overvaluing pitcher wins, which is a whole different argument.

      • ghostofjimlindeman - Nov 17, 2013 at 5:37 AM

        Uh sorry but that Cy Young award belonged to Waino or Carp not Lincecum. Do yourself a favor and post Lincecum’s numbers that year from the All Star break on which were God Awful!!! In fact seems to me Lincecum’s decline as a pitcher began right around then.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 17, 2013 at 6:55 AM

        Weird, I didn’t realize that only second-half numbers mattered in the CYA. But since you insist…

        2.67 ERA, 97.2 IP (7 IP/GS), 112 Ks, 3.29 K/BB, 6 HR.

        Yeah, absolutely awful. I’d never let that bum pitch on my team.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 17, 2013 at 7:00 AM

        And yes, both Carpenter and Wainwright were super-duper spectacular post-ASB that year. Better than Lincecum down the stretch. But that really isn’t relevant, considering it’s a full-season award. April, May and June count just as much.

      • ghostofjimlindeman - Nov 17, 2013 at 11:26 AM

        In 2009 second half of season Lincecum was a mere 5-5 while Carpenter went 10-1 with an ERA a half point better than Timmy. Wainwright also had more wins and IP that year than Lincecum. Cards won 91 games that going to the playoffs while Giants were 88-74 finishing 3rd. Carp Waino pitched more high stress games down the stretch as Giants faded reducing stress of Lincecum’s outings. If you think that second half performances and stretch runs shouldn’t factor in to MVP voting decisions then I scoff at you sir, scoff..

      • ghostofjimlindeman - Nov 17, 2013 at 11:31 AM

        Calling Lincecum’s second half awful probably harsh on my part, clearly it wasn’t. Also pretty sure the local SF area voters picked Carpenter that year over Lincecum as well. If your local guy’s aren’t even choosing you then do you really deserve to win?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 17, 2013 at 4:14 PM

        If you think that second half performances and stretch runs shouldn’t factor in to MVP voting decisions then I scoff at you sir, scoff..

        They shouldn’t, because a win in April counts the same as a win in September. However, playing Devil’s Advocate, the Cards won the NLC by 7.5 games. How important could those games have been if they won the division so handedly?

  12. krenshaws - Nov 16, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Where I live, Cardinals fans are also Packer Fans and Bulls Fans, talk about a biased fan base look at these 3 jokes of fans.

    • modans55 - Nov 17, 2013 at 4:44 PM

      Undoubtedly, a fan from Minnesota who is dealing with a long-lasting inferiority complex.

    • pcoffey49 - Nov 17, 2013 at 10:54 PM

      Krenshaws, you sound like a misguided cub fan, who by the by, are the worst fans.

  13. cohnjusack - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    I think McCutchen should have won, but I certainly don’t think it’s some great crime that he was behind Matt Carpenter in one of the ballots.

    1. The defensive spectrum: C-SS-2B-CF-3B-RF-LF-1B
    Carpenter is to the left of McCutchen here. MLB 2nd basemen had an OPS 20 points lower than CF in 2013.

    2. Carpenter rocked the counting stats, leading the league in runs, hits and doubles

    3. Carpenter has a pretty awesome narrative. He learned 2nd base in the offseason having played there 18 innings his entire professional career. He moved left on the spectrum which is rare.

    That being said, McCutchen was better, but not that much better. Both version of WAR have him 1 to 1.5 wins behind. He had a great year.

    • gibbyfan - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:14 PM

      Not to mention broke the all time record for doubles in a single season……….

      • cohnjusack - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:17 PM

        The record for doubles is 67 by Earl Webb in 1931
        The Cardinals record is 64 by Joe Medwick in 1936
        Since 1990, 55 doubles (Carpenter’s total) has ben topped 6 times.

      • modans55 - Nov 17, 2013 at 4:48 PM

        To be clear, Carpenter broke Stan Musial’s Cardinal TEAM record for hitting doubles in a season. An impressive feat, nonetheless.

      • modans55 - Nov 17, 2013 at 4:52 PM

        My bad Carpenter PASSED Musial’s total of 54 doubles. Medwick had 64 and 56 in 1936 and 1937, respectively.

    • gothapotamus90210 - Nov 16, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      Your 3rd point isn’t relevant to the argument.

      • cohnjusack - Nov 17, 2013 at 1:53 AM

        Well argued.

        I would consider a play who spent his offseason working to cover a positional hole relevant to adding value to the team. I do not think this makes him better than McCutchen, I do not even think it should factor in that hugely. But, historically MVP voters have, so why the shock of one guy voting for him over McCutchen?

        Tip. When you find something in a post silly, one typically explains why it’s silly. Just writing “it’s not relevant” without explaining your reasoning adds nothing. It’s contrarian without purpose. It’s arguing in a way that can absolve you from having to actually share your own thoughts.

      • gothapotamus90210 - Nov 17, 2013 at 9:57 AM

        @cohn – you mad, bro?

        my apologies, i thought it was obvious why it wasn’t relevant – your third point is not quantitative. unfortunately for your perspective, hawk harrelson did not have a vote.

        it’s a “feel good” story, if you will. let’s give him a participation trophy so he feels special.

      • grizz2202 - Nov 17, 2013 at 10:15 AM

        Again, you’ve added nothing to the article but your level of douchebaggery. You attempt to sound “elite”, but are you an MLB player/coach? Are you a sportswriter?

        Tell us, oh great gothapotamus90210, what are your great credentials to prove how much better you are than cohnjusack, Matt Carpenter, and the rest of us posting here, internet tough guy? You played Little League baseball? Or you finished high school?

  14. djpostl - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    If dude had Carpenter second than he damn sure is a freakin homer. No way on Earth he is anywhere other than hanging around the bottom of a ballot (at best)

    • cohnjusack - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:21 PM

      That is pure crazy talk. By virtually any standard, Carpenter was one of the top handful of NL players this year.

      So, please, explain why he would be at the bottom of the ballot? What 9 players would you put ahead of him?

    • stevequinn - Nov 17, 2013 at 1:13 AM

      You obviously know nothing about baseball or baseball players. Carpenter had the most hits of anybody in the NL this year.

  15. jre80 - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    I believe if I remember correctly, Keith law had waino 2nd. Vasquez was 1st. I took the assumption that anyone with a brain would have had waino over Vasquez. Either or, cardinals will keep competing for the big post season award and lye all these other clubs fight over the little ones.

    • Kevin S. - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:22 PM

      You recall incorrectly. His ballot was Lincecum/Vazquez/Wainwright.

      • ghostofjimlindeman - Nov 17, 2013 at 5:41 AM

        Which was even more pathetic considering how awful Lincecum was the second half that season. Anyone who say’s the Cy Young that year didn’t belong to Waino or Carp should go run for mayor of Toronto..

      • Kevin S. - Nov 17, 2013 at 6:57 AM

        I’m sorry, if you actually think Tim Lincecum was horrible post-ASB in 2009, never watch baseball again.

      • ghostofjimlindeman - Nov 17, 2013 at 11:33 AM

        Yea a second half 5-5 season for a 3rd place team super impressive. Funny that local SF beat writers picked Carp over Lincecum that year as well.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 17, 2013 at 4:28 PM

        Yea a second half 5-5 season for a 3rd place team super impressive.

        Never mind the hilarity that is judging someone off w-l record, here’s some of the games he pitched post-ASB:

        7/17 – 7IP, 5H, 1ER, 1BB/10K – loss
        8/12 – 8.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER – ND
        9/3 – 7 IP, 4H, 2 ER, 1BB/11k – loss
        9/25 – 7 IP, 6H, 2 ER, 3B/7K – loss

        In total he went:
        Wins – 53.2 IP; 2.01 ERA, 5.53 H/9, 2.85 BB/9, 9.73 K/9
        Losses – 44IP; 3.87 ERA, 7.16 H/9, 3.48 BB/9, 11.05 K/9

        In only two of those seven losses did he give up more than 3 runs. He had 5 loses because of the team’s bad offense, not his bad pitching.

  16. pastabelly - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    St Louis has the greatest fans and this includes its sportswriters.

  17. thomas844 - Nov 16, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    My question is why, if there are 30 voters, are two of them from St. Louis? Shouldn’t it be one writer representing each MLB team?

    • Kevin S. - Nov 16, 2013 at 10:39 PM

      30 voters for each league, two for each city.

    • sfbookreviews - Nov 16, 2013 at 10:44 PM

      This was an NL only award. Two votes from each of the 15 team’s cities.

    • clydeserra - Nov 16, 2013 at 10:47 PM

      only vote for your league

    • thomas844 - Nov 17, 2013 at 12:23 AM

      Well, that makes sense. Didn’t even think of that haha.

  18. onbucky96 - Nov 16, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    What? Media bias in St.Louis? I’m shocked! Shocked! Sincerely, The Sporting News.

  19. stevequinn - Nov 17, 2013 at 1:10 AM

    St. Louis sports writers are so badly “homers” that they all voted Clayton Kershaw in first place.. The only first place vote for Wainwright came from Cincinnati.

    I like McCutchon and think he deserved the MVP but come on, without Molina in the lineup, the Cardinals slumped badly. On his return, they started winning again and ended up with 97 wins. Molina handled a really young pitching staff and made them outstanding. He’s the same as having the manager on the field. He shut down the running games of every team the Cardinals played. Catchers are notoriously weak offensively because the wear and tear on the legs effects their hitting. Well Molina hit .319 with 80 RBI. Had he not been out injured, he would’ve reached the 100 RBI plateau. Without Molina, the Cardinals do not win the NL Central. That, to me, is the definition of an MVP.

    McCutchon winning is OK with me as I think he deserved it but Molina in 3rd place is pure hypocrisy. Goldschmidt had great numbers but how did that help his team? Did the Diamondbacks win anything? Yet he finishes second to McCutchon. The BBWAA is a collection of biased no-nothings. I think the St. Louis sportswriters vote their conscience and are the least biased of any members of the BBWAA.

  20. drewzducks - Nov 17, 2013 at 1:28 AM

    Not sure about their writers being the biggest homers but they clearly have the best fans. Just ask them.

    • ghostofjimlindeman - Nov 17, 2013 at 5:46 AM

      Ahh Cardinal trolling such a slow news cycle must be time for another HBT anti Cardinal story. Keep up the crack news reporting HBT. By crack news story I mean you were obviously on it when this drivel was written.

  21. hushbrother - Nov 17, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    What’s strange is that Molina wasn’t even the most valuable player on his own team. That would be the leadoff man with 55 doubles and 125 runs scored. Weird how Carpenter is hardly in the discussion at all.

    • paperlions - Nov 17, 2013 at 9:52 AM

      Defense counts.

      Catcher >>>>> 2B

      and Molina is a FAR better catcher than Carpenter is a 2B.

  22. cabby782 - Nov 17, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    St Louis thinks they created baseball and know everything about the game just ask them

    • spudchukar - Nov 17, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      What’s with the rhetorical questions?

  23. titansbro - Nov 17, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    This was a pointless blog. The whole gust of it is,”maybe they are, maybe they aren’t?” Drivel.

  24. homelanddefense - Nov 18, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    the BBWAA writers are a joke. One of them left Farell and Francona off their AL manager of the year ballot. I can see not having one….but both?

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