I want to be happy for Justin Verlander. Â If I’m being honest, my first reaction to the news that he won MVP was “They chose a pitcher!!!” with much joy behind it. Â So I will say that, generally speaking, I’m very happy for him. Â He did an amazing job this season and he earned the unanimous voting for the Cy Young Award and obviously that translated to folks thinking he deserved the MVP as well. Â I can’t argue with that. Â By the rules, pitchers are eligible for the award and voters like Jim Ingraham are being petty and not following the rules by choosing to not vote for a pitcher for MVP. Â (Frankly, I think every time a writer admits s/he didn’t choose a pitcher because s/he doesn’t think they should be allowed to be MVP, that writer should get his or her voting privileges revoked.)
But Â here’s the thing: I’m an unabashed Red Sox homer and I will fully admit that I was really pinning my hopes on Jacoby Ellsbury winning the MVP this year. Â I don’t live in some fantasy world where Jacoby coming home with the MVP Award would erase the ugliness surrounding the team right now. Â I just think the kid deserved it. Â (That isn’t to say Verlander doesn’t deserve it but, hey, I don’t have a vote and I wanted it more for Ellsbury.)
Also, as a Red Sox homer, Verlander winning just brings back the reminders of Pedro Martinez not winning it in 1999…after a season in which he most assuredly deserved it at least as much as Verlander did this year. Â There aren’t many grudges I hold onto for very long. Â I try to let most of them go. Â But Pedro not winning the MVP in 1999 is one of those things that gnaws at me every year when they announce the MVP. (Other grudges I choose to keep include Alex Rodriguez and his slap move, Chuck Knoblauch’s phantom tag – Tim Tschida doesn’t ever want to meet me, I promise you – hating John Smoltz for absolutely sucking while with the Red Sox and that little bastard Jeffrey Maier.)
Jacoby Â doesn’t have to hang his head for coming in second. Â This season he was named the American League Comeback Player of the Year, he won the American League Gold Glove Award and a Silver Slugger as well. Â He’ll do just fine. Â But this is one award that I selfishly really wanted for him, so I might have to sit and pout about it for a little while.