Undoubtedly someone has already linked you to this, and it's possible you've already seen someone make fun of it. Still, I've got to take a crack at it. It's just too fucking awesome to pass up.
The eyes have it.
In a battle of computer analysis versus people who still watch baseball as, you know, a sport,
Miguel Cabrera is the Most Valuable Player in the American League this year.
"It means a lot," he told reporters over the phone from Miami.
So did everyone. But the debate ended Thursday night when the results were announced, with Cabrera earning 22 of the 28 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America. It reinforced what Tigers fans have been saying all season: This guy is a monster.
It also answered the kind of frenzied cyberspace argument that never shadowed baseball 20 years ago but may never stop shadowing it now.
Statistics geeks insisted Cabrera was less worthy than Angels rookie centerfielder Mike Trout. Not because Trout's traditional baseball numbers were better. They weren't. Cabrera had more home runs (44), more runs batted in (139) and a better batting average (.330) than Trout and everyone else in the American League. It gave him the sport's first Triple Crown in 45 years.
But Trout excelled in the kind of numbers that weren't even considered a few years ago, mostly because A) They were impossible to measure, and B) Nobody gave a hoot.
Today, every stat matters. There is no end to the appetite for categories -- from OBP to OPS to WAR.
So in areas such as "how many Cabrera home runs would have gone out in Angel Stadium of Anaheim" or "batting average when leading off an inning" or "Win Probability Added," Trout had the edge. At least this is what we were told.
I mean, did you do the math? I didn't.
Plus he has intangibles
Besides, if you live in Detroit, you didn't need a slide rule.
"During the season, a lot of guys tell me I'm gonna be the MVP," Cabrera said, laughing. "But they said the same thing to Trout."
Yes, it's true, Trout is faster, Trout is a better defensive player,
But if you are going to go molten deep
Why not also consider such intangibles as locker-room presence? Teammates love playing around -- and around with -- Miggy. He helps the room.
How about his effect on pitchers? Nobody wanted the embarrassment of him slamming a pitch over the wall. The amount of effort pitchers expended on Cabrera or the guy batting ahead of him surely took its toll and affected the pitches other batters saw.
What about the debilitating power of a three-run homer? How many opposing teams slumped after Cabrera muscled one out?
How about the value of a guy who could shift from first to third base -- as Cabrera did this past season -- to make room for Fielder? Ask manager Jim Leyland how valuable that is.
How about the fact that Cabrera's team made the playoffs and Trout's did not? ("Yes," countered Team Trout, "but the Angels actually won more games.")
How about this? How about that? The fact is, voters are not instructed to give more credence to any one category than another. Twenty-eight sportswriters, two from each AL city, decide, in their own minds, what is "valuable" and who displayed it the most.
They chose Cabrera.
By an overwhelming majority.
In the end, memories were more powerful than microchips.
Which, by the way, speaks to a larger issue about baseball. It is simply being saturated with situational statistics. What other sport keeps coming up with new categories to watch the same game?
We need to slow down the shoveling of raw data into the "what can we come up with next?" machine. It is actually creating a divide between those who like to watch the game of baseball and those who want to reduce it to binary code.