Mitch Albom is the worst. Maybe you’re familiar with his work, maybe you’re not. Either way, all you really need to know is Mitch Albom is the worst. Just check out this infuriating piece on why Miguel Cabrera actually deserved the AL MVP and try not to get riled up in frustration.
In this year of 2012, most baseball fans have at least a cursory familiarity with advanced baseball statistics. Maybe not the ins and outs of how said statistics are calculated, but conclusions that can be drawn from them. Mitch Albom is not most baseball fans. Mitch Albom is one of the old guard, a man who shits on progress with reckless abandon and detests computers.
Maybe the editors at the Detroit Free Press have seen the role of annoying troll that Mitch has carved out for himself and decided to capitalize on the subsequent hate-SEO. Kind of like a web version of First Take with Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith. Because that’s the only justification for his continued existence on the internet that I can think of.
Anyway: Miguel Cabrera won the AL MVP. Mike Trout should have won the AL MVP. If you don’t believe me, let Nate Silver tear apart Cabrera’s candidacy limb from limb as Trout, shining beacon of statistical brilliance, stomps all over Cabrera’s rotting carcass (fine, fine, Cabrera’s still a great hitter) en route to the should-have-been AL MVP award.
The backlash to Cabrera winning the award has been more subdued than you’d expect, as most of the baseball world has come to grips with the old guard’s firm stranglehold on the MVP ballot. Because Cabrera won the Triple Crown, a feat based stats of convenience and ease that have been dwarfed by more accurate modeling, he was a shoe-in. Enter Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press “columnist,” to piss the world off and slam “stat geeks” everywhere for pretending that Mike Trout should have been the AL MVP. You know, because he watches baseball with his eyes, not his fancy typing machine.
Here are six actual quotes from the article.
“In a battle of computer analysis versus people who still watch baseball as, you know, a sport, what we saw with our Detroit vision was what most voters saw as well:
Miguel Cabrera is the Most Valuable Player in the American League this year.”
“It also answered the kind of frenzied cyberspace argument that never shadowed baseball 20 years ago but may never stop shadowing it now.”
“But Trout excelled in the kind of numbers that a few years ago weren’t even considered, 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. I mean, OMG! The number of triples hit while wearing a certain-colored underwear is probably being measured as we speak.”
“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.”
“In the end, memories were more powerful than microchips.”
Nate Silver’s take on the AL MVP is the one you should be reading, but do read the rest of this for a hearty laugh. There’s a part of me that thinks Mitch Albom is just trolling the hell out of everyone with this article, because it’s difficult to fathom that a breathing human being would choose to write this. I’m not going to address the particulars because it’s a tired exercise at this point in baseball’s evolution, but do point and laugh from afar with me.