was reading an article from Joe Posnanski the other day involving
his approach to the baseball most valuable player award in 2011
and what he referred to as the myth of pressure. The basic idea
was that he didn’t think it held water for people to say that
players from two different teams… one in the playoff race and
one not… were different candidates for consideration.
not being completely fair in my phrasing here, but I think you
get the basic point. We always seem to see the most valuable player
come from a team with a winning record, if not bordering on exclusively
from a team playing in the postseason. The rules can be vague,
voters have different interpretations, and occasionally chaos
results. The thought of the playoff team being, he was valuable…
in part… because of where the team ended up, since teams that
finish poorly couldn’t have anyone contributing at a valuable
team equals no value in the contributions of any of the players.
found myself fascinated by his argument, because in many ways
I didn’t buy it.
consider Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods in their primes.
weren’t just amazing professionals with arguments for consideration
as the best to ever play their respective sports. These are competitors
that crushed the will of those opposing them. Michael Jordan laid
waste to the Utah Jazz in the finals. Tiger Woods often didn’t
win championships so much as opponents wilted, faded and disappeared
when paired with him on a Sunday round.
in principle, I agree with where Posnanski is attempting to go.
I don’t necessarily believe in crunch time definitions, where
people use statistics for their own purposes and not for the big
can be earned in horrible outings from a starter. They are not,
on their own, a good measuring stick of a good or bad pitcher.
average is not the best way to judge a hitter.
average doesn’t always tell you the best basketball player.
said… in words I’m stealing in thought from Robert Fulghum… it’s
a good idea to have when placing your bets.
Tebow was a brutally bad quarterback. In statistics you’ve probably
heard: (1) His quarterback accomplishments from a statistic perspective
make him one of the worst to wear a uniform in years. (2) Over
two seasons, Denver had a winning record with him as a starter
and an abysmally bad losing record with him on the bench.
Mirror, on the wall… are you believing your eyes or the stats?
I’m drafting a team, I wouldn’t go near Tebow.
I’m within a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, as a fan I
like what Tebow has done for me and expect a miracle is possible
for that… Tim Tebow… damn the statistics… he rises to his greatest
heights when under pressure.
whether or not it’s true, or has any longevity for him. Does that
make him the most valuable player?
not that I can claim to completely agree or disagree with where
Posnanski is coming from. Instead I just want to point out that
there is much more to this whole story.
speaking, most good, playoff bound teams have more than one good
player. Heck, the 2011 Boston Red Sox in August had three players
being batted around in name as candidates. They didn’t even make
the playoffs, ultimately watched both the manager and the general
manager get fired after suffering a no most valuable player in
this locker room collapse (come on… we don’t need to debate whether
they left on their own or were fired here).
don’t really believe in the intangible concept. Players rarely
get credit for intangibles. Tenacity doesn’t cut it. Naked pull
ups or whiskey shots don’t cut it. Playing in pain or delivering
in the first year of a contract as opposed to heading into free
agency or any of dozens of other factors don’t cut it.
not one to believe you can tell a Hall of Fame player with your
eyes. But I do believe there are some that you can place into
the debate or eliminate from it with the eye debate. And maybe
the record will show a handful… a marginal, count on the fingers
and never need your toes handful… will fall back or surge ahead
when you dig beyond the eye test. That’s why we assign voters
for the halls of fame.
why we have voters for most valuable player.
they’re supposed to dig deeper and be more knowledgeable.
problem is, many don’t act that way.
do believe you can question how a player responds to pressure.
And it may not be something you see in statistics… wins or losses…
or playoff races.
use it as the final vote though. Just let it be a part of the