Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cy Young, MVP Awards Are Hurting The Game

With the announcement that C.C. Sabathia won the AL Cy Young Award over Josh Beckett, we are reminded that when it comes to the era of free agency and fantasy, the regular season is what matters the most. Sabathia was unquestionably the best pitcher in the American League this year, when it comes to the regular season. But Beckett was the greatest pitcher in the game; a 20-win guy who pitches like a man possessed when it matters the most. Beckett clearly out dueled Sabathia during the ALCS, where the Indians' pitching broke down faster than Britney Spears during a trip to Laurel Canyon.

This spring, Dirk Nowitzki was the MVP in the NBA. Nowitzki had an incredible regular season, and then completely disappeared during the Maverick's historical loss to 8-seed Golden State. Instead of carrying on the tradition of presenting the MVP with his award during the conference semifinals, David Stern was forced to hold a banquet to give the Dallas star his trophy. Needless to say, it was uncomfortable even for those of us outside the banquet halls. And that feeling stems from one universal emotion: shame.

It is a shame that the award is voted on before the postseason begins. It is a shame that the NBA, MLB and NFL (who started Pro Bowl voting weeks ago) can't simply honor their best players at a later date.

It is a shame that Alex Rodriguez will be this year's AL MVP. Of course, he had a magical regular season. But fans and players around the world will feel the same uneasiness they felt during Nowitzki's makeshift celebration. These leagues are collectively saying that the postseason doesn't matter, an idea usually relegated to fantasy commissioners. And the sad part is, they are probably right.


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