Most Valuable? It’s Mookie All the Way
When it comes to MVP voting in the American League, it seems some voters have “Mike Trout” as the default key on their laptops.
Not this year.
Sure, Trout is having another great season, but he’s been hurt and the Angels stink, so the AL MVP should come down to two superb candidates: Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez.
The Red Sox’s dynamic duo are topping nearly every offensive category in the game. Martinez may hit 50 homers and drive in 140 runs.
But if I had a vote it would go to Betts, the sparkplug of this record-setting Red Sox nine whose appearance on the lineup card is cause for excitement in any ballpark.
Hitting for the cycle the other day was just another notch on his belt as he leads the American Legion in batting. And while Martinez has him covered in most other categories, Betts to me is the engine that drives this runaway Olde Towne Train, emotionally as well as physically.
The fact that Martinez is primarily a DH takes away from his MVP candidacy in my eyes. But as my colleague Nick Mallard pointed out the other day, if Martinez wins the Triple Crown, which he has a shot at doing, he probably has to win the MVP.
Doesn’t he? Maybe not.
Remember, Ted Williams won the Triple Crown twice, in 1942 and 1947, and didn’t get the MVP from the baseball writers either time, as Yankees second baseman Joe Gordon won in ’42 and Joe DiMaggio in ’47. He didn’t get it the year he hit .406 either, in 1941 (DiMaggio again -- 56-game hitting streak).
The Flash Gordon vote was ridiculous. Ted had him beat (obviously) in average (.356 to .322), home runs (36 to 18) and RBI (137 to 103), as well as hits, runs and OBP. It wasn’t even close.
Gordon even led the league in strikeouts and grounding into double plays.
But of course the Yankees won the pennant and the Red Sox finished nine games back. And at the time, that seemed to be the No. 1 guideline for voters. That and the fact Williams didn’t get along with the “knights of the keyboard” who did the voting.
So Triple Crown or no, I’m casting my (non-existent) ballot for Mookie.
Here and there...
Here’s Madison Smith of Westford after winning the Mass. Girls Junior Amateur Championship (Mite Division) this week:
“Golf is very fun. You can have an off day or a good day and it’s still fun to play with friends.”
She’s 10 years old and wise beyond her years.
My summer just isn’t going well. There’s the heat and the rain and the deteriorating golf game, for starters. And now the band I’ve been waiting to have return to the Lowell Summer Music Festival for years -- Blues Traveler -- is playing here on Saturday, Aug. 18.
The one Saturday this summer that I will be out of town.
Can anybody out there tape it for me?
Former Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis was famously dubbed the “Greek God of Walks” by Oakland Athletics’ GM Billy (“Moneyball”) Beane. Even though Youk was Jewish, not Greek.
I’m starting to think Long Meadow’s junior golf sensation Mikey Yfantopulos should be nicknamed the “Greek God of Birdies.”
Just a thought.
Dennis Whitton’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org