I got a text message when Justin Verlander won the MVP from my Red Sox fan buddy Kenny Mack (a brilliant writer in his own right.)
It just said "Pedro is upset."
He wasn't the only Red Sox fan who expressed anger about Verlander winning the MVP as a starting pitcher when Pedro Martinez was snubbed in 1999.
Yes I know Pedro's season was superior to Verlander's and Pudge Rodriguez should not have that trophy on his mantle.
But instead of grumbling that Pedro getting hosed should mean EVERY starting pitcher should be disqualified, why not say "Pedro opened their eyes."
The mentality that only an all time great season (in the middle of the Steroid Era no less) is the bar for a starting pitcher to win the MVP is no different than the insanity of not putting in a Hall of Famer unanimously because "If Ruth didn't get 100% of the vote than nobody should."
Seriously, Pedro deserved it. We all know that. And not the VOTERS know that. It's kind of like when Morgan Freeman didn't win the Oscar for The Shawshank Redemption but later won for Million Dollar Baby. Obviously that was a makeup call.
Well this is a make up call as well. As if the voters are saying "Sometimes the most valuable plater IS a starting pitcher."
Which big game everyday player made a bigger impact that Verlander? The Red Sox collapse prevents Jacoby Ellsbury from winning. Jose Bautista had a great year, but was it so great to wipe out a mediocre season by the Blue Jays? Miguel Cabrera? He had a great season to be sure and would probably be my #1 choice outside of Verlander.
But sometimes the most valuable player can be a starting pitcher.
Obviously there are his tremendous stats.
Obviously he saved the bullpen so many nights.
And of course the key to winning any division is to win lots of 3 game series.
And Verlander pitched twice every six games, which put the Tigers in a great position to have at least one win in each series.
And yeah, a hitter has 600-700 plate appearances while a starter only pitches in 35 games.
But Verlander FACED 969 batters. Isn't that kind of like 969 plate appearances? Except he can't take a seat after each one.
I get it, pitchers have the Cy Young Award and that should be enough.
Most years it is. Most years the player who made the biggest impact is indeed an everyday player.
Some years it is a starting pitcher.
In 1986 Clemens was the MVP. He deserved it.
I believe Hershiser had a huge argument for it in 1988.
Sorry Barry Larkin, but Greg Maddux was the NL MVP in 1995.
Pedro deserved it over Pudge Rodriguez in 1999.
And Verlander earned it this year. If he didn't win, I wouldn't have been upset. But he did and I think it was a smart vote.
And it was NOT a snub of Pedro.
It showed the voters were educated by him.