Thursday, November 05, 2009

No offense to Hideki Matsui... but Mariano Rivera was the MVP

Nobody is denying Hideki Matsui had a great Game 6 of the World Series. Heck he drove in 6 runs by himself.

His two run homer off of Pedro Martinez got the scoring started... and when the Phillies answered with a run of their own, Matsui got the 2 out 2 run single that made it clear the Yankees weren't getting caught.

I still don't think he was the MVP of the World Series.

It's not a bad choice. Picking Phil Hughes would have been bad.

Matsui batting .615... he homered 3 times... he drove in 8 runs in the 6 game series...

All terrific.

He wasn't the MVP of the World Series.

Not to be harsh, but in a 6 game Series, the MVP should probably start more than half the games. (Not always... Dusty Rhodes should have been the MVP of the 1954 World Series... but I digress)

In this post season, every single closer blew a must win game for their team...
except one.

In this World Series, the mantra for both teams was get into their vulnerable bullpen. As Hughes and Chamberlain became less and less reliable, the Phillies would be licking their chops when Girardi pulled the starter.

EXCEPT for one pitcher.

The Phillies went into the later part of the Series not sure who would even pitch the 9th.

And yet basically their strategy seemed to be "Make sure Mariano Rivera doesn't pitch."

If Rivera pitched, the game was over.

That's kinda sorta a cut and dry definition of a Series MVP.

I said this to my dad last night and he replied "Yeah, but doesn't Rivera already have one?"

The answer is yes. He won the 1999 World Series MVP and the 2003 ALCS MVP.

He deserved those. And he deserved this one.

I'm sure Rivera isn't losing sleep over this and Matsui has been a great Yankee and it is easy to forget that this is his first World Series ring (doesn't it seem like he belongs with the Riveras, Posadas, Jeters and Pettittes as guys who have won a few?)

But when Rivera came out in the 8th, the roar of the crowd was that of people who knew the game (and the World Series title) was theirs.

They were right.

Because Rivera, the most valuable player of the series, was in the game.


  1. I'm a Yankee fan and therefore obviously a Rivera fan, but I must disagree. Perhaps Mariano is the most valuable Yankee overall, but Matsui gave them a go-ahead homerun in one close game and won them game 6 by himself effectively. And unlike past years where Mariano has been rewarded with post season MVPs, he only recorded two saves for the series and only once pitched with a lead smaller than 3 runs. So although it is comforting to have Rivera, there is no way he deserves it above Matsui.

  2. A very good counter argument.

    I stay by my main point... the Phillies strategy was to keep Rivera in the bullpen...

    But Matsui had a great series, no doubt

  3. For the Series I would lean slightly to Matsui, But if they gave the Award like Hockey gives it out as the MVP of the entire Playoff year Mariano is the hands down winner,
    Of course I contend that Mariano should have won a few Cy Young Awards.

    Thanks for the great commentary throughout the Playoffs, You did a great job looking at everything and putting your emotions to the side, I don't know if I could have done nearly as well without coming off as a totally pissed off Fan.

  4. No MVP love for Nick Swisher? I'm shocked.

    Actually, you won't get any argument from me about Rivera. When is that guy going to retire?

  5. For once, I totally agree with you Sully on this one...Rivera deserved the WS MVP. Unfortunately for Mo, relievers don't get the recognition that they deserve...everyone wants to see the long ball and ignore a six pitch 1 inning shutout. As a Yankees fan, I also agree with Nutball in Mo should have won the Cy Young Award in the past. Have a great off-season!

  6. I would have given it to Mariano or Johnny Damon ahead of Matsui...