My take on three issues, one serious and two just to add two cents to debates…
1) The Serious Issue: Most fans saw the incident in Sunday’s Chicago Cubs game involving the Cubs Tyler Colvin, who was pierced in the chest by a broken maple bat. Colvin was hospitalized and isn’t seriously injured, thank goodness. However, we’ve seen ample evidence over the past few years of what happens when maple bats shatter. I was born in New England, home of maple trees. They are beautiful trees. Their sap makes for delicious syrup. However, bats should not be one of the uses of the stately maple. We have been seeing how maple bats shatter compared to the ash bats we usually see. Many have warned something like this could happen with a maple bat. Now it has. It’s time for major league baseball to say “NO” to maple bats. Let this first injury be the last.
Now for the more mundane…
2) The Cy Young Award: I’ve been noticing a growing movement in the national media to make a case for Felix Hernandez to win the AL Cy Young Award, despite a meager 12-11 record. It’s true Hernandez leads the American League in almost every category that counts- ERA, quality starts, strikeouts, hits allowed, etc. My opinion? A resounding NO to King Felix getting the award. While some would say one shouldn’t hold Hernandez responsible for the woeful Mariners offensive attack that held his win total down, I point to one Steve Carlton, who won 27 games and the Cy Young for a Philadelphia Phillies team that lost 97 games. Hernandez has the stuff to win big and big winners somehow manage to win even when their teams don’t. Sorry, Felix. You’ve had a great year, but CC Sabathia has had a better one.
3) The AL MVP Award: This is a tough one and one which this fan would seemingly have a personal stake. Generally speaking, most seem to feel the MVP race comes down to three people: Josh Hamilton, Miguel Cabrera and Robinson Cano. Many would say (and have), the MVP should go to a player on a playoff team. Like the Cy Young, I say no. Again, I bring up Steve Carlton. The year he won 27, the Phillies were going nowhere, but I daresay there was no more deserving of the award than Carlton, who had a season for the ages.
With that said, I say you can’t discount Cabrera, especially since the Tigers’ injury issues which led to their demise were nothing he could control.
Robinson Cano has had an outstanding season for the Yankees, but I think his stock goes down because of the team surrounding him. Which brings us to the man whose jersey I own, Josh Hamilton.
Like Carlton, Hamilton is having a season for the ages this year, but he’s missed the last dozen games to injury and could miss at least another week, if not the rest of the regular season. Here’s where winning does matter: the Rangers ripped off a seven game win streak without Hamilton. To me, the more the Rangers win without him, the lower Hamilton’s chances are to win the MVP. If I had to say right now, I’d say that 7-game streak helps Cabrera’s cause big time. I’d love Josh to win it. I just don’t think he’s going to.