Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Make the MLB MVP More Valuable

The process to determine a Heisman Trophy winner is flawed. It'd be nice if the winner need only be the very best football player in the country, but that's not the way it works.  Really, the winner needs to 1) be on one of the very best teams in the country, and 2) have a vast amount of hype at his back.

It doesn't help that the Trophy is awarded before the bowl season is played, allowing the Heisman Trophy winner to fall on his face in the biggest game of the year (see: Jason White, 2003; Troy Smith, 2006) and thus devalue the award's significance.

But it's still a more meaningful award than Major League Baseball's Most Valuable Player.  So are the NBA's Most Valuable Player award, the NFL's Most Valuable Player award and the NHL's Hart Trophy, given to the player judged to be most valuable to his team.

As a matter of fact, all of MLB's postseason awards feel trivial when compared to the other sports. Whatever MVP argument or controversy is stirred up, it is amongst the fanatics and scribes attached to the game, never amongst casual fans.

Why?

Because the awards are all split.

National League Rookie of the Year. American League ROY.
National League Cy Young. American League Cy Young.
National League MVP. American League MVP.

Want to drive up the interest in baseball once the season has ended? Make super-awards. Get people arguing about who was the better pitcher, Zack Greinke or any NL'er. Who was the better player, Joe Mauer or Albert Pujols?

Hey, you could keep separate league MVP awards for "valuable" guys (whatever your definition may be) and create an overriding Willie Mays Award for Best Player of the Season, regardless of league.

Then announce all the awards at once in a formal presentation on one of the large sports networks. Bring all the top candidates and turn it into a Heisman Trophy sort of presentation.

With a suited Mauer and Pujols sitting next to each other in the front row and, say, Cal Ripken opening up the envelope and declaring the 2009 Mays Award Winner, I know I wouldn't be the only one watching.

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