Monday, October 8, 2012

Why is the Triple Crown so damn cool?

by Keaton Cory

Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown has now sunk in to me.  The brodacious t-shirts are printed.  We will see those shirts worn by diehard Tigers fans for years. That is the kind of shirt my future unborn children would be stoked to find in a box that was lost and forgotten in my future basement.

I’ve read a handful of "The Triple Crown is Nonsense" type articles recently. I disagree. There’s so much sense in the Triple Crown. I love it and think it is one of the coolest accomplishments in the game. There is the distinct possibility that we never see this feat happen in our lifetimes again.

Brian Kenny’s “nonsense” article lays out a well-researched and thoughtful argument, though the headline is a bit of a reach because Kenny says he loves the place the Triple Crown has in baseball history. If something has a meaningful place in baseball history, it cannot be nonsense.

One argument is that batting average, home runs and runs batted in are a silly grouping of three stats. Why are these clearly flawed and seemingly random numbers the ones we choose to measure offensive greatness? We have the power to pick three other stats that tell the story better.

Personally, I love these three stats together. AVG, HR and RBI are the headline to a monster offensive season. They grab your attention by screaming “Hey! This guy just had a gargantuan year at the plate!” We will never see a fluky Triple Crown winner. If someone leads the league in those three categories there is no doubt that this guy was one of the best in the league that season.

The Triple Crown is won with help from your teammates, skill and a little luck. When you combine those three ingredients just right during the six-month season, the summer becomes special.

The sabermetrics and more complex stats are the details to the story of Miggy’s 2012. They tell you why he was such a bro king at the plate.

The Triple Crown stats are an effective headline because they cut through all of the bull and tell you about Miggy’s production. Plain and simple, I know that he mashed 44 dingers and I know that Cabrera is directly responsible for 139 of the runs that the Tigers scored this season. I do not care how he drove those runs in. Once you have reached the big leagues, wins jump to your number one priority. When you are climbing the ladder of the minor leagues, winning is cool but priority #1 is player development.

If I am a Tigers fan the most important thing to me is that Detroit scores more runs than the other team. Whether Cabrera hits a tape measure bomb or taps a little swinging bunt that goes 14 feet to drive in Austin Jackson from third, I am going to be up and cheering regardless. I cheer for production.

We celebrate the Triple Crown like we celebrate when someone hits for the cycle, goes 6-for-6 or tosses a perfect game. It is a wonderful accomplishment that feels special.

Unfortunately for Tigers fans, the Triple Crown does not guarantee the MVP award just like throwing a perfect game does not make you a shoe-in for the Cy Young.

When we look back at this year in the history books one of the first talking points of Mike Trout’s 2012 MVP campaign will be… “He was so good that year that he beat out Miggy for the MVP even though Cabrera got the Triple Crown that season.”

Because all Triple Crown discussions lead to AL MVP arguments, I think Mike was the most VALUABLE player this season and I think the voters will see that.

For the record though, the Triple Crown is wayyyy cooler than the MVP and I would, beyond all doubt, trade an MVP for a Triple Crown.

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