So 2012's great American League MVP debate is finally over and Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera is walking home with the hardware after being placed first on 22 of the 28 ballots. He certainly had a stellar season so it's hard to label Mike Trout's second-place finish as one of the bigger injustices in baseball history.
But if there's any disappointment for those who believe the Los Angeles Angels super rookie should have been named MVP — and I count myself solidly in that crowd — it comes in both the size of Cabrera's victory and his voters largely being unable to offer anything other than a "But, er, uh ... Triple Crown!" rebuttal when a Trout supporter made his or her case.
Also disappointing: A majority of Cabrera's 22 voters did not immediately offer explanations for their votes via Twitter or their outlet's blogs while five of six of the Trout voters did.
I get that some writers may be on well-deserved vacations, but the disparity should not be that big. It's almost as if you can draw a direct correlation between a willingness to connect with readership via social media and an overall acceptance of metrics other than three arbitrary categories that don't fully reflect a player's total value in the year 2012.
Or maybe making a complete case for Cabrera that went past "But, er, uh ... Triple Crown!" would have taken too much effort and time or maybe altogether impossible.
OK, I'm probably getting too catty here and straying far from my original pledge to recognize two great seasons from two great players without trying to discredit one or the other. Without further delay, here are excerpts from the explanations of the 28 votes. Or at least the ones that were available in the 90 minutes after the totals were released. If I missed one, send it my way via Twitter (@KevinKaduk) or email.
Those who voted for Miguel Cabrera
Mark Whicker, Orange County Register: "There are no wrong answers, or losers, here. But there is a distinct choice. Detroit's Cabrera led the AL in home runs, RBI and batting average and thus became the first Triple Crown winner since 1967."
Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle: "In the end, I settled on Cabrera, barely. I based that on his stronger performance down the stretch, helping the Tigers into the playoffs. Yes, Trout's Angels won more games than Detroit, and no, Trout shouldn't be penalized for playing in a stronger division, but at the same time, Cabrera shouldn't be dinged for playing in a weaker one."
Paul White, USA Today: "The 'valuable' factor always sways these discussions, allowing for extra credit to players who helped their teams reach the postseason, or for contemplating how significant the player was to what the team achieved. Cabrera's Tigers made the playoffs — got to the World Series as it turned out, through the voting is completed before the postseason — while Trout's Angels did not.
Bob Dutton, Kansas City Star: "Why Cabrera? The simple answer is I believe the players know more about what players do and mean in terms of value than I do. I talked to a lot of players (not just Royals) and to other reporters who talked to a lot of players -- and the result was overwhelming. They said Cabrera was the MVP and, generally, said it wasn't close."
Daryl Van Schouwen, Chicago Sun-Times: "That is something that seems to have been overlooked in all of the Cabrera/Trout arguments and statistical analysis. Cabrera is a better hitter, a tougher out than Trout. Ask any AL pitcher which poison they'd choose with the game on the line and they will say they'd rather face Trout than Cabrera."
Tom Gage, Detroit News: "By prevailing over Trout, however, Cabrera struck a blow for traditional statistics such as batting average, home runs and runs batted in."
Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News: "I still would have voted for Cabrera if he didn't win the Triple Crown."
John Shipley, St. Paul Pioneer Press: "Little surprised that Cabrera took lion's share of No. 1 votes in #ALMVP race.Correct call, but thought it would be closer w/Trout."
Evan Grant, Dallas Morning News: "For those carping about the BBWAA awards, a quick reminder: They are OUR awards."
Unexplained votes for Miguel Cabrera
Bob Elliott, Toronto Sun
Larry LaRue, Tacoma News Tribune
John Lowe, Detroit Free Press
LaVelle E. Neal III, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Sheldon Ocker, Akron Beacon Journal
Joe Stiglich, Bay Area News Group
Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times
Jeff Wilson, Fort Worth Star-Telgram
Mark Gonzales, Chicago Tribune
Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer
George King, New York Post
Tim Kurkijan, ESPN.com
Mark Zwolinski, Toronto Star
* * *
Those who voted for Mike Trout
Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports: "Trout's own triple crown, despite the lowercase letters, is far more impressive: He was among the five best hitters, fielders and baserunners in a game with about 400 position players on rosters at any given time."
Tim Britton, Providence Journal: "This isn't about desecrating the Triple Crown, which is a remarkable and laudable accomplishment in its own right ... This is about recognizing the uniquely special season Mike Trout had in 2012 — the kind of comprehensively remarkable season that comes along once every long while."
Jim Caple, ESPN.com: "Trout's clear edge in fielding was the tiebreaker. So I voted Trout No. 1, and Cabrera second. I'm still not sure that's the right vote. But I'm not sure it's the wrong vote, either."
Sean McAdam, CSN New England: "If we've learned anything about measuring performance on the field in the last two decades or so, it's this: Baseball is far more than hits and homers and runs knocked in. It's also about preventing runs (in the field) and scoring them, or the very least, getting closer to scoring them (on the bases). Trout did far, far more of both of these things than did Cabrera."
Roger Mooney, Tampa Tribune: "Trout is the better all-around player. Many (players) I talked with mentioned how the Angels were a better team once Trout joined them early in the season."
Unexplained votes for Mike Trout
Joe Haakenson, At-Large