Is there an East Coast Bias in Awards voting?

I’ve been supporting Felix Hernandez as the Cy Young winner
even though I think voters will vote for C. C. Sabathia and his 20 wins (even though King Felix has him beat in every other category.)

But some people, including the good folks at Emerald City Diamond Gems, think that the fact that Sabathia plays in New York will tip the scales his way.

I’ve heard this before… the votes ALWAYS slant towards New York and Boston and to a degree Philadelphia… and stars in the west tend to get ignored come award time.

This is a terrific theory. It sounds correct.
And it is repeated each year by some writer in the west as if it is a fact.

Here’s the problem with that theory:
It’s not true.

Let’s take a large sample of recent awards…

The Joe Torre era in New York.
1996-2007. A 12 year span where the Yankees dominated media coverage, made the playoffs all 12 seasons, won 6 pennants and 4 World Series titles and seemed to have every star in the galaxy.

How many MVPs do you think they had in those 12 years?

2. Both by Alex Rodriguez in years the Yankees did NOT even win the Division Series. (2005 and 2007.)

Do you know what team had as many MVPs as the Yankees during the Torre years?
The Mariners.

In fact what division do you think DOMINATED the AL MVP category during the Joe Torre Yankee years?

I’ll give you a hint… none of the teams played in the Eastern Time Zone.

That would be the AL West, winning 9 straight MVPs from 1996 to 2004.

In those 12 Torre Yankee years, the Texas Rangers won 4 MVPs (Juan Gonzalez in 1996 and 1998, Pudge Rodriguez in 1999 and Alex Rodriguez in 2003.)

The Mariners won a pair (Ken Griffey Jr. in 1997 and Ichiro Suzuki in 2001).

The A’s also won a pair (Jason Giambi in 2000 and Miguel Tejada in 2002.)

And the Angels won one (Vlad Guerrero in 2004.)

In fact it is interesting when you break those awards down how the East Coast bias did NOT work.

When the great shortstop era was played out in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it wasn’t New York’s Derek Jeter nor Boston’s Nomar Garciaparra who won an MVP despite putting up the best numbers of their careers.

A-Rod won his with Texas and Miguel Tejada, arguably the least known of the big shortstops of that era, won his.

And there have been two instances in the past few years where players from the Minnesota Twins, not exactly a media hub for anyone except Ted Baxter, won close MVPs votes over Derek Jeter.

I am going out on a limb to say that Derek Jeter gets more media attention than Justin Morneau or Joe Mauer.

Let’s take a look at the Cy Young voting since the divisions expanded from 4 to 6 (1994 to present.)

With all the great Yankee pitching over the years, how many Cy Youngs do you think have gone the Yankees way?

Out of 16 Cy Youngs handed out, a grand total of one was given to a Yankee in that time.
Roger Clemens in 2001.

Actually Clemens Cy Young was the only Yankee Cy Young since Ron Guidry’s dominating 1978 season.

Yup. The Yankees went through the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s with a grand total of ONE Cy Young Award.

Compare that to Kansas City, who has had 2 Cy Youngs since 1994…
Minnesota has 2…
Cleveland has 2…

Which team has won the most Cy Young Awards in the AL since 1994?

That would be the Toronto Blue Jays with 4…

1 for Pat Hentgen… 1 for Doc Halladay… 2 for Clemens.

And remember Hentgen beat out the Yankees ace Andy Pettitte and Clemens beat out David Wells when he was lights out for the World Champs in 1998?

Now of course there IS an East Bias in coverage.
I wrote about that earlier.

And there’s a reason for that… the most popular teams are on the East Coast and there are more transplanted New Englanders, New Yorkers and Philadelphians than there are transplants from California and Arizona.

I’m a case in point. I live in California and am a rabid Red Sox fan… even though I haven’t lived in Massachusetts since Ronald Reagan was President.

Oh yeah, also the teams in the Northeast have won the last 3 World Series.

But that is media coverage… not awards bias.

So yes… Sabathia could indeed win the Cy Young for an irrational reason.
But that reason is numerical (20 wins) NOT geographical.

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More shuffling in the NL and no doubt some position changing will be happening in the AL soon enough.

It’s amazing to see with all the hard charging done by the Giants and the Rockies that neither would be in if the playoffs started today.

It is still mid September. But after today it will be LATE September… and teams still in the mix need to find one more good run in them… operation “Big Push.”

Let’s see what the match ups would be today.


has home field advantage over
TEXAS RANGERS (AL West Champion)

MINNESOTA TWINS (AL Central Champion)
has home field advantage over


has home field advantage over

CINCINNATI REDS (NL Central Champion)
has home field advantage over

A Reds vs. Braves series? One of those teams would be in the NLCS if the playoffs ended today.
Frankly I can’t imagine an easier road for the Phillies to make it 3 pennants in a row.

And with Cliff Lee dealing, who knows who will come out of the American League.

There’s about 14 games left… I have a hunch this won’t be the final match ups.

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Looks like the Giants picked the wrong week to quit hitting

How tight is this National League West race?
Well the Giants went into Friday night’s game in first place by themselves on route to home field advantage in the Division Series.

If all goes wrong tomorrow, they will end Sunday in third place out of the playoff picture all together.

Once again the Brewers pitchers shut them down as their entire run production for the weekend so far can be listed in this heart stopping exciting play from Saturday:

Bot 5th: San Francisco
– M. Fontenot grounded into fielder’s choice, P. Sandoval scored, C. Ross to third, N. Schierholtz out at second

Highlight reel stuff.
In fact if you take out the 10 run outburst against the dead from the neck up Dodgers on Thursday… the Giants have scored a TOTAL of 3 runs in 4 of their last 5 games.

This is not panic time but they have to find their bats tomorrow night and head off to Chicago.

1 game separates 3 teams with 13 games to play for the Giants.
(Keep in mind the Braves have opened up a 2 game lead and we’re at the point in the season where 2 games actually looks like a lot.)

Barry Zito is on the bump for the Giants… and these days I think Giants fans would have more confidence in Ted Striker.

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