Michael Young swung

He struck out.

The video showed it.

Instead they had to strike him out AGAIN and he hit a three run homer to break a playoff game wide open and possibly sink the Rays.

Now were the Rays winning this game if Young struck out?
We don’t know.

But we DO know is they unraveled after they were denied the strike out they earned.

Remind me why Qualls needed to get FOUR strikes again?

Oh yeah… the HUMAN element.

(We are setting up for a disastrous Denkinger-esque call this post season… some critical game will be turned on a bad call… if only we had the technology to FIX that.)

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Was it REALLY necessary to end a game like that?

A thrilling game was played today with post season implications in Minnesota.
The Rangers and the Twins are both fighting for home field advantage in the Division Series (which might be huge in trying to upset either the Yankees or the Rays in the first round.)

The Twins were going for the sweep… the Rangers were rallying in the 9th.
It is everything that you want in a meaningful September Labor Day weekend baseball game.

So what are people going to talk about?

The fact that Michael Young’s hand briefly touched third base coach Dave Anderson’s hand as he rounded third as the potential tying run.

Interference. Third Out. End of Game.

I mean I know that technically the brushing of hands isn’t allowed, but shouldn’t there be the equivalent of the swallowing of a whistle at this point in a game? In a big game in the 9th inning with 2 outs… shouldn’t the ump come over to Anderson after the play and say “Watch out. You touched him as he rounded the bases. Next time I’ll call that”?

Did the brushing of hands REALLY help Michael Young or affect the play in any way shape or form. It’s not like he was Forrest Gump picking up Bubba and Lt. Dan from the Vietnam gunfire. Their hands brushed in a wild and nutty 9th inning.

Seriously, Alfonso Marquez, was it REALLY necessary to END a game like this… the last meeting of these two in the regular season, on a ticky tack call?

Now I know I am going to get people writing in saying “A rule is a rule and it needs to be enforced at all times.”

I remember when I got on Bob Davidson for ejecting John Lackey in 2009 for what I thought was a ticky tack and garbled reason, I got people writing saying that rules need to be enforced no matter what the situation is.

Seriously… why?
In other sports you see the refs let the players play the game. You try not to have games decided on a cheap hand check or a cheap penalty to cause an overtime powerplay.

If Texas finish a game behind the Twins at the end of their regular season, I am sure it will be a great comfort to Rangers fans to know they are starting the playoffs on the road because Michael Young’s hand briefly touched Dave Anderson’s.

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Who the hell is the American League MVP this year?

Tomorrow it will be late August, and the NL MVP is all but sewn up.

Albert Pujols leads the league in homers, is second in RBI, 4th in batting average, has the leagues highest on base percentage and in slugging percentage. And you don’t need to be a sabermatrician to know that means he leads the league in OPS. And he has done all of this without protection the first half of the season and has the Cardinals with the biggest lead in the NL.

No matter what your criteria is, Albert is the man.

Now the AL is a little trickier.

There is no cut and dry candidate running away with it like Albert… so with a little more than a month to go, let’s figure out who the candidates are based on the different criteria.

The “I like Average, Homers, RBI” candidate is


He’s batting .334 with 24 homers and 72 RBI for the first place Tigers. And Cabrera is doing it all with Magglio Ordonez struggling.
I originally had Justin Morneau here, but he might be missing some time with that ear infection thingee and no doubt Cabrera will pass his power numbers.
The “OPS and VORP make it a scientific process” candidate is

He could set the highest batting average ever for a big league catcher. But forget batting average. He has the highest OPS in the league as well. And according to Baseball Prospectus, he is the only American Leaguer in the top 6 of VORP.
Now I still have no clue how VORP is or how it is calculated… but it sounds impressive.
Granted Mauer missed the first month of the season and the Twins are fading fast… but that evidently isn’t calculated into VORP. Or maybe it is. I am confused.

The “Hey, he’s never won it before and this is as good a chance as any” candidate is

For all the talk of New York bias in the press, it is amazing to think that Jeter has never won it. He was robbed in 2006 by Twins first baseman Justin Morneau (who after Joe Mauer and Johan Santana was only the 3rd most valuable player on his own team.)
Jeter’s average is up, he is a lock to hit 20 homers for the first time since 2004 and the Yankees are the best team in baseball.
That has to reflect well on the Captain!
The “When he heated up the team heated up” candidate is

On May 12, Teixeira was hitting .191 with an OPS of .747.
The Yankees had a losing record and were 6 1/2 game behind Toronto.

Since then his batting average is up to .283. His OPS is .934. He is among the leaders in homers and RBI.
And oh yeah… the Yankees are 60-28 since then.

Granted that was also around the time A-Rod came back, but there is no way A-Rod is winning it this year.

The “Who would have guessed this team would be contending” candidate is

He moved to third to make room for Elvis Andrus. And along the way is batting .320 with a .900 OPS. And the 5 time All Star has the Rangers as of this writing tied for a playoff spot in mid August. I bet you didn’t see THAT coming!
The “I don’t care if they aren’t every day players” candidate is
Yeah I’ll say it… Rivera is having an MVP caliber season as a closer.
He should have won the Cy Young AND the MVP in 2005. But there are still nitwits out there who believe the following three things:
1. A Pitcher can not be more important than an every day player.
2. The Closer position is easy and can be filled by anyone
3. Mariano Rivera is overrated
The Yankees have put Rivera into 36 save opportunities and save for the Jason Bay homer, he has converted them all. His ERA is sub 2.00. His WHIP is sub 1.00 and his BAA is around .200.
And he has 57 strikeouts in 51 innings and have walked only 8 all year.
I think Papelbon walked 8 YESTERDAY!
So chances are the MVP will come from this crop of players.
And before anyone can accuse me of being such a Red Sox homer that I can never tip my cap to the Yankees, please note… I have 3, count em, THREE Yankees as MVP candidates and zero Red Sox.
I don’t have a vote. But I should.

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