Thursday, October 4, 2012

C.A.: 2011 Topps Heritage Miguel Cabrera All-Star

(So, the Dodgers have reached the off-season. I think you could say it was a decent year for my team. I never expected them to be in contention until the second-to-last day of the season, and there's a lot more optimism in store for 2013 than there was for 2012. Not much to complain about really. Other than having to root against some awful teams in the playoffs. So let's turn to cardboard. This is the 161st in a series):

There is a particular cliche that baseball people love to use.

Here it is:

"That's one thing about baseball. You always see something you've never seen before."

Every time I hear that tired, old quote repeated cheerfully by some manager or broadcaster as if it's the first time anyone has ever uttered it, I think, "you could say the same thing about any damn ritual that has ever been devised by man."

If cooking or walking or shopping or exercising or playing with your kids or riding the bus or going to the bathroom or ANYTHING was ever analyzed half as much as baseball was analyzed, everyone would know, that baseball is nothing special in this area. Very little turns out the exact same way each and every time, not when it's dissected to death on a daily and nightly basis, as is the sport we all love.

So, knowing that, when something happens that I've truly never seen before, I sit up and take notice. Now, that ... that, I KNOW I've never seen before.

The last time someone won the triple crown in baseball I was learning how to walk up stairs. In other words, I was 2 years old. This is a huge deal that Miguel Cabrera accomplished last night.

As everyone knows by now, Cabrera became the 15th player to win the triple crown and the first since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. It's staggering to me, just because I lived during a time when you would start every season hoping that someone would hit .400 or win the triple crown. And it never happened.

As a youngster, I would check the boxscores every day and the running list of averages every weekend to see whether anyone still had a shot at either of those achievements. Usually around May, my hopes for a .400 hitter would disappear. The triple crown took a little more deciphering, but I'd realize that there would be no chance -- again -- at around the same time.

As the years passed, I just stopped paying attention. There was no way anyone would win a triple crown again. Nobody was going to win 30 games. It just didn't happen anymore. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I never even took Cabrera's bid seriously. "Yeah, right," my dismissive brain would say. "Like that's ever going to happen."

Now it has.

My hope now is that every fan enjoys this milestone for what it is -- an achievement that apparently is a once-in-a-lifetime deal now. I hope that Miguel Cabrera cards are now more valuable and his "hit cards," which were once treated as "(*sigh*) another Cabrera relic," will now be appreciated. He is really an unapproachable talent who doesn't get the attention that some less talented players do.

But I fear some people are too caught up in whether he will or won't win the MVP award. Whether he deserves it. Or whether Mike Trout -- who also just completed an amazing regular season -- deserves it. All that excess analysis, again.

Listen, I don't care. There is no wrong answer. To people who say, "how can you vote against a triple crown winner?" there's always the fact that Ted Williams won the triple crown twice and didn't win the MVP either of those years. And to those who say, "how can you vote against possibly the greatest rookie year of all-time?" there's always "dude, 44 homers and a 1.002 OPS."

Either one is fine by me.

If I HAD to choose -- and I don't -- I'd probably pick Cabrera, just because I have more than 40 years of stock in home runs, RBIs and batting average. I know there are new, better numbers and I try to keep up, following all the appropriate stat sites. But you have to keep in mind that it's still MATH and math has and always will put me to sleep. I was very good in it in school. Very good. And I still wanted to fall on the floor and moan every time it was time for math class.

But I'm not going to say Trout doesn't deserve it.

And I'm not going to say Cabrera doesn't deserve it.

And, good gosh, I'm not going to say, "golly gee, let's make it a tie." I HATED it when Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell shared the award in 1979.

Just pick a winner -- one winner -- and be fine with it. Just be happy. Please? Be happy.

I already am.


  1. My money was on Trout until last night, but now I'm not sure. I have gone back and forth in my mind and finally made up my mind in regards to the BBBWARAOAAE voting. Cabrera gets my #1 spot, Trout #2. But had another player overtaken Miggy in HR or RBI, I would have flip-flopped them on my list.

    JT, The Writer's Journey

  2. I say neither, both the Tigers and Angels underachieved.

    Now picking between Yoenis Cepedes and A.J. Pierzynski for MVP could be hard.

    That's why my vote goes to Robinson Cano. Maybe. I'll decide by the end of the week.

  3. I'm okay with either. I don't like when they decide a pitcher should get it, especially one that only appears in about 35 games.