A week ago, Eddie Money cashed in one of his tickets to paradise, leaving this world still awash in his hits. Seventy years old, he recently received a cancer diagnosis. The Brooklyn-born former cop-in-training developed a habit of kicking off his tours at the old Pine Knob outside of Detroit and previously ingratiated himself into Bill Graham’s Bay-Area scene, even joining the post-Janis-Joplin lineup of Big Brother and the Holding Company for a time. It was a recording of a live performance of a lesser-known tune on a Graham-coordinated date at San Francisco’s famous Winterland Ballroom that really hooked me, and it is this week’s Jam:
Kate Upton had a point. Her math is off, her facts are off, but she had a point.
Sorry, Kate, no writer should be fired for failing to vote for your fiance, Justin Verlander, for the American League Cy Young Award.
But, with all due respect to the Baseball Writers Association of America — of which I am a proud member — the omission of Verlander from the ballot by both Tampa Bay voters is indeed an indication that we can do a better job choosing the voters for our awards.
Judging voters too harshly is a slippery slope: I vehemently oppose penalizing anyone for holding an unpopular or even mistaken opinion. At the same time, it is the obligation of every voter to develop a sound rationale for his or her choices. Different answers are acceptable; it’s the process that matters.
The Tampa Bay voters, Bill Chastain of MLB.com and Fred Goodall of the Associated Press, cannot be held solely responsible for Verlander’s second-place finish, despite what Upton said in her epic Twitter rant Wednesday night. Verlander would have needed third-place votes or better from both to overcome Porcello – and seven other writers placed him fourth or fifth.
Chastain told the New York Daily News that he submitted his ballot with about a week left in the regular season; a curious choice, to say the least, when Verlander’s Tigers were still fighting for a playoff berth. Goodall, one of several AP writers who vote for BBWAA awards, does not solely cover baseball; he reports on a variety of sports in the Tampa Bay area.
Ultimately, though, each writer needs to take responsibility; if you are not prepared to engage in or capable of the necessary analysis, then don’t accept the ballot. Chastain and Goodall did not make indefensible choices — Chastain went Porcello-Britton-Kluber-Sale-Masahiro Tanaka; Goodall went Porcello-Kluber-J.A. Happ-Britton-Aaron Sanchez. But the complete exclusion of Verlander by both makes little sense.
Votes are subjective, differences of opinion expected. But the BBWAA has a responsibility, too — a responsibility to make sure that we select the most qualified voters, the best of the best, to get the optimal result.
A person familiar with the situation says New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes has a Lisfranc injury to his left foot, meaning the team’s struggling offense probably will be without its top playmaker for the rest of the season.
Holmes went down on the first play of the fourth quarter of the Jets’ 34-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday after catching a pass. X-rays on the foot were negative, but subsequent MRI exam results were sent to a foot specialist in North Carolina. The Jets’ fears were then confirmed, according to the person who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday night because the team had not announced the severity of the injury.
There’s little argument that Holmes’ departure seals the fate of a team already showing signs of being dead in the water. With their current 2-2 record, the Jets can’t be historically bad, but there’s absolutely nothing keeping them from being epically bad, and they’ve taken more than a few bounding steps down that path. The problem is that the pump arguably was primed for that destiny before the season began, before Revis and Holmes got injured, before Sanchez and Tebow gave us evidence of their stunted development as professionals, before Cromartie donned 2011 Holmes’ locker-room-killing mantle. Now we’ll never know for sure whether this Jets team, fully healthy, still would have been capable of the type of losing they’re in for. Not only does Holmes’ season-ending injury leave us irretrievably in this alternate-1985 reality, though. The real lament is that history will note the injury as an explanation, a rationalization, even a partial justification of what is sure to be a disastrous Jets season when these Jets were capable of such beautiful losing all along.
What I don’t understand is why the writers bother to rank a team that cannot appear in the postseason. If they are competitive and compelling despite their NCAA-imposed sanctions, I don’t have any problem with sports networks covering their games, but why rank them? What if they were number one? The AP wouldn’t name a team its national champion if they didn’t play in a bowl game, to say nothing of the BCS national championship game, so why do they rank a team at all that is guaranteed not to play in any bowl whatsoever?
The purpose of a ranking system, it would seem, is to determine which team is the best. If a rule prohibits a team from winning the championship, what’s the point of including it in the ranking system?