Kate Upton has a point: Writers must do better with baseball awards voting (via Fox Sports)

111716-mlb-tigers-verlander-upton-pi-vadapt-980-high-75Kate 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.

If we fail to do that, shame on us. … Read More

(via Fox Sports)



Upton Abbey – Episode 8 – Director’s Commentary

upton abbey banner

I have been running this Upton Abbey feature on this site since April. Brendan helped me with the name, and I created the headline graphic that has accompanied each post. Readers with a careful eye have noticed that that graphic includes B.J., Justin, and Kate Upton.

The folks at Sports Illustrated are dedicated fans of this series, and they’re using the cover of next week’s issue to acknowledge ALDLAND’s influence on their work:

While the SI editors have not expressly acknowledged this site by name, I did begin receiving free copies of the magazine in the mail a few weeks ago, which is good enough for me.


The Braves begin the playoffs tomorrow night, when they host the first game of their divisional series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. L.A. had a great second half to their season, while the Braves spent September looking to regain their rhythm. Another thing they spent September doing was vigorously enforcing baseball’s “unwritten rules.” Brian McCann and Chris Johnson took the lead on this Quixotic initiative, and Braves fans certainly have to hope that their team can drop what is less than a non-issue and return their focus to the task at hand. The Dodgers look to be in a good spot right now, and late-September’s Braves will have a hard time beating them.


Episode 7 – Dessert Seized
Episode 6 – I Can See Clearly Now?
Episode 5 – Guess Who’s Not Coming To Dinner
Episode 4 – A Three-Course Meal
Episode 3 – Hosting Royalty
Episode 2 – Lords of the Mannor
Episode 1 – Beginning, as we must, with Chipper

Why does ESPN hate Detroit?

I’ve written before about Detroit’s “inferiority/superiority complex, and one of the ways that manifests itself is in Detroiters’ (and Michiganders’) belief that national media sources ignore or marginalize them.

The reality is that it’s a big country and there’s plenty happening all over the place to fill national media broadcasts. People also probably get tired of hearing about how life is tough in the Motor City. But ESPN’s emphasis on the coastal cities, especially New York and Boston, whether things are good, bad, or uninteresting there, feels like it belies the notion that the Worldwide Leader is looking to spread its coverage evenly and objectively. There’s probably somebody who’s spent too much time next to the Belle Isle salt lick with a scientific analysis of the network’s Motown slights. Thankfully I don’t have anything like that (heck, I don’t even have a television– am I qualified to write this post? any post for this website?), but I do have a lifetime of accumulated, small experiences, little things that build up over the years like plaque, arterial blockage, uric acid, or whatever early middle age male medical condition the target sports audience has, as determined by the concordant commercial advertisers.

I’m not talking about being accustomed to only seeing the Lions on other teams’ highlight reels— that’s just a bad team making the film editors’ jobs easy. It’s things like the ESPN Radio “SportsCenter” segments on their morning show, Mike & Mike, always starting with the Yankees or Red Sox game and frequently omitting the Tigers’ score from the night before. And stuff like this, from two nights ago:

These are small things. Petty things. Sometimes undefinable things. But they’re real things, at least insofar as they’re experienced, or perceived to have been experienced. When things are bad, Detroiters want the attention to validate their sorrow. (That’s why I wanted the Tigers to lose 120 in 2003. At least the record books would have to bear witness to that misery.) When the supercharged Tigers got off to a disappointing start this season, was Jim Leyland “on the hot seat,” from a national perspective? No way. Bobby Valentine? Almost immediately.

Anyway, trotting out all these examples would be an unenjoyable exercise for me and unenjoyable reading for you. It’s about getting your fair attention for bad times and good. And times are pretty good right now. Justin Verlander won the Cy Young and the MVP in the same season last year! He got shelled as the All-Star game starter last night, but he’s dating Kate Upton! Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in baseball! Calvin Johnson is the best receiver in football! (And ESPN’s Chris Carter can’t acknowledge that?)

Alright, enough.