Stephen A. Smith, Mr. Quite Frankly himself, is apparently still slumming it in the newspaper business every now and then. To comment on Stephen’s latest piece, we’ve invited a very special guest blogger to join us here at FJM. Please welcome Stephen’s polar opposite, Dr. Frank Quietly.
Dr. Frank Quietly: … (quietly) Hello. (gently sips a cup of chamomile tea)
Dr. Frank, as is his wont, is going to offer reasonable opinions about reasonable things at a reasonable volume. His thoughts will appear in a normal, reasonable typeface, Stephen A. Smith’s in bold.Stephen A. Smith | Only one clear choice for National League MVP
Stephen, I respect your opinion, but I’m afraid I’m already going to have to disagree with you here. There are at least two legitimate candidates for the NL MVP, with the most qualified probably being Albert Pujols.We don't know much about the Phillies these days, and to tell you the truth, we really shouldn't care. When you lose perpetually, give 101 lessons in the art of public non-relations, keep missing the postseason, and evidently are allergic to progress, it's pretty difficult to ask anyone to stand up and take notice.
If you didn't have Ryan Howard.
It seems you will be endorsing Ryan Howard for the award. I’m open to this. I’m sure you’ll provide a well thought-out rationale for your opinion.Except the Phillies do have Ryan Howard. The same kid who smacked 58 homers, drove in 149 runs, batted .313, and had a .659 slugging percentage.
That’s a good start. These numbers are impressive. Pujols trailed Howard in home runs and RBI but led him in batting average and slugging. Quite a race we have here!He symbolized the only reason fans had for showing their faces around Broad and Pattison during summertime.
All right, Stephen. Interesting. I’m not sure how heavily we should weigh fan appeal, or more specifically Philadelphia fan appeal, in the MVP selection process, but do carry on.Oh, did I mention he should also end up as National League MVP?
To be honest, the title of your article gave me more than a little hint. And oh, by the way, if you wouldn’t mind, the proper sports commentary protocol is to employ “And oh, by the way …”, not “Oh, did I mention …”The result of the voting for the National League's most valuable player is expected tomorrow and, with apologies and respect to Albert Pujols, the vote shouldn't even be close.
I’m only one man, but it strikes me as somewhat disrespectful to Mr. Pujols to say that the vote shouldn’t even be close. He did lead Mr. Howard in WARP3 by the count of 12.9 to 9.4. Your turn, Mr. Smith.Of course, there are naysayers who'll spew otherwise, vociferously pointing out how the league's 2005 MVP still had 49 homers with a better batting average and slugging percentage than Howard - despite missing 15 games in June because of an injury.
Consider this my vociferous spew, then, my dear Stephen! Pujols also led Howard in VORP, 85.4 to 81.5. VORP does not take into account defense, which even the staunchest Howard supporter will admit is not his strongest suit.They'll be the same people I accuse of not paying much attention last season.
I … I don’t understand, Stephen. We are all baseball fans here. No need for personal attacks. A civil discourse is all I ask! (Pujols is also a better baserunner than Howard.)You don't just look at the stat sheets or the box scores to measure the impact of Ryan Howard.
Then where, pray tell, might we look? I must confess I’m growing rather impatient with you.You view the landscape of MLB then ask yourself, "Where did these fans come from?"
Fan appeal? Again? “Landscape” of MLB? These are your MVP criteria? Pujols EqA: .357. Howard EqA: .346.Who are all these people who weren't watching the Phillies before? This franchise hasn't made the postseason since 1993, so why on earth are stadiums packed whenever they come to town?
People interested in a playoff race? Also, were stadiums really packed for the Phillies last year? More importantly, you still haven’t convinced me that this has very much MVP relevance.Where did all the African American fans come from?
Now Albert Pujols has to draw fans of a certain race to compete for the MVP? Good God, Stephen, I don’t mean to shout here, but be reasonable for one second!Why haven't we heard about steroids? Mark McGwire? Barry Bonds?
Apologies to Mrs. Quietly and those with delicate sensibilities, but WHERE THE FUCK HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING? People were still talking about steroids all year – how the new policy would affect home run rates, the Roger Clemens rumors, even Kenny Rogers’ (re?)surgence. And ESPN was running a Bonds HR count on their ticker all year. People talked about Bonds a little less because he was no longer OPSing 3.000.The answer would be because there's no need. Because Howard is the real deal. He's the modern-day athlete major-league baseball was starving for.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Ahem. Sorry. FUCK. Stay calm., Quietly. Reasonable. Serene. Ryan Howard saved baseball?!? He’s like the fiftieth most famous guy in the league! According to Quite Frankly over here, he single-handedly stopped people from even thinking about steroids. How is that possible when Mark McGwire is still four hundred times more famous than he is?"I care about winning," Howard told me several weeks ago, right before he left town to smack homers all over Japan. "I care about winning and doing it the way it's supposed to be done. Everyone wants to get paid, to be successful. But sometimes it's as much about how you do things as well as what you do. I know that. I'm aware of that."
The same can be said of Pujols, who is as big-time as they come.
So even you admit there was no point to that quote.The St. Louis Cardinals would not have sniffed the postseason without him, let alone captured a World Series championship. But the reality is the talent that is Pujols, while fairly unique, is a dime a dozen in the laundry list of Latin talent that has invaded baseball.
There are so many problems with that last sentence even I, Dr. Frank Quietly, can’t let it go. Pujols, while fairly unique, is a dime a dozen? “Dime a dozen in the laundry list” is an amazing two clichés in seven words. Invaded? Invaded? Jesus, that’s negative. What if someone wrote that African-Americans invaded the NBA? That would sound terrible. Albert Pujols led Ryan Howard in WPA, 9.24 to 8.20.When you think of Pujols, you also think of Manny Ramirez and David "Big Papi" Ortiz or Alex Rodriguez.
What? What?! What in the -- ? I’m sorry. (Goes to get a drink of water. Paces around a bit. Pets a friendly dog. More water. Sits in an easy chair. Smokes a cigarette. Another cig.) Okay, I’m back. When you think of Pujols, you think of Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, and/or Alex Rodriguez? What kind of statement is that? Because they all speak Spanish, you lump them all together? A-Rod, by the way, was born in the United States, just like Ryan Howard. When I think of Albert Pujols, I think of Chris Carpenter and Scott Rolen, because they’re his teammates. Or I think of Derrek Lee, because in 2005 they both hit for crazy average and crazy power, which is pretty unusual. I certainly don’t think of fucking A-Rod.They play great baseball, but that's it.
Yes, David Ortiz plays great baseball and that’s it. No one’s ever talked about David Ortiz’s personality. He has no charisma whatsoever. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him smile. What a lifeless Spanish-speaking fuck, just like Alex Cintron, another Latino-or-whatever man who plays baseball. (Hey, Stephen A. Smith, this is Dr. Frank Quietly, and I’m being a fucking sarcastic asshole because of you. I hope you’re happy.)
In Howard's case, not only has he performed, he's single-handedly transformed the focus of a sport, forcing baseball - and possibly the rest of us - to take a closer look at potential African American prospects perhaps through something more than Reviving Baseball in the Inner City (RBI) programs.
Look, Ryan Howard had a great year. Is it possible – possible – that you might admit that what you wrote here is hyperbole, Stephen?
Held back - some might say hidden - by the Phillies for far too long, Howard has burst onto the scene in less than two years in the majors. And he's done it with a Magic Johnson-like smile despite the Phillies' unwillingness to show him some money and his being surrounded by limited, wannabe talent.
The Phillies hated and discriminated against Ryan Howard so much they traded away Jim Thome to make room for him. Ryan Howard has had to play in a lineup surrounded by no-talents like Chase Utley, Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell. Ryan Howard, FRAR: -4. Albert Pujols, FRAR: 28.Meanwhile, we'll pray they get rid of Pat Burrell and his $27 million over the next two years for a leftfielder who actually looks interested in playing 150 to 162 games a year.
Funny you should mention him. Burrell, 2005: 154 games played. Burrell, 2006: 144 games played.In the meantime, there's Howard, who ranked either first or second in homers, RBIs and slugging percentage. He's given Phillies fans a reason to hope for a change.
Yes, you made note of his home runs, RBI, and slugging percentage already.Numbers are being retired all the time. Baseball prides itself on setting precedents while maintaining tradition.
Honestly. I mean – Jesus. What in the fucking bloody vag does a sentence like “Numbers are being retired all the time” have to do with Ryan Howard for MVP? (Ed. note: Please excuse Dr. Frank Quietly’s vulgarity. Dr. Frank Quietly’s words do not reflect the sensibilities of the editors of Fire Joe Morgan.)Awarding a difference maker on the field - and in the community at large - has always been baseball's version of a home run.
Huh. I always thought that baseball’s version of a home run is the motherfucking home run itself
.Pujols deservedly got his recognition last year.
It's Howard's time now.
It doesn’t matter who won last year. To recap:Pujols WARP3: 12.9
Howard WARP3: 9.4Pujols VORP: 85.4
Howard VORP: 81.5Pujols EqA: .357
Howard EqA: .346Pujols FRAR: 28
Howard FRAR: -4Pujols WPA: 9.24
Howard WPA: 8.20
Pujols Number of Times Single-Handedly Saved Game of Baseball: 0Howard Number of Times Single-Handedly Saved Game of Baseball: 1
I’m not really that angry that Ryan Howard won the MVP. He had a legitimately wonderful season, and after all, it’s just the MVP, so who cares? In the grand scheme of things, there are a lot of far better reasons to become extremely angry. Like Stephen A. Smith.
Labels: albert pujols, frank quietly, mvp, ryan howard, stephen a. smith