So I’m an intern at Fox Sports Radio and tonight was my first night. I was happily surprised when I and my friend Ethan got to jump on the radio and talk baseball for a segment (roughly twenty minutes). We got on the topic of Albert Pujols and how he may or may not come to the Cubs. That, of course, lead to the Adam Dunn signing and the one host, John Popovich, said “There’s no way Adam Dunn will hit forty homers this year.” Even though I smiled and disagreed, this got the back of my mind working.
There is no denying the fact that my strongest love, more than anything in this world, is for baseball. Writing about it, watching it, listening to it — anything that has to do with America’s greatest sport, I’m going be involved with. One of my favorite times of the year is when they hand out the awards after the playoffs.
Me and my best friend would argue for hours on end during the season on who we think deserves to win before we even get to arguing about who will win. One of the strongest candidates, in my mind, for the Most Valuable Player award in the American League is, without a doubt, Carlos Quentin.
Being the extreme Chicago White Sox fan that I am, I know it’s probably the most obvious choice, but I’m not only a White Sox fan — I’m a baseball fan in general.
The reason I would fight for Quentin to win the MVP award is because of what he did for the team over the course of our 163 game season, even though his temper got the best of him and he was out for the last quarter of the year. Hitting a team high 36 home runs and driving in exactly 100 runs, while missing 33 games is quite the admirable feat! Think of what he had been able to do, had he not slammed his wrist and broken it! He was well on his way to a good 120 driven in and possibly 45 home runs before the end of the year!
Sitting on the bench watching his team win three games in a row against three different teams (the first time in MLB history) will drive you mad any day. He sat it out, though, like a true sport and watched his team continue to the American League Division Series. His consistent performance, the opposite of what I often talk about on this blog, is something you should look for in an MVP. His defense was always up-to-par, he had an uncanny knack at making base coaches double-take at his extraordinary rocket launcher for an arm. “LEGO Hair” was a good teammate on the bench, even at his young age, and should be highlighted as one of the front runners for this award.
Another player I have in mind, though it pains me to an unimaginable depth to mention him, would be Justin Morneau. The man is a workhorse to the absolute pinnacle of the definition. He, like Quentin, played his butt off every day and was consistently doing his part to help the Minnesota Twins win each and every game he participated in. Though his team came down to the final game and eventually lost, this amazing player deserves to be noticed by a person who hates the Twins as much as I do.
Francisco Rodriguez. The man who broke a record that not only shows the ability to close out a game, but also shows the stamina of a pitcher. K-Rod saved 62 games for Los Angeles last season, possibly the most impressive performance I’ve seen since becoming a regular fan in 2003.
The Boston Red Sox have a pesky little second baseman who is about as professional as one is going to get. Dustin Pedrioa is a slap hitter who can put the ball where no one can get it then capitolize on it and advance an extra base, if needed. His defense is also the best you’re going to get from an American League second baseman by a name other than Alexei Ramirez.
Then finally, there’s the Comeback Kid: Josh Hamilton. The Spiritual battle’s this guy fought, overcoming drug addiction to return to Major League Baseball and eventually set the record in the home run derby, is strictly amazing! Hamilton hit 32 home runs and drove in 130 base runners while hitting for an average of .304! I can guarantee you with 100% confidence that nobody at the beginning of the year foresaw this aweinspiring return to the majors.
I feel comfortable locking in the obvious Carlos Quentin as my official prediction. I observed his maturation over the year, coming into his own in the power column around mid-May, and it was unbelievable how quickly he adjusted from Arizona to Chicago. Though it didn’t happen immediatley, he was clearly evolving as a player and was an absolute joy to watch since opening day.
Best of luck to all who are in the competition, and may Carlos Quentin bring home the gold next week!