How They See It: St. Louis NL MVP Voters Guilty of Favoritism?

The recent hate-fest between some of the internet’s typing heads and those darn, pesky St. Louis Cardinals (who apparently just win too darn much, darn it) rages on.

First there was Deadspin’s Drew Magary and his passionate, yet eloquent dictum entitled: Why Your Cardinals Suck. Gosh, I don’t know why, but from the title I really thought the Redbirds were going to get a fair shake there. That had to be the most shocking part. Which I guess was the point.

In fact, upon reading Magary’s post, I was so shocked that I curled up in the fetal position in my bedroom closet and cried for two hours. But then I got hungry, made myself a sandwich and somehow found the will to go on. It probably helped that the Cardinals’ playoff game was about to start.

Anyway, The Emperor was no doubt pleased, as the hate continued to flow. Buzzfeed comprised a list of 23 Reasons It’s Perfectly OK To Despise The St. Louis Cardinals.

And one of them wasn’t Cardinal Nation’s inexplicable devotion to DJ Casper (Everybody Clap Your Hands)? What about the general overuse of the phrase “Cardinal Nation” to describe the team’s loyal following? Come on man. At least do your research.

All of a sudden, the Cardinals are the new New York Yankees? The new Evil Empire?

Last time I checked, I don’t remember the Cardinals using small market teams like Kansas City, Pittsburgh and others as de facto minor league affiliates. Feel bad for the Pirates now? Just wait until the Yankees and Red Sox get their hands on some of that sweet, sweet Pirate free agent candy.

Then came last week’s NL MVP vote, the individual ballots of which were made public for the second year in a row. (As opposed to years past, when the ballots were hermetically sealed in a jar, strapped inside a NASA space probe and shot into the sun to destroy the evidence- kind of like how Superman got rid of all the nuclear weapons in Quest for Peace.)

This time, it was accusations of favoritism that went flying. Over the weekend, Bill Baer of HardballTalk charged the Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold and Rick Hummel with being “homers” because they were the only two writers to cast a first place vote for Yadier Molina instead of Andrew McCutchen. Deadspin once again joined the party, and even included a fancy chart to make their case.

It’s really difficult to argue with a fancy chart, especially one that bright and colorful. But take a gander at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Bill Brink’s ballot, and you might notice something interesting.

2013-nl-mvp-ballots(Click to enlarge)

Brink has Molina ninth in the NL MVP race, behind Carlos Gomez, behind Joey Votto, behind Shin Soo Choo. He’s even behind his own teammate, Matt Carpenter.

But wait, there’s more. McCutchen hails from Fort Meade, FL. He signed to play baseball for the Florida Gators before being drafted by the Pirates. So it’s curious that the two writers representing the Marlins, Juan C. Rodriguez and Clark Spencer, voted Molina ninth and tenth, respectively.

At least Goold and Hummel gave McCutchen second and third place votes – not ninth or tenth.

This was an obvious attempt to limit Molina to as few total voting points as possible. Apparently the home team (Pittsburgh) and hometown (Florida) writers were worried the MVP race would be a little closer than it turned out – understandable given that the Cardinals a) won the Central, b) had the best record in the National League, and c) Molina was the club’s unquestionable MVP.

Leaving Molina off the ballot entirely would have been only slightly less ridiculous than voting him ninth and tenth behind lesser players from lesser teams. No other writer had Molina lower than fifth. This is not to say that McCutchen was not deserving. Both men were.

Nice try, nouveau Cardinal haters, but if there was any homering going on in this MVP vote, it was in Pittsburgh and Miami, not St. Louis.