A-Rod deserves MVP nod

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

You'll never see him with Sandra Bullock, with the lead role in Mr. and Mrs. Congeniality.

With the Texas Rangers he would make dinner plans with a teammate after a day game and then not show, not even call, if a better offer came along.

He once was called the most disingenuous person ever to play for the Seattle Mariners.

And today, he should be called the American League Most Valuable Player award winner.

That's Alex Rodriguez.

There are two divided camps in the MVP voting, separated in their beliefs by a wider gap than the Republicans and the Democrats or even the Liberals and the Conservatives.

In one corner, wearing red, is Boston Red Sox DH/slugger/masher David Ortiz.

In the other corner, wearing pinstripes, is Rodriguez, the New York Yankees third baseman.

Ortiz hit .300, hit more homers than Rodriguez, hit .352 with runners in scoring position and tied for the AL lead in home runs after the sixth inning.

Rodriguez bested Ortiz in batting average, homers, total bases, stolen bases, runs scored and had both a higher on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

They both hit 19 home runs that either tied a game or put their team ahead.

Check all the statistics. Double check them. But the bottom line is that one is an apple and the other is an orange.

Rodriguez is smooth and shiny, polished. Complete.

Ortiz squashes fastballs, hanging sliders and mistake curve balls the way oranges are individually squeezed for Donald Trump's morning breakfast.

The similarity and comparing of productive hitters ends there. Rodriguez is a Gold Glove third baseman, playing in all 162 games, while Ortiz played all of 10 games -- 78 innings -- in the field.

In most games we go to both teams are required to get 27 outs, barring extras. Rodriguez saved runs for Yankee pitchers with his 406 put-outs and assists. Ortiz had just 80 fielding chances.

We're not anti-DH, as some voters are. Not after watching Paul Molitor with the 1993 Blue Jays. However, if a DH is going to win over a position player, he has to win by a wide margin.

Ortiz doesn't do that.

A position player hasn't won the MVP without playing 97 games in the field. Boston's Jim Rice won in 1978 with 114 games in the outfield and 49 as the DH, while Don Baylor of the 1979 Angels had 97 games in the outfield and 65 at DH.

Molitor finished second to MVP Frank Thomas of the Chicago White Sox. Molitor was the DH for 137 games and played first base for 23 games.

"I didn't expect to finish that high being mostly a DH," said Molitor, who spent much of his Hall of Fame career as a designated hitter.

With two weeks remaining in this past season, Molitor admitted that the DH role, "gets undervalued, and that's justified.

"You can be a leader, but you're not making any great plays to save your team a run," Molitor said. "You almost have to overcompensate for that missing link. I think Ortiz has done it. A lot will depend on the final two weeks and who wins."

Both teams won 95 games with the Yanks taking the AL East and Boston winning the AL wild-card berth.

Rodriguez, the game's highest-paid player, never has made the World Series, although he was on the field when the Latin American legends team was honoured last month. And we think we spotted him on the World Series of Celebrity Poker.

And today he should be posing with an MVP trophy.


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