On the ballot, which you should click the link to place your own vote, it says that the award is “given to the top offensive player in each League, will be counted alongside those of a special panel of Hall of Famers. The panel, led by Hank Aaron, includes some of the greatest offensive players of all-time: Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Eddie Murray, Frank Thomas and Robin Yount, all personally chosen by Aaron to help select the winners. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 11. The Awards will be presented during the World Series.”
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Much like previous other voting processes, Major League Baseball is allowing you to vote up to 10 times a day. This technicality means that anyone sitting at home or trying their hardest to avoid their labors at work or school can take the time to vote repeatedly each day until the vote deadline.
Mark Newman of MLB.com reported that “Aaron has always said at the annual award presentations that he considers the criteria not only pure offensive firepower, but also team leadership. As a voter, who’s going to argue with Hammerin’ Hank?”
Slowly, hesitantly, my hand raises.
Hey, it’s his award, so who am I to argue with the man who had the career home run record without an asterisk beside his name? However, maybe MLB executives should then clarify the award’s definition.
When you read the top of the ballot, it doesn’t mention anything about leadership; it simply says that the award goes to the best offensive players of their respective leagues. It sounds awfully similar to the Maurice Richard Award for the best goal scorer in the National Hockey League. That award immediately is known by looking at the goal total at the end of the season.
Offensive numbers and team leadership are completely different things, with completely different attributes to help a team. If they were the same, Phil Kessel would never have been traded from the Boston Bruins to the Toronto Maple Leafs and then to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The man is a natural goalscorer, but leadership is not exactly in his repertoire, hence the fans’ angst against him wherever he plays.
Both categories are deserving of an award, but why do the fans have any say in them? If a hitter has better numbers than everyone else, then he should win. If a hitter has shown the best leadership on and off of the field, how can fans possibly judge that? They weren’t there to see the rants, the speeches, the fights, or any of the drama that a team goes through during the regular season. Not even the National Football League’s Hard Knocks program covers a team that well for fans to be able to justify them getting votes.
Have the award all you want. Just don’t tell us that fans deserve to vote on a player’s worth in this fashion. If they already have a panel of former MLB greats, then let them decide alone. That’s if they are even worthy of a vote, themselves. If any of Red Sox Nation cares about getting one of their own to win this award, get on the computer or your cell phones and start voting, as every other team’s fans are going to do the same, regardless of if their player is barely close to even sniffing the real best player’s numbers. Otherwise, just smile and wave at Mr. Aaron, as we all should, and forget that the MLB made this award a fan’s decision in the first place.
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