In honor of the Hall of Fame voting announced today, and the Gold Glove voting, and the Cy Young arguments, I thought I would provide a look at an alternative way to give out honors and awards.
It looks as though the Italian Baseball League has found a solution to it's post-season awards that hasn't quite been embraced in the United States yet.
From the website, "Mr Baseball", comes this announcement:
Some of the interesting votes:
Baseball.it has asked the last two weeks and now are the results in. More than a record 500 readers participated in the online voting of the Italian Baseball Website and we now can present you with the ‘Baseball.it Awards’. For the ninth year in a row they determine the All-star team of the Italian Baseball League and honor winners in 18 different categories.
Best foreign pitcher
Best Italian pitcher
Best Italian relief pitcher
I want to see them try that one here. Maybe in 2001, Ichiro was the Foreign MVP, and Bret Boone was the American MVP. Nah, I don't really see that happening in the States.
Then there is Martin Vasquez, who was voted the best Left Fielder and Utility Player. This gives hope to my dream that one day a knuckleballer will win the Cy Young as a starter with 35 starts and the Fireman of the Year award with another 40 relief appearances and 30 saves. It could happen.
And the most interesting vote of all (to me) was for Alessandro Cappuccini, who was voted best umpire. As someone who has been umpiring for over 30 years, its nice to see the guys in blue get some recognition. But as someone who has umpired for over 30 years, you really don't want to be noticed one way or another. But kudos to him.
Now, to be honest, I'm not really sure if letting the fans vote is the way to go. But could we actually do any worse. The only drawback I can see is that it would turn into a popularity contest, but isn't that what the writers have been doing for about 60 years. (re: Ted Williams and a Triple Crown season with no MVP).
This is a good thing for a European league, to get the fans interested and take an active part in what is happening. Maybe baseball should go to this system and let the fans vote. Because anything that could cause Jay Marriotti's head to explode is always a good thing. After all, it is our game. Isn't it?