The end is nigh, folks. Tonight you get to hear two words not associated with the World Series since 2003: Game Six. That’s an egregious shame.
Pedro Martinez will take the hill against Andy Pettitte in the battle of guys who pitched in the 1999 ALCS. Other than that, there’s not much to talk about. We’re all familiar enough with these teams at this point. So I’m going to say something about the MVP.
Some people have posited that Chase Utley is in line to win the MVP even if the Phillies lose. This is an absolute joke. There’s absolutely no way this will happen. If fans are blinded enough by Yankee pinstripes to egregiously screw up one major award, and writers are always at risk of handing out bogus season-ending hardware, what makes anyone think that, in the champagne-soaked moments following a Yankee victory, anyone is going to go, “Hey, let’s go with the guy from Philadelphia!”?
Okay, someone might think so, but the Yankees always have a weapon: Mariano Rivera. If voters can’t decide who should get it, they can always give it to the Guy Who Will Never Win The Cy Young Award. Or, if Alex Rodriguez does anything in the clinching victory, they can give it to him as a validation of his “breakout” postseason. But wait, you might say—those aren’t the criteria for the award! It’s “value” in the World Series, and that’s all! The problem is that like the season-long MVP awards, “value” gets so tied up with team performance that most voters just take the easy way out and conflate them. If Barry Bonds couldn’t win the MVP for a losing team with a .471 batting average, .700 OBP and 1.294 slugging percentage, why would Utley? Because of his hair?
Even in the event of a Philly World Series victory, Utley may not be the choice. Any victory would go through Game Seven, and that means going through whatever’s left in Cliff Lee’s arm. If he played reliever for six shutout innings, the award would be his to lose. But it doesn’t matter either way—ultimately, the World Series MVP is pretty worthless anyway. How’s it working out for Cole Hamels?