I fully recognize that the MLB All-Star Game is primarily an exhibition, in spite of the Commissioner’s attempt to “make it count” instead of just doing what the NBA and NHL does and just assign home-field advantage in the championship round to the team with the better record*.  And I get that the MLB All-Star Game MVP matters even less.

But awarding it to Mariano Rivera for the impressive task of throwing a single shut-out inning, a feat 5 other pitchers (Scherzer, Hernandez, Moore, Balfour, and Nathan) on his team matched and one pitcher bested (Sale)?  Ugh.  Alright, so he didn’t allow a baserunner.  Neither did Scherzer, Sale, or Moore.  And the former two each struck out a better per inning, something Rivera failed to do.  And in order to ensure he got into the game, Manager Jim Leyland brought Rivera in in the 8th, meaning he didn’t even pickup a save, one of the stupider stats but something that at least would have set him apart from his fellow pitchers.  And this “analysis” ignores the hitters, the guys who plated 3 runs to help net the American League the win.

Look… I get it.  This is Rivera’s last All-Star game.  He’s the greatest closer ever.  The game was in New York, albeit in the Mets ballpark, not the Yankees.  None of this is worth getting upset about but… still.  It just goes to show the idiocy that dominates sports journalism nowadays.  Oh… and the award is not without consequence.  The winner gets a car.  And while I doubt anyone will shed a tear over someone who earned just slightly under $500K each of the past two years, I’m sure Jason Kipnis, he of the insurance-run scoring double in the 8th, would have more greatly appreciated the free car than Rivera and his $169M in career earnings.

Grumble, grumble, grumble.


One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.


  1. I thought it a bit strange as well. Then again, I don’t know if anyone really had the type of standout game that would ordinarily merit the MVP award. Of the various decent performances, Mariano’s was certainly the most memorable, even if it wasn’t the most impressive.

    With the bad years baseball has had of late, giving the award to Rivera serves as a much-needed reminder of the game at its best (even if he is a Yankee….PTOOEY!!).

    So why not?

    The free car was going to wind up being little more than a tax deduction for whoever won it, anyhow.

    • I agree that the amount of shits that should be given about this are negligible.

      But then I read a piece like this and I get angry all over again:

      If the guy simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “Whatever, it’s the All-Star game,” I would probably do the same. But to offer even a tepid defense, including referencing a critical player’s disastrous stat line as if to discredit him (something writers tend to bristle at… the whole, “You never played so what do you know?” argument), makes me want to singlehandedly revive FJM.

      • I don’t get it, Kazzy. This was a game in which 12 different players had 1 hit each, 3 different players drove in 1 run each, 8 different pitchers threw either 1 or 2 no-hit innings. In short, there was no real MVP. They have to give it to somebody; how is Rivera a worse choice than anyone else, except, I suppose, Chris Sale, who pitched 2 no-hit innings. What is there to be even tepidly upset about?

        • By any objective measure, Rivera was certainly not the MVP, even if the difference was fairly small. Ultimately, it is another example of sports journalism being more about narrative, narrative the sports journalists themselves generate and than bind themselves to, than what actually happened on the field.

          All that being said, it’s not even the worst MVP that MLB has given out in the past 12 months (*cough*Cabrera-over-Trout*couch*) so it probably only rates about a 1 on the outrage meter. But it’s a slow day and I’m bored so you’re stuck listening to my whining.

          • All that being said, it’s not even the worst MVP that MLB has given out in the past 12 months (*cough*Cabrera-over-Trout*couch*) so it probably only rates about a 1 on the outrage meter.

            I didn’t realize you were one of those people. I mean, WAR is an interesting stat and worth taking a look at, but it’s far from perfect. Trout wasn’t even on a team that made the expanded playoffs. Also – first Triple Crown in how many years?

            Had the two of them had the exact same seasons even five years ago, there wouldn’t have even been a debate.

          • Ugh… you’re one of THOSE people? Trout’s Angels won more games than Cabrera’s Tigers.

          • …Yet failed to make an expanded playoffs. Also – Triple Crown. If leading the league in WAR is all it takes to be MVP, then why bother ever having a vote at all?

          • You still haven’t responded to my point. We agree — Rivera was not the MVP. Neither was anybody else.

          • I’d have probably given it to Sale. Or any one of the hitters involved in the run scoring.


            But doesn’t that point out the silliness of the current playoff structure? The Angels win more games but by quirk of geography are out of the playoffs? More importantly, they wont more games against better competition yet were sent home.

            And if Triple Crown categories are all that matter, why vote?

          • I also never brought up WAR. You did.

            I’ll use conventional analysis. Trout played a more difficult and valuable defensive position and played it far better than Cabrera; any scout worth his salt notes Trout is an outstanding defender and Cabrera a liability. Trout scored more runs than Cabrera. He stole more bases. His team won more games. He had more walks and a higher OBP.

            Cabrera’s TC was a fluke: Over the last 21 years, only 2 batters won the AL batting crown with a lower average (Mueller and Mauer). Over the last 40 years, only 4 batters did so (those two plus Carew and Brett).

          • I am tired of self-proclaimed experts declaring (let along invoking the authority of imaginary “scouts worth their salt”) Miguel Cabrera a “defensive liability.” Unlike others, I have actually watched him play. He has a reliable glove and a strong and accurate arm. No one would compare him to Brooks Robinson, or even to Mike Trout, but “defensive liability” is banal and libelous.

            As for the MVP, by any reasonable measure, both Cabrera and Trout had historic seasons. It’s too bad they had them in the same season. It’s dopey to advance one by denigrating the other.

          • Wait, people are still having the Cabrera vs. Trout argument? Is this the internet’s new Rush?

          • What is Cabrera’s range? That is at least as important as his glove and arm. He might be competent on the balls that reach him, but how well does he go to either side? How is his positioning? Can he make a clean pick? Is he quick enough to hold the runner on and get back into prime fielding position?

            And I don’t mean to denigrate him. I think Cabrera is the best player when standing at the plate in the league. I just think that if we look at all facets of the game, Trout comes out well ahead of him.

          • What’s this I hear about how not un-awesome Rush is?

    • You missed very little. It was a terrible, boring game.

  2. The MVP should have been Marco Scutaro, who was flawless both at bat and in the field.

    • Better yet, Alex Rodriguez, who didn’t even get his All-Star uniform dirty.

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