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By Murray Chass

November 18, 2018

In a website headline last Friday, the Boson Globe declared, “In voting Mookie Betts MVP, writers got it right.” I agree with that headline, but I will add one of my own: In voting Mike Trout second, the writers got it wrong.

I do not belittle Trout as a player; he may very well be the best player in the game. He certainly is the most consistently outstanding player. But he was not the second most valuable player in the American League last season, as 24 of the 30 writers voted him, or the first, as one writer designated him.

Trout plays for the Angels, as he has every year of his professional career. The Angels had a losing record – 80 wins and 82 losses. The Angels finished in fourth place in the A.L. West, a distant 23 games from first. What did Trout do that made him so valuable? He prevented the Angels from finishing in last place? He kept them from having an even worse losing record?

This has happened before, though not all of the time when the Angels have had a losing record or weren’t contending for a post-season spot. The only thing I can conclude is the writers aren’t voting for the most “valuable” player but for the “best” player.

The award, however, isn’t meant for the best player. If it were, the winner would require no thinking. Just select the player with the best WAR ranking. I suspect that’s what some voters do now. In a recent year’s voting the m.v.p. order of finish in one of the leagues was a virtual match for the WAR rankings.

There is no challenge in that way of selecting an m.v.p. In the years I was an m.v.p. voter I enjoyed the deliberations, both with myself and wither other writers. It was seldom a simple matter of looking at a list of statistics and picking the player with the best numbers.

I don’t know on what basis writers vote for players today, though I’m sure …

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By Murray Chass

November 11, 2018

Did anyone notice who the managers were in this year’s World Series? More important, did any major league club owners and general managers notice? If anyone missed it, I’m happy to fill you in. The World Series managers were Alex Cora with Boston and Dave Roberts with Los Angeles.

To shed more light on these gentlemen, both were born in foreign lands. Not only were they minority managers, they were also the only minority managers in the majors last season.

That last statement could be disputed. Some people consider Rick Renterria of the Chicago White Sox and Dave Martinez of the Washington Nationals minority managers. I don’t, but I am ready to listen to a different view of what constitutes a minority manager or general manager.

These are excerpts from Wikipedia biographies:

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By Murray Chass

November 4, 2018

Probably no community in any city anywhere has gained the infamy that is now and will forevermore be attached to Squirrel Hill. The Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh is where the Tree of Life synagogue is located and the Tree of Life synagogue is where 11 Jewish worshipers were murdered on a recent Saturday by a mad man intent on killing as many Jews as possible.

This has nothing to do with baseball, but it does have something to do with humanity. It also has something to do with my home.

I was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in Squirrel Hill, though in a different section from where Tree of Life is located. Squirrel Hill has many different sections and many synagogues of different denominations. The killer apparently chose Tree of Life because …

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