Where were Peterson and Berrian going?

Just days after Adrian Peterson was stopped going 109 MPH in a 55 MPH zone, Bernard Berrian was also stopped doing 104 MPH in a 60 MPH zone.

Normally, I don't care too much about this kind of thing; I think they should be treated just like any other citizen who does something like this: given a big and expensive ticket, possibly lose their licenses (depending on prior transgressions), and they shouldn't get their names in the paper.

But this is a lot of speeding -- normally when you're caught going 100 MPH it's in a 70 zone and/or on an interstate highway, without many other cars around; that doesn't seem to be the case here. And more importantly, this is now two Vikings skill position players openly flouting the law, mere days apart.

Should we get really worked up about the fact that the Vikings' on-field success has gone to their heads? Is it really a problem that celebrities and superstars and millionaires live by a different set of rules than we do?* What's the big deal, right, since nobody got hurt?

* I think most people would probably say, "Yes, it's a problem." But most people aren't even here right now, so I'm just going to keep on rolling.

I'm sure other, better people will cover these pressing issues. What I want to know is this:

Why are they in such a hurry?

What could possibly be so important that these guys have to be moving this fast to get it? Did they get a phone call from their drug dealer saying his inventory was low and they needed to get there immediately to make sure their stash didn't go dry? Are all the Vikings players participating in some sort of scavenger hunt, or contest wherein they have to travel around the city and do tricks and get from place to place in a time-sensitive fashion?

If it were the latter, kind of like Amazing Race or something, they could make a reality TV show out of it, and you'd definitely watch. Tell me you wouldn't. That's right.

Posted by Sean Schulte at 2009-12-05 08:12

What would Adrian Peterson do?

On the bus this morning, I noticed another example of something that happens with what I think is stunning frequency:

The two fattest, most disgustingly immobile people on the bus plant themselves next to the exit door, completely blocking off the passage from the front half of the bus to the back, and preventing anyone from getting off. When someone does try to get off, these people will just look at the person who wants to get past with some sort of confusion on their faces, as if it's inconceivable that someone might want to get off the bus. They never move out of the way, and people are forced to kind of muscle/wiggle their way past.

It never ceases to amaze me that this happens.

After I lowered my shoulder and blew through the two defensive-tackle-sized women who were doing it this morning, I found myself wondering what Adrian Peterson would do.

There's not really much of a hole between these people, so obviously Peterson would be comfortable smashing into them. But he also doesn't seem to try to actually get between defensive lineman -- he runs right into one. Sometimes it works, usually it doesn't.

Sure, if Adrian Peterson were actually on the bus, people might get out of the way for him. You know, since he's famous.

But for some reason, it made me happy to think about Peterson lowering his shoulder into one of those amorphous blobs of human flesh, perhaps lodging it in the door of the bus, crushing it like it's a hapless defensive player on, for example, the Lions.

On the other hand, why would Adrian Peterson ride the bus?

Posted by Sean Schulte at 2009-11-25 09:11

2009 NL MVP Ballot

Yesterday I filled out my ballot for AL MVP, and today I'll do the same for the NL. Once again, the same rules apply: value is a function of your production as a player, taking your position and defense into account but not really the quality of your teammates.

  1. Pujols
  2. Utley
  3. Lincecum
  4. Hanley Ramirez
  5. Ryan Zimmerman
  6. Adrian Gonzalez
  7. Troy Tulowitski
  8. Prince Fielder
  9. Pablo Sandoval
  10. Javier Vazquez

Once again, the top choice was easy -- very easy. I don't care if he's a first baseman, Pujols is just that much better as a hitter than anyone else. An 8.4 WAR season is nothing to sneeze at (recall that the fact that he's a 1B is factored into his WAR).

After him, it wasn't tough to pick Utley, who remains underrated (somehow) despite crushing the ball and playing very well at 2B; in my opinion, Utley should already have at least one MVP, but that's not a good enough reason to vote for him over Pujols.

And once again, I put a pitcher high on my ballot. I couldn't overlook Lincecum's dominance this year -- he had an 8.2 WAR, while the 2nd best pitcher was just at 6.6, and even Utley was just at 7.6 (2nd among the hitters). He's incredible, and fun to watch, and if the Giants could score any runs at all people would probably consider him "a winner," or something, which would get him more accolades* and would preclude me from having to defend picking him this high.

* Yes, I realize he just won a second consecutive Cy Young, and they were both deserved. But I'm not changing the "more accolades" line.

And after Lincecum ... yeah, Hanley Ramirez is awesome. He's taken some flak for his defense and that reputation seems to be fading slowly as his defense gets better. If you have an average defensive shortstop who hits like a first baseman and steals bases, well, you have a great player. I don't get to see him play much, but I always wish he was on my fantasy team.

Just like in the AL, I thought there was a huge dropoff after the top four. But unlike the AL, there weren't many players I felt bad about leaving off the ballot. I guess the NL doesn't have as many great players as the AL does; nothing against the NL, of course.

I have no idea what the actual voters are going to do with this award. I mean, I figure Pujols will win (probably in a landslide). But I'm looking forward to seeing how they treat Tulowitski and Sandoval, who played well enough to get onto a good number of ballots but did it in the NL West. And I like both Tulowitski and Sandoval.

Posted by Sean Schulte at 2009-11-24 10:11

2009 AL MVP Ballot

My AL MVP ballot goes like this:

  1. Mauer
  2. Zobrist
  3. Jeter
  4. Greinke
  5. Longoria
  6. Pedroia
  7. Verlander
  8. Figgins
  9. Teixeira
  10. Youkilis

And that's what it is right now. Frankly, if you ask me again in an hour, it'll probably be different. (Ask me again in five minutes. It might be different then, too.) While I was trying to come up with this list, I had two conflicting wishes:

  1. That there were only 4 spots on an MVP ballot, as I feel there's a huge gap in MVP-caliber-ness between Greinke and the next guy
  2. That there were 15-20 spots on an MVP ballot, because the gap between #5 and #15 is barely discernable, and the order you put these guys in really just falls down to your predetermined biases

Joe Mauer, obviously, takes the top spot (really, the only important one). Everyone's rehashed this argument a thousand times. Suffice it to say that I think if you're the best defensive catcher in the league and the best hitter of any position in the league, then you are the MVP of the league. It seems to me that it'd take a pretty convoluted (and "interesting") definition of the word "valuable" to think otherwise.

After that, I thought Zobrist, Jeter, and Greinke were pretty close to each other. I leaned toward Zobrist because the defensive metrics say he was tremendous this year and I wasn't about to just ignore that; the same metrics said that Jeter was pretty good in the field, but not great. At the same time, Zobrist was a few runs better offensively than Jeter; given those two things, I don't see how you can make a case that Jeter was better without saying things like "But Jeter won the World Series in 2009!" or "But Jeter won the World Series in 1998!"* or some such non-individual things.

* People always complain that Jeter's never won an MVP, therefore he should win the MVP this time around. It's a cute thought, of course; it's also one that would never be thought about anyone other than The Great Captain Derek Dreamy Eyes Jeter. You want to know the reason Jeter's never won the MVP? Here's a hint: it's not because sportswriters went out of their way to screw him. It's because he was never the most valuable player in the league. So ... I don't get the logic that says he should get an undeserved MVP trophy now because he never got an undeserved MVP trophy in the past. The "lifetime achievement award" is called the Hall of Fame, and he'll get that later.

Anyway, I don't really feel like arguing about the rest of these guys. Teixeira had a bunch of RBI, but it was only because people were on base in front of him. His actual numbers are basically indistinguishable from other good first basemen: Kevin Youkilis, Miguel Cabrera, Kendry Morales, Justin Morneau (sans fractured spine). Put any one of those guys in the #3 spot in the Yankee lineup, and they'll get just as many RBI (give or take random fluctuation).

My only worry is that I'm penalizing Teixeira for the quality of this teammates, in an effort simply not to reward him. I don't think I am. It was something I thought about a lot. And wanting to avoid penalizing him while also including Youkilis (which emphasizes that they're basically the same) is the reason I didn't get to put Franklin Gutierrez on my ballot, which I really wanted to be able to do.

Oh well. We'll see how this thing goes.

Posted by Sean Schulte at 2009-11-23 12:11

DJ Short is Awesome at Reading MLBTradeRumors and Not Linking to Them

DJ Short over at Circling the Bases has been doing a great job this weekend of reading MLBTradeRumors and re-posting their news, linking to the same sources as MLBTradeRumors but not to the original MLBTradeRumors articles. Basically every one of DJ Short's articles follow this form. Even better, he adds no relevant analysis of any of the news.

I'm glad that Craig Calcaterra is moving over there full-time soon, as he's one of the best in the business. Once Calcaterra's move is completed, it'd be nice if DJ Short could be let go.

I mean, we can all read MLBTradeRumors for ourselves, right?

Posted by Sean Schulte at 2009-11-22 17:11