MVP of Yesterday (September 4, 2013): Pablo Sandoval

Pablo Sandoval hit 4-5 with THREE homers and SIX RBIs. I’m so sure that he won the MVP of Yesterday that I wrote this late last night and set it to automatically post in the morning.

Standings are after the jump:

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Will All-Star Voting break?

In 1957, fans of the Cincinnati Reds stuffed the ballot box, leading to the Reds taking seven of the eight starting positions for that year’s National League All-Star Team. Only Stan Musial was able to survive the Cincinnati wave.

Commissioner Ford Frick would have none of it. He demoted Gus Bell to a reserve and replaced him and Wally Post with Willie Mays and Hank Aaron (Post wouldn’t have played in the All-Star Game anyway, as he was injured). And, to make sure this kind of thing never happened again, he took away the right to vote from the fans of Major League Baseball. They wouldn’t get it back until 1970.

Now, of course, it is a cliche to complain about the All-Star voting. But I’m going to rather talk about one particular battle ground: David Wright vs. Pablo Sandoval. Going by numbers, Wright is the better candidate. But, that’s not why the Mets are trying everything within their power to get him as a starter. Nope, it’s because, well, he’d be the starter in his home ballpark, and they still are angry about the fact a late get-out-the-vote campaign by San Francisco took Wright out of a starting spot last season.

So, they are doing drastic measures: they tried to get cougars to vote for him, there were reports on Twitter of employees literally stuffing the ballots with Wright’s name, and it’s gotten so bad that Wright has even asked them to tone it down a bit. The Giants, no doubt, are trying to do similar things to ensure that the Kung Fu Panda maintains his lead.

But I wonder: as these get-out-the-vote campaigns continue to escalate, are we risking that one day we may have another 1957 moment where the fans so screw up the voting that fan suffrage will be imperiled?

What do you think?

With apologies to SI, this week’s sign of the apocalypse

Sports Illustrated often has a feature where they point out a sign of the apocalypse. Deadspin also does this occasionally, mainly to point out how SI’s sign is mild compared to actual world events.

I, for one, nominate this:

Pablo Sandoval, beauty pageant judge. One of Kung Fu Panda’s many talents.

Prediction vs. Reality: Game 1 of the 2012 WS

Throughout the 2012 World Series, I’ll be taking a look at what I thought I’d be writing alongside what actually happened.
What I thought I’d be writing: Justin Verlander is the new face of baseball. He’s won the Rookie of the Year, he’s won one Cy Young Award and will probably win another, he’s won an MVP, he’s thrown two no-hitters, he reportedly is dating SI covergirl Kate Upton, and now he can add to his list of accomplishments the title of “Mr. October,” as he wrecked the San Francisco Giants with a complete-game shutout where he struck out 12 as the Tigers won 7-0 in Game 1.

Barry Zito did better than most probably expected, but he couldn’t duplicate his NLCS Game 5 performance, giving up 4 earned runs….

What actually happened: The Giants won 8-3 in Game 1 and Pablo Sandoval is Mr. October. He may not have the same pedigree as the previous hitters to go deep thrice in one World Series game (Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols are Hall-of-Famers or will be one day, while “Kung Fu Panda” won’t), but he probably did it against the best pitching. While Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols did it against three different pitchers and Babe Ruth did it before the flame-throwing pitcher had become commonplace, Sandoval did it with two home runs against the greatest pitcher on the planet, a previously-thought untouchable Justin Verlander. His third home run, against Al Albuquerque, must have seemed downright mundane compared to his earlier exploits.

Meanwhile, on the mound, Barry Zito has continued his resurrection, going 5.2 innings, giving up six hits and only one earned run, while himself driving in a run against Justin Verlander. If you thought that this would happen- and that he would be replaced in the game by Tim Lincecum (the first time since 1983 that a Cy Young winner relieved another Cy Young winner in the World Series)- then you are a liar.

Of course, this now puts the entire series into question. While many thought that the Tigers might be rusty, few thought that rust would hit Verlander, especially as hard as it did. What was supposed to be the 29-year-old’s coronation has now turned into a possible wake for the 2012 Detroit Tigers, who now must come back from this 1-0 deficit while dealing with the now-questionable starting pitching and a relief corps that has it’s former anchor (Valverde) in shambles. Thankfully for the Tigers, Game 2 will be against Madison Bumgarner, who was bad down the stretch and struggled in his previous postseason start this year. If the Tigers can get a jump on him and Doug Fister can play with minimal rust, they still have a good shot at making this a tied series heading back to Detroit.