The big baseball news of the day was the announcement the Dustin Pedroia was named the American League MVP. A minor footnote to that story, though, was the fact that Pedroia won despite being completely left off the ballot by one of the voters.
For what it's worth, voters seem to be getting better at this: they rightly recognized Tim Lincecum as NL Cy Young and Albert Pujols as the NL MVP despite the fact that neither one played on a team that even resembled a playoff contender, which in the past would have disqualified as serious candidates by a lot of voters.
But on the other hand, you're telling me there's someone out there who actually watched the games and didn't walk away thinking that Pedroia was one of the 10 best players in the game? That's not quite as bad as thinking Edison Volquez was still eligible for the NL Rookie of the Year award (which three voters did), but it certainly reeks of a backlash against the Red Sox ... right?
Actually, no, not at all. It turns out the man who filed the offending ballot, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, actually put one of Pedroia's teammates, Kevin Youkilis, on top of his list. When it came time to And in hindsight, now that he realizes he's the only one who left Pedroia off his list, he's willing to admit he made a mistake:
"I had him on my ballot in some scenarios as high as No. 1 late into September. When I looked at the numbers that to me mattered most, OPS and batting average with runners in scoring position, he just didn't stack up with Youkilis at all. He was a laggard behind the others who had great years in the American League. Is it an error of omission that he's left of my ballot entirely? You could say that."
So why didn't Pedroia appear lower in Grant's list? Because after including the other obvious candidates he also included Carlos Pena, who had similar offensive stats and got the edge because Grant wanted to recognize the surprising Rays.
Pedroia certainly didn't need Grant's refreshingly honest mea culpa to enjoy his award, but still, it's nice to see, especially in the wake of some stubborn voters who botch eligibility requirements (ie, Volquez) or assign their own subjective criteria to awards without admitting they're on an island (I'm looking at you, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Pujols was the seventh most valuable player in the NL last year? Behind not one but two Brewers, including one who joined the NL halfway through the year? Isn't cheering from the pressbox discouraged?)