Let Joey Votto be Joey Votto

September 28, 2013

With the MLB regular season coming to an end this weekend, SI.com’s Joe Lemire picked an unsung hero for each of the 30 teams. His choice for the Cincinnati Reds was Joey Votto.

You read that correctly – Joey Votto. The 2010 NL MVP. A four-time All-Star. A player who starts a 10-year, $225 million contract extension next season.

As a Reds fan and an unabashed Votto supporter, I’m not exactly impartial on this subject, but he shouldn’t be an unsung hero. His name should be coming up in MVP discussions. (Admittedly, he shouldn’t win it this year, but he’s easily a top 10 candidate.) Yet it’s hard to disagree with Lemire’s classification given the narrative that’s developed around Votto this year.

There’s been an actual discussion in Cincinnati over whether he or Brandon Phillips should be the team‘s MVP. Here’s how their season stats stacked up through Thursday:

AVG OBP SLG OPS R HR RBI WAR
Votto .304 .434 .492 .926 100 24 73 6.2
Phillips .260 .310 .397 .707 79 18 102 1.5

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Great Moments in Chutzpah: NFL.com writes about MLB’s concussion issue

September 15, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, the NFL reached a tentative $765 million settlement with thousands of retired players over concussion-related brain injuries. Growing medical research is showing that these injuries are causing serious long-term health issues to former players. A high-profile documentary is coming in October on the league’s “concussion crisis.”

So it was refreshing on Friday to see the NFL’s official website directly addressing the issue of concussions — in Major League Baseball.

From NFL.com contributing editor Bill Bradley:

USA Today looked at the rise in head injuries among catchers in baseball, showing the trend has been increasing for the past two years.

Teams have put players on the disabled list due to concussions or head injuries 18 times this year, five more than all of last season and seven more than in 2011, when the seven-day concussion DL was implemented. In 10 of those 18 instances, the players were catchers, including the Boston Red Sox’s David Ross twice.

The article, which is essentially a rewrite of the USA Today piece, isn’t wrong about baseball’s issues with head injuries and the need to address them. But the problem in football is orders of magnitude bigger. To put this in its proper context, 10 players were listed with concussions on the NFL’s injury report just in Week 1 of this season.

This little bit of misdirection would be roughly equivalent to MLB.com writing about the use of performance enhancing drugs by NFL players while making only passing reference to its own Steroid Era. And the NFL.com article did make only passing reference to its concussion problems with this single sentence:

Plus, it appears MLB is dealing with the same concussion culture that the NFL has been trying to change.

Perhaps the NFL should get its own house in order before talking about other sports.