One of the best pieces posted by the good folks at ESPN Page 2 this year was Jonah Keri's September reflection on the baseball-addled public's love/hate relationship with Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols. Keri insists that Pujols is so consistently sensational at the plate and in the field that fans and writers fail to properly appreciate his greatness. Well, the gap between Pujols' actual appreciation level and projected appreciation level closed a bit today as the BBWAA folk have elected Pujols your 2008 National League MVP.
Face it, the other big time sluggers played great baseball but not a single one of them could match Pujols' overall numbers. He outslugged Ryan Howard, outhit Manny Ramirez and saw half the strikeouts that Lance Berkman did. Only Chipper Jones beat him in the batting race but did it all with almost 100 fewer points of slugging percentage. Pujols didn't just outperform the rest of the N.L, he outperformed his own career best numbers: he drew over 100 walks for the first time in his career and had his career-high OPS of 1.114.
So thank you, baseball writers, for giving Albert Pujols his second MVP award and helping him avoid finishing in second place for the fourth time in his career. I'm sure he appreciates the appreciation.
Addendum: Yes, Camp Tiger Claw has now predicted his seventh straight award correctly. If Carlos Quentin wins the AL MVP tomorrow, I'm quitting the blog.