It's been a hectic couple of weeks, whether you follow sports or not. We've seen the Joe Paterno and Herman Cain scandals, the NBA lockout, the deaths of Andy Rooney and Joe Frazier, simultaneous boxing and MMA events, Occupy Wall Street, LSU-Alabama, a verdict in the Michael Jackson manslaughter trial, even the introduction of new uniforms for the Miami Marlins. And with all those stories, news that Jose Bautista and Justin Verlander won the prestigious American League MVP and Cy Young awards seemed to fall through the cracks.
Which begs the question: why does baseball announce these awards in November, two weeks after the playoffs are over and a month and half after the end of the regular season? To know that, one must first know that the award winners are chosen by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA), a collection of industry reporters, as it has been since 1931. It's not until November that the treasurer counts the tallies for who's won what in the NL and AL, at which point they are announced incrementally on a daily basis.
But why do it so late in the year, when the baseball season is well in the rearview mirror? I contacted the BBWAA to ask that very question: Is this a specific decision on baseball's part, so that the awards don't overshadow the playoffs? I find it interesting because most sports announce their awards during the postseason.
This is the response I got from Jack O'Connell, the Secretary/Treasurer of the BBWAA, who is responsible for counting the votes: "As your question suggested, time is required for the ballots to be counted and releases prepared by the secretary-treasurer, who is also a baseball writer assigned to cover the post-season. The awards have always been announced after the World Series so as not to detract from the series or to bury very good news stories about the awards. They were and remain part of the off-season news cycle."
So there you have it. I assumed that had to be the reason, although it was only guess. Hopefully, you too can now sleep peacefully, now that you know why Jose Bautista won the MVP when no one was paying attention to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Still, the system seems slightly archaic. If I had the choice, I would announce all the awards at once, on either MLB Network or ESPN, and make it into a viewing experience. The one thing the sports industry lacks is an authentic awards ceremony, with the exception of the Heisman, and even then only one award is announced. And considering less interesting events like the MLB draft and the NFL combine are televised, it only makes sense that a live unveiling of the rookie of the year, Cy Young winner, manager of the year and MVP from both leagues would garner a great deal of interest. Of course, that's just me. Personally, I'd love it if all the leagues postponed their awards until July, so that they could hand them out in the ESPYs, instead of how it is now, where the most visible sports awards show hands out phony awards like "Best Play."