Rigged awards destroy the integrity of all awards, and every time an award based on merit is transformed into a cheap Hallmark card that means no more than “We really think you’re swell!”, I pray that the next recipient refuses it on the grounds that the award is a sham. The classic example, of course, was the Nobel Peace Prize given to Barack Obama for no reason whatsoever, but Mariano Rivera’s 2013 Major League All-Star Game MVP Award was equally blatant.
Rivera, in case you pay no attention to baseball, is the greatest relief pitcher in baseball history; there really are no close contenders. He is about as good as ever this season—-I have always suspected he was a cyborg—but is retiring at the age of 43 anyway. Thus this year’s All-Star Game in New York City’s Citi Field was his last, and Rivera’s entrance to pitch the 8th inning was the high-point of the game, with all of his colleagues in both dugouts applauding and cheering a great career.
Rivera, typically, pitched a scoreless frame; he’s never given up an earned run in nine All-Star appearances. He was not, however, by any stretch of the imagination, the game’s most valuable player. The American League won the game 3-0, so all of its pitchers pitched as well as Rivera. Starting pitcher Chris Sale pitched two scoreless innings, making him twice as valuable in the win as the Yankee great. Joe Nathan pitched scoreless ninth for the Al, getting him the save—he was also more valuable. Eight different AL players contributed to the three runs scored; any of them were more valuable in the win than Rivera.
But the MVP Award went to Rivera anyway. He doesn’t need another trophy, specially one he didn’t earn. Still, the baseball writers who vote on the honor really, really like Mariano, so what’s integrity? What’s fairness? Who cares if baseball is giving support to all the employees who got promotions and excessive bonuses because they sucked up to the boss, while more deserving candidates looked on, cursing? After all, it’s just an exhibition game MVP Award.
It’s not like it’s the Nobel Peace Prize.
Sources: MLB, Daily News
17 thoughts on “Mariano’s Nobel Peace Prize”
Jack- I can’t remember the last awards ceremony I attended that wasn’t rigged. It starts very young when every member of the Board of Education has an end-of-year award given to their child, whether deserving or not, and let’s not forget the annual science fair!
Professionally I painfully sit through awards where companies are “honored” for being good corporate citizens. They move up the ladder as the check they write becomes larger.
The sad part about all this is few people, if any, are willing to call these organizations out. It’s become the norm.
Barbara Kimmel, Executive Director
Trust Across America – Trust Around the World
Kind of like Earnhardt’s son winning his Daytona 500 right after his dad was killed?
Jack, you have to stop taking baseball seriously. And again, the All Star game is an exhibition. Completely meaningless. It’s a travesty that who wins determines home field advantage for the Series.
I feel the same way about the Oscars. Most award ceremonies are just popularity contests.
The Oscars are at least based on subjective criteria – it’s technically possible that lots of people think Halle Berry is a great actress. Sports have actual stats.
Really? This is so important as to be the subject of petulant foot stamping? I’m glad this is the most important ethical issue we need to discuss.
small stuff matters
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Read the blog description, jerk. The number of posts here exceed 3600—oh, you’re right, Mariano Rivera is my primary interest, to the exclusion of everything else, except 3600+ other topics. How idiotic—you read one post, and criticize me for writing about it when so many other topics are out there….and right under your nose! Am I harsh? Damn right, because this complaint is specifically mentioned in the comments section with the warning, “Don’t do it!”
And of course, the issue isn’t the All-Star game, but integrity, process, fairness, and trust. I don’t expect someone who writes a comment like yours to be capable of grasping that, however.
atta boy, Jack.
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I feel the same way about Kobe Bryant’s 2007 MVP regular-season award. That was more a case of “We can’t believe Kobe’s never won one o these. We’d better give it to him this year, before the younger crop of candidates takes over.”
I appreciate you posting this. I remember thinking the next day that it seemed a bit odd that Rivera had gotten the MVP, but since I wasn’t able to watch much of the game I really couldn’t judge. It does seem that it was more of a lifetime achievement award than a single game MVP award, though.
From the descriptions I did hear of Rivera’s entry into the game, the players themselves gave him quite a tribute at that time by staying off the field and letting him receive the applause and such all by himself. I thought that was a very nice gesture.
Personally, in a good baseball sense, I’ve always hated Rivera — I’m a Texas Rangers fan and it is really disgusting how many times he’s handled them. In fact, the first year the Rangers made the playoffs, I believe was the year Mariano was the setup (8th inning) man for the Yankees’ closer John Wetteland. The Rangers actually acquired Wetteland the following year and he did a good job as their closer for a while, but it somehow never seemed to help against the damn Yankees (and Mariano Rivera, now moved to closer).
That said, I cannot help but respect and (grudgingly) admire what he has been able to do so well and for so long. I think it is fitting that the Rangers are going to do a tribute for Rivera next week when the Yankees come to town for what I assume will be his final appearance at The Ballpark.
I am confident that I can speak for at least 14 American League teams in wishing that Mariano Rivera becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame at the earliest possible moment. I cannot help but believe he will be a shoo-in on the first ballot.
But the Diamondbacks beat him and the Yankees in 2000. Yippee! One of the happiest days of my life in a miserable Fall.
Well, the Rangers did finally beat the Yankees in 2010 and went on to the World Series. However, if memory serves, they still didn’t beat Rivera. The key to beating the Yankees was getting ahead and staying ahead — then Rivera never gets a chance at a save.
Of course, that was always easier said than done, at least in years past…….
As I recall, the Diamondbacks came from behind to beat him in the bottom of the ninth in game seven. Delicious. And Steinbrenner was there to see it himself. Hah! The only person happier was my wife the Red Sox (and part-time Diamondbacks) fan.
The AS MVP is always subjective, but this year was probably the most: I didn’t think anyone merited an award – they could have passed. Unlike the 2012 MVP Melky Cabrera, who later embarrassed baseball with his PED use, Rivera is squeaky clean (p < .0001!). Also, the Commish and the baseball writers know the Biogenesis list, probably featuring many of the ASG players, which may have left him as the last MVP candidate standing. The unwritten rule of awards: the individual often gets it for his or her career output (as you are aware from the Helen Hayes Awards).
As an aside, Mariano is one of the most approachable superstars. He signs autographs – I treasure mine on a BB card – and will sign at airports or on the street if you ask him politely. He'll be signing HOF to his name in 2019 if not sooner.
Thank you for the science-chuckle your parenthetical P-value notation just gave me.