Come on, American voting public, you’ve made bad decisions before, electing George W. Bush twice or choosing Ruben Studdard over Clay Aiken in season two of American Idol come to mind. But come on, the blunder here is inexcusable. Detroit Tigers‘ third baseman Miguel Cabrera deserved to be on the cover of MLB 13: The Show. After all, he was the best player in baseball last year.
It’s a shame, because it might be another 45 years before we have another player achieve the batting Triple Crown, yet the general public feels we should honor Andrew McCutchen, the Pittsburgh Pirates‘ center fielder who had a good, but not MVP-worthy, season. Frankly, if the makers of MLB 13: The Show just wanted a popularity contest, they could have omitted the entire voting process and just put Nick Swisher on the cover. Swisher does have the most Twitter followers of any major league player and, thus, is the clear fan favorite.
Compared to McCutchen over the 2012 season, Cabrera had 13 more home runs, 11 more hits, 43 more RBIs, and had a higher batting average. Yes, McCutchen stole more bases than Cabrera and won a Gold Glove for his play in center field, but does that equate to a more impressive season in the eyes of the fans? Apparently, in this case, it does.
If we’re looking purely at numbers and hardware collected it is clear that Cabrera deserved the honors. Cabrera’s a batting Triple Crown winner, the runaway winner of the American League MVP (listed first on 22 of 28 ballots), and guided his team to a division title and a trip to the World Series. McCutchen, however, was third in National League MVP voting, did not finish first in any major batting categories, and led his team into finishing 18 games out of first place and had an earlier jump on time off.
When you put it like that, picking McCutchen over Cabrera is like choosing a dirty hamburger that Louie Anderson already took a bite out of while sweating on rather than a filet mignon personally cooked by a celebrity chef for dinner—in both scenarios the better choice is painfully obvious.
Makers of MLB 13: The Show, you can’t trust the public to make the right choice. The public votes on 30-second sound bites, not through careful analysis of statistics. Frankly, numbers are boring for the average person and not being able to effectively analyze them makes the average person feel stupid. Combine these two things together and you’re going to have people voting for a player who had a good season over a player who had a great season.
Next year make the smart call and give the honor to the party that deserves it and leave the general public out of the process altogether.