Tyler Kepner, of the New York Times, spoke with the one BBWAA voter who listed Joe Mauer second, and not first, on his AL MVP ballot last fall. The voter is Keizo Konishi, of the Kyodo News, who is entering his 10th year covering the Mariners.
I've known Keizo for several years and have always respected his baseball opinions. I'm glad he had the chance to explain a vote that has been widely ridiculed. People may not agree with the vote, but if they think he put it together without much thought they are wrong. Here is a sampling of what Keizo told Tyler:
“I thought that the Western division and the Eastern division were almost decided by mid-August,” he said. “The only tight race was the Central division. Two teams went really deep, the Tigers and the Twins, so I thought the M.V.P. should be selected from those two teams.
“What I thought is, ‘Who has the most importance to those two teams?’ I imagined what would happen if you picked someone out of the lineup. For example, if I took Cabrera out of the Tigers’ lineup, I thought it would be a very different team. If I did the same thing for the Twins, if I picked Mauer out of their lineup, they would still have a better lineup compared to the Tigers.”