Forget about not winning an award at the ESPYs on July 17. There are some stars of the sports world—as well as teams—that you cannot even vote to win.
Sure, ESPN does a fantastic job of squeezing the crème of the crop in every sport into specific categories. But there are always going to be deserving players, teams, coaches, etc. who get left off of the ballot. It’s an inevitable process that’s bound to continue unless the network just puts everyone on—but that’s not effective either.
When I took a look at the nominees on this year’s ballot, I was shocked by a few categories—mainly because the nominee I was intending on voting for was nowhere to be found. They didn’t make the cut. I’m sure you had similar feelings, which you should share in the comment’s section.
Without further ado, here is this year’s edition of the ESPYs snubs.
When: Wednesday, July 17, at 9 p.m. ET
Where: Nokia Theatre, Los Angeles, Calif.
Host: Jon Hamm
Categories: For the full list of categories and nominees, check out ESPN MediaZone.
Best NHL Player: Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Kane never seems to get the credit he deserves. The only award he was up for this past season was the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, and he didn’t even win that—Martin St. Louis did. Kane scored 23 goals and tallied 32 assists for Chicago during the regular season, finishing five points off St. Louis for the league lead.
ESPN picked St. Louis, Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, John Tavares and Henrik Lundqvist as the candidates for this year’s Best NHL Player award. Notice that Kane isn’t one of the five players that I just rattled off. The first three and Lundqvist are definitely worthy, but how is Tavares on the list over Kane?
Let’s not forget how dominant Kane was in the postseason. He scored nine goals and totaled 10 assists for 19 points, which was tied for the second most of any player in the playoffs. He led the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup title and took home the Conn Smythe Trophy for the postseason’s top player. Where is he, ESPN?
Best MLB Player: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
ESPN got one of the Tigers stars on the ballot, but it really needed to have two. Justin Verlander had one of the best seasons of his career, even though he finished in second place in the AL Cy Young Award voting instead of winning back-to-back crowns. He went 17-8 in 33 starts with a 2.64 ERA in 238.1 innings of work.
It wasn’t like Verlander got blown out of the water by David Price (20-5, 2.56 ERA), who won the award, either. Price received four more votes than the Tigers ace, according to the official website of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Last time I checked, four votes was a pretty tight race.
Verlander had the highest WAR of any pitcher in 2012, per FanGraphs, but is nowhere to be found on the ballot for the best player in baseball. Instead, ESPN decided to put both MVPs, both Cy Young Award winners and Mike Trout, who had one of the best seasons we’ve ever seen from a rookie.
It would definitely be tough to take one of the five guys on the ballot off of it in exchange for Verlander, but it seems strange that the best pitcher didn’t make the cut. The Detroit righty has the numbers to back up the claim that he was the best guy to take the mound last season. I guess that’s not enough these days.
Best Team: Louisville Cardinals Basketball
Each year, ESPN usually tends to nominate each of the major winners from the past season for the Best Team award. The World Series, Super Bowl, NBA Finals and Stanley Cup winners are all locks to make it on to the ballot. There are always college champions as well. But this year, Louisville was snubbed.
The nominees this year are the Giants, Ravens, Blackhawks, Heat, Alabama football team, Oklahoma women’s softball team and U.S. women’s gymnastics team. Did we forget about the NCAA national champion Cardinals? Louisville only lost five games all season long and cut down the nets at the end of the NCAA tournament.
If Rick Pitino is nominated for the Best Coach/Manager, why aren’t his Cardinals nominated for Best Team? Louisville was absolutely dominant in 2012-13. It doesn’t seem to make much sense that it’s not on the ballot. Would it be the end of the world if ESPN were to add one more nominee to the list? I think not.