In Major League Baseball, the MVP award goes out at the end of the regular season. It goes to the athlete who has stood out as being the most valuable, above all the rest.
To an individual player, it is a huge accomplishment and honor considered being the elite in your field.
Within baseball, two players, one from the American League and one from the National League respectively, receive this prize each year.
The award's terms incorporate the obvious, which are stats and production for the season. Baseball has more stats than any other sport, but this at least provides an idea of who is in contention.
However, for me, a fan, the MVP means so much more than just that.
A player selflessly plays the game as part of the team, not for his own personal goals. This is by no means a wimp or a loudmouth. His personal goals are for the team and to help the team win.
It is an athlete, proud of his sport’s history, as well as respectful of the veterans who played before him by learning from their wisdom.
The MVP is an athlete who discovers it is not his right to be a professional athlete, but a gift that gets treated as such through hard work and dedication.
Anyone will agree that the first lesson taught in gym class is to be a good sport and a team player. It is the fundamentals of displaying sportsmanship.
Plenty of MVP awards have gone to athletes (aka LeBron James) who do not display these fundamental basics. The kind of message that is being sent is one where stats are all that matter.
That is the furthest thing from the truth. It is so confusing if a player is named "MVP" because they are supposed to be perfect in value to a team. Perfect examples all-around is what I am getting at.
The game of baseball took a beating that goes beyond damage—all the PED talk and the craziness of a list that is destroying baseball name by name. The game deserves to get some of its integrity back.
This only cements why this particular season’s MVP has to be special. A player being one with the obvious quality of having top stats but also who displays what the game of baseball is still. It has to be the story that tops the baseball world by getting everyone to stop and remember why it is America’s pastime.
The answer might be the easiest decision to make.
Simply, it would be to crown Derek Jeter the MVP because he deserves it.
It sends a message to the kids who idolize baseball: that you can play fairly, not being a circus show, not wanting to draw attention to yourself, but to your team, and display the courage to give credit where credit is due, win or lose.
Jeter is the template of baseball, and his stats are good enough to be on the list. The persona that Jeter characterizes so consistently is more valuable to baseball than any RBI or home runs hit.
He not only represents the great city of New York but our country as well at the World Baseball Classic, which took place last February. The players vote for a captain who will represent not only the USA but also themselves. Jimmy Rollins, David Wright, Dustin Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis, to a name a few, all voted for Jeter without hesitation.
If a room full of your own peers, who are the best of the best, elect you to be their captain, it speaks more to society then the stats on the score sheet.
Derek Jeter is the Most Valuable Player this season. He is the Yankees' captain, he is also America’s captain, and he is baseball’s captain.
No one represents baseball to the fans, to the players, and to the world more than Jeter does.
In addition, what this athlete is to the sport of baseball alone says it all.
Baseball would not be what it is without Derek Jeter, and I am not the only one who thinks so:
Rays manager Joe Maddon said it best: “I’m very happy for him. He carries himself in a manner that’s worthy of passing [Lou] Gehrig.”
“I can’t tell you how much I admire Derek Jeter, everything about him. He’s a symbol of everything that’s right about the game, as far as I’m concerned. He’s a great role model for other players. When I tell my kids or grandkids about the great players from my time, I’ll be proud to say I was on the same field with Derek Jeter.”—Howie Kendrick, Angels
“It couldn’t happen to a better person. He’s a great teammate, a great friend. He’s done things the right way. He’s a great leader on this team, so you can’t say enough about Derek Jeter.”—Andy Pettitte after Jeter broke Gehrig’s hits record
“He’s a leader and a winner, and that’s something I’d like to be.”—David Wright, Captain of the New York Mets