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"The Prom Queen isn’t even that pretty": Tiara Envy in the MLB

Chicks can typically be generalized into a few different categories: unassailably good-looking, ugly, average, and–by far, the worst–girls who were told, at one point in their lives, that they were hot. They’re the real problematic species: the girl who, in her sophomore year of college, went to a frat house and some drunk dude who’s indiscriminately screaming the lyrics to an O.A.R. song and wearing a “Cherry is my favorite flavor” t-shirt, came up to her and slurred, “Damn, you have a body like karate!” These girls aren’t bad looking at all. But they are definitively distinct from the pretty girl sect by one indelible truth: they are not universally touted as hot. There are dissenting opinions about whether you want to wake up next to her. These are the chicks at bars who may have a presence, but who try too hard to sell their strut as warranted.

And it is this same type of people that preemptively bash their MVP competition when their strut doesn’t make a splash.

David Ortiz blew it this week when he candidly expressed his MVP frustrations. And though he later contested that his words were taken out of context, it sounds a little too much like telling everyone who will listen that the head cheerleader has implants, and then later on kissing her aerobicized ass.

Has Big Papi lost his mind? Was he trying to curry favor? Or try a “greasy wheel gets the MVP vote” strategy?  Is he going to start spitting out stale Anchorman lines? “I don’t know how to put this, but I’m a pretty big deal. People know me. I have a lot of walk-offs.”

No one’s disputing his stats or his talents. No one denies the value of saving as many games as he has. But where the opinions divide is whether he deserves MVP. Sure, she’s got a tight body, but is that really enough? Is this the MVDS (Most Valuable Dirty Stayout), the chick you want to hit on first?

My head is still reeling, with sentiments popping and banging around my mind like those numbered lottery balls in the glass globe: I’m running the whole gamut, from bemusement at Boston’s last battle cry before leaving the Green Monster to walk the Green Mile, to embarrassment FOR Boston fans. I don’t remember the last time I didn’t relish their demoralization, and now I’m sympathetically cringing like I’m watching a sweaty comedian bombing onstage.

And the first ball up…

1.) “They’re talking about Jeter a lot, right? He’s done a great job, he’s having a great season, but Jeter is not a 40-homer hitter or an RBI guy.”

Boy’s right though. Jeter’s boasting a paltry 13 HRs and is only 20th in the AL for RBIs. But Jeter’s .345 BA coupled with a .391 RISP (versus Ortiz’s .288 and .319, respectively) is worth mentioning. I’m always surprised with Jeter’s RBI and HR stats–I always think it’s higher than it is. Just as surprising as when I heard A-rod was the AL leader in game-winning RBIs–which is baffling since it seems like he spent 85% of the season walking back to the dugout. It’s similar to when I’m playing the 45-second shoot-out arcade basketball game like I’m Pistol Pete, and then I look at my score, and it’s circa 21. And other times I’m post-season Ben Wallace at the free throw line, and I somehow end up with 57.

I guess it’s just those late-game 3-pointers that pad my score. Which is nice because then I can forget about how I didn’t do anything that spectacular during the other 30 seconds of the game.

2.) “They’ll vote for a position player, use that as an excuse. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve done for your ball club, the bottom line is, the guy who hits 40 home runs and knocks in 100, that’s the guy you know helped your team win games.”

Well, you can’t argue with that airtight logic. They’re just voting Jeter in because he’s well-rounded. How valuable is a player whose talents are limited to an appearance every 9 batters? And combine that with the fact that the team you “helped win games” is 10.5 games out of the lead. Remember the old saying, “A-rod only homers when the Yankees are up/down by 8 runs”? Shouldn’t that apply to sluggers whose team is pathetically crying “go-go-Gadget-ARMS!” to reach the playoffs? You can’t have it both ways, haters. Either they’re both sporting “In Vain” stats, or neither of them are. But congrats on those W’s nonetheless! Playing above .500 is nothing to sneeze at. I hear some leading NL teams have that same .531 average.

3.) “Don’t get me wrong – [Jeter]’s a great player, having a great season, but he’s got a lot of guys in that lineup. Top to bottom, you’ve got a guy who can hurt you. Come hit in this lineup, see how good you can be.”

Come play shortstop, and see how good YOU can be.

Nice job, dingdong. Now, not only are you getting “cheated” out of Most Likely to Succeed and Best All Around, but your chances for Best Personality and Most Popular have taken a nosedive akin to your club’s record.

It is easy to be a hero when your allegedly sub-par lineup is being silenced by the likes of Kansas City. It is remarkable when your team is heading for a seamless entry into their 11th consecutive postseason. Even more impressive is the fact this “overpaid roster of trendy superstars” boasts the likes of rookies, a Royal’s reject (Guiel), the ICU regulars (Hideki, Sheffield, Mussina…) the early-bird-special-dining, bridge-playing Golden Girls (Bernie, Johnson, Posada, Fasano…), and an All-Star under more scrutiny and dealing with more highs and lows than Jennifer Aniston.

That’s leadership of MVP caliber.

Blaming your line-up in order to lobby votes? Not as much, really.

4.) On whom he would vote for: “All depends on who makes the playoffs. Dye is having an unbelievable season, an incredible year. Konerko, too.”

Read: “Whatever, I’m voting Annie TheaterGirl for prom queen. She’s MUCH hotter than Kelly PomPoms.”

That’s true. Dye and Konerko ARE having great years. But put it to the Fantasy litmus test. You have first draft pick–who do you choose between those three? Who will bring the most value to your team across the boards? Both Jeter and Konerko were on my team, and Konerko edged out Jeter in HRs and a negligible amount of RBIs. Jeter had more runs and hits; higher BA, SLG, OPS, and OBP; and 28 more SBs. This is not even a question worth debating. (And on Sunday, when I ultimately lost in the first fantasy playoff round, Konerko went 0 for 4 while Jeter went 2 for 4, with 4 RBIs. Though the blame probably can be squarely place on the fact I accidentally forgot to un-bench Santana. I’m LVP.)

5.) “I’m right there, but I’m not going to win it. They give it to [Rodriguez] one year, even though his team was in last place, so now they can’t play that BS anymore, just because your team didn’t make it. They gave it to Alex that year because of his numbers. But they always have a reason to vote for whatever, so that’s why I don’t worry about it.”

I typically believe that MVPs must come from playoff contenders. But to Ortiz’s point, his 2006, while nice, is not comparable to A-Rod’s 2003, when he led the AL in HRs, runs, and slugging, ranked 2nd in RBIs, won a Gold Glove, held the top fielding percentage of all Major League shortstops, and won about 50,000 batting and fielding titles, including the Hank Aaron award.

Ortiz jacked up someone’s fantasy team HR and slugging stats.

And Ortiz “isn’t worrying about it.”

Read: “Whatever, I don’t even care about stupid prom queen. It’s fixed, they always just pick the popular girls.”

Jeter’s response that he doesn’t have time to think about MVP since the Yankees have something to play for, is so good, I’m jealous I didn’t say it. I admire his reserve–it’s like my sister always says, “Pretty girls aren’t mean because they never have to be.”

And so Ortiz, in his own inimitable way, so joins the ranks of the other Red Sox whose frustrations translated into another New York sound byte: “Who’s your daddy?” Countless Schilling barking. And now, the stymieing diatribe that makes me picture Ortiz hanging out by the lockers with the periphery high-schoolers, the ones that watch the in-crowd with even mixture of envy, hatred, frustration, and self-pity.

Bottom line: the MVP consistently brings more to the table than any other player. Ortiz is frightening, unnerving, and stunningly powerful–about once every 1.5 innings. His contributions, while mighty, are categorically limited and therefore can only be so valuable.

MVP is the player who gives you more bang for your buck. I am in the “Steve Nash Deserved His MVP” school of thought, maintaining that Nash was technically and logistically more important to his teammates than leading-scorer Shaq was to his. The Red Sox would have lost at least 6 games without Ortiz’s walk-offs. But how many would the Yankees have lost without Jeter’s clutch doubles and fielding acrobatics?

MVP is the player who propelled his team into greatness and into the post-season. A slugger playing with seven other .280+ batters who still doesn’t see October, was just not indispensable enough. You’re good, kid. Real good. But your swing don’t mean a thing if you can’t get a ring.

This isn’t meant to lionize Jeter or campaign for his MVP votes. It’s to point out that when I watch the Yanks take the Sox in the Bronx this weekend, I will no longer be paralyzed with fear at the sight of Big Papi. And not just because the space between the Yanks and the Sox standings resembles two 6th-graders slow dancing to Boyz II Men at the school dance. But because Ortiz made the same mistake as his outspoken Boston predecessors. Take a page from the Godfather’s book: “Never let anyone know what you’re thinking.” Otherwise you’re just another garbling blurb on Page 6, and not the Yankee-killer you once were.

But then again, Ortiz shouldn’t let it get to him so much. Any mother will tell you that it’s more important to be smart than pretty. But if you can’t be smart or pretty, don’t project assiduous contempt at Kelly PomPoms. Ortiz’s seemingly bitter attitude only trivializes the outstanding year he had. Frustrating as it may be, Big Papi should make his peace with the fact that unless his team makes the playoffs, he throws in a couple more league-leading stats, AND learns how to play the infield like Honus Wagner, his value will be surpassed by some other American League dynamo. Well-rounded and well-deserving.

No one likes to say, “I don’t know, do YOU think she’s hot? I can’t tell.” People like talent they can accept without question. Because that’s what they will remember.

And like the chick concertedly strutting for some male attention, Ortiz’s sparkling 2006 season will quite likely be eclipsed by the glare off the proverbial Prom Queen’s tiara.

By YankTank

Kris Pollina lives and works in New York City as an advertising copywriter. She lives and dies by NY sports and is the first to admit she can be wildly irrational in defense of her teams. She spends too much time thinking of fantasy team names, too little time reading injury reports. She doesn't understand people who keep score at baseball games. She has more interest in the Kreb Cycle than she does in the NBA, tennis, golf, or anything that is limited to running around a track. She doesn't mind the NFL overtime rules, thinks hockey is wildly underrated, and hates the expression "step up to the plate." Most importantaly, she doesn't believe in wearing baseball hats with football logos on them. Football players wear helmets.

8 replies on “"The Prom Queen isn’t even that pretty": Tiara Envy in the MLB”

THANK YOU thank you for the comments! I may or may not have been apopletic when I first read about it, so this was a catharsis of sorts..
🙂

excellent column This gets my vote for column of the month… if we had a writing contest… which I swear to god is coming.

Great stuff! — I particulary like – “But your swing don’t mean a thing if you can’t get a ring.”

patten the t-shirt – quick!!

Miss Congeniality 3 – What NOT To Do — Ah, the difference between talking the talk, and walking the walk. The Yanks don’t talk trash, they walk to the plate and perform. Big Papi, why so snarky and petty? Did Paris Hilton’s boyfriend make fun of you…?  😉

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