Danville, Kentucky -- "Value." It something that everyone strives for but only the great attain. A man spends his life trying to prove his value to himself, to his father, or to the woman that broke his heart. Value is measured by the sweat on a man's brow or the dirt underneath his fingernails, or by his willingness to drive another man to retrieve his car from a Jack In The Box parking lot in Reno after a night of Fireball-fueled hedonistic debauchery. True men of value go to the gym at 6 AM, taking only their boxing gloves and their pride, to teach the punching bag a thing or two about suing a down-on-his-luck guy for custody of his own children and Basset Hound. True men of value sit in their cubicles with their heads down, putting in work to keep the dream of a 2 car garage and endless appetizers alive. True men of value report to the construction site with a bagged lunch and a hard hat, inhaling the bitter fumes of concrete dust and thwarted ambition. True men demonstrate their value without expectation of reward or recognition. Yet, there comes a time each Autumn where baseball bestows special recognition upon the men who made a difference. The men who put their teams on their back and carried them to the playoffs by sheer force of will alone.
Folks, I'm not a voter for these awards. The last ballot I cast was in 1996 for Bob Dole, the man who dared to challenge NAFTA. I can't vote anymore. The state of Kentucky requires a valid form of ID, and I've never had a driver's license and lost my birth certificate in a Poker Game back in '98. However, no voter ID law is going to keep me from expressing my opinion about who the most valuable players in the MLB are.
NL MVP - Yoenis Cespedes (New York Mets)
Folks, this man always had MVP potential. After studying under another MVP in Detroit for several months this season, La Potencia looks ready to take the boys from Queens to the promised land. He took a feeble offense with more performance issues than myself on my honeymoon after a few Limearitas and some horse tranquilizer, and turned them into the class of the NL. He's provided the middle-of-the-lineup power bat that strikes fear into the heart of pitchers everywhere.
And don't waste your time arguing that Bryce Harper deserves it. Bryce and his attitude have cost the Nationals a chance at the playoffs. True MVPs don't lollygag their way to first base on a pop-fly, and they don't pick fights with proven closers.
AL MVP - Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees)
Sometimes, a nation wants Kennedy when they need Nixon. Sometimes, a fanbase wants Jeter when they need A-Rod. Yet, it's dingers that win pennants and not a nice-guy attitude or boy-next-door charm. A-Rod has been a shot in the arm to this Yankees team. Most franchises would be limp and lifeless after losing their Captain, but Alex has injected a winning attitude and mentality into this Yankees team. With his still formidable power and hitting skills, he has not only made history this season, but has done what Jeter failed to do since A-Rod last left the scene: take the Yankees to the playoffs.. If the Bronx Bombers make noise this postseason, expect A-Rod to guide them to glory.
It brings a pain to my heart (and my intestine) that I haven't felt since I got divorced and melancholically binge-ate 32 Honey-Chipotle Chicken Crispers, but I sincerely doubt that the actual award voters will do the right thing and reward the right men. The world has changed since 2013, when the dream of Huckabee in '14 was alive and when baseball fans still valued RBIs and leadership and being the best at your trade. Mike Trout and his ilk don't steal bases anymore; now they just steal awards and recognition from more deserving men like Victor Martinez and Kendrys Morales. Fortunately, Mike Trout will be eating Subway sandwiches on his mother's couch this October while the true MVPs like Josh Hamilton chase glory and championship rings. As we gather around the Chili's table with our friends and families this weekend, let's dip a peppery piece of corn-on-the-cob into some creamy ranch sauce in honor of these truly valuable men.