Over the next three days, The Wanderer Online brings you its selections for MLB regular season awards. We begin with the newly-signed Wanderer writer, Josh Connauton.
On the flip side of my MVP article are our lovely LVPs. Every team, every year, always has one of these. It is someone (a player, or coach of some kind) who simply makes the team horrible in every possible way. The players on this list for their respective leagues wholeheartedly deserve this coveted honour and when they read this (cause let’s be honest, they have nothing better to do) they will take great pride in knowing their contribution to their team made a dramatic impact…
American League: Bobby Valentine/Former-Manager/Boston Red Sox
What really needs to be said? This has to be a no brainer. Bobby Valentine’s tenure is definitely one that Red Sox fans will want to forget, despite that it was the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. They finished with a dismal 69-93 record, their worst season since 1965. Valentine was brought in to replace Terry Francona following their epic collapse last September that saw them lose the division lead and ultimately miss the playoffs. The hope was that Valentine could mend the much-publicized divisions within the locker room; he did the exact opposite. The players clearly never adhered to his message, starting the season dismally. They showed promising signs around the all-star break; however, much to the Red Sox’ dismay, faltered miserably. You could see all the traits undesirable in a manager in Valentine, publicly criticizing his players day after day and always having the attitude that things will get better but never making any noticeable changes. Now whether this was all Valentine’s fault is yet to be determined. I personally am under the notion that the way Francona left the team (remember, he did manage them to more championships in 5 years than the previous 86) and the publicized split between him and ownership played a huge role in the players’ unwelcoming attitudes towards Valentine. Ultimately though, it was Valentine’s task to bring the team back together and back to the post season. He was clearly up to the challenge, but was unable to deliver.
National League: The Entire Chicago Cubs Baseball Team
“The Lovable Losers”; “The Cubbies”. I am a true die-hard Cubs fan. Always have been since the days of Mark Prior, Kerry Wood and Steve Bartman… Oh, Steve Bartman. Anyway, I had to put the entire team of the Cubs on this list because they absolutely stunk the National League up this year. With their worst record (61-101) since 1966 and with there seeming to be no end in sight to this “rebuild”, the Cubs will be repeating this pathetic excuse of a season for a long time. Their pitching was atrocious, never able to close out a game, their batting inconsistent (seriously, they might as well be high school baseball players from Wyoming), and their manager, Dale Sveum is completely incapable of inspiring a team and dare I say it, worse than Bobby Valentine! This season in so many ways summed up the Cubs as a franchise: their seemingly apathetic attitude to losing and acceptance of this truth. They haven’t won the World Series since 1908 (yes, not 1980, 1908… no-one alive today has seen the Cubs win a World Series) and they haven’t even been to the World Series Final since 1945! It seems that more and more, the Cubs are giving up on themselves and accepting the fact that they are indeed “The Loveable Losers”.
When Theo Epstein was brought in as President of Baseball Operations, we (Cubs fans) were screaming “Hallelujah! The messiah is here! The man who won the Red Sox their first World Series in 86 years has come to help us!” So far, we have been completely and utterly wrong and I hope things will change, I really do, but if this season is any indication, the losing and apathetic attitude of the players, coaches, and ownership will surely be the death of one of the most storied and historic major sports franchises in North America. If the team can sit back, make their millions of dollars and simply accept they suck and that losing is their way of life, then there is no other player, manager, or even team, that is less valuable in the entirety of North American professional sport.