The legend of Ed Wade lives on.
This week, scriptuals from the Houston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (writers love clubs) voted for the Astros’s 2011 MVP. Their choice, naturally, was… wait for it … you know it’s coming … Hunter Pence!
Hunter Pence was traded to the Phillies on July 29.
That’s right, the folks who follow and record the Astros’ every move decided that the guy most important to the team’s 56 wins was a guy who played the final two months of the season with the Phillies.
There are two ways to look at this:
1) The writers really liked Pence and wanted to honor him for a job well done with a lousy team.
2) The writers were trying to send a message and embarrass the team by overlooking Carlos Lee, who batted .275 with 18 Hr and 94 RBI this year.
It’s sort of like a choose your own adventure book, only, in this case, the outcome is always the same: Ed Wade makes cities sad.
Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle likes option two:
All it means is that when the annual baseball dinner is held, one of these idiots will get up and hand a plaque to a guy no longer with the team, and in that single moment, we’ll be reminded how far the Astros have fallen.
This is wrong on two levels. First, it’s wrong. Hunter Pence did not contribute more to the 2011 Astros than Carlos Lee. He just didn’t. Second, the writers dinner is the kickoff to a new season.
It’s a few weeks before the start of spring training and is supposed to be a feel-good time of optimism or new beginnings or whatever. I understand it’s going to be difficult to feel good about the Astros, but whatever the dinner is supposed to be, it’s not about embarrassing anyone.
The Astros are run by good people. Ed Wade is as good a man as you will ever meet. Pam Gardner and Tal Smith are first-rate people in every respect. Regardless of how they’ve operated the club, it’s terrible to embarrass them on what is supposed to be a goodwill night.
Whether Pence actually shows up for the dinner remains to be seen. But, if anything, being voted MVP of his former team by members of the media speaks to his personality and character. Philly beat writers no doubt salivated when the quote machine showed up in July. As you know, most of the other players on the Phillies don’t have a personality (truth– you try talking to Chase Utley).
Whatever the Houston writers’ motivation was in voting for Pence (whether to embarrass the Astros or simply reward a good player and media favorite) awarding the team MVP award to a guy who was a key part of another, more successful team – the current GM’s former team – is a monster slap in the face to the Astros. It’s also pretty hilarious, too.