I’ve gotten a lot of questions about why I put Justin Verlander first on the AL MVP ballot this year. I thought I’d offer a glimpse into my reasoning by publishing my top five picks with commentary:
1. Justin Verlander. When I sat down to try to figure out what “MVP” stood for, he was the first guy that came to mind. Most Valuable Pitcher? Definitely — as long as you’re not counting C.C. Sabathia, which I try not to ’cause he’s a Yankee. Although I do like the way he wears his hat all tipsy. But back to Verlander: 24 meaningless wins! 8.96 strikeouts per 9 innings! Sideburns as good as Luke Perry’s! Detroit is otherwise sad! Amazing!
2. Dustin Pedroia: Most Valuable Player [On My Fantasy Team]. I’ve been quietly living the nightmare of having made Matt “Shattered Hopes” Wieters my single franchise player in my keeper league until this year, when a little man called Laser Show entered my life and changed my attitude forever. Stay gold, Pedroia, you’re gonna be around for awhile.
3. This bulldog puppy: Most Valuable Puppy. This slot was a tough call, as y’all can probably imagine, but my heart told me at the last minute that he was going to be the winner. Whenever he’s on, even when no one’s in the room, my mouth goes to nonesense words that start with a “sh” sound. His VORPuppy is at least 80.5, and that’s accounting for breed factors.
4. If I Was Your Girlfriend: Most Valuable Prince [Song]. Look, I’ll admit that “Do Me Baby,” or even the overrated “Kiss” might be more likely to get (you) on base. But “If I Was Your Girlfriend” has an above-average bittersweet quotient while managing to maintain a very consistent sexiness. And in the clutch? “Sometimes I trip on how happy we could be” can’t be beat.
P.S. 6-10 are jalepeno, Big Sexy Hair’s Powder Play, Bubbles (RIP), tortellini, and Jose Bautista — you figure it out.
Summer Anne Burton is a writer and illustrator living in Austin, Texas. She is drawing pictures of Every Hall of Famer.