Yet another reason why beat writers shouldn’t be voting for awards: Backlash in Arizona over writer’s choice for NL MVP

Wanted to catch up on this story from late last week. It gives me another chance to vent about the conflicts that arise when writers vote for awards and Hall of Fames, etc.

Last week, Nick Piecoro, who covers the Arizona Diamondbacks for the Arizona Republic, disclosed that he chose Andrew McCutchen over Paul Goldschmidt in his ballot for NL MVP.

Piecoro explained his vote:

I understand this is not a popular decision around here. There are certain realities you have to accept in this job. One of them is that you’re never going to please everyone. Today is a day to keep that in mind.

Voting for these awards isn’t easy for beat writers when the players we cover are among the candidates. If you give them your vote, you risk looking like a homer nationally. If you don’t, you catch heat not only from the local fans but also within the clubhouse you cover. What you try to do – the only thing you can do – is make what you believe is the best choice. You don’t make your selection based on the team you cover or based on what other’s reactions might be. You make your selection based on your convictions.

Piecoro deserves to be commended for not taking the easy way out and handing a hometown vote to Goldschmidt. However, the fact that he had to point out the inherent conflicts shows why he shouldn’t have been voting in the first place.

Sure enough, Piercoro did catch considerable flak in Arizona. Awful Announcing’s Joe Lucia even noted the beat writer got scolded in a tweat by Sen. John McCain.

However, there was a bigger problem. Lucia writes Diamondbacks pitcher “Brad Ziegler went on a now-deleted rampage about his teammate not winning.”

Piercoro now has to answer to an Arizona locker room about why he didn’t vote for Goldschmidt, including Goldschmidt himself. Hopefully, the Diamondbacks star will have more of an open mind than Ziegler and appreciate Piercoro’s objectivity. But you never know, especially since Goldschmidt likely had bonus money coming if he won the award.

Piercoro could have been spared this uncomfortable situation if he hadn’t been a voter. It should be an example for other beat writers too.

Once again: Writers cover news; they don’t make news. Piercoro was in the news last week for the wrong reason.







5 thoughts on “Yet another reason why beat writers shouldn’t be voting for awards: Backlash in Arizona over writer’s choice for NL MVP

  1. Yet, from the other perspective, look at all the criticism that Derrick Goold and Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch are getting for casting the only two first place votes that Yadier Molina received, and the votes that kept Andrew McCutchen from being a unanimous choice for MVP. Hummel also voted for Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals in second and McCutchen third.

  2. The “D-Backs” are quickly becoming the most unlikeable team/fans in baseball. I know, I reside in Arizona. BTW #1, great info above Christine, I didn’t know that. BTW #2, memo to all these morning national sports talk radio shows — we don’t tune in for sports talk to listen to actors and musicians. We really don’t. Why do you insist on shoving it down our throats?

  3. I’m just curious as to why the attitudes of people with a vested interest or who are homers are supposed to carry the day over those who are trying to be objective.

    Let’s see…fans, players and a US Senator basically advocate homerism, and the solution to the problem is to hold the guy who’s trying to do the right thing responsible? Where does THAT thought process come from?

    Who is better-suited to vote for these awards, exactly? People who cover baseball for a living every single day or just random fans and senators whose primary agendas are their own self-interests?

    This is why you have a national body of people voting. Nick Piecoro (a friend, full disclosure) isn’t the ONE deciding who wins the NL MVP (and, by the results of the voting, he wasn’t the only one who felt McCutchen was the MVP).

    If we’re just supposed to accept as a given that every voter from every market is just supposed to vote for “their guy” first so that fans and senators can feel better about themselves, these awards are going to be decided by who everybody votes second.

    The solution is not to restrict beat writers from voting on awards. The solution is for more voters to be transparent and explain their thought processes, and for fans and senators to get the hell over it.

  4. “Piercoro could have been spared this uncomfortable situation if he hadn’t been a voter.”

    Or, you know, if other people acted like grownups.

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