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Dudley Do-Right for MVP

September 15, 2008

by Stephen Wiblemo

About a month ago, I mentioned that Justin Morneau was making a run at his second Most Valuable Player award this season.

At that time, I wasn’t quite ready to hand him the honor, but now I am.

Our Canadian friend has been outstanding in the second half of the season, and as long as the Twins are able to clinch a playoff berth, Morneau should have the award outright.

His closest competition for it is Boston’s Dustin Pedroia. He is leading the league in hits with 196, runs with 112, and in average at .328 (though Joe Mauer is not far behind at .323).

Those are stats worthy of an MVP, but he is not even close in Morneau’s favorite statistic: runs brought in.

The Twins’ Dudley Do-Right is second in the American League on the RBI list with 119 RBI as of Thursday morning, just behind Josh Hamilton’s 124.

Pedroia isn’t even close in that statistic; he has just 78.

Something else the MVP voters should consider is how difficult it has been for Morneau to put up those kinds of numbers, considering how pitchers in the league are scared to pitch to the man.

In 2006, his first MVP season, he walked just 53 times. This year, he has already walked 70 times and has only struck out 73 times.

He will probably finish this season with about 10 fewer home runs than in 2006, but you can’t be expected to hit the ball out of the park if pitchers won’t put it over the plate.

The Boston Red Sox are pretty well set to get into the playoffs, whether by winning the division or the wild card.

So, while I believe the MVP is Morneau’s to lose, the Twins still have to beat the White Sox for the division. A player that has a good season, but can’t get his team into October just isn’t the most valuable.

NFL week 1 under the belt

I am writing this column Thursday, Sept. 11. So, although most of the NFL’s week two games will have been played by the time people read it, I must remain a week late with my commentary.

The first week of NFL games was not a good one for quarterbacks. Between knee injuries and mental breakdowns, a la Vince Young, I think Daunte Culpepper might have retired a week too early.

The biggest news of the week was, of course, Tom Brady being lost for the season. Teammate Randy Moss is confident that the Patriots are “still the team to beat,” but I’m not so sure.

It is to early in the season to tell, but we’ll have to see what Bill Belichick has up his hoodie.

The Vikings lost Monday night to the Packers. I’m not really going to get into it other than to say I think Tarvaris Jackson has a few more weeks to prove himself before fans start to call for Gus Frerotte to get a chance under center.

After a loss in the first game of the season it’s always good, whether you are a fan or a player, to remember one important thing: it is only the first game of the season.