For the Record
Keith_ted
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Dustin Pedroia
One voter didn't even include Dustin Pedroia on their ballot.
AP

There was a time, not so long ago, when a significant sporting decision with lots of money and the weight of history at stake was made solely by sportswriters. After decades of complaints that those votes were well-intentioned but insufficient at best (and stupid and incorrect at worst), a change was made. The voices of multiple groups would be heard. Statistics would play a role in determining the outcome. And everyone would live happily ever after.

That new system was the BCS. And aside from the happily ever after part, there can be little doubt that the manner in which college football chooses its championship matchup -- though still far, far from perfect (here’s a vote for a playoff) -- is a far superior system to the previous format: an ancient ritual of simply letting a single, inherently biased group make such a determination.

Baseball’s awards season has come and gone and, with it,  the usual supply of columns arguing that sportswriters who vote for baseball’s awards have no more right voting for an MVP or Cy Young winner than they do the Prime Minister of Australia.

This awards season alone saw Edinson Volquez get three votes for Rookie of the Year when he’s not a rookie and Dustin Pedroia win AL MVP despite being left off someone’s 10-man ballot entirely. Those weren't the only voting sins in recent history. There was the travesty of 2003, when Hideki Matsui lost the AL Rookie of the Year award to Angel Berroa because two voters decided on their own -- against BBWAA rules -- that Matsui, then 29 years old and a three-time league MVP in Japan, was not a rookie at all.

But what can be done to replace that system. Should it be the players voting? The fans? Front office executives? Former winners? A select panel made up of all the above groups? Should it be done using a statistical formula? (Statheads rejoice: VORP and WARP will finally have their day.)

How about this: use them all. Take the BCS formula of weighing several different components and come up with a system that cancels, as effectively as possible, the inherent biases of each group to reach a consensus that offers the truest choice for these awards.

Break it down in whatever fashion makes the most sense (two-thirds for the writers’ vote, one-third for a statistical formula plus the votes for players, fans and front-office executives, for instance.) And most importantly, do not be afraid to change things to make the system as perfect as possible. Because the current one is simply not the most effective way of determining awards that have millions of dollars riding on them.

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