I covered the Derek Jeter story today for our paper, so I polled several of the AL MVP voters. Jeter lost in a close election. There was some anti-NY bias, much like there was when Willie Randolph wasn’t named NL Manager of the Year.
There’s no getting around it, the expectations are a lot higher in NY. The Mets had a higher payroll, so Randolph was expected to win. Since Jeter plays on the Yankees, the team that is expected to win every year, his contributions can’t match that of a player from a small market team. Jeter’s numbers had to be superior in every way for him to have won.
Personally, I think Willie would have had a better chance had the Mets not run away with it. There was an underlying feeling that since Atlanta hit the skids this year and nobody outside the Mets had a great season, that what Randolph accomplished wasn’t that big a deal. The voters were wrong with Willie, and maybe, Jeter, too.
The rewards are higher in NY, but so are the expectations, which is why in the postseason elections Yankees and Mets players have to do so much better.