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November 17, 2008 at 1:29 am ET
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AL MOY Voter Pluto: “I May Be A Moron”

Terry Pluto (left), the Salman Rushdie of Devil Ray Town.Saturday I found the identity of the one voter who kept Joe Maddon from being the unanimous AL Manager Of The Year had been revealed on tampabay.com — it was Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto.

I sent Pluto an email with a few questions and suggested at the very least he should stop voting for future awards. (Slightly tamer than my initial suggestions I know.)

I got a response from Pluto in less than ten minutes. Here it is:

Re: manager of the year vote
Saturday, November 15, 2008 3:04 PM
From: “Terry Pluto” <terrypluto2003@yahoo.com>
To: “David Chalk” <dchalk@bugsandcranks.com>

They [each writer's votes] are made public through the Baseball Writers…not sure how it works.

I have no problem with people seeing how I voted — I should be accountable.

It does bother me that some fans from Tampa still think the voting was after the playoffs…and I do wish that was when we could vote. More than once, I have voted for a manager who got swept in the first round, and a guy like Manuel really shows his stuff in the post-season, but is passed over by the voters.

terry

PS: [To my question of if he had thought before the season the Devil Rays would be more likely than the Twins to be in contention in the season's least week.] Yes, I did. Minnesota was picked for 4-5 in the division my [sic] most media services. Right now, try to name four of their starting pitchers. I thought Tampa could finally have a winning record.

Please, accept that I may be a moron on this, but I had no agenda.

There are a few things that bother me about Pluto’s response. First, he makes a pretty piss-poor case for voting for Gardenhire over Maddon at any point in the season. Second, he says “I should be accountable,” but apparently accountability just means suffering some vigorous internet mocking. Further, he tries to deflect the focus of his irrational vote by trying to emphasize the timing of the vote, as if to say I am only a super-duper moron, not a humongous-extra-super-duper moron so please don’t be too rough with the vigorous internet mocking. Last, “but I had no agenda” sounds suspiciously like something someone WITH AN AGENDA would say.

Beginning with his defense of the vote: granted I can’t name four Minnesota pitchers — they had Livan, did bring Boof back again?, I want to say there was a Blackburn, wait Liriano made a few starts at the end, does that count? — but ya, I get it, they had a lot of no-name first and second year guys. Still, Minnesota finishing tied for first instead of predictions of fourth or fifth is mainly because Detroit and Cleveland were so much awfuller than people thought they’d be. The AL Central was a two-team race all year. That doesn’t sound like such great managing to me. Whereas Mr. Pluto says he thought the Devil Rays “could” — not would, “could” — have a winning record. A winning record is 82 wins. When the last week of the season began, Maddon’s Devil Rays had clinched a playoff spot, had won NINETY-TWO games and were in first place in the AL East. Yes, the Twins lost Santana and Hunter, but they still had Mauer and Morneau and Nathan. Maddon did more in a much tougher division with a less experienced team. At no point in the second half should any professional baseball writer have been able to say with a straight face that Joe Maddon was not the AL Manager Of The Year.

Again, getting something this wrong should demand more contrition than merely an aw-shucks I messed up and feel bad tour of the internets.

And the awshucksing and “I had no agenda” does sound like someone who is trying to milk his absurd contrariness for fame and fortune. Susan Mullen of xm mlb chat suggested as much, and mentioned a possible BBWAA Twins pity bias. Or maybe Pluto’s just bitter that Maddon has enough hair for a mohawk. Another possible motive is religious fanaticism. Pluto also writes a column on faith for The Plain Dealer. I was struck by this portion of a recent column:

My wife often is the voice of the Holy Spirit when she expresses a strong opinion, which she doesn’t do often. When she does, she is usually – make that, almost always – right.

It took me a few days to re member that. We did pray about it, and now we pray each day about how best to handle our finances. We are doing well financially, but suddenly so many of the people we have helped in the past are doing worse – and need even more support.

Does Pluto hate the Devil Rays because of their name? Did his wife and/or the Holy Spirit tell him to vote for Gardenhire? Or does Pluto, his wife, and/or the Holy Spirit just see a miraculous financial opportunity in finding out he was the lone Judas who kept Maddon from being the unanimous MOY?

Maybe Pluto really is just a nice, plain-dealing repentant guy who’s sorry and embarrassed he voted like a moron. But it is suspicious. And it doesn’t feel like real accountability if he’s just gonna keep on voting and writing like nothing’s happened.

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One Response to “AL MOY Voter Pluto: “I May Be A Moron””
  1. Gomer Pyle says:

    So the guy responds and you still rip on him? You got a whole B&C entry on this so you should be happy. This is like crying when your team wins the World Series in 4 games and you are upset over a called third strike in the third inning. Madden is still the AL MOY.

    It might be time to start preparing your “Longoria was robbed for AL MVP because he was a rookie” entry for later this week (not that I would argue that statement when it happens).

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