Angel Berroa narrowly defeated Hideki Matsui to win Rookie of the Year honors in the American League, while Dontrelle Willis ran away with the award in the National League. According to the New York Times, Matsui's age played a part in Berroa getting the nod:
"It had everything to do with that," said Bill Ballou of The Worcester (Mass.) Telegram and Gazette, who listed Tampa Bay outfielder Rocco Baldelli first, Cleveland outfielder Jody Gerut second and Berroa third. "Matsui's numbers are comparable to any of the other strong candidates. But I really think that while he is technically a rookie by the rules of Major League Baseball, he is not a rookie in the spirit of the award."
Age didn't bother the voters enough to deny Matsui's countrymen, Ichiro and Kaz from winning the Rookie of the Year title. Why the change of heart? Do you think this might just have something to do with the fact that Matsui plays for the New York Yankees? I don't doubt it, but sportswriters have traditionally been stingy with giving awards to the Bronx Bombers. Boo-hoo.
Having said that, I don't think that Matsui deserved to win in the first place. It's not as if he has been "robbed." But if the writers voted correctly in the American League, then how can they explain what happened in the National League? Dontrelle Willis is a great story and a charasmatic kid, but he wasn't even the best rookie pitcher in the league.
Fortunately, I don't get too worked up over awards one way or another (although I like a good controversy as much as the next guy, and if Barry Bonds is somehow denied another MVP, that would get me going). I'm reminded of Woody Allen complaining in "Annie Hall" when his character visted L.A. to present an award. "All they do is give out awards. Greatest Fascist Dictator: Adolph Hitler."
How about "Most Spiteful Sportswriter Snub: George King."