George Steinbrenner issued a statement yesterday expressing his displeasure over two writers' decision to leave Hideki Matsui off their Rookie of the Year ballots (two writers also inexplicably left winner Angel Berroa off their list as well). According to the Times:
The writers, Steinbrenner said, "clearly made up their own rules to determine who was and was not eligible for the award and disqualified an eligible candidate who could have won." Steinbrenner continued: "One of the writers in question, Mr. Ballou, actually said, `while he is technically a rookie by the rules of Major League Baseball, he is not a rookie in the spirit of the award.' Spirit of the award? The award was renamed by the Baseball Writers' Association to honor Jackie Robinson, its first recipient.
"Jackie Robinson came to the major leagues after playing in the Negro Leagues, a league whose high level of play is unquestioned. This year's voting farce, where the appropriate qualifications for the award were blatantly ignored...
John Harper puts it well in the Daily News this morning:
Before I swallow hard and at least sort of agree with George Steinbrenner, a notion that has all the appeal of a colonoscopy, let's get to the bottom line: The right guy won the AL Rookie of the Year award.
The two writers in question---Bill Ballou from the Worcester (Massachusetts) Telegram & Gazette and Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune--defended themselves, but ESPN's Mike Greenberg thinks that their arrogance is inexcusable.