In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Brandon Gould, challenges staff writers Chrissy Onorato, Kevin Lee and Mike Pietroforte to answer questions on who should be the MLS MVP, Al Alburquerque’s kissing of a baseball, and whether or not Derrick Rose should play this season.
1. With soccer season winding down, who is the MLS MVP?
CO: I would have to say Chris Wondolowski should be the pick for MVP. A crucial member of the San Jose Earthquakes, he has led the team to the number one position this year and to the tops of the leaderboards. Wondolowski was the team MVP in 2011 and has continued to lead his team this year, scoring a league-leading 25 goals. He also leads shots on goal this year, with a total of 51. The Earthquakes are now leading the league with 69 goals, 493 shots and 182 shots on goal. There is no doubt they would be nowhere close to that if not for Wondolowski. Last year, he won the MLS Castrol Index Player of the Year and was named to the MLS Best XI. Ever since he came back to San Jose in 2009 from Houston, he has upped his play and led the team to the top spot.
KL: Is there really a debate for this award? There’s no argument for anyone else, but San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski. To this point, Wondolowski, has scored 25 goals which is eight more than any other player. Wondolowski also has the chance to make history by breaking Roy Lassiter’s MLS record of 27 regular season goals set in 1996. Scoring 27 goals nowadays is much more impressive than it was back then, considering how much better the MLS is now than before. Aside from individual stats, Wondowloski has been the MVP in the truest sense by making his teammates better. His mere presence on the field has improved his teammates’ play, resulting in San Jose being the best team (standings-wise) in the MLS. “Wonder Wondo” is the clear choice here.
MP: My pick for MLS MVP would have to be Chris Wondolowski. He has, far and away, the most goals in the league, and is chasing the single-season record for goals (27). He’s also the top threat on the top team in the league, the San Jose Earthquakes. Wondolowski has been a difference maker for the Earthquakes, netting 10 game-winning goals and leading the way to a Western Conference title. They’ve also tied a club record by recording 64 points in a season. In a sport where scoring is not always a guarantee, Chris Wondolowski has erupted for 26 goals in 32 games. In their last contest he posted a hat trick. He leads the league in game-winning goals by nine, and if he isn’t handed a most valuable player award at the end of the season, then I don’t know who should be.
Kevin gets 3 for saying “Wonder Wondo” is the clear choice. Mike gets 2 for pointing out game-winning goals. Chrissy gets 1 for saying the Earthquakes wouldn’t be the same team without him.
2. Tigers pitcher Al Alburquerque kissed the ball after fielding a comebacker on the mound before throwing to first base in the Tigers win on Sunday, Oct. 7. The A’s said it was “unprofessional.” What do you think, did Alburquerque cross a line?
CO: As to the incident with Al Alburquerque kissing the baseball before making the last play during the Tigers/A’s game, I would have to side with him and say that I don’t believe it was disrespectful. When these guys are out on the field and waiting, play by play, to see the outcome, you can only imagine the kind of emotions running through them. This was a divisional series game, so emotions were extremely high. When he saw that it was going to be an easy out for him, with two men on base, he got caught up in the moment and took a second to appreciate what had been handed to him. His teammates have told him not to do it again, but still stood up for him and said if the A’s knew what kind of guy he was, they wouldn’t have seen it as a sign of disrespect. I believe there are many other things that players have done that were so much worse than a simple kiss of a baseball.
KL: I could see why the A’s would be ticked off. It really doesn’t have a place in the game of baseball and could elevate to a bean-ball war. However, In Alburquerque’s defense, he has never had a history of disrespecting his opponents. I’m sure that it was more Alburquerque’s emotions getting the best of him in an adrenaline-filled situation. Alburquerque got a huge out against a tough batter in Cespedes to end the inning, so I’d be pretty pumped too. This probably got his teammates pretty amped up as well since it was one of the most swagful things that’s happened in baseball. Either way, this seems to be an isolated incident, so I don’t think it’s a big deal as long as it doesn’t happen again.
MP: I could understand their displeasure, if this had happened against my team I’d probably say some things about him that I couldn’t print in this paper. However, from an unbiased point of view, I wouldn’t say it was “unprofessional.” Was it necessary? No. The way I look at it, this wasn’t some premeditated action. Alburquerque snagged a ball back to the pitcher, instinctively thought to kiss this baseball, and then had the time to throw the guy out at first base. If you feel the need to complain about some small detail like that then maybe you should be running a little harder toward first base and spend a little less time watching the pitcher make the play.
Kevin gets 3 for discussing the emotion involved in a “swagful thing.” Mine gets 2 for saying the A’s should have been more worried about themselves and the game than the Tigers. Chrissy gets 1 for noting that he isn’t a disrespectful person.
3. Some have suggested that Bulls’ guard Derrick Rose should sit out the entire 2012-13 season to recover from a torn ACL. Should Rose try to come back and play or take a year off?
CO: Hearing about Derrick Rose’s torn ACL has been heartbreaking for any fan of the NBA, but as much as people want to see him come back, I truly think he should take as much time off as he needs. As soon as an athlete gets hurt these days, the first question is always “When will they be back?” but people should realize that if an athlete plays injured, that injury could turn into one that is career-ending. This has happened way too often. Especially with basketball players, a torn ACL is scary — if that doesn’t have enough time to heal, you are going to be faced with worse problems down the road. The Bulls can afford to let him take the time to recover. Rose has only been playing pro for four years and therefore doesn’t want to do anything stupid that would end his career early. There is worry that Rose will come back a different player. This is possible, but this injury won’t change the good person he is. He’s still going to play 110 percent and give everything to his team, but he has to be in the best health possible for this.
KL: The earliest Rose is slated to return is the All-Star break. Even if (and that’s a huge if) Rose returns, he’s not expected to be close to 100 percent. With that said, I say sit Rose for the season. The knee is incredibly fragile in basketball, having to make quick movements and jump constantly, making the potential risk for re-aggravation high. Furthermore, Rose is just 24 years old and has four more years left on his contract so why risk the potential of losing him even longer? Rose is too good and too valuable to this franchise. In the grand scheme of things, one year is not a long time compared to the duration of a player’s career. Plus, the Heat are too good and the Bulls, even with a wobbly Rose, won’t be good enough. The Bulls should make a run at Stephen Curry or Blake Griffin for the 2013-2014 season, have a healthy Rose, and beat the damn Heat.
MP: I think it’s too early to make a concrete decision for the rest of the season. It’s too much of a commitment to say, no, our star player will not see the court this year. It’s also too early to guarantee that he’ll play. If it were my decision, I’d guage the way the season, as well as his rehabilitation, before I made a decision. If my team is a serious contender near the end of the season and D. Rose is even 90 percent, than I would not hesitate to play him. If we aren’t contending, and he’s not ready to play, then I won’t play him. I will take a wait-and-see approach, and won’t make my decision until it absolutely needs to be done.
Mike gets 3 for his wait-and-see suggestion. Kevin gets 2 for suggesting that the Bulls should sit Rose and set themselves up for 2013-14. Chrissy gets 1 for describing Rose’s knack for giving 110 percent.
Kevin wins Around the Dorm 8-7-3