The saying goes that chicks dig the long ball and so, it seems, do members of the Orioles media. For the second straight season, when presented with the opportunity to bestow their Most Valuable Oriole award on the actual most valuable Orioles player, the collective electorate has instead decided to vote the team home run leader to receive the award. The winner this time around is Chris Davis.
The Louis M. Hatter Most Valuable Oriole Award is named after a former Baltimore Sun writer who covered the team for 27 years. Each voter receives three spots on the ballot with a simple 5-3-1 point system. The exact composition of the electorate is never known, other than that I can safely tell you that Camden Chat does not receive a ballot.
Davis, with his 45 home runs and counting, has undoubtedly had a great season for the O's, one which we were lucky to get to witness, just as last year's winner, Nelson Cruz, also had a great season that we were fortunate took place in an O's uniform.
However, there is no reality-based universe in which any player other than Manny Machado was the most valuable Oriole in 2015. Machado's breakout offensive season combined with sparkling defensive plays at the hot corner is not something that should be denied when it comes to recognizing the team's most valuable player. Just yesterday he added the 20 home run/20 stolen base club feather to his cap, the first to do so since the days of Brady Anderson.
When your Gold Glove-caliber third baseman hits 33 home runs and steals 20 bases, that's your team MVP. Period, the end.
Davis is a repeat winner, having also been deservedly elected MVO for his 2013 campaign. He's the 13th Oriole to win the MVO multiple times. The last repeat winner was Adam Jones, who won in back-to-back years in 2011 and 2012. There hasn't been a three-time award recipient since Rafael Palmeiro won his third MVO in 1998. Other players who received votes for this year's award were Zach Britton, Jones, Caleb Joseph, Machado, and Darren O'Day.
O's fans can only hope that Machado repeats or exceeds his performance next year and finally gets his due. If Davis departs in free agency, Machado may well lead the team in home runs in 2016 - so maybe that will be the impetus for these voters to finally recognize him.