November 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Terry Foster

Stop the saber-rattling; Miguel Cabrera is the MVP

If the old-school thinking is more powerful than we think, then Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera should win AL MVP. (Getty Images)

The numbers are in. The verdict will be announced Thursday.

This election is in the game of baseball, and it's old school versus new school. The American League Most Valuable Player race is not simply a showdown between Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera and Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout. It is a battle between old-school thinking and new-school math.

It is sabermetrics versus old-school baseball reference. If the old-school thinking is more powerful than we think, then Triple Crown winner Cabrera should win. If the new kids on the block have gone behind closed doors to take over baseball, then Trout wins.

Forgive me. I am an old-school guy. In my world games are decided by batting average, runs batted in and home runs. Cabrera won all three categories and became the first person since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win the Triple Crown. He batted .330 with 44 home runs and 139 RBIs.

And it wasn't just about numbers. It is when Cabrera got the hits. He was a monster from the seventh inning on, batting .337 with 17 home runs and 43 RBIs. Trout had a fine season by batting .326 with 30 home runs and 83 RBIs for the season, but he batted just .260 with eight homers and 18 RBIs from the seventh inning on.

Doesn't crunch time matter in baseball? It sure does in football and basketball.

Michael Jordan and John Elway would not be considered great without 11th-hour heroics.

Cabrera also carried his team to the playoffs, helping erase a three-game deficit to the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central with just 16 games to play.

Cabrera for MVP is a no brainer in the baseball world I grew up in. But there are a lot of people who say I am wrong.

Some voters in the MVP race believe things like WAR (wins above replacement), DRS (defensive runs saved) and BABIP (batting averages on balls in play) mean more. They are the new-school thinkers, and they say traditional baseball brass are wrong.

I am not certain how many of these people have votes, but they are changing the landscape on how we think about baseball.

How much power do they have? We will find out Thursday when the MVP winner is announced.

Trout is a better fielder, and he is young and exciting. But he missed a lot of games because the team did not call him up until the season had started (which does not seem to hurt him), and he faded down the stretch.

That's enough for me. Cabrera for MVP. But that is coming from an old-school guy.

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