Detroit – Thursday could not have been a pleasant day for two Tampa-area baseball writers.
Bill Chastain from MLB.com and Fred Goodall from the Associated Press both left Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander off their Cy Young Award ballots. Verlander finished second in the voting to Boston’s Rick Porcello, by a total of five points.
Even though both writers would have had to place Verlander no lower than third on their ballots to swing the vote in Verlander’s favor, they were the target of much derision on social media and sports talk radio and television shows.
Neither responded to phone calls from The Detroit News Thursday.
Chastain, though, did attempt to explain his ballot to the New York Daily News.
“I feel bad that people are upset about this; I did the best I could,” he told the paper Wednesday night. “I went around the (Tampa Bay Rays) clubhouse, I asked guys. I agonized over this. The biggest thing for me was between (Baltimore closer Zach) Britton and Porcello.”
Chastain said he turned his ballot in “about a week” before the end of the season. Verlander made two more impressive starts in the final week of the season, allowing one run and striking out 20 in 14.2 innings.
“At the time, I thought I picked the best five guys,” Chastain said. “Maybe I should have waited until the end. When I voted, it looked pretty clear to me. … I wasn’t out to get Verlander. It wasn’t anything personal.”
Here’s how Chastain voted: 1. Porcello, 2. Britton, 3. Corey Kluber, 4. Chris Sale, 5. Masahiro Tanaka.
Here is Goodall’s ballot: 1. Porcello, 2. Kluber, 3. J.A. Happ, 4. Britton, 5. Aaron Sanchez.
“Both Bill and Fred are long-time veteran, experienced baseball writers and certainly have the ability to make what they felt were the proper decisions,” said Marc Topkin, who writes for the Tampa Bay Times and is chairman of the BBWAA's Tampa Bay chapter.