Debates? Debates? Forget Bush-Clinton or Clinton-Bush or Perot-Perot. How about a much more spirited discussion _ like Pendleton-Bonds?
Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America this weekend will cast their ballots for baseball's post-season awards.
Here are the opinions of one (non-voting) writer:
AL MVP: Joe Carter, Blue Jays. He is a total offensive player (leading the league in extra-base hits and total bases), carries the enigmatic team, and contributes defensively. Runners-up: Dennis Eckersley, A's; Kirby Puckett, Twins.
NL MVP: Barry Bonds, Pirates. He delivered when the team needed him most _ a 28-game stretch where he hit .424 with 10 homers and 26 RBI as the Pirates extended their lead from three games to seven. When he was hurt in midseason, they went 8-10 without him. Runners-up: Terry Pendleton, Braves; Gary Sheffield, Padres.
AL Cy Young: Dennis Eckersley, A's. In what could be his best season yet, Eck has had a hand in 58 of Oakland's 94 wins. Runners-up: Jack Morris, Blue Jays; Jack McDowell, White Sox.
NL Cy Young: Greg Maddux, Cubs. He won 20, closed strong (10-3 since the break) and has a considerably lower ERA (2.18 to 2.62) than Atlanta's Tom Glavine. Runners-up: Glavine; Bob Tewksbury, Cardinals.
AL Manager of the Year: Phil Garner, Brewers. He took his style of play and Milwaukee's style of player and stayed in the race until the final weekend. Runners-up: Tony La Russa, A's; Johnny Oates, Orioles.
NL Manager of the Year: Felipe Alou, Expos. He took over a team that was going nowhere and put them in a pennant race. Runners-up: Jim Leyland, Pirates; Bobby Cox, Braves.
AL Rookie of the Year: Pat Listach, Brewers. The most exciting player you never saw this year. Runners-up: Kenny Lofton, Indians; Cal Eldred, Brewers.
NL Rookie of the Year: Eric Karros, Dodgers. The bright spot in a blue year, but he's fortunate Pittsburgh didn't know about Tim Wakefield until July 31. Runners-up: Wakefield, Pirates; Reggie Sanders, Reds.
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Mark McGwire, A's. Last year he was a bum, now he's the best _ again. Runner-up: Rick Sutcliffe, Orioles.
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Gary Sheffield, Padres. He came back so far he made a run for the Triple Crown and the MVP. Runner-up: Darren Daulton, Phillies.