Handing out the hardware

Those of us who cover teams for the official Web site of Major League Baseball are not allowed to vote for the game’s biggest postseason awards. We’re all American and we’re all baseball writers, but the Baseball Writers’ Association of America doesn’t not allow us to be members.

Why? The general consensus, apparently, is that we’re too close to the subject. We’re simply mouthpieces for the league.

Debate the merits of that argument on your own. Perhaps when you’re done debating the merits of this non-voter’s non-votes:

NATIONAL LEAGUE MVP: Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies leads the league in homers and RBIs, he’shitting well over .300. He’s the reason the Phils, who tried to trade themselves out of contention at the swap deadline, remained in the hunt far longer than anyone expected.

Runner-up: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals.

NL CY YOUNG: It doesn’t look like there’s going to be a 20-game winner in the league this year, which is good. It makes you look at numbers that serve as far better barometers for pitching success — ERA, opponents batting average and innings pitched. Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals leads the way in the first two and is a right up there in the other. He deserves to repeat.

Runner-up: Brandon Webb, Arizona Diamondbacks.

NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: On a team loaded with legitimate candidates, Dan Uggla of the Florida Marlins managed to separate himself from the promising pack. He’s hit more homers than any rookie second baseman in history and he’ll finish the year with close to 100 RBIs for a team that was supposed to stink like a neglected kitty-litter box.

Runner-up: Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals. Leads NL rooks in RBIs and plays a mean hot corner.

NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Joe Girardi of the Marlins. See above. Nobody came even close to doing more with less.

AMERICAN LEAGUE MVP: Frank Thomas of the A’s won’t win it, but he should. His presence, particularly down the stretch, has been the personification of “valuable.”

Runner-up: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox. Enough already with the anti-DH sentiment.

AL CY YOUNG: Johan Santana of the Minnesota Twins has the best ERA by about a half-run, and he’s as close to a guaranteed win as there is in the game.

Runner-up: Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays.

AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Sorry, Jonathan Papelbon. Detroit Tigers righty Justin Verlander held up better and did it in a more demanding role.

Runner-up: Papelbon, Boston Red Sox.

AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Even if the Tigers choke their way out of the playoff picture, their chain-smoking skipper (Jim Leyland) has to get love for his role in the feel-good story of the summer.

Runner-up: Ron Gardenhire, Twins.

Mychael Urban is the author of “Aces: The Last Season On The Mound With The Oakland A’s Big Three — Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito” and a writer for MLB.com.Other Sportssports

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