And the Lou Marsh award winner is.... Joey Votto.
It's controversial yes, and ballplayers from Canada have gotten a raw deal in the past, but this year's race to be named Canada's top athlete has been tighter than ever; so close in fact it forced the general public to collectively google" What is the Lou Marsh Award".
I'm a huge baseball fan. If you had to ask me which I would rather have a lengthy professional career in, hockey or baseball, it would honestly be a tough call. I more than most hockey analysts will argue Votto's case. Let's take a look at the numbers, shall we?
Votto finished five home runs, five RBI and .012 batting average off being the National League Triple Crown Winner, the first triple crown season in the MLB since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Not bad for a 27 year old kid from Toronto. Unfortunately not worthy of being named Canada's top athlete.
Bilodeau won the first Gold Medal for Canada in Canada. The Joanie Rochette story could not have been better written by Hollywood. Jonathan Toews had arguably the greatest year in the history of hockey and although it was Sidney Crosby who scored the Golden Goal it was Toews who was named Best Forward of the Best Hockey Tournament Ever. Toews captained his team to a Stanley Cup, where he was also named the best individual player of the post season taking Conn Smythe honours.
Minnesota Twins first baseman and Maple Ridge, BC native won the American League MVP.
Morneau 2006 Stats: Batting Average .321, Home Runs 34, RBI 130
Votto 2010 Stats : Batting Average .324, Home Runs 37, RBI 113
Morneaus 2006 season wasn't enough to take home the Lou Marsh. The honour that year fell on Canadian Speed Skater Cindy Klassen who's five medal haul at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy included One Gold, Two Silver and Two Bronze. She deserved to win in 2006 given her performance on the worlds biggest stage, and if so then surely this comparable proves Toews' 2010 was worthy of the award as well.
The logic isn't that Toews' accomplishments happened within the confines of a Canadian sport and that makes him the best Canadian Athlete of the year, the logic is he was Canada's best athlete, period. If Votto had actually won the Triple Crown and his Cincinnati Reds had won the World Series that would be tough to beat, but to be named MVP and have a very good offensive season does not top Toews' 2010, not by a long shot. Toews probably wins this award without the Conn Smythe even. How could Canadas Best Athelte of 2010 not have participated in Canada's biggest sporting event ever? How can an award that bares a national title be decided by a handful of people? It doesn't seem very democratic. Unfortunately in the minds of the 11 meida members who vote the winner of this award Votto's very good season beat Toews best ever. Fortunately it doesn't really matter if you don't win the Lou Marsh Award from a small group of media members when your trophy closet is already too full of real trophies.