In '06, Howard and Pujols went 1 on 1 for the award and Howard won it, riding the coat-tails of his fabolous finish that carried the Phillies to a near playoff miss at the hands of the tough NL East. Shortly after, Pujols held a press conference to complain about the injustice of the award because his Cardinals made the playoffs and that should be all that matters. Pujols hit an astounding .331 with 49 HRs and 137 RBIs. But, he lost to Howard's .313 with 58 and 149. The award came down to the writer's rewarding Howard for his late surge when it mattered most. Also, Pujols won the award in 2005, a year earlier. This shouldn't matter, but you have to think that played a part in the process.
Now in '08, the tables turned. Pujols' team missed the playoffs despite his other-worldly numbers and Ryan Howard's made the playoffs off another of his summer surges. Not to mention the fact that they went on to win the World Series! Pujols posted a dominant .357/37/116 (coupled with a year long elbow injury) and Howard hit .251/48/146. And this year, Pujols won and was a 17-7 favorite over Howard as voted by ESPN's experts. The Cardinals finished 5 games out of the wild card. When Howard won it, the Phils were 3 games off the wild card when the season ended. That's not a large disparity, but that's not mentioning Pujols' own complaining when he lost to a man whose team wasn't playoff bound.
I can't fight the feeling that the writer's tried to be fair and give Pujols the award now that things are the opposite. Also, not many people outside of Philadelphia are too crazy about the idea of three straight Phillies MVPs. However, in the end, Ryan Howard and the World Champion Phillies won the bigger prize. And being a Phillies fan, I should be counting my blessings and not complaining. There will be a post about the champs soon and seeing as I attended the clinching win, there should be plenty to talk about.