José Abreu is as good a pick as anyone to win American League MVP honors. He might be the front runner after a big series against the Minnesota Twins that ended with the White Sox clinching their first playoff berth in a dozen years.
But White Sox fans should know by now that Abreu isn't terribly concerned with individual honors, not even the biggest individual honor an active player can receive. He wants the team to win. And he wants the team to win big, to end this season with a world championship.
So if he has to be named the MVP, he's going to do it his way.
"The MVP is something I can’t control. I know there are a lot of people rooting for me, and I appreciate that," he said Friday through team interpreter Billy Russo. "But whatever’s going to happen is going to happen.
"What’s important is that I am my mom’s MVP every single day, and that’s what matters for me."
Abreu's mom has often received shoutouts in her son's interview responses, and according to him, she's the main reason he never wants a day off — "My mom is not happy when I’m not playing," he said in 2017.
Friday, Abreu talked about her even more, describing how happy she was to see her son finally reach the postseason after six losing campaigns in a White Sox uniform prior to 2020.
"She’s very happy, and she’s proud," he said. "She’s proud of me. She’s proud of this organization. She’s proud of all the guys that are here.
"She’s probably the happiest person in the world right now, because she really values all the stuff the organization has done for us, too. She knows that this is a very sweet moment for all of us."
Indeed Abreu's reaction to finally reaching the playoffs has been a topic of discussion in the hours following the White Sox clincher Thursday afternoon. Outfielder Eloy Jiménez shared his happiness for Abreu, and manager Rick Renteria did the same, adding that Abreu "does represent the White Sox in the best way you can possibly represent the White Sox."
Hearing from the man himself Friday, it was obvious how much getting to this point meant to him.
"It was an incredible moment, indescribable for me," he said. "All the emotions, all the feelings that we had as a team and me personally at that moment, it was good, it was very emotional.
"When something like this happens and you see all the work that you put in and all the sacrifices, all that this team has done to get to this point, all the losses, all the suffering the last couple of years, and to get to this moment and to have that sweetness is good. It’s something that definitely makes you feel very good, excited. That was how I felt yesterday."
But as expected, Abreu still has those loftier goals in mind. Forget just making the playoffs, it's about winning the World Series.
And making mom happy, of course.
"What matters is what I can do for this team," he said. "And I know that my mom is very happy and glad and proud of me, and that’s all that I can ask for."