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Big Hurt for MVP

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

September 19, 2006

In the world of sports, whether talking about baseball, football, basketball, hockey, tennis, golf, boxing, a sense of pride is so important. When talking about intangibles such as pride, I break it down as P for perseverance, R for respect, I for intelligence, D for desire and E for enthusiasm. Athletes with pride usually respond in a positive way.

Think about the greats that play the game, nobody epitomizes pride more than Derek Jeter. When he puts that uniform on, it is something special.

Another athlete playing with a lot of pride these days is Frank Thomas. The former White Sox star had passion and intensity over the weekend helping the Athletics. He is not making mega-dollars this season but he is a difference-maker for Oakland. His salary will go up next year for sure and his numbers will get him in the Hall of Fame. Thomas is getting close to that magical number that makes him lock city for Cooperstown.

It is nice to see a player respond so well after adversity. It must have been tough to have seen the White Sox win the World Series and not being able to participate. Then Thomas was let go and that had to crush his pride. He has bounced back and the Athletics are thrilled to have him.

I feel Thomas should be in the running for MVP honors. Here's a salute to Mr. Thomas; others might have sulked and pouted, but he is responding to the challenge like a champion.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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