There are a number of reasons to be unhappy with the voters
So sayeth Psalms 37:11: "The meek shall inherit the earth." It turns out that truer words were never almost spoken. Because it sure looks like it's the geeks who shall inherit. You know. The stat geeks.
They're taking over. Especially sports. We're awash in pseudo intellectuals who can ignore context and unearth numbers, glorious numbers, numbers! numbers! numbers! — numbers that would have The Count on Sesame Street hyperventilating — to prove and disprove anything.
Latest example: A pitcher with a 13-12 record just won the American League Cy Young Award. Pretty easily, too. Which is another example why my tombstone will read, "here likes poor Mikey D. He just didn't understand."
Like how some of these people who vote find their way to their bathrooms in the morning without a GPS.
True enough: Felix Hernandez was the league leader with a 2.27 earned run average and 232 strikeouts. He played for a team that scored fewer runs per game than any team since the American League went to the designated hitter. OK. So no one's denying that Hernandez should have been a contender.
But strict adherence to numbers, as well as a casual dismissal of context, results in a giant swing and a miss here.
Context, in this case, translates into the circumstances around which Hernandez, David Price (19-6, 2.72 ERA) and CC Sabathia (21-7, 3.18) pitched all season. Superior pitching is not an impersonal amalgamation of stats. Superior pitching is responding to that night's circumstances and the team's circumstances in real life and real time. Baseball is not played in a vacuum or a laboratory. It's played under the bright lights with the fans watching and the scoreboard working.
So to all those who voted Hernandez: How many pitches did he throw this season with pressure on him? The pressure of winning. The pressure of playoff qualification. The pressure of saving the bullpen that night.
And that's why Hernandez can't possibly be the Cy Young winner. None of the numbers he amassed came with any urgency attached to them. Price's numbers and Sabathia's numbers did.
I make that a major distinction.
But then, I'm not an intellectual, as many of you are quick to comment.
Price and Sabathia pitched most of their games this season in some kind of playoff race. Every start meant something beyond the compilation of their own stats. They weren't merely asked to be stoppers, but they were asked to eat innings and save bullpens, which affected games they didn't start.
It is a huge responsibility. And one Hernandez didn't experience.
Here is why I'd have voted for Price: In the final two weeks of the season, he left a game against the Yankees in a scoreless tie and beat Sabathia head to head the next week. This was when both teams were in a pennant race, contrived as it felt at times. Either way, both teams were involved in games that had an impact on the playoffs.
I'd guess by that time, Hernandez was throwing a two-hitter against the Royals that 32 fans - and 28 voters - must have watched intently.
I don't understand how this is even an argument. The S.G.A. (Statistical Geekery of America) doesn't want to penalize Hernandez for factors beyond his control. And yet they dismiss the factors that Price and Sabathia faced all season as irrelevant.
Since when is winning the game irrelevant?
All I've heard is the advantage Price and Sabathia had over Hernandez because their team scored more runs. And yet they ignore the roles Sabathia and Price played. They allowed Joe Maddon and Joe Girardi to manage games a certain way. They could use their respective bullpens more in games before Price and Sabathia pitched, knowing they'd get quality innings every start. They used their bullpens more in games after Price and Sabathia pitched, too, knowing the relievers got some rest.
They affected nearly every game two contending teams played.
Doesn't count anymore.
Nothing counts anymore except numbers.
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.
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