I just want to say something to the BBWA writers who voted overwhelmingly that Felix Hernandez should win the 2010 Cy Young award.
You did the right thing.
I don’t say this as a Mariners fan, but as a fan of the game, and as a fan of science. A surprisingly large majority of you were able to overlook the outdated (and, in my opinion, somewhat useless) stat of win/loss, and look at the numbers that actually matter for a pitcher’s performance in order to make your decision. And you chose the right guy. I can’t say it any simpler than that. But the fact that you did the right thing has an overreaching repercussion, one that you may never know, because you’re not a Mariners fan.
Because you are all press, and far more Important and Knowledgeable than I about the game and its inner workings, and because you all likely have more pressing matters at hand, I’m going to take a stab at it and say that you don’t read this blog, nor have you ever met me in person to discuss baseball. If you had, you would know that as a fan of the Seattle Mariners, a fairly large concern of mine is one of dignity for the team. In the three seasons I have been a hardcore baseball fan, the Mariners have spent two of those seasons losing 101 games. I haven’t always liked all the guys on the team during this time, but I stand behind them because I feel like they’re mine. As a new fan, when you have two 101-loss seasons, you look for the small victories. Ichiro, for example, is always a high point to my summer; no matter what the rest of the team might do, I can always count on Ichiro for the dramatic, the amazing, and sometimes, the humorous. No matter what happens to this team, I can always say we have Ichiro, or Franklin Gutierrez. Hell, I even go out of my way to recognize a guy who might otherwise be awful, simply because at one point in time, he hit a game-swaying home run, or got out of a jam created for him by another that would have meant chalking up another loss for us. These moments give us back a little bit of the dignity we lose when fans and journalists of other teams say the Mariners “suck”.
This 2010 season, we didn’t get a lot of dignity. A lot of our players had an implosive year, and they all did it at the same time. There were games that were better than others, but this season was exhausting for a lot of us, and if you could have seen the small contingent of vocal Mariners fans on Twitter, you would have either laughed, or cried until you couldn’t cry anymore. We were frustrated. We were angry. We were tired. We knew even before the All Star break that our October would be spent trying to find a bandwagon to jump onto, rather than any faint glimmer of hope that our own team would see any playoff baseball. After all we were promised in Chone Figgins and Cliff Lee, Figgins fizzled almost immediately, and Lee was traded away. There was drama in our clubhouse, in our games. We saw coaches we loved be made to bear the brunt of public opinion and scorn, and finally pay the ultimate price of being relieved of their duties, because someone, somewhere had to take the blame. We watched our minor leaguers run toward victory, while our major league club faded quickly away. And finally, after the long painful season was over, we lost our beloved broadcaster Dave Niehaus, a man who saw more bad seasons than a lot of us, having been with the Ms through thick and thin – mostly thin. What more, some of us may have been thinking, could possibly happen to make things worse?
But today, one of our shiniest coins was rescued from the wishing well. Felix Hernandez won the Cy Young award. We can now say that we have a Cy Young Award winner on our team, and he’s going to be here for a good long time. And for this, I just want to say thank you. We needed this, and Felix needed it, too.
You gave us a little bit of our dignity back today.