When I was a kid, baseball was my favorite sport.  I played it and watched it and collected cards and Starting Lineup toys.  Part of the reason “3” is my favorite number is because of Dale Murphy and the fact that in the early 80’s I was #3 on my Pee Wee Baseball team – The Braves.

Football and hockey have easily surpassed baseball as my favorite sport for various reasons, but I still keep up with the Braves and a few other teams.  Though I keep up with baseball through fantasy sports and have increased my interest in some other teams and a dozen players (most of whom don’t play for Atlanta), I haven’t watched a full game in years for a few reasons:

  • The Braves are no longer on TBS, so my access to watch their games has seriously diminished and I’m not interested enough to buy the “every game” package on TV
  • The game is kinda slow to watch, especially with no col rallies and tomahawk chops and chants to make it interesting
  • My favorite pitchers are no longer on the Braves and weren’t replaced by anyone who I got interested in
  • I believe baseball gladly not only turned a blind eye to the steroid injecting cheaters who are stealing records they don’t deserve, but they were glad to see it happen because it helped build back up the attendence and viewership that they lost due to the strike in the mid 1990’s
  • They spend way too much time talking about the Yankees despite the fact tthat there are plenty other marketable franchises out there who should be put on television

That last point is something that wouldn’t be such a big deal if it didn’t continually show up as a reason for frustration.  This week, I heard something on television that bothered me.  A LOT.

It has to do with the American League Cy Young Award.

Zack Greinke should win the American League Cy Young Award this year.  It shouldn’t even be a discussion.

  • Tops in the majors with an ERA of 2.08
  • Third in the majors with 229 strikeouts (2nd in the AL)
  • Top 5 in the AL for Innings Pitched, 2nd in the majors for complete games, tops in the majors for shutouts.

And whose name keeps getting thrown around?

C.C. Sabathia.

Why?  Because he’s a New York Yankee.  It can’t be because of his stats.  Sure, he’s got 18 wins (3 more than Greinke, who happens to play for a historically below-average team).

  • Fifth in the AL in ERA at 3.31 (almost 1.25 runs more per game than Greinke)
  • Seventh in the AL in Strikeouts with 186, which is 43 less than Greinke despite having thrown 4 extra innings than Zack
  • Only 2 complete games (compared to Greinke’s 6) and only 1 shutout (Zack has 3)

Compare homeruns allowed?  Greinke with 11, Sabathia 18

Walks?  Sabathia with 60, Zack only 47

If anyone should be in the discussion with Greinke, it’s Felix Hernandez – pitcher for the Seattle Mariners.

  • 17 wins (one less than Sabathia, but 2 more than Greinke)
  • Similar ERA to Zack (2.49)
  • Same number of strikeouts.
  • Only 2 complete games, with only one shut out

Greinke is a dominating pitcher playing for a not-so-good team.  Sure, Seattle’s not great, but if they were in the same division as the Kansas City Royals, the Mariners would have a 17 game lead.

17.  Let that sink in.

If C.C. Sabathia wins this award, I will lose any respect I still had for baseball.

What’s more – The Kansas City Royals need this.  If Zack Greinke can pitch like this and not win the award, then why would ANYONE want to be on the Kansas City Royals?  Young players can’t think back to watching George Brett play because they aren’t old enough to remember him.

I don’t think baseball will reach any sort of parity in the next decade, and if they overlook a player like Greinke, it continues to send the message that players should avoid the smaller market teams.