Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yankees 3, Red Sox 0

I loved old Paul Zimmerman's rationale for NFL MVP: look at each contender and ask, "Where would his team be without him?"

Based on that rationale . . .

Ladies and gentlemen: CC Sabathia, your 2009 AL Cy Young award winner.

Grienke has become the chic pick, I know, and he may get there, the same as Karl Malone won his MVP out of sheer boredom from giving it to MJ, and how Kirk Gibson, through Gibson's sheer grit and determination or something became the answer to this glorious trivia question: Who is the only everyday player to win MVP who never, in any season, 1) hit .300, 2) hit 30 homers, 3) hit 100 RBIs, and 4) played in an All-Star game? Darryl Strawberry was the NL MVP of 1988, but Gibson just fit so well with the journalistic idea of an MVP that Straw was screwed. Clearly, this explains his subsequent problems.

Journalists are sometimes prone to overthink and underthink at the same time. When Hillary Clinton was Senator, and clearly gearing up to run for President, her every move was dissected for its brilliance. She was "moving to the center." She was "establishing her foreign policy credentials." Her every position was viewed in light of how it helped her chances for in the 2008 general election, without any thought given to whether her actions were, in fact, based in her convictions. By the time it came for her to actually campaign, there was nothing left of her but the notes. A large portion of the press, assuming her nomination was secure and embellishing her toughness for a run against McCain or Romney or Huckabee, found it impossible to scramble back quickly enough to head off Obama from her left flank. It was too late to simply step back and re-frame her for what she was: a more or less doctronaire liberal, just like Obama.

Sometimes we have to step back and just look at what is what. The second half of the season, CC has been the bull moose, the stopper, the one most responsible for the Yankees' 15-game swing with Boston since the break. Most years this is simple: the clear ace, the 19- or 20-game winner for the best regular-season team in baseball, best down the stretch, overwhelming the historical rival . . . yeah, there's your guy.

See how this goes. For a pitcher's milestone game, like a chance for a 20th or 200th win, the starting Yankee eight usually shows up. Posada behind the mound (unless CC works better with Molina). Tex, Cano, Jeter, A-Rod (yeah, depending on his hip), Damon, Melky, Swisher. Matsui. So we'll see.

Meanwhile, I'll be at Minute Maid watching a team whose last two months belong in the obituaries. If they clinch on the MM manual scoreboard, that's one thing I'll take away.

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