Thursday, August 20, 2009

Nobody Will Be Pleased

This post is a cheapie. First, a warning that there will be no blog next week. I'm on vacation, and the only thing I'll be writing is a love letter to myself (what?). Regular posting will resume on the 31st. If you need sporting news, you can give me a call and I'll tell you what's happening.

So, what to write about today. The Yanks won another series last night, taking down Oakland 3-2. After 7 games of the 10-game road swing, we're 5-2. In an earlier post, I said I'd settle for 5-5. Now, I will not. The last three games are in Fenway, and we'll go in leading the Sox by 6.5 or 7.5, depending on how they do tonight (Yanks are off). If we can win 2 of 3, I'll feel 100% comfortable saying the division is ours. If not, we're still sitting pretty. Not a bad position to be in.

But here at SCSD, we like to deal in the far-fetched, so I declare today the opening of my wildly ambitious...



I alluded to this yesterday, and here's the deal: we're gonna have to really "sell" the voters. Like certain politicians I could mention, our movement has to be based on 'feeling' and ideas like 'grit,' with a delicate shuffle away from the intractable rigor of facts.*

*I wrote this sentence, then realized that people might think I was referring to Obama. FTR, not the case.

Nobody's saying this campaign isn't optimistic. We're reaching for a star here. But impossible? Nay! The following battle plan should be adhered to by all members of "CC's Army"* as we sedulously woo the voters.

*Our new name. Voters like militaristic jargon.

1) Focus on wins. Wins, wins, wins. This should be the first and last word out of your mouth, and a lot of the ones in between, too. Question: what stat is the best measure of a pitcher's ability? If you answered anything but WINS, fall on your sword. This is our bread and butter, baby. CC has 14, which is tied for the league lead with Beckett.

2) Speaking of which, the two go head-to-head on Sunday. This is a tricky situation. Whatever happens, do NOT give ultimatums, as in "this is a must-win." While that may be true, it paints us into an uncomfortable corner if Beckett happens to win. It's entirely possible that CC could lose this game and still lead the league in wins by year's end, in which case our cause is strong! However, it would be a huge propaganda coup if CC were to win, so keep the game in people's minds with vague but persistent sound bites like "we're certainly excited for Sunday's game."

3) De-emphasize strikeouts. CC has 140, which is less than Beckett, Verlander, Halladay, Greinke, and Felix Hernandez. Do not mention this stat in the course of your pitch. If a direct question is asked, give a puzzled smile and recite this line: "I'm actually not that familiar with the totals. I've always felt that strikeouts are flashy, a lot like the half-court shot in basketball, but not relevant to a pitcher's overall talent."

4) Innings pitched! CC is leading the league, so let's really ride this horse. Buzz words like "dependability" and "consistency" should be utilized frequently. With CC's image in mind, I've also invented a new nickname: "The Old Hoss." This has earthy, Americana connotations, and studies show that voters are more likely to support someone with archetypical relatability.

5) Tread a careful line with ERA. Right now, CC is 11th in the league, which isn't great. However, it's possible he could move up as high as 5th, and talking points like "top 5 in ERA" could bolster our position. However, if this doesn't come to pass, we'll want to de-emphasize ERA. For now, try to avoid it, but be even-handed when confronted. "ERA? It's an interesting concept, and I do think we'll be taking a closer look at its viability as a statistic in the coming weeks."

6) Play the race card. There's a strong liberal presence in the Cy Young voting bloc (mostly journalists), and Sabathia is the only non-white candidate besides Felix Hernandez. In the American League, there's been an inconvenient slew of non-white winners in recent years (including CC himself, two years ago), but Pedro Martinez was the last non-white pitcher to win the award in the NL, and that was in 1998. "Did you know," you should tell voters, "that, just to pull an example from thin air, no non-white NL player has won this award in over a decade? Strange, isn't it?" In the case of Hernandez, attack his non-American status and question his national loyalties (CC is from SoCal).

It's a start. Various other statistics should be added to the mix to create a web of mass and confusion. "No blown saves," "no ejections," and "solid earned-run-to-walk ratio" are just a couple examples. Get creative! Let's bring this one home, guys. CC's Army is on the march!

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