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Blake Snell, Jacob deGrom win 2018 Cy Young Awards


The 2018 Cy Young Award results are in. Your winners are Blake Snell of the Rays in the American League and Jacob deGrom of the Mets in the National League.

Snell, 25, won a major league-best 21 games with only five losses and posted an AL-best 1.89 ERA with 221 strikeouts and 64 walks in 180 2/3 innings. The lefty is the first member of the Rays to win the Cy Young Award since David Price in 2012. Snell and Price are the only Cy Young winners in Rays history.

Snell received 17 first-place votes and narrowly finished ahead of Astros ace Justin Verlander in total points with 169. Verlander had 13 first-place votes and 154 total points. Indians ace Corey Kluber finished a distant third with 71 points. Also receiving votes were Chris Sale of the Red Sox, Gerrit Cole of the Astros, Trevor Bauer of the Indians, Blake Treinen of the Athletics, Edwin Díaz of the Mariners, and Luis Severino of the Yankees.

The 2018 AL Cy Young Award debate was anything but one-sided. While Snell had the ERA edge over the competition, Verlander pitched about 35 more innings and led the league with 290 strikeouts. Interestingly, neither writer from the Tampa Bay chapter voted for Verlander higher than third place. Mark Didtler, an AP freelancer, had Verlander third while Bill Madden of the New York Daily News had Verlander in fourth place behind Blake Treinen. If a chapter doesn’t have enough members, a member from another chapter will represent that city. Madden was a replacement voter.

For the first time since 2015, Max Scherzer is not the NL Cy Young Award winner. As expected, deGrom took home the hardware despite a 10-9 record, showing that the BBWAA electorate has, generally, gotten with the times by not regarding win-loss records as highly as they used to. deGrom put up a historically great and best-in-baseball 1.70 ERA along with 269 strikeouts and 46 walks over 217 innings. deGrom and Zack Greinke (1.66 in 2015) are the only pitchers to post a 1.70 ERA or lower dating back to 1996. It had only been done four other times since 1969: by Greg Maddux twice (1994-95), Dwight Gooden (1985), and Nolan Ryan (1981).

deGrom almost won the award unanimously, receiving 29 of 30 first-place votes with 207 total points. Scherzer got the other first-place vote with 123 total points. The Phillies’ Aaron Nola finished in third place with 86 points. Also receiving votes were Kyle Freeland of the Rockies, Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks, Miles Mikolas of the Cardinals, Josh Hader of the Brewers, Mike Foltynewicz of the Braves, and Jon Lester of the Cubs.

deGrom is the first Met to win the Cy Young Award since R.A. Dickey in 2012. Other Cy Young winners from the Mets include Dwight Gooden (1985), and Tom Seaver (1969, ’73, ’75).

Baseball Question of the Day: Have you ever permanently changed your rooting interests?

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Oscar Wilde once wrote, on the subject of loyalty, “My dear boy, the people who only love once in their lives are really the shallow people. What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination.”

He was talking about young love, but I think the concept applies to broader conceptions of loyalty. A concept that, while noble and respectable, is often mistakenly considered irrevocable. There’s this notion out there that loyalty must be blind and never-ending. Which, frankly, is bullcrap.

Loyalty is earned — or at least it should be — and loyalty that is taken for granted or even abused is misguided in the extreme. When the facts and circumstances which gave rise to that loyalty change, it’s entirely reasonable to question the very basis for that loyalty.

I won’t get into matters of love, but I will apply it to sports.

As I’ve written in the past, due to geography and circumstance, I was a Detroit Tigers fan when I was a child. In 1985 I moved away to West Virginia where I could not see or hear Tigers games anymore and, in 1985, the technology simply did not exist to let me follow them remotely in anything resembling a satisfying way. The Braves were on TV every day, however, I began watching them because I loved baseball. Seeing them every day, over time, made them my team. While I always have been and always will be fond of the Detroit Tigers of my youth, staying “loyal” to them going forward in the way sports fans usually think of that term when it comes to rooting interests would’ve been unreasonable, right? If you disagree, how was I supposed to maintain that loyalty in the pre-Internet and pre-Extra Innings Package era?

There might be other reasons for one’s rooting interest to change. The team may betray your trust as a fan. It may show itself to be unethical as an organization. It may cynically choose to alienate fans via sharp business practices or it may cease to truly care about putting the best team it can on the field in either the short term or the long term. That — along with the simple fact that, while you may have pledged your loyalty to the team, the team has never pledged its loyalty to you — could certainly justify you changing your rooting interests.

All that said, I don’t know too many people who have, actually, changed their rooting interests. Most I know were like me, who did it when they were 11 years-old or something. The latter example — a principled and reasoned change in rooting interests — is pretty rare. Indeed, it’s more likely that such a person may just decide to give up following sports all together rather than switch from Team A to Team B.

But I’m sure it happens, and I want to know: have you ever switched — permanently — your primary rooting interest? If so, tell me your story.