What does it mean to be a Yankees fan?

It means never having to say you’re sorry. It means coming to expect, no, demand greatness. It means unparalleled success and (non-transferable) riches that would make a pre-bankruptcy MC Hammer blush, even in the “You know what would be a great idea? Making all my bathroom fixtures solid gold!”-phase of his VH-1 Behind The Music episode.

As such, the common Yankee fan is spoiled. Probably a little entitled. This is the reason everyone hates you.

And if you’re the type of Yankee fan who believe things like prosperity, glory, destiny, Aura & Mystique™ are your birthright, then you probably weren’t very happy with the announcement that CC Sabathia failed to win the American League Cy Young award on Thursday.

The big man didn’t even come in second as it turned out, finishing behind Tampa Bay’s David Price and the winner, Seattle right-hander Felix Hernandez.

Carsten Charles will have no choice but to sully his Scrooge McDuck swimming pool of gold bullion with a worthless bronze medal. Poor guy.

Let it be noted that this award was Sabathia’s for the taking. As much as the crusty Baseball Writers Association of America wanted to show the public how hip they are to the statistical revolution — and I imagine them to be more desperate for cool-kid cred than Jared Leto — they probably would’ve preferred not to give it to a .500 pitcher from a 101-loss team.

If you would have asked me in the beginning of September, I would have told you Sabathia had the award in his expansive back pocket. I say that because in the beginning of September I wrote a piece titled, “Forget Cy Young: Sabathia is the AL MVP”.

Yes, the headline is mainlining hyperbole, but I very much meant what I wrote at the time. Sabathia had just one-hit the A’s over eight innings to win his 19th game of the season. His ERA sat at 3.02. He was essentially carrying a Yankee rotation made up of clay, sticks and other composite parts.

Sabathia had five regular season starts remaining from that point on, and had he performed representative to his earlier work, I have no doubt he gets the hardware. Unfortunately for the big man, there was a good deal of turbulence on the horizon, a bumpy ride that lasted all the way through the postseason.

Let’s take a look:

9/7 vs. BAL: 6.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, L
9/13 @ TB: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, ND
9/18 @ BAL: 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, W
9/23 vs. TB: 5.1 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 7 ER, L
9/28 @ TOR: 8.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, W

Five starts, two gems, and three absolute Burnett-level stinkers. Worst of all, the dud in his second Rays start came at home with the Yankees fighting Tampa Bay for the AL East title. You can be sure voters around the country took note with a little red marker.

Had Sabathia performed better in even one of those starts, I think he probably wins the award. I honestly believe that.

As I said earlier, I think the baseball writers who voted for Hernandez liked the idea of marginalizing the win. The win is the dunderheaded enemy of the statistical revolution. If BABIP is Radiohead, then the W is Creed.

That said, I just don’t think they would’ve had the guts to do it had Sabathia finished 23-5 or even 22-6. 21-7 was just the right record where giving Hernandez the nod was acceptable.

And you know what? I’m cool with it. Sabathia’s rocky finish left the door open and Hernandez walked right in, throwing 38.1 innings in his final five starts with a 1.64 ERA to close out a spectacular six months of pitching.

The Mariners sucked hard, but King Felix most certainly did not. I think even the most loyal Yankee fan can admit that.

Dan Hanzus writes the Yankees blog River & Sunset and can be reached at dhanzus@gmail.com. Follow Dan on Twitter @danhanzus.

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