After last nights’s events (and probably before them), it looks like the AL Cy Young field is now a two-horse race between CC Sabathia and Felix Hernandez. David Price was passable in beating the Yankees last night, but doesn’t have the 20-win cache or the mind-blowing stats to outpoll his competition. Francisco Liriano has been as good as anyone, but wins and ERA are not in his corner. Same goes for Cliff Lee and his otherworldly strikeout-to-walk ratio, which only turns the heads that are paying attention.
But here’s the thing about this two-horse race. One of these horses is Sectetariat. He runs far faster than anyone. He drops jaws by lapping the field in high-stakes races. In head-to-head competition, he routinely blows his only serious competitor away.
So why is this even a race? Because Secretariat has a horrible jockey. His jockey weighs 250 pounds and can’t handle his horse on wet turf. He sometimes runs on the outside of the track, making his horse run an extra furlong and finishing third even though he ran much faster than anyone else in the race.
His competitor is fast and steady, no match for Secretariat’s speed and power and agility, but somehow more successful. He routinely wins low-stakes races. His jockey is light and deft and always runs the best routes. And most importantly, this horse won 36.2 races this year.
And we all know how horse racing enthusiasts fawn over that magic number 36.2.