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Thursday, November 7, 2002
Nation says: Pedro wuz robbed!

We asked you folks in SportsNation who should have received the AL Cy Young Award, and got almost 1,000 letters, many of them making a spirited case for Pedro Martinez. Here's a sampling:

Pedro's home deserves some hardware
It's obvious that Pedro should have won the award. Take a look at the argument you're making to justify Zito for the Cy Young. Matt Szefc says in his article, "ERA is the most telling stat when determining a pitcher's value." Well, who had the best ERA?! Pedro. He also led the league in strikeouts and finished with a respectable 20 wins. Had Pedro started the extra five games that Zito played, then I'm certain that he would have won the pitching triple crown.

Pedro Martinez
Was Pedro the best pitcher in the AL this year? Many think so.
The main justification in both Szefc's and Wolverton's article is that Zito faced tougher opponents. But if you look at the statistics in their articles, it is clear that Pedro out-performed Zito against the league's top teams as well. Against teams with above .500 records, Zito's ERA was 3.66 while Pedro's ERA was 2.14. Pedro's ERA actually dropped a tenth of a point when facing the better teams! So, when the Sox were playing a top team, they knew they were going to get a great start from Pedro. However, when Zito moved up to the tougher competition, he gave up two extra runs per game (1.86 to 3.66). You can't blame Pedro for the schedule he faced. No matter who the opponent was, Pedro kept the Sox in the game. I'm sorry, but the same can't be said for Zito.

I'm now moving on to push Pedro for AL MVP. And if I fail there, I might try to score him a Heisman.

Playoffs, shmayoffs
Zito won this award because his team wound up in the playoffs. If the Sox made the post-season, Pedro would have been a unanimous choice. He leads Zito in every category but wins and innings pitched. Here's the bottom line -- if you HAVE to win one game, who do you start ... Pedro or Zito? Is there anyone outside of Oakland that doesn't know the answer to that question? Of course it's Pedro. So how can he not be the Cy Young winner? It's because the A's went to the playoffs. OK, fine, IF that's the premise, but I'll be furious if A-Rod wins the MVP on a last place team. What a crock!
Brian Edwards
Ithaca, N.Y.

What a crock
First of all, Pedro and Derek did not chooses their schedule. It's not their fault they play with the sorry-no-account Devil Dogs, Oldrioles and the Boo Jays. So, Zito has more wins. Big deal! Martinez has a better winning percentage, more K's, and a much lower ERA. And how many no-hitters did Zito throw this year? Even if was against the Deviled Eggs, Zito got a shot at them too. Pedro didn't want to play the end of the season. So what? He wasn't being selfish; his manager agreed with him and started a rookie to see how he would do at the highest level. The Sox were eliminated, so lets look forward to next year. What did Lowe wrong, besides have a lower ERA than Zito and a no-no? This is why awards like this are a crock.
Vincent Morey
Merrimack, N.H.

There are no meaningless games
Zito. Martinez lost the award when he opened his big mouth about not taking his turn the final weekend because it was a meaningless game. Pedro, if you want to pitch in meaningful October games, you are in the wrong city.
Bruce Margulies
Silver Spring, Md.

Merry Christmas
This is ridiculous. Barry Zito is a great pitcher, but does not deserve the 2002 AL Cy Young Award. True, he pitched on a playoff team and was fabulous down the stretch, but one month does not make a season. The nay-sayers spout off that Pedro Martinez & Derek Lowe would not have been as dominant had they not had each other to rely on and take pressure off of themselves. Well, using that logic, Barry Zito had the least amount of pressure on him than any other ace in the American League, because he had the benefit of the most highly touted pitching staff around. Pedro clearly had the best numbers amongst the trio of contenders, they were not astronomically different but, there was enough of a difference to pick out Pedro. Also, when you think dominant, fear-inspiring pitchers in the AL, the first name that comes to everyone's mind is Pedro. He doesn't even need to use his last name. Barry ... Bonds .... Sanders?!

Yeah, Barry Zito deserves the this. I hope he enjoys an early Christmas gift.
San Diego

Pedro wasn't feelin' it
Zito all the way. Pedro can be the best pitcher in baseball ... when he feels like it. Derek Lowe was great on my fantasy team, but the Cy Young winner should have wicked stuff. It's why the Big Unit beat Schilling in the NL. Zito has the numbers, AND the wicked stuff. Thank God they didn't give it to Pedro on rep alone.
Robert Hueber
Kingston, N.Y.

Supporting cast wasn't clutch
Another screw-up by the sportswriters of America -- no wonder there is little respect for you scavengers with typewriters. Pedro was at the top of most pertinent categories that the voters should have used to base their judgments.

Voters seemed to have crowned Zito for these 2 reasons:
1) Zito had a better winning percentage versus plus .500 teams.
Pedro had a much lower ERA vs. plus .500 squads (2.14) to Zito's 3.66 ERA. You can't punish Pedro because the run support wasn't there ... he did his job.
2) Zito's A's made the playoffs.
So what if Pedro went 30-0, with a .065 ERA, and his team still doesn't make the playoffs. Does this mean he shouldn't win the Cy Young??

Zito had a great year, but Pedro's was better, which means Pedro should have taken home the hardware. Don't punish a guy because his supporting cast wasn't as clutch as he was.

One game, one pitcher, for all the marbles, who would you go with: Pedro 2002, or Zito 2002?

Enough said.
New York

Booed out of Boston, back for bequest
Derek Lowe -- although two less wins than Zito, he had a better ERA and the no-hitter. Also even more so than Pedro this year, stopped a lot of losing streaks for the Sox. Plus would have been a great story the way he rebounded from disastrous closing role last year.
Michael Mascaro
West Hartford, Conn.

Justice served
There's no question about it, the pitcher who deserved to win, won. Barry Zito has been excellent through out the year. He had more wins (11) then Pedro or Derek Lowe against teams at or over .500. The Cy Young is given out to the best pitcher, not the pitcher who had the most value to his team. He had the most wins and the most important wins for his team. He was the best this year and he won it. Congrats Barry.
Munna Alam
Flushing, N.Y.

Simplify it! Who's the best?
I don't remember any Cy Young race in history that was so abstract. I have heard all the arguments for Zito -- most wins, toughest schedule, team makes playoffs -- I always thought the Cy Young award goes to the best pitcher, not the best pitcher on a great team. Wins and playoffs take a team effort. Pedro was clearly the best pitcher this year. Just look at the stats. I think the people voting listened to all the hype from Zito's coaches and teammates.
Johnny Tramm
Hoboken, N.J.

This time it's personal
I cant believe this KID won the Cy Young. He shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence as Pedro. Pedro beat him out in four major statistical categories and they still gave it to him. If the writers are mad at Pedro for not giving them an interview, then they should rip him in the newspaper, not take away what's rightfully his. The writers need to examine their priorities and learn to distinguish between what's business and what's personal.
Gabriel Benjamin
New York

The Pedro factor
The selection of Barry Zito as the "best" pitcher in the American League is absolutely insane. I feel that Pedro is a victim of his own success. The level of play that Martinez has set for himself and the rest of the league is so far ahead of his competition that his dominance is taken for granted. Pedro is unhittable and his excellence would be applicable in any era. You can not tell me that if you had one game to win, you'd choose Barry Zito over Pedro Martinez! This was exemplified in Barry's last outing of the season against the Twins. Barry knows that the best pitcher in baseball this season was Martinez. Pedro doesn't need a trophy to realize that -- if you want to cheapen the prestige of one of the most coveted awards in sports, then vote for Barry.
Scott Beddia
State College, Pa.

Deja Vu
Pedro is the best pitcher in the AL, notwithstanding Zito's great season. He deserves the Cy Young. As ESPN reported, "Even with some limitations, Martinez again proved himself to be supreme. He finished with the league's lowest ERA (2.26), the most strikeouts (239), and had the lowest batting average-against (.198) and highest winning percentage (.833)." He also had the lowest WHIP. These numbers are much better indicators of a pitcher's prowess than Wins.

Get real. Anyone who says they would chose Zito over Pedro is either (a) lying; (b) a Pedro-hater; or (c) probably both. Bob Welch stole a Cy Young from Clemens in 1990 ... Clemens stole one from Freddy Garcia in 2001 ... Zito stole one from Pedro in 2002. All three are because the media is stupidly obsessed with win totals.
Vittorio S. LaPira
Rochelle Park, N.J.