Without a doubt, Schmidt has pitched his way through 2003 to be deemed "ace" of the team. He has become one of the most dominate pitchers in baseball today, all the while remembering to be a good teammate and doing whatever he needs to do to help his team win. Even through the pain in his elbow, which he eventually had to have surgery on in the offseason, he pitched beautifully, knowing that the Giants needed him.
Schmidt also experienced a tragic event earlier in the season that could have devastated anyone, let alone a pitcher who could lose focus easily. His mother passed away. He could have lost all his concentration for the rest of the season, but he didn't. He pitched for his mother, and he pitched with his heart... There was nothing less of an impressive performance.
Injury was Schmidt's main problem. If he hadn't missed some games due to his elbow, he would have just plain dominated every game, and he would have been given the Cy Young Award with no questions asked. But despite all the pain and despite his elbow, Schmidt continued to pitch and he never wanted to not pitch.
Other contenders for the NL Cy Young are Mark Prior and Russ Ortiz. Ortiz had a great season, collecting a career high in wins, but the former Giant boasted a high ERA and only received so many wins because of the run support from a very potent offensive lineup. Prior had the same problem as Schmidt... Injuries plagued his clear chance of the Cy Young.
But look at it this way: Would you rather face Jason Schmidt or Mark Prior? Does Jason Schmidt or Mark Prior standing on the mound scare you more? Who would you hand the ball to in Game Seven of the World Series if you had a choice? Come on, Cubs fans... I want to hear your opinion, too.
The favorite to win the Cy Young this year is Eric Gagne, who was perfect in closing games this season. Gagne has great stuff, and he is very worthy of a pitching award, but he already got the Rolaids Relief Man. Schmidt wasn't eligible for that award, so why should Gagne be eligible for the Cy Young? Relievers have Rolaids, and starters have the Cy Young... It just sounds fair.
But life isn't fair. A guy who comes into a game for one or two innings tops may win the award over another guy who works and grinds and dominates through nine innings... No it isn't fair.
Award or no award, Schmidt should be proud of everything he did for the Giants in 2003, including posting the best ERA in the National League. When the Giants were lacking offensively, Schmidt was able to bail them out by containing the other team to fewer runs. Schmidt did everything he was suppose to do, even through the most difficult time in his life, and he deserves this award more than anyone.
Sara Kwan was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. She currently writes game recaps, other articles, and is the Giant Prophet for SFDugout.com. Any comments or questions about the article, baseball, or the meaning of life can be sent to Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org
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