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Individual records, historical references in September when there are few team races, are nice. Oh, home run records are SportsCenter headlines and chases at hits or saves or doubles records are wonderful teases, MVP and Cy Young arguments intriguing. But, in the end, what matters are the real races for the eight postseason berths, the races for team, not individual, glory. The races for rings, not plaques.
Ask any Yankee fan. Since Thurman Munson was the American League MVP in 1976, the Yankees have finished in first place 11 times and have won six World Series titles. The Yankees deal in championships; the awards are for runners-up. The last Yankee MVP was Don Mattingly in 1985, but his team finished second, which was unacceptable.