THE FANS HAVE spoken. The phans, too.

I got 186 e-mails, a personal best, in response to my column suggesting "Un-four-gettables" as the nickname for the best starting rotation in baseball. Phew!

The winner, by a squeaky margin, was R2C2, a spinoff of the smart-aleck "Star Wars" robot. Good luck trying to get copyright clearance on that one. Finishing second was Four Aces, with the voters equally divided between poker references and a tribute to the Philadelphia music group starring Al Alberts. (Biggest hit: "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing.")

What puzzled me was nine timid e-mails moaning about it being too soon to pin a nickname on the foursome. As Howard Eskin is fond of saying, "Scared? Get a dog!" Come to think of it, he hasn't used that line much this year.

What dazzled me was the creativity of our readers. "Four Horsemen" finished third and Un-four-gettables was fourth. "The Fource" got six votes, most carrying the subtitle, "May the fource be with you."

Phantastic Phour, a comic book reference, got seven votes. Phearsome Foursome got three, same as Untouchables, Four-Getaboutit and Four Tops. After that, some witty one-timers: FourPlay, Four Shadows, Chlorofourm (it contains all the initials), Firing Squad, Four Seamers, Phaces, Phearless Phour and Four-Getmenots.

Plus some exotic choices: Cy's Guys, CH2O (a toxic compound), Feracious, Four Skins, The Bermuda Square, Phour Loko, RC-Cole-a, Fourcast, E=RC2, Awesome Foursome, Four Stops, Smokin' Aces, Ruben's Con, Mount Rushfour, Waterfall (for H2O plus a Cliff), Four-Leaf Clover and Four Whom the Bell Tolls, all the way from Oslo, Norway.

- Stan Hochman

CC 'excited' for good friend Cliff

CC Sabathia had hoped to be pitching alongside Cliff Lee again next year, reunited in Yankees pinstripes. But he's happy for his close friend, with whom he teamed in Cleveland.

"I'm excited for him," Sabathia said. "As part of the Yankee family and organization I'm disappointed. As a family friend, I'm happy he's in the place he wanted to be. You have to do what makes you happy and what's best for your family."