Those stairs are pretty brutal. But if you position yourself right, you can use the escalator, and that negates the issue.
You also have to take into account how crowded the two trains are compared to each other–the A tends to be less crowded, so it's probably a better bet.
In conclusion, this topic is not at all crazy.
As I take this train every morning and get off at W4, a co-worker and I have both run tests and the F will often beat the A (which tends to get bogged down at Bway/Nassau). If the stairs weren't in the play, the F train would be even faster.
Additionally, the F train has a plethora of foxy F-Train ladies whereas the A-Train has the opposite of a plethora.