Tag:Manager of the Year
Posted on: November 17, 2010 4:32 pm

Manager of the Year (except October), Part III

Congratulations to Bud Black and Ron Gardenhire, deserving winners of the Manager of the Year awards.

Now, for the third straight year:

The system needs changing.

In the current baseball world, the world of a three-tiered playoff system, managers of top teams are judged at least as much by what they do in October as by what they do for the six months before October. And yet, the Baseball Writers Association of America still decides the Manager of the Year awards based only on the regular season.

It's possible that Black still wins in the National League, because keeping that Padres team alive in the playoff fight until the very last day of the season was hugely impressive. But don't you think Bruce Bochy, who finished a distant third in the voting (behind Black and Dusty Baker) gets strong consideration to win it if you include October.

Simple question: Of all the managers in the National League, who had the best season (including the postseason)? It may well have been Bochy.

As for the American League, Gardenhire was a fairly close winner over Ron Washington, which was just about right if you include the regular season only. Gardenhire's Twins lost closer Joe Nathan in spring training, and they won 94 games, third in the AL behind the Rays and Yankees.

Add in the postseason, though, and I'll guarantee you that award goes the other way. Gardenhire's Twins had yet another first-round disappointment against the Yankees, while Washington pulled the Rangers past both of the AL East powerhouses.

Black and Gardenhire had outstanding years. Bochy and Washington were better.

The system, as of now, doesn't allow us to recognize that.

Posted on: November 18, 2009 2:42 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2009 3:05 pm

Manager of the Year (except October), Part II

The system still needs changing.

I have absolutely no problem with the two Manager of the Year winners this year. In fact, my votes would have gone to the two winners, Mike Scioscia in the American League and Jim Tracy in the National League.

But the system needs changing, as I wrote at this time last year . Alone among the four major awards voted on by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, the Manager of the Year is the one that needs to be decided after the postseason ends, and not before it begins.

In the modern-baseball world, with a three-tiered playoff system, a manager's job doesn't end on Oct. 1. And in a modern world, Charlie Manuel deserves credit for getting the Phillies to back-to-back World Series for the first time in franchise history.

Had the voting been held after the postseason in 2008, Manuel no doubt would have won over Lou Piniella, whose Cubs crashed out of the playoffs in three games. Instead, Manuel finished second.

Even with a post-postseason vote this year, Tracy might have beaten Manuel (and in my mind, rightfully so). But you can be sure Manuel would have finished higher than sixth.

I understand the voting. At the time the votes were due, all we knew about Manuel was that his Phillies had survived a worse-than-expected race in the National League East. The Phillies finished with only one more win than the Rockies, who rallied to a 92-70 finish, after Tracy took over when the team was 18-28 in late May.

The 74-42 finish made Tracy the Manager of the Year, and rightfully so. Getting to the playoffs in 2009 was a huge accomplishment by the Rockies, even though they lost to Manuel's Phillies in their first-round series.

And yet, Tracy understands that baseball in 2009 is also about October (and now, November).

"You're always going to have this empty feeling we had after Game 4, unless you play the last game, and win it," Tracy said. "To end up coming up short, that's quite a punch in the gut.

"I would trade this award to be in Charlie's shoes, I guarantee you that."

Posted on: November 12, 2008 2:55 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2008 3:39 pm

Manager of the Year (not including October)

Did Lou Piniella really have the best year of any National League manager?

Obviously not.

There's no way he did, now that we know that Charlie Manuel led the Phillies to the world championship, while Piniella's Cubs made an embarrassing division series exit. If you vote now, Manuel wins, and it's probably unanimous.

But the voting for manager of the year, along with all the other BBWAA awards, is done at the end of the regular season. So Piniella is the NL Manager of the Year, and Joe Maddon (who would have won whenever the voting was done) is the AL Manager of the Year

Here's my question: Should we, the baseball writers who give these awards, be voting after the postseason is done?

Back in 1931, when the BBWAA first gave out the Most Valuable Player award, it made perfect sense to vote at the end of the regular season. The NL and AL MVPs could be determined then, because there were no NL or AL games left to play, only the World Series.

Now we're in a world of three-tier playoffs, and we're in a world where teams aren't always judged a success or failure based on the regular season alone. Managers get fired after losing playoff series.

Piniella isn't getting fired by the Cubs, and he deserves credit for leading them to the league's best (regular-season) record. But 2008 is never going to be looked at as a great year for the Cubs, because of the way it ended. Piniella wasn't at his best during the playoffs, when he told club officials he wanted to change the roster after losing Game 1, then called out Kosuke Fukudome after Game 2.

"Time heals a broken heart, I guess," Piniella said on the conference call to announce the award. "We had an outstanding year in Chicago, and won 97 games. Then in the postseason we went away rather quietly, in three games, which is quite disappointing. The postseason is a very fickle thing."

There's an argument for leaving the voting where it is. The postseason already has separate MVP awards (for the LCS and also for the World Series). Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee deserve the Cy Young Awards, and perhaps would have been penalized because their teams didn't make the playoffs.

I'm not sure the award voting should be moved, but on this day, when a manager who had a bad October is still the Manager of the Year, I'm not sure it shouldn't be.

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