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Tag:Ron Gardenhire
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: October 8, 2010 1:25 am
Edited on: October 8, 2010 1:39 am
 

A call for more replay -- and less whining

Please, give us more replay.

If only to stop the whining.

Yes, the umpires have made themselves into a huge story in the first two days of this postseason, and that's unfortunate. But the whining about the umpires should be just as big a story, and that's doubly unfortunate.

It would be great if umpires got every call right (not realistic, but great). It would be fine if increased use of replay could help improve the percentage of correct calls (very possible, although it still wouldn't be perfect).

It would be even better if players and managers would understand that most of the time, the responsibility for losing or winning lies with them, and not the umpires.

The guy who has the biggest beef so far is Bobby Cox, whose Braves lost 1-0 to the Giants in a game where the only run scored after a call that replays showed clearly to be incorrect. Buster Posey was out at second base on his fourth-inning steal. I know that, you know that, Buster Posey knows that and even Paul Emmel knows that, now that he's had a chance to see the replay.

And yet Cox, the all-time ejection leader, didn't argue the call. He said after the game that he had a bad angle from the dugout (even Emmel had a bad angle, and he was a lot closer), and that his infielders didn't protest the call.

The Braves, by all accounts, didn't whine about the call. According to Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution , even Brooks Conrad, the second baseman who tagged Posey before he reached the bag, quickly pointed out that the Braves "didn't get the job done offensively."

Good for them, because we've had far too much whining.

Earlier Thursday, Joe Maddon was thrown out of the Rays' 6-0 loss to the Rangers. Ron Gardenhire was thrown out of the Twins' 5-2 loss to the Yankees.

Maddon was upset with a swing/no-swing call on Michael Young, just before Young's home run that helped put the Rays away. Gardenhire was upset with a strike/no-strike call on Lance Berkman, just before Berkman's game-winning double.

Replays shown on television suggested that Maddon and Gardenhire had reason to be upset. But let's remember that no proposed replay system would cover balls and strikes, or check-swings.

No matter what, we'll be reliant on umpires making the right decision. As technology gets better and better, we'll have more and more reason to question those decisions.

It's inevitable that we'll have expanded use of replay, sometime, somehow.

But as even Bobby Cox admitted after a bad call seemingly cost him the game Thursday, replay isn't the total answer.

"Let's leave it the way it is," Cox said. "We would be arguing and throwing flags 10 times a night."

Fans actually love the arguments. Last weekend in Atlanta, during the Cox retirement ceremonies, fans cheered loudest when a Cox argument was shown on the video board. In the game that day, when there was a questionable call, the fans began chanting, "Bobby! Bobby!" even though Cox never appeared on the field.

They love arguments. I can't imagine they love whining.

And unfortunately, this postseason has already had too much whining.

There was even whining after the most memorable game of the postseason so far, Roy Halladay's Wednesday night no-hitter against the Reds. That night, Reds shortstop Orlando Cabrera complained about home-plate umpire John Hirschbeck's strike zone, even though Hirschbeck has always been a pitchers' umpire, and he wasn't any more generous than usual.

But Cabrera seemed to be on his own. The whining Thursday was worse.

The Rays, who embarrassed themselves by the way they played in two home losses to the Rangers, embarrassed themselves further by seeming to place the blame Thursday on the umpires. Maddon's tirade was bad enough, but the display later by catcher Kelly Shoppach was totally uncalled for.

As for Gardenhire, his problems with umpire Hunter Wendelstedt go back years, as colleague Scott Miller pointed out . It wasn't a great idea to assign Wendelstedt to a Twins playoff series.

The Rays aren't down two games to none because of bad umpiring, or a lack of replay. The Twins aren't down two games to none to the Yankees because of bad umpiring, or a lack of replay.

Roy Halladay didn't throw a no-hitter because of bad umpiring.

And even the Braves, who watched the Giants' lone run score after a seemingly bad call by an umpire, never scored a run themselves.

It was a bad call. I get that.

Some expanded replay would help. I get that.

But replay or no replay, there will be calls that don't go your way.

Can we stop whining about it?




 
 
 
 
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