Well, this is positively…not that impressive now. I spent the afternoon gearing up to write about the award and now, with the Marlins offering up everything including their bobblehead display on eBay, this award just kind of pales in comparison.
Not that this was without its own drama. Yeah, yeah, Davey Johnson won because he deftly steered the Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg boat to the best record in the National League. While I’m sure Johnson had some hand in it, though the full extent we can’t know for sure, it’s not like Johnson was perfect, being unaware of Strasburg’s innings limit and calling Joe Maddon a weirdo. Remember that?
But in the American League things got a little strange. Going into the day, I thought Buck Showalter had the honor locked up. Not only did the Orioles go to the playoffs for the first time since 1997, winning nearly every extra inning and one run game they came across, but a large part of their success was seen as being directly related to Showalter’s leadership. Not only were the standard player quotes lauding Showalter, saying the usual “he taught us respect and love for the game of baseball” (sorry, that’s Kevin Costner), but the Orioles succeeded largely on the basis of their amazing bullpen which is where a manager can truly effect the
Instead, the voters awarded Bob Melvin for bringing the A’s to the postseason and AL West title after being left for dead, 13 games back in the middle of the season. There was no great trick that Melvin used (again, that we know of), but the A’s navigated around having no real third baseman and even managed to find value in Brandon Moss, a skill no other team had yet found. Sure, this award must be shared with the Athletics amazing group of rookie starters, but Melvin kept the team from giving up and brought them one game from the World Series. That’s worth something.
As has already pointed out though, many who win the Manager of the Year award quickly find themselves without jobs as, after piloting over-achieving clubs, their team’s soon fall back to their true talent level. Despite managerial acumen, there is no harsher judge than that of a disappointed populace, so don’t be shocked if Davey Johnson or Bob Melvin are out asking for donations in a few years.