While we bask in the glow of R.A. Dickey‘s Cy Young Award win — and get in your celebration quickly, because who knows how much longer he’ll be a Met — I’d like to discuss the Manager of the Year Awards, which kind of flew under the radar while we waited for the “more important” awards.
The BBWAA named Davey Johnson as the National League Manager of the Year. Amazin’, isn’t it, that it was almost 25 years ago that Davey was manager of that team in Flushing?
Meanwhile, the writers chose Bob Melvin as MoY of the Adulterated League. Normally, I don’t care much about what happens in the AL. But in this case, I don’t understand how anyone — much less Melvin — could have been chosen over Buck Showalter. Am I missing something?
A few years back, a book came out called Moneyball. Soon thereafter, Brad Pitt starred in a movie of the same name. If you got anything out of that book/movie, it was that if the Oakland A’s won ballgames, it was because GM Billy Beane did such an astounding job of outsmarting every other GM in MLB, assembling a team full of under-valued players. Further, it was made pretty clear that Beane’s manager was more or less a push-button puppet; in other words, it didn’t matter who was the manager, because his job was to be a robot soldier, executing Beane’s plan.
So if this is true, how in the world could a manager under Billy Beane be named “Manager of the Year”?
But let’s look beyond that for a moment, and look at what the Orioles did in 2012. Check that: let’s look at what Buck Showalter to a fifth game against the Yankees in the ALDS. The Orioles very nearly won the AL (b)East, stunned the reigning champion Rangers in the one-game Wild Card shootout, and very nearly upset the mighty Yankees. Take a long, hard look at Baltimore’s 25-man roster and try to figure out how that was possible; it’s akin to attempting to explain Bobby Valentine‘s 2000 Mets going to the World Series. Their postseason lineup included castoffs such as Nate McLouth and Robert Andino; heck, Lew Ford was their DH in one game! This was a team whose starting third baseman for most of the season was Wilson Betemit, and whose pitching staff had only one pitcher in double-digits in wins. Not to mention, Showalter completely trashed and overhauled his starting rotation in May / June. After seeing how Showalter played the cards he was dealt, I felt there was finally an example that poo-pooed the Beanehead theory that managers couldn’t or shouldn’t have an effect on a team’s won-loss record; Showalter’s 2012 managerial prowess proved that the right man in the dugout CAN have a significant, positive impact.
Which makes it so ironic that it was Beane’s “Robotic Bob” Melvin who came away with the Manager of the Year Award.
Maybe I’m crazy, or not understanding something. Let me know your take in the comments.
About the Author
Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers.