Baseball Bloggers Alliance Awards: Manager of the Year

I’ve done a terrible job of promoting it, but I signed myself up for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance last month. What is the BBA? From the website:

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in 2009 to foster communication and collaboration between bloggers across baseball.  Member blogs are encouraged to use one another to deepen their understanding of the game and the teams that play it.

The BBA has, as a secondary aim, the goal of producing year-end awards in a similar fashion to the Baseball Writers of America.  These awards can be found here in October with links back to the voters, ensuring transparancy and, most likely, the onset of some good baseball arguments.

Basically, it’s a way for baseball bloggers to get together, collaborate, and have their voices heard in a collective manner. The BBA Awards are a great example of that.

The way it works is that each “team” (ie, the blogs that cover them) gets two ballots. If a team has more than two bloggers, the group must decide who gets to cast the votes. For those of us who do not cover a particular team, we get to join in with the voting, though our power is a little curtailed: we only get to vote for one league per award. So, I can vote for the AL MVP or the NL MVP, but not both. I do get to vote on all four major awards, though.

With that preamble out of the way, here’s my official ballot for Manager of the Year. For this award, I’ll be casting an official vote for the National League, though I’ll include an AL ballot for completeness.

(click “Read More” to keep reading)

NL Manager of the Year*

1. Bruce Bochy, SFG
2. Jim Tracy, COL
3. Fredi Gonzalez, FLA

I’m not actually a big fan of the Manager of the Year award. Too often it seems to go to the manager of the team with the most surprising record or best story, regardless of the actual reason that the team succeeded that year (eg, better players, fewer injuries, etc). The problem that I find as a voter, though, is, what in the world are we supposed to base it on? Number of pitching changes? Times called for a sacrifice? Stoicism? It’s almost like you have to vote based on the teams record-vs-preseason expectations.

Well, I did my best to consider everything and it still just came down to the three most surprising teams. I can easily see Tracy being the number one choice for a lot of people – he did come in mid-season and lead his team to 70 wins – but I had to go with Bochy. The Giants had zero hope in March but he was somehow able to lead them to within two weeks of the postseason. It’s pretty amazing. Yes, having his pitching staff helps immensely, but, with such a weak offense, there was very little room for error and a lesser manager could’ve easily strayed out of those margins. Bochy did not.

AL Manager of the Year

1. Don Wakamatsu, SEA
2. Ron Washington, TEX
3. Joe Girardi, NYY

The story is kind of the same in the American League. Wakamatsu essentially defaulted into the award. The Twins and Tigers spent the season scratching and clawing their way away from the postseason, so it’s hard to justify any award for those two teams, and the Yankees, Red Sox and Angels are just too stacked to rightfully consider them for MOY. I chose Wakamatsu over Washington not because of Seattle’s huge turnaround from last season – though I can’t ignore that – but because I think, as a whole, the Mariners have less talent than the Rangers and, thus, Wakamatsu was able to get more out of his players than Washington. It’s impossible to say for sure, but that’s the feeling that I got from watching the season unfold. I gave Girardi the third place vote because, while the Yankees are obviously a good team, I think the 103 wins represent the Yanks at their absolute best and, given the situation the team was put in early on, it’s impressive that he was able to get that out of them.

That’s it for now. As the offseason progresses, you can expect to see a few more of these BBA Awards posts. I can’t promise that I know everything about every team, but I’ll do my best to make an informed choice. In the meantime, check out the Baseball Bloggers Association website and find another blog or two to check out. I’ll work on making the blog here a little more BBA friendly.

Oh, and feel free to tell me just how wrong (or right) I am with these choices. Thanks.!

Larry Granillo

About Larry Granillo

Larry Granillo has been writing Wezen Ball since 2008 and has dealt with such touchy topics as Charlie Brown's baseball stats and Ferris Bueller's day off. In 2010, he got the bright idea to time every home run trot in baseball; he has been missing ever since.