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The Baseball Bloggers Alliance began a couple of years ago. I was one of the first members to join, but now there are over 200 blogs associated. Last year was the first year that the group did its own award voting. This year, Hall of Famer Goose Gossage gave his name to one of the awards, the Top Reliever. So, over the next few weeks, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance will be voting on the following awards.
From the press release:
The five awards are given to a player in each league: The Connie Mack Award, given to the top manager; the Willie Mays Award, for the top rookie; the Goose Gossage award, mentioned above; the Walter Johnson Award, which would be analogous to the BBWAA’s Cy Young Award; and the Stan Musial Award, awarded to the most valuable player in each league.
I was recently selected to be the President of the local chapter which currently contains four Twins bloggers. Between the four of us, we will receive two votes for each AL award. Here is when you can expect to see the awards named:
Connie Mack Award: October 14
Willie Mays Award: October 18
Goose Gossage Award: October 21
Walter Johnson Award: October 25
Stan Musial Award: October 28
With that background information, today I will be posting my ballot for the Connie Mack Manager of the Year Award.
This is not an easy award to vote for. Do you give it to the manager of the team with the best record? Do you give it to the team that surprised the most? Does the team have to be good, maybe over .500, to get their manager this award? Below is my ballot which does not include a couple of guys that should be noted. Bob Geren is the manager of the Oakland A’s. He was left with an absolutely terrible offense. No offense, and yet he led his team to a .500 record. Terry Francona led the Red Sox to another very good record despite a ton of injuries to his hitters and pitchers. It doesn’t include Joe Girardi, who led the Yankees to the second best record in the league. All would be deserving of votes, but here are my Top 3:
#3 – Joe Maddon – Tampa Bay Rays
Despite some injuries in the pitching staff, inconsistency in the offense, and playing in the toughest division in baseball, Maddon led the Rays to the best record in the league. There were a lot of struggles in the offense outside of Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria. But Maddon allowed his players to be aggressive, running at will, to make things happen. A lot of times the best teams’ managers get overlooked for Manager of the Year awards, but Maddon helped his team to get there.
#2 – Ron Washington – Texas Rangers
Like the Twins of 2001, the 2009 Rangers showed life for most of the season, but faded at the end. But they made a few adjustments, several players improved and this year the Rangers finally took that big leap and got into the playoffs. The Rangers were clearly the best team in a very weak AL West division, and ran away with the division title. He coached Josh Hamilton to an MVP type of season. He had a very strong, very improved pitching staff. The decision to move CJ Wilson to the rotation was brilliant. Bringing back Colby Lewis was great. Washington was also helped by a front office that brought in the likes of Bengie Molina, Jorge Cantu, Cristian Guzman and Cliff Lee at the trade deadlines. He was given Vlad Guerrero before the season. He has helped groom the likes of Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz. He is definitely a player’s manager.
#1 – Ron Gardenhire – Minnesota Twins
Always a bridesmaid, this should be the year that Ron Gardenhire should finally be named the Manager of the Year. Gardenhire was given some help before the season with additions, such as Orlando Hudson and JJ Hardy. However, before the season, he lost his closer (Joe Nathan), and in early July, he lost an MVP candidate in Justin Morneau for the rest of the season. Joe Mauer, Orlando Hudson, Nick Punto, JJ Hardy and others missed significant time throughout the season. Yet Gardenhire led the Twins to a great second half and when the Twins went into Chicago to face the White Sox late in the season, he coaxed a sweep to essentially eliminate any hope for the White Sox. In the end, the Twins had a better record than all other AL teams except the Rays and Yankees. He also sent his team to the playoffs for the sixth time in Gardy’s nine seasons.
There is my ballot. Would yours look different? Leave your comments here.