Raising Questions For Manager Of The Year

Ron Washington lost out on AL manager of the year without a peep from the media.

I’m about to do something I never do because of the sheer audacity and ridiculousness of the people that do this… I’m about to play the race card.

Seriously I hate doing this. So often we as African-Americans play the race card for minor instances and for reasons that make no sense. Recently in Washington the race card was played over the Donovan McNabb benching. That wasn’t a race issue, it was a stupidity issue (hi Mike Shanahan).

The issue I’m talking about took place this week during baseball’s award presentations, in particular the manager of the year awards. While Bud Black and Ron Gardenhire were both worthy of manager of the year awards they should’ve gone to Dusty Baker of the Reds and Ron Washington of the AL Champion Rangers.

Dusty Baker molded a young Reds team to a division title, but came up short in NL manager of the year votes.

Baker took a Reds team that hadn’t been to the playoffs in 15 years back to the postseason as champion of the NL Central division which they have been an afterthought in for the better part of this century. He’s molded a young Reds team into what may become a championship contender in a year or two thanks to a great rotation and young everyday players like Jay Bruce and Joey Votto.

The same goes for Washington. Washington took the perennial underachieving Rangers to the World Series riding a team of little known players, a talented but troubled center fielder who might be MVP, and one of baseballs best starters as well as a great mix of young arms like C.J. Wilson and Neftali Perez. Washington’s  trust in his starters and perfect use of his bullpen are what helped guide the Rangers to upsets of the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees.

So how do these guys finish second in manager of the year when they have had the harder jobs of the four managers and their teams actually made noise in the playoffs while Gardenhire’s Twins folded (again) to the Yankees and Black’s Padres tanked at seasons end.

They’re the managers of the two front-runners for MVP in their respective leagues, Joey Votto and Josh Hamilton. They’ve completely turned around two perennial doormats and have their teams primed for similar runs next year (in Texas’s case if Cliff Lee comes back). Yet for some reason voters still couldn’t find meaning in making them managers of the year when they clearly did better jobs than both Black and Gardenhire.

No disrespect to either of them, I’m not disrespecting them for their wins, which are rightfully deserved especially Black for making San Diego competitive. I just have a hard time gripping why both Baker and Washington were so undervalued for the jobs they did.

For all the outrage of Derek Jeter’s gold glove and the sabermetrics junk that’s behind it, not a single writer has questioned why Baker and Washington received the few votes they did in the Manager of the year races. It’s as if it’s just an afterthought that two men of color were possibly undervalued for their position even though their body of work was better than the actual winners.

Maybe I’m wrong in my assertion but to me it’s clear as day. Baker won his division, Black didn’t. Washington guided his team to the World Series, Gardenhire rode a great regular season and absolutely tanked in the postseason. I see who the winners should be but that’s my opinion.

I just wish someone else would say something. It’s odd that there is more outrage for a shortstop winning a gold glove because numbers say that his range is nothing like the other competition at his position even though he led the league in fielding percentage and had the fewest errors at his position. Yet no one finds anything wrong with two managers of color who did great things with their talent being so far behind in voters as compared to the winners who were white.

Outrage indeed. I never do this but somebody had to say something about it.

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2 responses to “Raising Questions For Manager Of The Year

  • Kareem Howard

    My thoughts exactly. Here, we have two teams that were a laughing stock of the Major leagues and at times labeled as an easy win whenever you see your respective teams play them during the regular season. Now you have both teams rise from the pits of embarrassment to a winning caliber team, and they get passed over by a couple of managers who’s team can’t even get a postseason win? Sounds like a conspiracy to me.

  • Scully

    Okay. I have to comment. As for the Twins losing in the playoffs, these votes are cast before a single post season game is played. It’s all about the regular season. Next Dusty Baker has a few players that were underachievers but have been expected to win a lot of games for the last few years.

    That all being clear, I was shocked Washington didn’t win. I don’t think there was a better job done in all of baseball. But I do think Bud Black was better than Baker. I don’t know the vote totals and I would not have had a problem if he’d won but San Diego has a out three or four everyday players/pitchers on their 25 man roster. The talk was all about San Fran, LA and Colorado, and going into the last game of the season he had his team tied for first place. Hard to argue with against the shear surprise that was the Padres of 2010.

    Disclaimer: Those who don’t know me, I am white.

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