Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Once again, it's Baseball Bloggers Alliance award season! It's a lot like the BBWAA award season, just with different names because they litigious with their free time. The fine staff here at Off Base will guide you through our ballots over the next few days. First up, the Connie Mack, or, how I learned to stop agonizing over whether or not a manager really has as much control over a team's performance as I believe they do.
What a strange season in the National League this year. 15 teams in the league, and only six finished with records better than .500. At least they made this ballot a little bit easier to fill out than the AL where you could have conceivably chosen from any number of managers to take the top spot. Not like it really matters anyway, these are the managers, their affect on the outcome of a baseball game is magnified by fans and media members, but I'm not totally convinced that they really make as big of an impact as we like to believe that they do. With that being said, here's the Off Base ballot for the Connie Mack Award in the National League.
1. Bruce Bochy
It's an even numbered year, so here we go with the Giants dong their thing and making it to the postseason despite having to scratch and claw their way there. They fell off quite a bit after busting out of the gates with a red hot start. Then they made up a bunch of ground to clinch a playoff spot with only a few games remaining in the season. How much of this is because of the Bruce? Hard to say. But it is enough to get him another award on his mantle that I am making with paper mache and glitter.
2. Mike Matheny
When your team is forced to trade for A.J. Pierzynski, last year's golden boy, Michael Wacha, deals with an injury and loses some effectiveness, Yadier Molina misses time due to an injury, and you have to install a new stable and add horse feed to the team's payroll to accommodate John Lackey, you're fighting an uphill battle. But Mike Matheny weathered those storms to march the Cardinals passed the Brewers and Pirates to yet another Central Division title for the Anheuser Buschers.
3. Clint Hurdle
If the Pirates keep winning, Clint Hurdle is going to find himself vaulted from this list net season. The Pirates didn't sneak up on everyone like they did last year when they went from 20 years of utter suckage to the playoffs, but they did fend off the following year swoon. Which is something I just made up. He only went purple on a few occasions this year, prompting his physician to congratulate him with a giant bucket of bubblicious. Way to keep that blood pressure down, Clint.
LVM - Kirk Gibson
I don't remember their being much hype surrounding the Diamondbacks coming into the season. I remember Kevin Towers catching flack for trading a young arm and a scrappy outfielder for a DH that they were going to play in left field. But, even without the hype, this was a second place team in 2013, and they were the absolute worst in 2014. That, of course, will not alone merit being the Least Valuable Manager, but, being a head hunting manager that prides himself on ordering pitchers to take out opposing hitters during games because you are butt-hurt, will. That, and, when your firing is the new General Manager's (played in this motion picture by Dave Stewart) first order of business, then, we can be fair in capping off your season with this old, dirty and broken bowling trophy.