CHASTISEMENTS FOR THE MANAGER OF THE YEAR AWARDS AND ESPN
> The writers got the Rookie of the Year Awards right today. Savor the feeling, because it’s the last day that the awards in both leagues will be awarded correctly.
The day before each award is given out, EM will address who the writers are going to pick and why they are wrong. (I’m convinced both MVPs will miss the mark, as well as at least one Cy Young and at least one Manager of the Year.) So today, we’ll address the Managers of the Year.
Neither I nor anyone else particularly cares who wins this thing, but I’ve always found that the logic used in selecting them have always been extremely flawed.
When we hear about the candidates, we’re always told that whoever happened to be the manager of a team that did better than expected should be the Manager of the Year. (For instance, Clint Hurdle was the unanimous selection until his Pirates crapped the bed down the stretch.) Attributes like leadership and getting the most out of your players are cited as reasons for awarding the candidates, but how does team production determine a manager’s value?
Let’s say that, hypothetically, Tony LaRussa managed the Astros this year. He may very well be a better manager than anyone in the Game right now, but because his roster is garbage, he wouldn’t even be considered. (Ron Gardenhire comes to mind. Once considered one of the Games’ best, no one even talks about him now.) Is that fair? I don’t think so. A manager has to stick around for a long time to get a large say in what kind of roster he gets to manage, and even then he’s got to be on a team with cooperative management and ownership. So for the most part, managers don’t get to pick who they get to manage nor do they control what happens when a player messes up a good decision of theirs.
I would argue that a manager would have to be watched for an entire season for an accurate picture to be drawn of his intelligence and abilities as a manager. (Case in point: Most writers outside St. Louis think Mike Matheny is a good manager.) And since that’s not plausible, I would argue that the Award in question isn’t either.
That said, I think the best (and likely only) way to get around the watch-every-day determination is with pythagorean win-loss, which takes into account how good or bad a manager’s team was and then determines how much impact he had on their overall record.
Below is a list of each League’s managers and their net gain or loss for their teams based on PWL. The guys whose management won them the most games are the guys I’d vote for. (Partial seasons were taken out, since the data is for full seasons and those guys aren’t going to win anyway.)
Dusty Baker (+6)
Bruce Bochy (+6)*
Davey Johnson (+2)
Fredi Gonzalez (+2)
Bud Black (+1)
Ozzie Guillen (+1)
Clint Hurdle (+1)
Charlie Manuel (+-0)
Don Mattingly (+-0)
Terry Collins (-1)
Ron Roenicke (-2)
Dale Sveum (-4)
Kirk Gibson (-5)
Mike Matheny (-5)
Jim Tracy (-5)
*Bochy gets the nod because I like him better.
Buck Schowalter (+11)
Bob Melvin (+2)
Ron Washington (+2)
Jim Leyland (+1)
Mike Scioscia (+1)
Joe Girardi (+-0)
John Farrell (-1)
Ron Gardenhire (-2)
Eric Wedge (-2)
Ned Yost (-2)
Robin Ventura (-3)
Joe Maddon (-5)
Bobby Valentine (-5)
> This great Deadspin piece got me thinking today about why anyone in the present world we live in would ever bother to watch the crap that ESPN peddles out every day.
The very concept of the network is flawed, at least from a fan’s perspective. A network that covers every sport within a limited amount of time naturally lends itself to dulled specialization. (To put it another way, the average ESPN viewer will be a jack of all trades and a master of none when it comes to his knowledge of sports.)
And even within each compressed department, the coverage is so weighted towards whatever will get ratings that you’ll never get comprehensive coverage of any given sport. With 30-plus teams in each league, almost everything that goes on will be left out; and what does get mentioned is idiotic ratings-based crap like disturbingly excruciating Tim Tebow coverage, block-to-block raging debates of if A-Rod can handle New York or not, what have you.
But sadly the things that make ESPN so hateably predictable and unwatchable for me are the same things that keep its monopoly securely in place. Sports fans, in general, are stupid. The above points would never occur to them after years and years of watching this channel. ESPN knows this and plays to its base by weighting their stories towards utter nonsense.
Throw in the fact that no other multi-sports network could survive if it gave equal time to all or even a little more of the sports world, and you’ve got a never-ending hamster wheel of fans who don’t understand or care to understand the games they watch highlights of every morning.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the edge it gives me over the guys here at the J school who have grown up on that garbage. But the Worldwide Leader has made sports fans dumber in this country, and I intend to revere their work as best I can.
“It doesn’t matter where you play or where you’re from,” Pujols said. “You saw the support from the guys that were here. Everything we do is just to give back to the community. No matter where I play, we’re going to continue to do events here.”
> EM told you about it back when the New York Post‘s Joel Sherman proposed one of those Bleacher Report-type specific name trades that have never come true but keep getting thought up.