I’ve talked a lot recently about some of the Angels getting some consideration for the end of season awards. Morales definitely deserves some MVP votes, Figgins should get a few ballots cast in his favor as a Gold Glove third baseman and voters should at least briefly consider Jered Weaver for some non-first place Cy Young votes. However, none of those guys probably actually deserve to win the award. That is not the case though when we talk about Mike Scioscia as a candidate for AL Manager of the Year.
To put it quite simply, if Mike Scioscia does NOT win AL Manager of the Year, the award is a sham.
And before you even start, don’t even think about trying to sell me on Joe Girardi. What? I am supposed to be impressed that he guided the Yankees to the best record in the league. With all the money they spent this off-season they SHOULD have the best record in the league. Their payroll is nearly $80 million higher than any other team in baseball. How hard is that to manage? Mike Scioscia should only be so lucky. Save your spiel about how Girardi has to manage all those personalities in the Big Apple. Yeah, poor Girardi. He’s got to deal with Derek Jeter, arguably the best clubhouse guy in all of baseball. I’m sure it is very hard to manage a savvy veteran like Jorge Posada too. Heck, I’m sure having Johnny Damon is a nightmare, I mean, he was only the ring leader of the Boston team that broke the World Series curse. Just because Alex Rodriguez is a media whore, it doesn’t mean he is the devil spawn of Jose Guillen and Milton Bradley. There really isn’t a single “bad guy” on the Yankee roster which makes the job Girardi has done actually pretty uninspiring. He just needs to show up, fill out the line-up card and make a few pitching changes and the team should win 100 games in their sleep. Color me unimpressed.
No doubt Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers will get some consideration for MoY, as well he should. The Rangers are in contention for a playoff spot when nobody thought they were even close to being a good ball club. But other than their premier slugger falling off the wagon for one night back in Spring Training, what hardship has Washington and the Rangers been forced to overcome other than the typical spate of injuries that most clubs face? I know it is fun to vote for a new guy, but Washington certainly hasn’t outmanaged Mike Scioscia this season, no matter what their head-to-head record suggests.
As for Scioscia, this is his tenth season as a major league manager and he has established himself as one of the finest managers in the entire game, but what he has done with this year’s team make all his previous seasons of work pale in comparison, even the unlikely World Series title he led the club to back in 2002.
Scioscia and the Angels have had to deal with so many hardships, I can’t even count them. He lost his two best starting pitchers (John Lackey, Ervin Santana) for the first month and a half of the season, had his top set-up man (Scot Shields) go down for the year with a knee problem, saw his franchise slugger take two extended trips to the disabled list and his lone remaining All-Star starter (Joe Saunders) pitch almost all year with a bum shoulder. Nor should we forget that the two young supposed stars of the organization, Howie Kendrick and Jose Arredondo, were both so frightfully awful to start the season that they got demoted to the minors and only Kendrick has come back to be even remotely useful. And I am sure I am forgetting another half dozen crappy breaks the Angels were dealt this year.
Even still, all of those bumps in the road can’t even come close to what Scioscia had to deal with after the death of Nick Adenhart in the first week of the season. That tragic accident took a massive toll on the Angel clubhouse and sent them into a tail spin to start the year. Frankly, nobody would have blamed them if they just mailed it in for the rest of the season and wallowed in their grief and sorrow. But Mike Scioscia didn’t let that happen, not then, not weeks later when the team was still scuffling and continuing to be ravaged by injuries. It was Mike Scioscia that held the team together and had them rebound all the way back up to the top, once again poised to capture the American League West despite the Texas Rangers nipping at their heels the whole time.
For me, that isn’t just the best managing job I’ve seen this year, but probably of my entire lifetime and if Scioscia gets snubbed for Manager of the Year, the voters should be ashamed of themselves.