As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, we also vote on yearly awards. With the regular season in the books, let the process begin!
The first award up for grabs in the Connie Mack Award. This award is presented to the Manager of the Year. Since our beloved Reds are a member of the National League, our vote is for the NL. The top three in our vote will be forwarded as our official ballot.
Awarding points was as follows: 5 for first, 3 for second, 1 for third. It gets interesting. It really does as you will see.
Enough of the “small talk”, let’s get on with this!
Our top selection for the NL Connie Mack Award should really be no surprise. Last season, the Arizona Diamondbacks were basically a laughing stock. This season, quite the opposite. A prime reason was the skipper, Kirk Gibson. In 2010, the D-backs finished the regular season with a record of 65-97.
After some roster changes by GM Kevin Towers (who I feel should be NL Executive of the Year) and an adjustment in the team’s overall attitude, Gibson was clearly BRM’s choice as the NL’s top skipper. Arizona finished 2011 with almost a complete flip-flop in their record at 94-68.
Of all the compelling pieces of the D-backs pie was their payroll. They began the season with one listed at $56.5 million. That’s what Gibson had to work with. Better yet was winning the NL West by eight games over the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, a feat no one really envisioned for 2011.
BRM’s second choice for the Connie Mack goes to Milwaukee Brewers skipper Ron Roenicke. Some people may dismiss Roenicke as a legit candidate due to the moves the Brewers made acquiring the likes of Shaun Marcum, Zack Greinke, Francisco Rodriguez and Takashi Saito. Thing is, you still have to find a way to manage those egos (not that all of them have big egos, but you get the picture).
What makes Roenicke’s job all the more difficult is/was the impending free agency of Prince Fielder. The Brewers did not let that serve as a distraction and Roenicke is a reason why that never really metrialized as an issue this past season. There was a slight question on the ability of John Axford as the closer especially after Reds fans witnessed the game-winning home off the bat of Ramon Hernandez. That would be only 1 of the 2 saves Axford blew in 2011. Roenicke’s faith in Axford as his closer was a lift as Axford posted an excellent season.
The final of the three slots we have for our ballot goes to…well, it was a tie, so a half point each to San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy and St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa.
Personally, I had LaRussa second only to Gibson on my ballot. The main reason: his bullpen let him down so many times, yet the Cards were able to overcome an 8.5 game deficit to snatch the wild card nod. We knew their offense would be better, but I don’t think many of us saw the implosion that would be his pen.
Here’s how the vote went among the staff…
There you have it. BRM’s first ballot in the Baseball Bloggers Alliance Awards.