I place absolutely zero stock in post-season awards like Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young Award.
The results of the Manager of the Year balloting are a great example of why.
Alleged baseball experts chose Joe Maddon of the Chicago Cubs as the top skipper in the Senior Circuit in 2015. Nevermind the fact that he guided his squad to a third-place finish.
He beat out St. Louis manager Mike Matheny who saw his ace go down for the year in April, his clean-up hitter depart for the bulk of the season shortly after that and his number three hitter miss more games than he played thanks to a pair of quad injuries. The Cardinals also lost their bullpen set-up man after a handful of appearances, saw their number three starter, Lance Lynn, pitch the second half of the season with what turned out to be a compromised elbow ligament that required major surgery and Jaime Garcia missed several starts at the beginning of the season.
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It is utterly amazing that Matheny held his team together, despite all the health issues, to win an impressive 100 games. That was good enough for the best record in baseball.
It’s an apples to apples comparison, too, because Maddon’s Cubs play in the same division as the Cardinals. If he was the better skipper, Chicago would have finished better than St. Louis.
Maybe I am old fashioned. But I believe the team that has the best record at the end of 162 games is the best team.
I guess Maddon is a trendy choice. He’s a cool character beloved by media members across the country. But let’s at least be honest and call it the Most Popular Manager Award if we’re not going to use any performance-based information to decide who gets the honor.
We’ve heard for several years now that the Cubs were going to be great when their young talent arrived at the major league level. So did Maddon really accomplish anything special at all? He led his team to a result that was largely anticipated.
No one could foresee all the health problems the Cardinals would face in 2015. People started to write the team off as soon as Adam Wainwright was injured and the words “Well, it’s over now!” were repeated countless times as the Cardinals suffered each successive injury.
Really, this isn’t sour grapes. These awards have proved time and time again to be a joke. I really expected the media darling would get the award over the guy who got the results. That’s just the way this works.
Maddon may be a better tactician in a tight game. He may have a longer track record. But the criteria was who did the best managing job in 2015. Anyone who examines the results with any objectivity can’t help but realize Matheny was better.