The news is a couple days old but the topic still bears discussion.
As we all know, Joe Maddon (rightfully) ran away with American League Manager of the Year honors. The Rays’ turnaround was nothing short of amazing, and Maddon’s managerial skills and style no doubt made it happen. But look closer at the voting, and you’ll notice something a bit peculiar: our own Ozzie Guillen actually received three third-place votes.
Why? And how? And who cast these votes?
It might make sense on some level that since the Sox made the playoffs despite no one exactly expecting them to, Guillen must have worked his magic and expertly won the 162-round chess match against the AL Central. But imagine for a second Detroit and Cleveland didn’t give up by the end of May – would it still be possible for the Sox to have won 88 games on the backs of the longball and, all told, what amounted to a perfectly average pitching staff?
Perhaps the voters were blinded by the three elimination games in three days (and make no mistake, those were as awesome as three days of baseball can be), or perhaps they didn’t bother to notice the Sox won an entirely mediocre division. But even if extra weight is given to that, the team that won the division was not a Guillen-styled team, one manufacturing runs and making stellar plays on a regular basis while producing exactly enough offense to win. Would you equate the 2008 White Sox with managerial brilliance? Risky plays? Aggressive maneuvers? Daring lineups? Or would you say this was a team carried for a month at a time by whoever was hitting the most home runs?
And if the award goes to the person responsible for their team’s success, wouldn’t the true third-place vote recipient be one of Jermaine Dye, Alexei Ramirez, Carlos Quentin, or A.J. Pierzynski?