If you’ve been a regular reader of this site, you have probably seen a handful of posts over the years talking about the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. The conglomerate of sites are divided into chapters, much the same as the BBWAA and we also cast ballots for post-season awards and Hall of Fame voting. Of course, our votes don’t get counted with the BBWAA as we are not members, but it’s a fun little exercise none the less.
This is my final month as Detroit Chapter President of the BBA and I will be handing those duties over to Austin Drake of the Detroit Tigers Scorecard on November 1. This year, I will cast a ballot for the Connie Mack Award for top manager and also for the Goose Gossage Award for top reliever. As a condition of our membership, each site must make their ballot public in order for the vote to be official.
For those wondering, I have consulted John Verburg’s picks for each award as well when creating this ballot. As he has supplanted me as editor here (no matter what my email signature still says), I felt his picks should be a major factor in the official MCB ballot.
The ballot to follow after the jump.
1- Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays
Maddon’s Rays club spent the winter re-tooling. As is the case for many a small-market club, that meant trying to replacing the escalating cost of veteran players with less-expensive ones.
In a division with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays, the Rays were picked by many to finish no better than third, but wound up walking down Boston to claim the wild card spot with a 90-win season. Yes, the Rays have great talent, but the way Maddon gets his players pulling in the same direction is the key to the club’s success.
2- Jim Leyland, Detroit Tigers
In all honesty, Leyland would have been my personal pick here, but I’ll defer to Verburg. Unlike the Rays, the Tigers were expected to at least be in serious contention for a playoff spot this year. Perhaps the biggest asset that Leyland seems to bring to the team is his ability to manage personalities. That was never so evident as this season when not only did he have to deal with the seemingly constant roster changes during the season, but he also had to convince former stars like Brandon Inge and Magglio Ordonez that it was better for the team if they didn’t play everyday.
3- Manny Acta, Cleveland Indians
If the season were only five months long, Acta wins this award in a landslide. The Tribe was supposed to be at least a year away from contention and found themselves leading the division into late July. Unlike the Tigers, who stayed mostly healthy this year, the Indians had to deal with significant missed time by both Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo, two players who most would have considered the club’s best hitters before the season began. Through it all, Acta kept his group of young players moving forward and playing far better than anyone expected. No matter how far behind the Tigers Cleveland wound up finishing, a second-place season is a huge success for the Tribe this year.