Big League Stew - MLB

Congratulations are in order for Ron Gardenhire of the Minnesota Twins and Bud Black of the San Diego Padres as both were named manager of the year in their respective leagues on Wednesday.

As has already been noted elsewhere, the manager of the year is basically an award given to the managers of the winning teams that writers looked down upon at the beginning of the season.  

But even considering that paradigm, Gardenhire and Black were deserving winners. The former finally broke his Susan Lucci-type streak by guiding a Justin Morneau(notes)- and Joe Nathan(notes)-less team to 94 victories and another AL Central title while the latter led a group of youngsters to a spot where they missed a tiebreaker by one game in the standings. They'll each receive a nice trophy that they'll have to remind people in future years that they won. No biggie.

But even with the award's vague nature acknowledged, I'm not so sure it shouldn't have gone to San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who finished behind both Black and Cincinnati Reds skipper Dusty Baker in the voting. (Black and Baker were separated by only one point, by the way — 104-103 — while Bochy garnered only 30 points.)

Admittedly, that's some tricky hindsight to claim. The voting was done at the end of the regular season, long before Bochy ever led the Giants to their first World Series title in San Francisco and before Dusty Baker and his Reds got bounced in three straight games by the Philadelphia Phillies.

But it's a vote that would have even made sense the first week of October. Bochy's lineup on the final day of the season was nowhere close to the one he started with on opening day; he managed the team to 28 one-run wins and his team ran down Black's when it trailed the Padres by 6.5 games on Aug. 25.

Also, it's not as if the Giants were prohibitive favorites in the NL West before the start of the season. If memory serves me right, most had them finishing behind Colorado and Los Angeles. So there was some of that "overcoming expectations" element that voters seem to like. 

None of it really matters in the long run, of course — I'm guessing everyone's just glad to be in the discussion since it means more job security — but I'm wondering if anyone else out there thinks that Bochy should have finished closer to Black and Baker's standing, if not ahead of them outright.

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