Alex Cora helped the Boston Red Sox win 108 games and beat three of the best teams in baseball during the postseason to claim the franchise's fourth World Series title of the 21st century.
It was as good of a season a manager could have, and even more impressive was the fact it was his first season as Red Sox manager.
Cora, despite all of his success in 2018, did not win the 2018 American League Manager of the Year award. The honor is voted on by members of the BBWAA, and Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin was named the winner Tuesday night.
Melvin got 18 of 30 first-place votes. Cora received seven first-place votes and finished second overall in the voting. This did not sit well with former Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden, who offered a passionate response to the outcome during a recent interview on CBS Sports HQ.
"There's no intelligence behind the voting here," Bowden said, as transcribed by Matt Vautour of MassLive. "Nobody looks behind the scenes and says which manager was good at motivating? What manager was the best at implementing analytics? What manager was best with his eyes during games to make adjustments? Who handled the pitching staff the best? Who was able to think outside the box? Who shifted better? Who did better on appeals of instant replay? Nobody measures that? We just give the award to whatever team we don't think is going to get in?
"Alex Cora was the best manager in baseball. He checked all the boxes. (Tampa Bay's) Kevin Cash was second best. (Milwaukee's) Craig Counsell was third best. Brian Snitker and Bob Melvin were certainly in the top six or seven managers. I'm happy they both won the award. They're great people. They're great baseball guys, but they weren't the best managers in 2018."
Cora did everything you would want in a manager -- from getting players adequate rest, making the right lineup adjsutments, handling a sometimes-shaky bullpen and pushing the right buttons in-game, among other things.
There's really nothing more Cora could have done to impress the voters. Melvin did a fantastic job and deserves a lot of credit for the A's success. He took a bad team with a small payroll and won 97 games with an A.L. Wild Card Game berth. Melvin's performance still wasn't as impressive as Cora's, but the Red Sox manager did get the last laugh in October, and that's really what matters.
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