Thursday, November 13, 2008

Maddon & Piniella Named AL & NL Managers of the Year

It came as a suprise to no one that Joe Maddon was named the AL Manager of the Year. Maddon guided the Rays to their first post season appearance in franchise history winning the AL championship though falling short in the World Series. The only other plausible candidate for this award would have been Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire who nearly led his team into the postseason despite losing a Cy Young Award winner, an All-Star centerfielder and two other members of the starting rotation.

But no one had predicted the Rays would be a playoff bound team much less a team with a winning record. Despite their history Maddon had the team believing in his mantra of 9=8. Nine players = eight playoff spots.

Of course, as is well known, I picked the Rays to win it all in 2006 when Maddon took over the helm of the Rays. I might have been guilty of premature speculation but I knew the Rays were headed in the right direction under Maddon's guidance.

Maddon succeeded Lou Piniella as the Rays manager. Piniella took a year off from managing before replacing Dusty Baker as the manager of the Chicago Cubs in 2007. He has guided the Cubs to back to back NL Central Division titles. In 2008, the Cubs had the best record in the NL and was named NL Manager of the Year. Fat lot of good its done them in the NLDS.

This is the third time Piniella has been named Manager of the Year. He won it twice in the AL with the Seattle Mariners in 1995 and 2001. 1995 represented the Mariners first playoff appearance in franchise history and in 2001 the Mariners tied the MLB record with 116 regular season wins. Oddly, Piniella didn't win Manager of the Year in 1990 when he guided the Cincinnati Reds to their last World Series championship.

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