Most fans and American League pundits alike swear to the idea that “small ball,” the style of baseball usually associated with the National League, will not win in the offensively powered American League.
Welcome to the 2012 version of the Cleveland Indians. The Indians have won 83 percent of their games decided by one run.
The Indians hold a 28-25 record but are winning 65 percent of their games against right-handed starting pitching.
Also, they are leading the American League and tied for second in all of baseball in stolen bases (46).
The Manny Acta influence on the 2012 Cleveland Indians does not end there. The Indians are tied for fifth in all of baseball in fielding percentage (.986) and second in the American League and sixth in all of baseball in total assists (587).
All these statistics and numbers are great, but Manny Acta’s real influence on the 2012 Cleveland Indians is with their patience and optimism.
Any individual who watches the 2012 Indians can see that this team goes through no real highs or lows. Even with a 3-7 record over their past 10 games, the Indians look like they are having fun playing the game of baseball. This nuance is a direct correlation to having Acta as the Indians' manager.
Dan Steinberg quoted Manny Acta’s sister Anayma during his tenure as the manager of the Washington Nationals, “He's all the time positive, with everything. I'm pretty thankful for God that's the way he is. We're so blessed, we have to be positive.”
Steinberg interviewed a local blogger Steven that agreed with his assessment of Manny Acta; “Manny Acta has a powerful presence in person that doesn't come across on TV. What might seem like placid lifelessness on TV is something else in person…”
Acta’s influence on the Tribe cannot be under-appreciated. This is why he ranks fifth on my list of unlikely heroes in 2012.