Calm down, Reds fans, just calm down.
On Wednesday, San Diego Padres manager Bud Black was named National League Manager of the Year. Black turned a 75-win club from a year ago into a 90-win team that almost took the NL West crown from the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
Black won the vote by just one point over Cincinnati Reds skipper Dusty Baker. Baker led the Reds to a Central Division title and the club’s first postseason trip since 1995.
Cincinnati sports talk radio was ripe with anger after the announcement.
Lance McAlister, host of 700 WLW’s Sports Talk, took his rage to Twitter.
“So the NL manager of year blew a 6.5 game lead on Aug 25... lost 10 in a row... went 14-17 from Sept 1 and missed playoffs,” he said.
First of all, look at what the award really means. Does it give Black and the Padres an extra win or two going into next year? No. Does it diminish the Reds accomplishments during the 2010 season in the slightest? No. Does it matter at all in the grand scheme of things? Absolutely not.
Going into the 2010 campaign, the Padres were largely an afterthought. The only time they were mentioned by analysts at all in the preseason was trying to figure out where stud first baseman Adrian Gonzalez would be traded. They were picked by many experts to finish in the cellar of their division.
The Reds were somewhat of a surprise this past season, but this was clearly a team on the come. They boast a bevy of talented young pitchers and that was before the breakout rookie campaigns of Mike Leake and Travis Wood.
Both the Padres and the Reds benefited from playing in pretty terrible divisions, but the NL Central was a much easier road to the postseason. The Reds tallied 47 wins against the Cubs, Astros and Pirates alone.
I’m not a big believer in MLB managers affecting the game. Sure, there are instances where the manager can help his team, but this is not football where schemes and strategy come into play. The manager sets the lineup and decides when to take out the pitcher. Teams win because their hitters hit and their pitchers get outs.
The Padres ranked 28th in batting average. The Reds ranked fourth. The Padres ranked 22nd in runs. The Reds ranked fourth.
Granted, the Padres pitching staff performed admirably and Matt Latos emerged as a big-time ace, but by and large, the Reds had a deeper and more consistent starting rotation than San Diego.
Black did more with less. That is what this award is all about. Baker fielded a stronger team in a weaker division. The vote probably should not have been as close as it was.