With no Yankees playoff action tonight, I thought it would be a good time to start working on my ballots for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) End of Season Awards. First up: The Connie Mack Award for Top Manager.
As a Yankee blogger I am only required to put together a ballot for the American League winner, along with a second and third place finisher. So, here is my ballot:
1st Place: Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays went into the 2011 season with no one expecting them to compete, having lost several key players from the previous few seasons. When they got off to that dreadful start, those low expectations seemed to be confirmed. However, as the season went on, so did the Rays, until they found themselves in the ALDS. Why did they get there? Joe Madden, that's why.
2nd Place: Jim Leyland, Detroit Tigers. In the AL Central this year, the Minnesota Twins were the sexy pick. Until injuries knocked the bloom off their rose. Enter Jim Leyland and his Detroit Tigers. The Tigers soon established themselves as the clear division favorite, In addition to Justin Verlander, they have Leyland to thank for it.
3rd Place: Joe Girardi, New York Yankees. The manager of the team with the highest payroll getting votes for this award? Why not? He knows how to manage an older team, how to handle his bullpen, and how to get the most out of starters who were previously left for dead. Great job, Joe!
And there you have it. The next ballot I post will be for the Willie Mays Award for Top Rookie. Look for my choices sometime next week.