Baltimore Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter finished third in the manager of the year voting in the American League. He finished behind Texas’ Jeff Banister, and Cleveland’s Terry Francona. Francona ended up taking the award home.
For the record, these awards are voted on prior to the post season, so the fact that Cleveland made it to the World Series wasn’t taken into account. The Orioles were picked to finish last by many pundits this past year, and with 89 wins they obviously smashed that prediction.
So did Showalter get screwed out of the award? I would say no in a sense, as Francona was just as deserving. I might argue that he should have placed ahead of Banister, however at the end of the day it really only matters who finishes first. And ultimately Showalter isn’t a guy who cares too much about accolades for himself.
However consider this for just a moment; as the season wound down and the Orioles remained in the race, the fact that they were picked by many to finish last became a popular point of discussion. Buck Showalter always brushed that off, saying that they never thought of themselves as a last place team, and they always knew they were better than that. Again, this might register for someone who cares about these awards, which Showalter does not…
…but in saying that they always knew they could be competitive, did he kind of talk his way out of an award like this? Most people, myself included, love Showalter’s aw shucks type of folksy talk. However it’s entirely possible that voterson the committee hear that at various points along the way and that perhaps it registers with them. If they really weren’t a surprise team in the race, how good of a job did Buck really do?
That may be a bit of an unfair way of putting it. Probably it’s better stated to say that Buck may have done his normal run-of-the-mill good job. As Showalter himself says, these awards usually go to the manager of a team that comes out of nowhere and surprises people. In reality it’s actually a team award, because it involves the players playing for the manager and so forth. And there’s been nobody in Baltimore who hasn’t wanted to play for Buck since he’s joined the organization.
Ultimately, Showalter doesn’t really care about these awars. He’d probably say that it’s an honor to be considered at all – and he’d be right. But I guarantee you that he’s not losing sleep over it now. He’s focusing on 2017.