Okay. The Red Sox and the Braves are out of the playoffs.
Gone. Done. Kaput.
There should be no more talk about them and the way they basically crawled to the end of the season with no sense of urgency or care in the world. The teams that actually did something, including our Texas Rangers, are barely getting press for doing what they were supposed to do—finish strong.
I don’t understand how the Rangers have barely gotten a sniff from the national media. This is the best season in franchise history, they thoroughly dominated their division and they literally remained in first place throughout the season. When the going got tough, they got tougher. When their main guys in their lineup went out, other stepped up and they kept winning. They had the longest winning streak in the Majors this year, had all five starting pitchers record at least 13 wins, yet they were still on average the 5th story at best on SportsCenter.
And just when I think everything will settle into place after the dust has settled and folks have realized the Rangers have home field and open the first game of the playoffs, now the trendy topic is that spare Joe Maddon. I’m sorry but am I missing something here? Of course the Rays had a great comeback story in the way they persevered and garnered a playoff spot, but anyone could have done the same if they were going up against the tragic story that was the Red Sox. It is no miracle. The Yankees put a bunch of scrubs on the field and the Rays took advantage. Let’s not confuse luck with great managing as some of the talking heads are apt to do. This game alone does not a Manager of the Year make.
What the Rangers did all season garners awards. What Ron Roenicke and Kurt Gibson accomplished in Milwaukee and Arizona, respectively, should be considered for awards. What I am hearing about Maddon is, quite simply, maddening. To think the guy should get the MOY for being there makes about as much sense as Ron Washington not winning it last year. What’s even more insane is that Wash’s name is barely even brought up in the conversation. People are so fixated on whatever it is they think Nolan Ryan does and they figure once he sprinkles some Ryan dust on the team, they go out and perform at a high level.
What people fail to realize is Wash has this team where they are because they believe in him and they play the game the way he wants them to play it to the T. He is a quiet unassuming leader that detaches his ego and allows his players to take the spotlight. He doesn’t stand behind the podium and wax poetic about how smart he is or how many books he reads. He is a baseball man through and through and the fact that you don’t see him should be proof enough for anyone that has a ballot to cast for the best manager.
In the coming weeks, we’ll see who the voters select and we’ll get a better idea of how they voted. Until then, let’s hope we get a chance to see our team finally get a little recognition, especially if they do better than they did last year.