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Giving Charlie his due

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MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

I saw this tweet last night and, at first I was nah, but then I started thinking about it. Anyway the tweet:

Now I’ve had my complaints with the guy all season long. But generally, they are little things. I don’t like where this guy is batting. I want this reliever to get a second inning. But really, they are minor things.The winner of the Manager of the Year is generally a guy whose team improved compared to the year before.

Last year the Jays were 67-95.This year 30-27, with 3 games to play. That, by itself, will get voters looking at the Manager for the award.

And it wasn’t like he had an easy season of it. There was the whole mess with the search for a home field. It would have been easy for the team to say, ‘this isn’t worth it.’ I was surprised that no Jays opted out. They had to leave their families and live out of hotels all season. And then play in a minor league park. I know they fixed it up, but it was still not what they have in Toronto. But, likely with the help of Charlie’s calmness, they took it as a rallying point.Then there was the 7-11 start. With everything else going on, you would have understood if the players just decided to play out the season.

Injuries? If I told you we would lose Matt Shoemaker and Nate Pearson for pretty much the full season, you wouldn’t have expected a winning record.Add the closer and the best arm in the bullpen, Jordan Romero also out for the season. On a team that would live and die with the bullpen, that could have been a death blow. It made it a lot tougher for the Manager to figure out how to navigate through close games.

And losing Bo Bichette for a good part of the season made life tougher for the Manager. Having both him and Teoscar out for a bit must have been torture for Charlie.Add in that the bullpen’s arms that were lights out early in the season were no longer lights out at the end of the season. I don’t know what happened with Anthony Kay. Julian Merryweather looked unhittable early and was very hittable before going on the IL (we are going to have to win the first round if we hope to see him in the playoffs). Navigating through the ups and downs of bullpen pitchers is one of the more challenging jobs of a manager.

For all that, Charlie deserves votes for Manager of the Year.What does he do well?

He keeps a level head. He’s not up with every win and down with every loss. Swept by the Yankees by an aggregate score of 3349 to 4 would have driven the managers of my youth crazy. Can you imagine how Billy Martin or Earl Weaver would have handled that? I mean other than a dozen Yankees batters who had fastballs bounced off their foreheads? They would have yelled and screamed and made their players think it was the end of the world. One of the things they always said about Cito was that he kept a level head (easy to do when you have Alomar, White, Molitor, and all). Cito seldom yelled at umpires. He figured the team was better with him on the bench than him in the clubhouse. People tend to think that nice guys can’t be managers, but they are wrong.He gives players time to work their way out of slumps. We all wanted Joe Panik removed from the lineup, if not the team. I figured Rowdy Tellez was on his way out of town, but Charlie didn’t and let him show what he could do (always bet on the guys with big-time power). It isn’t always going to work, but a manager must trust his evaluation of a player how the player hit in the last 20 at-bats.

I like that the major on field mistakes are getting fewer and further between without the Manager having to make a public display of calling out a player. Yesterday’s game, even the pitchers were, finally, covering first base when they should. Heck, Anthony Bass backed up Vlad at first base on Villar’s lousy throw in the eighth. When was the last time you saw a pitcher backing up a 4-3 ground out? It’s nice when simple things start happening. They are still going to make mistakes, but it is nice that they aren’t an everyday thing anymore.Yeah, he’s going to drive me crazy by pulling a reliever when he’s pitched an excellent and quick inning. And lineups are never going to be what I’d like (though I doubt I’ve ever seen a manager use the lineup I’d want). And I’m always going to hate bunts (I read that four teams haven’t had a sac bunt this year, the Reds, Brewers. Yankees, and Rays. I would love the Jays to join that group next year).

But I continuously read, mostly on Twitter, that Charlie is an idiot (I keep hoping we can get past the idea that if a manager does something we disagree with that he has to be stupid. It is possible for smart people to disagree). I read a piece from a few years back, talking about John Gibbons and the job he was doing as Manager, and the complaints were the same ‘crappy bullpen management’ and ‘lousy lineups.’

I do like the idea of drums as stress relief. I played drums for a while, and I found it was a great way to clear my mind. To get into a rhythm you mind had clear. Course, it wasn’t stress relief for my neighbors. A drum set makes a lot of noise. I should get bongos. On holiday once we took a drum lesson and I really enjoyed it.

Poll

Will Charlie Montoyo win the AL Manager of the Year award?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Yes
    (81 votes)
  • 75%
    No but he’ll get votes
    (382 votes)
  • 9%
    No
    (46 votes)
509 votes total Vote Now