Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter was edged out by Oakland Athletics’ manager Bob Melvin for the American League Manager of the Year award for 2012 in an announcement made last night. There can be no doubt that both Melvin and Showalter both had very legitimate claims to the award. (On a side note, had the O’s and A’s finished as they were predicted to do we’re talking about Robin Ventura of the Chicago White Sox as the Manager of the Year this morning.) However at the end the writers picked Melvin with a vote of 16 – 12.
Judging by the reaction on twitter when the announcement was made last night, a lot of Orioles fans are disappointed. Some even said that Showalter and the Orioles were robbed. I would disagree; as I said above, Melvin was equally as good of a candidate. In fact, had Showalter been named the winner I suspect that we would have heard even more complaining from Oakland A’s fans and from a lot of people out west in general. Non-east coasters love to tout the “east coast bias,” and many people would have chalked a Showalter victory up to the two candidates being in effect equal with the writers giving the nod to the east coast manager.
While I do think that there might be some “circumstantial aspects” to this that might have worked against Buck Showalter, I’ll reserve that judgement for another column in the near future. However consider this if nothing else: the Orioles and Oakland played nine games head-to-head in 2012. Oakland won five of them with the Orioles taking four. However this award isn’t about head-to-head play as much as it is who did the best managerial job in 2012. According to the BBWAA, that guy was Bob Melvin. On behalf of Birds Watcher, the Fansided Network, and the Baltimore Orioles’ fans, I congratulate him.
Let’s also keep in mind that in Buck Showalter we’re talking about an incredibly humble man. He’s not the kind of guy that needs pats on the back such as an award like this to tell him he’s doing a good job. The won/loss column is the only indicator that he needs, and thus in 2012 he did a heck of a job. If the past is any indication, Buck’s already thinking about how 2012′s results can be replicated and surpassed as opposed to lamenting over not winning this award. Had the shoe been on the other foot, I have no doubt that Bob Melvin would be doing the same. That my friends is the mark of a winner.