In a few days, I will, as part of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, cast my ballots for the best of the best in the American and National League, for the 2011 big league baseball season.
I try to be as objective as I can, as a baseball fan, and this year it will be very difficult, for me, as a Detroit Tigers fan, because of the Tigers winning the A.L. Central, and the terrific seasons of pitchers Justin Verlander and Jose Valverde, 1st baseman Miguel Cabrera, and DH Victor Martinez.
That said, I have come across an article by Tom Verducci from SI.com, where Verducci gives his winners...for now...because his choices must be kept confidential until the awards are announced...of both league MVP's, Cy Young, Managers, and Rookie's of the Year.
Now, as a Tigers fan, I know Jim Leyland has his critics, and may, or not be the best manager in the American League, , but what I read today in Mr. Verducci's article, is really, really, disturbing.
Manny Acta, the manager of the Cleveland Indians, has done a good job this season, very commendable.
However, the problem I have with Mr. Verducci's voting is he has completely left off the Tigers Jim Leyland, the manager who actually led his team to the division championship...over Acta and the Indians.
Now, I'm not saying that you have to vote Jim Leyland as the A.L. Manager of the Year, but to not vote for him either first, second, or third, and to include Acta, who's team finished well behind Leyland's, is ridiculous, and, in my opinion, Verducci, and the BBWAA, should be ashamed of themselves.
Verducci also goes on to explain why he also left off Tigers closer Jose Valverde, the best closer in the American League, off his A.L. Cy Young ballot...
"whose perfection (47-for-47 in save chances) was too pampered. Get back to us when you actually pitch more than an inning or get a save that involves an inherited runner."
Isn't the job of the closer to get out the hitters he faces when the game is on the line?
The Tigers are champions of the A.L. Central Division for several reasons, and when Jim Leyland asked Jose Valverde to come in and close out the game for the Tigers, Valverde was a perfect 47 for 47.
And, as the Red Sox continue to collapse in the race for the A.L. Wild Card, all Josh Beckett did last night for the Red Sox was go out and lose to the Orioles...when his team needed him to stop the bleeding.
Oh, Verducci put Beckett 5th on his ballot, over Valverde.
It's time for baseball do do some serious looking at the people who are given the right to choose and vote for baseball's awards.
Verducci can have his opinion, yes, but his status as a baseball writer doesn't give him, or any other baseball writer, the right to ignore a manager of a division champion, over a manager who finished 15 games behind that same manager.
To ignore Jim Leyland is just plain wrong.