It’s obvious that Kirk Gibson is going to win the National League manager of the year. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY was picking the Diamondbacks to win the NL West this year, let alone take an 8 1/2 game lead in early September.
So Gibson will add a Manager of the Year trophy next to his MVP (which will no doubt be the subject of another blog post.)
But take a look at what Don Mattingly and Terry Collins have done. Both are playing for big budgeted fiascos. The Dodgers have had as ugly a season as I can remember with all of the behind the scenes nonsense. The McCourt divorce. The handling of the Brian Stowe beating. The MLB take over. The Bankruptcy. The money being taken out of the team for personal reasons. The fans staying away in droves.
There was every reason in the world for the Dodgers to pack up and not show up. And for a while that is exactly what they were doing.
The Mets were also a mess. I thought they were a 90 loss team waiting to happen. The post Madoff Amazin’ Mess was a mismatch of broken down veterans, expensive players who wanted out, young players who weren’t ready and a parade of players on the disabled list.
And playing in the same Divison as the Phillies and Braves meant the season was irrelevant in April. And come trading deadline, they were sellers.
90 losses may have been a generous prediction.
Yet here we are on September 10th. The Dodgers are just 1 game under .500.
The Mets are 2 games under .500.
It would not take a Herculean effort for both teams to finish with a winning record.
The Dodgers are aided by the fact that Clayton Kershaw should win the NL Cy Young and there is a case for Matt Kemp to win the MVP.
The Mets don’t have that star power, but they are finding unlikely heroes and staying focused in a way that I didn’t think they had in them.
So give Don Mattingly and Terry Collins a lot of credit.
Both the Dodgers and Mets are ugly places off of the field and if the on field product reflected that, nobody would have blinked.
But if they could weather the storm of the craziness of 2011 and say “Hey! At least we put a winning product on the field” then THAT is worthy of Manager of the Year consideration.
Color me impressed, Dodger and Met fans.