When I was in law school I had a good friend that was a high school math teacher. Somehow, we got to talking about his school’s recent Teacher of the Year voting and he told me that he always abstained from participating in such award voting. His theory was, he never sees his colleagues teach so his vote for Teacher of the Year would really just be a vote for Teacher I Like the Most Who Seems Like a Pretty Good Teacher. He simply did not want to participate in a popularity contest masquerading as a merit-based award.
His best argument against the process was (I am paraphrasing): “Why doesn’t anyone win Teacher of the Year in consecutive years? Did last year’s winner really change his or her teaching style since last year in a way that made them inferior, as a teacher, to this year’s winner?”
I think the same logic applies to yesterday’s results AL Manager of the Year results. Nick over at Sweet Spot member Nick’s Twins Blog has a nice breakdown of Ron Gardenhire’s time at the helm. Ron Gardenhire didn’t do anything differently in 2010. He managed games the same way and achieved, basically, the same results. So, when I saw that Gardenhire had been the runner-up five times despite winning six division titles in his nine seasons, I was pretty blown away.
Here’s my question. What is different about 2010 Ron Gardenhire that finally got him over the hump? For that matter, what is different about 2010 Joe Maddon that had him finishing third? Nothing is different. The BBWA just decided that they could not ignore Gardenhire anymore.
The worst part is, I just wrote 300 words about something I really don’t care about. Perhaps my time would have been better used trying to “[u]nderstand baseball a little more” as Anonymous so generously suggested in the comments section yesterday.