2011 AL Connie Mack Award
It is that time, once again, to start taking a look at each of the major year end awards. As I did last year, I will be submitting a ballot here on the blog for each of the awards selected by the BBWAA. However, as a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, we use a different selection of names for our awards – out own tribute to some of the game’s greats and because the BBWAA has actually asked us to do so (to avoid confusion, I presume). Over the past two seasons the BBA and BBWAA have chosen the same recipient for nearly every award.
To kick things off this year we will take a look at the men in charge of leading each team on a daily basis. The 2011 American League Connie Mack Award goes to …..
Every year the New York Yankees are expected to be competitive. And every year, it seems, they find a way to do so. Yet, 2011 has been a different season for the Yankees. Rather than fixing a problem with an expensive solution, the team took a largely different path this season. A stronger reliance was placed on the team’s minor leaguers and the team benefited from a little luck from some aging veterans on low risk contracts – Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Andruw Jones, and Eric Chavez.
At the helm of the team, Joe Girardi held things together through it all. A part of playing for the Yankees is the scrutiny that comes with playing in New York. Every aspect of the season is analyzed and overanalyzed. But Girardi kept the team in check through it all and head into the postseason as one of the favorites in the AL.
Jim Leyland has done a great job in Detroit, in what some believed might have been his final season managing. Leyland and the Tigers have already agreed upon an extension for next season, and it’s well deserved. Leyland was able to keep the team motivated and they jumped on Justin Verlander’s back to the AL Central crown.
Finally, in third place we have Ron Washington. Washington led the Texas Rangers to another AL West crown, after losing last year’s World Series. Reaching the postseason in 2011 wasn’t quite as easy as it was in 2010, but Washington kept the Rangers in the right direction despite on field disappointments and off field distractions.