You okay? Alright? Do you want a glass of water? Do you need some air? Here: Why don't you sit down for a moment.
Tweeter Kyle Darbyson (@starbyson, y'all!) suggested earlier that we make the case for The Manager to take home the hardware at the season's end as the league's best bench boss. And as we read it, we're not sure if he was being funny, or if he was completely earnestly looking for us to make the case.
And here's the weird thing: We think we might even be able to make that case.
Let's back up a second, and get something out there before we indulge in this excercise: We're actually not a big fan of this sort of award. Throughout all professional sports, the Coach/Manager of the Year award is generally given to someone who has a team that everyone presumes will kinda suck but that doesn't quite suck all that much. In some ways, it's barely even a reflection on the job that the person has done at all...It's mostly just an attempt to account for the difference between what was expected based on the team's perceived talent and what was delivered.
The answer to that particular bit of arithmetic is almost always assumed to be the non-player personnel who is closest to the game. In fact, you almost always hear this conversation start around two-thirds of the way through the season, with pundits saying: "I tell you what: You look at the job that Lindy Ruff/Eric Wedge/Sam Mitchell/Dave Tippett/Felipe Alou has done with this team, and I think you've gotta give him serious consideration for the Manager of the Year/Jack Adams Trophy."
(Seriously: At some point this February, Darren Dreger is going to look away from the dozen members of the NHL on TSN panel and stare gravely into the camera and say something almost precisely like the statement above, and act as though he doesn't make the same rote argument year after year. And then he'll light up a stogie with a five dollar bill and head out into the Agincourt night, doing donuts in the parking lot while checking his Blackberry. Prick.)
Sorry, we kinda lost track of ourselves there for a second.
If you wanted to take this from that typical point of view, then yeah, we think there is probably a good argument for The Manager to get...(clearing throat)..."serious consideration for the AL Manager of the Year." In the Junior Circuit, the Jays are probably the team with the greatest discrepancy between what was expected of them and what they've actually delivered. However, since the Jays are too far out of contention at this time, it seems unlikely that the Jays' skipper would get much more than a passing thought. Especially not when you have a ready-made triumph over coked-out adversity story that is probably already written for you if Ron Washington gets the nod.
Does the Manager deserve consideration? Well, here's what we can say about him...and believe us when we tell you that we've softened considerably on him the closer he gets to leaving the dugout for good: We think that The Manager has surrounded himself/been surrounded with an excellent staff, and that he deserves credit for empowering Brian Butterfield, Dwayne Murphy, Pappy Walton, Rick Langford and Omar Malave over the past year. We want to see the Jays bring each and every member of the field coaching staff back next year, and we hope that whoever they name as The Manager's successor will not feel the need to shake up the staff to suit his own needs.
Moreover, we're actually kinda impressed with the degree to which The Manager has shown some flexibility on the lineups, and that we haven't found his bullpen management to be over atrocious. (It took him a while to come around on David Purcey, but he got there in his own time.) Plus, seeing The Manager give as good as he got to Kevin Gregg, making the thin-skinned jar-headed closer's eyes well up and throat tighten in the post-game interviews was something of a highlight, and likely necessary to beat the delusion out of his pitcher's overgrown noggin.
So when you add up all of that faint praise, does the sum equal a Manager of the Year trophy? Probably not. Maybe. Really, who cares?
Friday Rock Out - LCD Soundsystem
Woop woop. Hands in the air. The weekend's here.