Baseball post-mortem

I was glad to see that the Washington Nationals’ Davey Johnson won the National League’s manager of the year.  He also won the award for the American League back in 1997 when he managed  the Baltimore Orioles.  On the same day that reward was announced for getting the Orioles into the post-season for the first time in decades, he got fired.  That won’t happen this time, as the 70-year-old agreed to come back to Washington for one more year before he retires for good.  He took a bad, hapless, hopeless team and turned it, virtually overnight, into the winningness team in baseball.

And, along that line, going from old to young, the National’s Bryce Harper won Rookie of the Year.  He was 19 for most of the season and his infectious energy, as well as his penchant for getting on base and then stealing them, contributed greatly to the team’s successful season.

I was hoping for a trifecta for the Nationals, the home team I’m now following in my new home, but the team’s ace, Gio Gonzalez (not Stephen Strasburg, great young pitcher that he is) finished third in the NL Cy Young.  Usually winning more games than anyone, going 21-8, having 207 strikeouts, and a 2.89 ERA is enough to get you a Cy Young, but this year’s award went to the Met’s kuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who went 20-6.  Since the Mets were a losing team, I can see that this was a greater feat.   race despite having

Gonzalez led the Major Leagues with 21 victories, led the team in strikeouts with 207 and had a 2.89 ERA in 32 games. However, Dickey, who went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA, led the NL in starts, complete games, shutouts and innings pitched. The Dodger’s Clayton Kershaw came in second, despite his lowlier 14-9 record, because he came out so well in the sophisticated number crunching of sabremetrics.

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Jon H.

    Johnson easily deserves the honor, and, had the Nats not collapsed in the post season, Gonzalez might have fared better. But a 20-game winner on a losing team is, as you say, a greater feat. The Nats next year should be exciting.

  • Jon H.

    Johnson easily deserves the honor, and, had the Nats not collapsed in the post season, Gonzalez might have fared better. But a 20-game winner on a losing team is, as you say, a greater feat. The Nats next year should be exciting.

  • DonS

    Congratulations to the Nats, who definitely has a surprising and stellar year. Their impressive pitching staff clearly led the way.

    It was unfortunate for Strasburg, and for the team, that he was shut down in early September, though healthy. That was definitely not an “old school” approach, valuing the individual over the team, and killed any chances he might have had to compete for the Cy Young award. It also seriously damaged the Nats’ playoff chances. It’s hard to get to the baseball playoffs, let alone win them, so I hope the Nats do not ultimately regret their decision not to pursue victory at full strength.

  • DonS

    Congratulations to the Nats, who definitely has a surprising and stellar year. Their impressive pitching staff clearly led the way.

    It was unfortunate for Strasburg, and for the team, that he was shut down in early September, though healthy. That was definitely not an “old school” approach, valuing the individual over the team, and killed any chances he might have had to compete for the Cy Young award. It also seriously damaged the Nats’ playoff chances. It’s hard to get to the baseball playoffs, let alone win them, so I hope the Nats do not ultimately regret their decision not to pursue victory at full strength.

  • Cincinnatus

    National League? Don’t care. Now the Orioles? That’s the Beltway team to watch next year. Buck Showalter: AL manager of the year, playing some exciting moneyball with young, committed players.

  • Cincinnatus

    National League? Don’t care. Now the Orioles? That’s the Beltway team to watch next year. Buck Showalter: AL manager of the year, playing some exciting moneyball with young, committed players.

  • Richard

    “winningness”?

  • Richard

    “winningness”?


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