Why I voted for Rocco Baldelli and not for Aaron Boone - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Why I voted for Rocco Baldelli and not for Aaron Boone

Rocco Baldelli
Photo credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

As a member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, the greatest privilege I have is the opportunity to vote on postseason awards. This year, I was asked to vote for the American League’s Manager of the Year.

On the surface, that shouldn’t be too hard a vote. There are only 15 managers, and just a small number whose teams performed well enough for them to be considered.

I voted for Minnesota’s Rocco Baldelli, New York’s Aaron Boone and Oakland’s Bob Melvin. I also thought seriously about Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash and Cleveland’s Terry Francona.

Baldelli won, Boone came in second, Cash third, Melvin fourth. Francona and Houston’s A.J. Hinch also received votes. Hinch got a first-place vote.

We’re required to keep our votes secret until the winner is announced, and the BBWAA publishes our votes, as they should.

When the voting was public, I tweeted my vote. I wasn’t planning to write about it because since an Oriole wasn’t involved, I didn’t think it was of interest to our audience.

However, a handful of disgruntled fans voiced their displeasure with me and other voters who voted for Baldelli, and in their minds, against Boone.

I actually had a civil exchange on Twitter with one of those who disagreed, who later thanked me, and said he could see why I voted the way I did.

Each AL city has two voters, and both MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski and I voted for Baldelli over Boone.

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One angry Yankees fan lashed out against Steve and I. “Aaron Boone’s patched-together team was 17-2 against the Orioles. So of course the impartial geniuses @masnSteve and @RichDubroffMLB voted for Baldelli. #PettyHaters.

I jokingly responded that I wasn’t petty. Oriole fans by the dozens attacked the fan, but his points do deserve a response.

The overwhelming majority of BBWAA voters aren’t petty. They try very hard to separate personal tastes from award voting.

Having covered each of the 19 Orioles-Yankees games last season, I was aware of the record. By the way, Baldelli’s Twins were 6-0 against the Orioles. The 108-loss Orioles had a winning record against only one team, the Los Angeles Angels.

I don’t care who wins the award. I’m using my best judgment in deciding how I vote.

While the Manager of the Year voting is seemingly straightforward, the balloting for Cy Young and Most Valuable Player is more difficult because there’s a much wider field.

In Cy Young voting, five pitchers are named, and 10 for MVP. Interestingly, in the two MVP votes I had, 2015 and 2018, I published my votes and no one commented on them.

The two Cy Youngs I voted on were different. In 2014, I opted for Cleveland’s Corey Kluber over Seattle’s Felix Hernandez. Kluber won the award with 17 first-place votes to Hernandez’s 13.

I was attacked on Twitter and agreed to appear on a popular Seattle sports show to explain my vote.

It was an extremely close vote, but I thought Kluber was a narrow choice. Naturally, I was attacked by the host, and by another listener on Twitter. “Yore an idoit,” he wrote. I promptly retweeted it.

I knew I would be criticized by the host and fans on the radio show, but I reasoned, if I expect players to talk to me  after a bad game, I certainly should explain a controversial vote publicly.

In 2016, I voted for Zack Britton, who finished fourth. I received some expected grief from fans who said I was a homer.

In fact, being around Britton gave me a greater appreciation of his value that season and how important he was to the Orioles.

The following spring, I attended a Washington Capitals-Tampa Bay Lightning game at Tampa’s Amalie Arena. When I was leaving the arena, a fan somehow recognized me and heckled me for my Britton vote.

In this year’s vote, Baldelli was my choice because his Twins were not expected to win the AL Central, but won 101 games. Baldelli’s feat was more impressive because he was a first-year manager, and having covered Brandon Hyde in his first year, I saw how difficult the job was for someone who hasn’t done it before.

I got to see Boone’s work much more often than Baldelli’s. The Orioles didn’t play Minnesota after April. I knew how he had to juggle his roster and was impressed with his use of Gio Urshela and DJ LeMahieu in the infield.

However, the Yankees’ resources are far greater than the Twins, and I felt Baldelli did more with less. Cash and Melvin supporters feel the same way.

But the vote for me was close, and Boone did an excellent job, but not quite as good as Baldelli.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. jimcarter

    November 15, 2019 at 9:29 am

    Baseball is king when it comes to statistics, but I never actually heard that the Yankees set a record in 2019: most injured players, most days on the IL, etc. Fans love to debate team “needs”, but I never heard anyone say the Yankees most needed to fire their athletic staff. The number of injuries was almost comical. I would have voted for Boone. If the Twins or anyone else has fewer resources, that’s their own fault. Every team in baseball has multi-million dollar ownership behind them, but some simply don’t want to spend or they don’t spend wisely. The fact that the Yankees finished first in the division and second best in the AL with a roster dominated by AAA and AA players is incomprehensible. Who knows; if the Astros didn’t excel at cheating, the Yankees might have had the best record in the league.

  2. willmiranda

    November 15, 2019 at 10:02 am

    Manager of the Year is the Miss Congeniality of baseball awards. That’s why it’s so comical to see Yankee fans getting so chafed about it. Anytime they don’t win something, they scream about cheating, chicanery, and cosmic injustice. To paraphrase Bernard Shaw’s jingoistic Brit, “No Yankee is ever fairly beaten!”

    • Camden Brooks

      November 15, 2019 at 8:47 pm

      Unfortunately, Yankee fans aren’t the only ones who exhibit bratty behavior when things don’t go their way.

  3. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    November 15, 2019 at 10:28 am

    The Twins had a 23 game turn around with fewer financial resources as you noted. So I was not surprised Baldelli won the Manager of the Year. I wouldn’t care what others on social media think. It’s like when I post comments and get ripped. I generally laugh it off and usally don’t respond back. It’s a waste of time. Because in their mind they are some sort of expert and clearly are not. Tell them to buzz off.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 15, 2019 at 10:49 am

      It got an unusually large reaction for MOY, way more than I would have guessed, Grand Strand.

  4. WorldlyView

    November 15, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    I don’t care who the Mgr. of the Year is. Rich, if you are deemed qualified to vote in this subjective, non-earth shattering selection process, I don’t see much need to take the time to criticize your choice.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 15, 2019 at 7:53 pm

      That’s nice of you to say, Professor Cohen.

  5. Camden Brooks

    November 15, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    I always thought Zach deserved a better showing in that Cy Young race. Top 3 guys were over 3.00 ERA, while Britton was at 0.54. I get why he didn’t win as a closer, but still…

  6. Hallbe62

    November 16, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    Rich does the privilege to vote rotate from year to year amongst BBWAA members ?

    I noticed a gap in your voting

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 17, 2019 at 7:43 am

      Hallbe, it is a privilege, and you’re not guaranteed a vote each season, but I have voted for an award each year since 2013.

  7. TxBirdFan

    November 17, 2019 at 12:21 am

    Fair choice Rich. There’s no need to justify it to Yankee fans or anyone else.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 17, 2019 at 7:45 am

      Since there were a number of comments, I wanted to explain my vote. I actually find the criticism to be amusing rather than annoying, Tx.

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