Texas Rangers Skipper Jeff Banister is your 2016 AL Manager of the Year Runner-Up. He will not join #HoF Bobby Cox as the only pair to win consecutive #MoY awards. The Atlanta Braves legend would go on to win an impressive four, spanning both #AL and #NL Leagues. Banister may still carry a torch for Cox's unbelievable 161 total Ejections, getting tossed at roughly the same rate through his young managerial career. Both men attest that they are, "just protecting their guys." Fans who have watched in bewilderment as longtime Umpire Joe West puts his mark on a game might be inclined to agree.
"I’m like, ‘What do I do?’ He said, ‘Go have a couple cold beers and get in the cold tub or something and relax. And then you’ll probably have to write a $500 check. Or you can do what I do, write a $10,000 one and tell them when it runs out, let me know'." - Jeff Francoeur recanting advice from Bobby Cox.
Banister's squad would finish with an AL best 95 Wins; alongside an astounding .659 winning percentage against teams .500 in 2016, tops since the historic 2001 Seattle Mariners. The Rangers would compound this feat by dominating in the Close/Late categories and finishing with yet another "AL Best" 36 Wins by one run. Bill James was less than impressed.
“Jeff Banister has done a great job of blending it together and finding the combinations that are going to hold a lead late in a game... winning one-run games directly correlates to the back of the bullpen and the ability to hold a lead in the late innings. They’ve lost very few games there.” - Mike Scioscia
Critics called it luck. Banister knew it better as Never Ever Quit with a dash of You Cant Beat Me, or #NEQ & #YCBM. The slogans preceded the sentiment, but certainly fit the rally-crazed Rangers well. Banister seems worthy of history when accounting for the slew of challenges he and his team would face in 2016; perhaps more than 2x AL Manager of the Year Terry Francona of the Pennant winning Cleveland Indians, who were no stranger to setbacks this year.
We are, impossibly of course, supposed to ignore Postseason play. In doing so, the distance between first and second shrinks to way less than the standard 90 feet. Both lineups lost multiple All-Star players to injury and suspension. Both managements would have to juggle an alarming number of Starting Pitchers. Both would trade for Jonathan Lucroy. Both would win 53 games at Home on their way to taking Division titles handedly. Francona received 22 of 30 votes for the award. It's possible to say they are equally deserving, although surprisingly skewed votes do not bear that out. Banister finished with four votes.
"If somebody thinks it's an individual award, it's the furthest thing from the truth. One, it's incredible players. It's front office, ownership." - Terry Francona
Something tells me Mike Napoli is one of those incredible players he's referring to.
Congratulations on Silver, Skip.
#LGR #NEQ #YCBM