The Orioles are finishing up their four game series with the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night. They won't see that club again until the Orioles turn on the playoffs sometime in October and watch Mike Scioscia and company on TV.
(Quick shout out: CSB Jack came up to say hi to me in the press box this weekend. I love the opportunity to meet some of the regulars face-to-face. Free drink chip to Jack).
Anyway, Scioscia is considered one of the best managers in baseball. It is a well-deserved reputation. Although some of it has to do with the fact that Scioscia has a whole lot of good players at his disposal.
Really, judging managers is often chicken-and-the-egg. Good managers can't do anything without good players. And just because a team stinks, doesn't mean the manager is incompetent.
I have covered four managers with the Orioles, and it's difficult for me to tell you which one was the best. Because each had to manage with inferior personnel. (I know which one was worst, but I'll leave that up to your imagination. One hint: He's not currently in an Orioles' uniform. Not even close).
All that said, look at the division leaders in the majors right now, and five of the six are led by former managers of the year. The only one that isn't, Philadelphia's Charlie Manuel, won the World Series last year. He deserved the award in 2008 and is a serious candidate again this year.
The other five are a who's who of managing: Scioscia, Jim Leyland, Joe Girardi, Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre.
Of those five, Scioscia is the only one who doesn't have a Manager of the Year Award with a team besides his current one (which, incidentally, is the only big-league team Scioscia has ever managed. So that stat's kind of unfair to Mike, who won the 2002 award with the Angels and may get another this year).
The point is the other guys have won in multiple destinations.
So, yeah, good managers need good players. But the real good ones can win with different personnel – so long as it is quality.
I want to know who you think is the best.
Daily Think Special: Who is currently baseball's best manager?