Managers occasionally make an immediate impact, but rarely has a managerial change made such a stark difference as when
Showalter brought extra discipline, tough love and a track record to a job that had seen two good men fail to bring results for the historic franchise -- first
Showalter is a very good baseball man who commands respect, especially from a young team. The drawback is, he tends to eventually wear out his welcome with his manner that is perceived to be overbearing and seemingly over-politicized, which explains why such a great baseball mind took so long to find a fourth job (Showalter last managed in the majors in 2006). In his previous three managerial jobs -- with the Yankees from 1992-95, the Diamondbacks from 1998-2000 and the Rangers from 2003-06 -- he made a quick impact before eventually being fired. He came to Baltimore with a reputation as someone willing to clean house, and that mindset serves as a great motivator for the players. With only a couple exceptions, the players now know they are working for jobs on the 2011 squad. It also doesn't hurt that they know Showalter is there for the foreseeable future.
Showalter's impact is inarguable, though he is also benefiting some from the return of team sparkplug
Showalter deserves a lot of the credit, though. He said right up-front in his interview for the position that he felt big changes were needed, according to a source, and credit goes to owner
Showalter hasn't been around long enough to be considered for my ranking of the season's best performances by a manager, but in just a few short weeks on the job he has done as well as anyone possibly could have in such a short period of time. With more games, he'd probably rank pretty high.
Here's my list of the top 10 Best Managing Jobs of 2010.
Nobody thought the Padres would be in first place this late, except maybe Black. He drilled into the Pads this spring that they were not a bunch of anonymous nobodies with no chance, as everyone was claiming, but the same team that finished 2009 strong, and perhaps even a bit better with the addition of some speed and veteran pitcher
He's done an "outstanding'' job and "puts guys in position to succeed,'' one scout said. The Twins lost star closer
He lost excellent setup man
The Reds, who lead the NL Central by five games, are maybe the second biggest surprise after the Padres, but perhaps they shouldn't be. They do have talent. But Baker, who's already won three Manager of the Year awards, is doing some of his best work this year. The Reds lead the majors with a .989 fielding percentage. They are third in the majors with 39 come-from-behind wins. They also have been among baseball's most consistent teams, posting winning records in each of the season's first five months for the first time since 1979. The Reds have some magic going -- and their magic number of 19 to win their division is the lowest of any NL team.
He's bounced back from a revelation during spring training that he failed a cocaine test in 2009 to lead his players, who indeed had his back, just as star infielder Michael Young said they did, to first place in the AL West. Washington's personality has been infectious. GM J
Nineteen different players have made 24 disabled list stays totaling more than 900 days and yet Francona has weathered the storm to keep the Red Sox viable, interesting and on the periphery of the pennant race. They've used 50 players, many of those less than marquee names. He was also right about
He got one over on the Dodgers (and maybe the umpires) when he complained about
Despite all their injuries to key players (they've had 17 players on the D.L., including
He may not be Mr. Personality, and he may have an excellent $200-million payroll at his disposal, but he has the first-place Yankees operating like a machine through good times and bad. One scout cited him for guiding them through "weaknesses in their pitching." Girardi showed he's not afraid to make the tough call when he took the eighth inning away from
The players love him, and he is clearly the sentimental choice (everywhere but South Florida maybe). As always, he gets a lot out of his players, but they are not great on fundamentals and are just 20-21 in one-run games, which is part of the reason they've fallen out of the lead in the NL East, though they are still atop the wild card standings.