More from Manny
So I talked to Manny Acta for a while yesterday, some of which is reflected here in this rather mundane rundown of the manager of the year awards. But there was a bit more to the conversation, which I thought I'd share here - and then I'd also help explain the voting process for the awards, as well as why the Post writers aren't allowed to vote, something some of you wondered about yesterday.
First off: Acta will be back in the D.C. area this weekend. He'll serve as the grand marshal of the Silver Spring Thanksgiving parade on Saturday. (He'll be there with Screech, and I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who goes whether Screech has, um, had a bath since the season.)
Since the end of the season, Acta has spent two weeks in Los Angeles working as an analyst for the Spanish broadcasts of both the American League Championship Series and the World Series, appearing on pre- and postgame shows. He then had all of three days back home in Saint Cloud, Fla. - south of Orlando - before he headed off to the Dominican Republic, where he appeared at a kick-off event for his foundation, which is still in the process of being established. That has taken him away from his family - wife Cindy and daughter Leslie, who's in middle school - much more than he would have liked. But he's also reflected on his first season as a major league manager.
"You always think about the season every day," he said. "Every day, you reflect on it, but you do it as you look toward the future. I thought the kids did a tremendous job just giving us the effort we wanted, and taking to the kind of baseball we wanted to play. And obviously, exceeding the expectations without having Soriano, Vidro, Johnson, having 13 or 14 different starters, that's all I can ask for."
Acta said his trip to the Dominican Republic was a bit mixed, because residents of his home country were still dealing with the impact of Hurricane Noel, which struck early this month. If you recall, it was Acta's intention when he was named manager last year - and when I went down to his hometown of Consuelo in December - to do more to help the kids in his town. That's what the foundation's all about.
"We had the luncheon for the foundation, and we went over there to announce it and made some donations," Acta said. "We finally got the lawnmower for the baseball fields. We gave them some baseball gloves and some baseball shoes - a lot of baseball shoes because of my contract with Under Armour. They were very happy, and it was good - in a way.
"In another way, it was a week after al the disaster had happened, and it was hard. Where I lived, we had absolutely no problem with the hurricane. We couldn't see much of it. But we knew it was there, and that it impacted a lot of people. I got to see family and friends.
"It was a little bit hectic. Things have changed a little bit as a major league manager. Now, people make me feel so good for the whole five days I was down there. There wasn't a soul that didn't kind of pat us on the back and recognize us or thank us for what we did. Everybody was, if not believing, at least reading all those bad expectations for us before the season. They felt like we did good."
Acta expressed a lot of relief that Ryan Zimmerman's broken hook of hamate bone happened now rather than when he really started swinging the bat in December or January. "Thank goodness," he said. He's hoping to catch up with Zim this weekend and see if he can't get to a Wizards game. He has the Winter Meetings - just like the rest of us - the first week of December in Nashville.
OK, onto the voting.
As I mentioned, the voting for all the BBWAA awards - rookie of the year, manager of the year, MVP and Cy Youngs - is divided among members in each chapter. Two members from each NL city vote for NL manager of the year, NL Cy Young, etc. Same for the AL. The chapter chairman tries to spread the voting out among different members from different papers.
Our chapter encompasses two cities - Washington and Baltimore. It's long been the Baltimore-Washington chapter. The Post's own Dave Sheinin is the chair; he took over from Thom Loverro of the Washington Times last year. Those positions rotate as well.
The Baltimore-Washington chapter has a problem with voting in that neither the Post nor the Baltimore Sun allow their writers to vote. This, as I've explained before, is to avoid conflicts of interest that could arise. Say Ryan Zimmerman had a clause in his contract that paid him an extra $100,000 if he finished third or higher in the MVP voting. The thinking is that the beat writer who covers him shouldn't have a direct impact on how much money he makes.
Luckily, our chapter includes several USA Today writers, so between the Times, USA Today and smaller papers like Fredricksburg, etc., we have enough folks to vote.
Oh, one more thing. Nate Silver from Baseball Prospectus has a cursory look at how he thinks Nationals Park will play. His conclusion: About average.
I'm off to South Bend for the most important college football game this week - Duke at Notre Dame - but will try to get you one more Arizona Fall League report before I leave to keep you sated over the weekend. Enjoy your day.
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