|Kirk Gibson’s Diamondbacks won 94 games in his first year; Joe Maddon’s Rays beat improbable odds to make the playoffs. (Marcio Jose sanchez (Gibson); gail burton/Associated Press)|
Maddon, Gibson are top managers
Kirk Gibson and Joe Maddon won Manager of the Year awards yesterday - one for overseeing a worst-to-first turnaround that lasted all season, the other after a frantic playoff push in the final month.
Gibson was a clear choice in the National League for guiding the Diamondbacks to the West title. A former MVP as a rough-and-tumble outfielder, Gibson was honored in his first full season as a big league manager.
“I certainly had a vision,’’ Gibson said on a conference call, adding, “It’s certainly not all because of me.’’
Maddon won the American League award for the second time. He was an easy pick after helping the Rays overcome a nine-game deficit to beat out the Red Sox for the wild-card spot on the last day. It was the biggest rally any team had made in September to claim a playoff berth.
“I like to think of it as a validation of the Rays’ way of doing things,’’ Maddon said on a conference call.
Gibson and the Diamondbacks went 94-68, a year after he took over in midseason as Arizona went 65-97. Stressing fundamentals and details from the first day of spring training, the 54-year-old Gibson pushed his team into the playoffs, where it lost to Milwaukee in the 10th inning of the deciding Game 5 in the opening round.
Gibson drew 28 of the 32 first-place votes and got 152 points. He was the only manager in either league to be listed on every ballot.
Ron Roenicke of the NL Central champion Brewers was second with three first-place votes and 92 points. Tony La Russa of the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals was third with the other first-place vote and 24 points. Voting was completed before the playoffs.
Maddon drew 26 of 28 first-place votes and had 133 points. Jim Leyland of the AL Central champion Detroit Tigers got the other pair of first-place votes and 54 points and Ron Washington of the AL champion Rangers was third with 31.
8 kidnappers charged
Venezuelan authorities formally charged eight suspects in the kidnapping of Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos. The charges include kidnapping, illegal possession of firearms, using a stolen vehicle, and criminal association, prosecutors said in a statement. Those jailed include six men accused of directly participating in the abduction and a 59-year-old woman and 74-year-old man who are charged as accomplices for allegedly providing food to the group. The 24-year-old baseball player was seized at gunpoint outside his family’s home in the city of Valencia last week and was rescued by police commandos two days later in the mountains of Carabobo state.
AL move part of sale
Major League Baseball told Houston businessman Jim Crane it would not approve his purchase of the Astros unless he agreed to move the team to the American League, the Associated Press has learned. Crane was forced to agree to move the sale along, a person familiar with the negotiations said yesterday on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made by MLB or the Astros. Approval of the sale could be announced today at a meeting of baseball executives in Milwaukee. Crane reportedly agreed to the move in exchange for a drop in the sales price valued earlier this year at $680 million. The person who spoke to the AP could not confirm the sales price. “We’ll let baseball talk about that,’’ current owner Drayton McLane said. “There were a lot of adjustments, so we’ll just wait and see what they have to say [today].’’ The players’ association believes two 15-team leagues would create a more proportionate schedule and has urged baseball to make the switch. With schedules for next season already completed, the earliest such a move could take place is 2013 . . . The Dodgers are complaining that a Fox subsidiary is illegally trying to interfere with efforts to sell the team and its assets, including media rights to future games. Dodgers attorneys filed a complaint in Delaware, alleging lawyers for Fox Sports Net West, which runs the Prime Ticket regional sports network, violated the automatic halt to litigation against a debtor in bankruptcy by sending a letter to the Dodgers’ financial adviser, Blackstone Advisory Partners. The Nov. 9 letter from Fox lawyer Richard Stone demands Blackstone cease efforts to solicit bids for television rights to Dodgers games . . . Hitting coach Mark McGwire and pitching coach Dave Duncan are staying on with the Cardinals under new manager Mike Matheny.