Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona has officially been named the 2016 American League Manager of the Year. This is Tito’s second Manager of the Year Award, his first coming in his debut season with the Tribe in 2013.
In the last four years, the Terry Fracona-led Indians have the best record in the American League at 352-294. They have never finished below .500 in that span and Francona was one win away from helping the Indians break a 68-year World Series drought earlier this month. By all measurable standards, Tito is awesome.
But, maybe more importantly, he’s downright fun. Whether he’s eating so many popsicles he makes himself sick, ordering $40 worth of ice cream the night before the World Series, flipping off cameras, or riding around on his red scooter, he is never short of ways to make baseball fun and he has a loose, fun, and effective team at his command as a result.
The Manager of the Year Award, as with all the BBWAA awards, only takes the regular season into account. If they did include the postseason, I would have to question the integrity of anyone voting for Jeff Bannister or Buck Showalter. Francona’s bullpen usage in the postseason was masterful. His fearless use of Andrew Miller — whenever was needed and for long periods of time — helped the Indians make it to the World Series with just one loss between the ALDS and ALCS.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Francona will be the Tribe’s skipper through 2020 with a recent extension. Buckle up, everyone.