Red vs Blue M&M by Bob Ryan

 M&M’s… everyone has to love them….the color doesn’t usually matter because they all taste the same…except for this article. Our M’s are red & blue…in this rare case they are totally different yet each will by contending for the Manager of the Year Award this year. Shockingly ….at least to me…this award did not exist until 1983!!

These two M’s have reached their spot in totally different ways.

Red M played parts of 13 seasons for 4 different teams….yes…he did play for the Cardinals as a catcher….if you know who he is already…name those 4 teams that he played for in his career…anyway.. Lifetime batting average was .239, hit over .260 once in his career and won 4 Gold Glove Awards (best defensive player for that position in his League) and earned over $18m as a player. Playing career concluded in 2006….left pro baseball…returned as a professional Manager in 2012…some think that his bankruptcy drove him back into the game…but that’s scuttlebutt….maybe I’m being snarkey…

Blue M never played MLB Baseball…in fact he started managing at 27 in a rookie league after an abbreviated career in the minors as a player. Then he worked in the Angels organization for many years for 31 years in a variety of positions- managed in the minors for 6 years; scout, roving minor league hitting instructor, coach for major league team and actually managed the Angels….for at least partial years in 1996,1999 and 2004. In 2006 he was named the Manager of the Tampa Bay Rays for 9 years. In 5 of those years he won over 90+ games.

Sure…Our Red M is Mike Mathany …referred to lovingly as Manifesto Mike usually in these parts….is a top contender for this NL Mgr of the Year award. Surprisingly in his first 3 years, he’s been voted 5th, 4th and 4th in the voting. He’s been in the post-season all 3 years…with this year’s edition having “booked its stay” in the playoff ballroom for the big dance also. Red M has demonstrated tremendous ability to get players to perform at their maximum levels throughout long stretches of time utilizing great off-field communication and understanding of big-league psyche. On the field, it has not been a different story. I personally think that his “in game” strategy moves have been upgraded this year…although, it was about the only direction it could go J Some have contended that Red M has the biggest, best, fastest horses of anyone in the league…so how can he be awarded for doing what is expected? This puts a manager in a tenuous position…if their team is picked for 1st place…then using this reasoning, the probably have the best players so…..should the manager be excluded?   I’m just saying…..

A Red M fan might shout out that Manifesto Mike has dealt with many injuries this year….A Red M detractor may counter with, “Show me a team that doesn’t have injuries”.

A Red M detractor may claim that in his first 2 years that he didn’t handle young players any better than Tony….A Red M fan might say…look how he’s grown as a manager and how he handles those youngsters now.

Some say he plays every game like a World Series game….never conceding a game by not substituting liberally in games that the Birds do fall way behind and wearing down his starters…others say this demonstrates his toughness, grittiness to play “9 hard innings”.

Some contend that he overused Rosenthal in his first 2 Rosey never works more than 2 consecutive days and his results have mushroomed even more with the added extra rest.

Looking at Blue M….you know its Joe Maddon of the Cubs….his wonderful success at Tampa Bay with a team composed of mostly young players was the factor in his hiring in Chicago. The Cubs have been rebuilding… seems for a century….anyway….this time they had real players coming along. The management felt that they needed a savvy, experienced, winning manager who could guide gently….but firmly…this young talent…

So…like the new girl that just moved into the neighborhood….he gets lots of attention…being in Chicago makes it grow exponentially. While management felt that this was the right move…most observers thought deep down…this is just another season for the team of futility….here we are as September looms on the horizon. The Cubs are playing great baseball and have practically locked up a playoff position……they wouldn’t blow a 4 game wild card lead over SF in the final month, would they?

Using young players in daily spots but demanding performance, Maddon has benched 23 year old, 5 year starter Starlin Castro. He’s made Jake Arrieta from a on-off-on again pitcher to one of the best in the league. He’s played around with several different 2B. He’s used mirrors in the bullpen because none of them out there are really good closers. In fact they just procured Fernando Rodney to help solve the problem. Rodney a 38 year old was very good last year with 48 saves….this year …not so much…a paltry 16 saves. Maddon will try to find the Old Rodney hidden under the New ONE!! He inserted Kyle Swarber and the offense took off. They now win games in the late innings….unheard of during the usual Cubs teams of the past.

Considering that they have many games against the weak-sisters of the league-Cincy & Milwaukee…it would have to be a Titanic sinking for the Cubs to miss out on the playoff fun.

There you have it….who will be the Manager of the Year…the Red M or the Blue M….I realize here in St Louis it’s a no-brainer….same-same in Chicago… so who do YOU think your fairest mind set….who do YOU think will win this award? Red M or Blue M? Or…someone else in the NL?

Some other tasty morsels of info….

…..the AL has a terrific race for the 2nd wild card team…joining into the fray is a newcomer….the Minnesota Twins…as of today …NYY have 71 wins and are in the top Wild Card position….battling for the 2nd spot with 67 wins is Texas, the Twinkies have 66 wins, Angels sit with 65; tied with 63 wins each is Baltimore and Tampa Bay.

….while the Cubs look like a “shoo in” for the wildcard, that’ll be tough for them…basically they have a 2 man staff- Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester with Arrieta far above the off-on-off again southpaw Lester. So…that means that Arrieta will pitch the 1 game Wild Card game..if the Cubbies win, he’ll be available (with normal rest) for only 1 game in the NL Semifinal series against the top ranked team (probably our Birds)…fat chance of success in that series for the Cubbies

…Congrats to Colleen Quigley who just finished 12th in the steeplechase in China….this wasn’t against her sorority sisters, her best buds, her fellow Nerinx grads…it was in the World Competition! Collen only began running the steeplechase this year…congrats also to her proud papa, Gaylerd.

….with the return of Alex Gordon shortly from the DL, the KC Royals …already owning the best record in the AL…by far…. with 78 wins… the Royals consistent offense will be even better

…wonder why the Nats aren’t relevant this year….take a look (but get ur barf bag ready)…Zimmerman .224, Werth .205, Desmond .229 Ramos .238…that’s half your lineup that’s costing you just under $50m…Werth – $21m, Zimmermann-$14m, Desmond-$11m, and Ramos trails along with $3.5m

…on this date, Sept 28 in 1971, Philly pitcher Rick Wise hit 2 HR in a game….why are pitchers so bad at hitting…..almost always they were the star hitter AND pitcher in amateur baseball….give them extended BP …maybe in the cage out of sight of the fans with the hitting coach providing tips and suggestions…..and make their trip to the plate more than 3 swings…an about-face…march back to the dugout

…congrats to our friend, Terry Michler, who notched his 900th HS soccer victory on Saturday….have u ever thought about how many wins 900 is at the HS level? IF you win the STATE title, you may play 30 games….otherwise it’s in the neighborhood of 23-26 games. Despite his HUGE success, Terry is ever the student at improving HIS coaching game by visiting Holland most every year to refine, reshape, and rethink his teaching skills.

…passing of Al Arbour…make me realize again not to judge a book by its cover…did anyone ever look so non-athletic, non-competitive as Arbour? His long playing career in the NHL and the coach of 4 Stanley Cup championships for the Islanders tells us otherwise.

….HS football…always a part of my life since 1974….brings us all types of story lines…….

……in a David beat Goliath story……congrats to FZ North for upending FZ West 36-14 in an intra-district game. The newest of the FZ schools, FZ West was built as the largest and some considered it the gem of the district. Those Jaguars dominated the other FZ schools for the last 10+ years. Coach Joe Bacon (who’s been successful at several other schools) led the Panthers to the impressive win. For you south side folks, FZ North is located close to TR Hughes ballpark

…the heartbreak of HS games….trailing 24-22 to highly ranked Althoff, Collinsville missed its chance of an upset when a 32 yard FG attempt missed with 1:58 left in the game…we take FG kicking for granted since we see pros/collegiate kickers (who devote much of their life to kicking) banging them through the uprights seemingly with their eyes the HS level…it’s not so automatic

…btw…my congrats to Prepcasts by upgrading their LLI show that runs as part of their Friday night coverage. With Anchor Owen Shroyer at the helm, you can click on this show and we did Friday.. on your screen 3 different games (video) at one time AND if that isn’t enough, you’re hearing the audio pbp of 3 more audio games. Owen keeps you involved in each game. Very cool…..try it next week… –LLI show

…for the 2nd straight year, CBC got into the running clock situation (35+ point lead in 2nd half-the clock run continually-never stops with only a couple exceptions) over Jeff City. The Cadets won 49-14 over the Jays….somehow….I expect the Jays “won’t be available” next year for CBC.

If you’re a new reader or missed some of the ol’ stuff with vaca’s, busy work week, start of’s a chance to catch up on the last month—

Aug 19 Bob is taken to Roy Beans court to defend his “anti-Cardinal” attitude

Aug 12 A quick blitz of many different topics                          


Aug 7 The Annual Call-in show with Bob Straightalk (BS)

Aug 1 Trading deadline moves are examined 


  1. John Rocco says:

    Bob, good stuff as usual. I think Matheny should win…but it’s not going to happen.

    Here are two questions for you. If Holiday, Grichek, and Jay all come back healthy. Who would be your starting outfield? Do you think that the good play of Grichek and Piscotty will influence the Card’s decision to sign Heyward?

    Thanks. John

  2. Roger Ramjet says:

    You are spot-on with the Cubs, unfortunately. Thin rotation, terrible bullpen (gave up 10 runs tonight vs. Cincy). But if they make the playoffs (no sure thing-I still remember ’69) Blue M will win Manager of the Year, even though I believe Matheny is more deserving.

  3. Art Hanff says:

    Bob, you propose a “no win” scenario for Matheny. Since he is expected to win;
    he shouldn’t get it if he does win because it is expected
    he shouldn’t get it if he doesn’t win because he should have.
    I think that in any year, the team with the most wins should yield the manager of the year. I know, too simple, too straight forward, doesn’t allow for heroic efforts or much needed controversy. But I also believe that pitchers should get the Cy Young Award and never the MVP. Or that players should select the All-Star teams, not fans. 🙂

  4. Jim Pleimann says:

    Watch for another Blue M – M stands for Mets and Terry Collins. he might, just might get a few votes cause I think he manages on the east coast in a city called New York…… no bias though… 🙂

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