Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Brian Snitker named NL Manager of the Year

Brian Snitker is 63 years old, and he's been in the Braves organization in various forms since 1977. Basically he's been a Braves longer than I've been alive on this earth. And now he's the NL Manager of the year in 2018.

During that time as a Brave, he's managed 6 different minor league teams in their farm system. He's also been a pitching coach for the Atlanta Braves in the 1980s, and a third base coach for the Atlanta Braves from 2007-2013.

Funny story, he replaced Fredi Gonzalez twice in two different Atlanta Braves jobs. Once, he replaced Gonzalez in 2007 as the third base coach when Fredi went to be the manager of the Marlins. Later, two years after Fredi Gonzalez become the Atlanta Braves manager, Snitker was demoted to AAA Manager in Gwinnett. Then, when Fredi was fired in 2016, Snitker was promoted to the interim Atlanta Braves manager. Basically Fredi leaving places is great for Brian Snitker's career.

When Snitker was named interim manager of the Braves, nobody really expected him to keep the job very long. There were rumors swirling that the Braves intended to hire Bud Black as their main choice, a choice that never really panned out as Black ended up with the Colorado Rockies. In essence, Snitker was hired to keep a seat warm for the REAL manager the Braves intended to hire down the road, and make sure the young kids that we called up to the MLB level continued to develop. He was never meant to be a long term solution.

But something magical happened. The Braves ended up winning games that nobody expected, and last season they ended up winning a division. Better yet, the team was actually fun to watch and the young talent really seemed to play hard and looked like they were having fun out on the field. That attitude of playing hard all the way to the end of the game and never giving up really played out in a lot of comeback wins for a Braves team that was top 5 in runs from the 7th to the 9th innings.

Snitker absolutely deserves the award, and I'm extremely happy he won it this season. Snitker takes a lot of crap from analytics fans about his decisions, but I love that his guys win games, and we get to stick it to a bunch of people who think that the manager position can be replaced by a computer. At its core, managing is about people, not numbers. It's about inspiring your people to be the best they can be, and every report I get from the clubhouse tells me that these young guys would run through a brick wall for Brian Snitker.

So kudos to you Brian, and I'm glad the Braves extended him to a longer term deal. For somebody who has paid his dues several times over, it's good to see that loyalty pay off.


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