The Joe Maddon connection still paying off for Brandon Hyde

The upcoming announcements of the winners for the major awards in Major League Baseball for the 2022 season could provide both some excitement and some frustrations for Orioles fans.

There could be excitement next Monday Nov. 7 when the finalists for the Baseball Writers' Association of America awards are announced. The O's, it seems likely, will have finalists for the AL Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year awards in Adley Rutschman and Brandon Hyde.

The frustration could come if both come close to, but do not win, those awards. 

Seattle's Julio Rodriguez seems to be the favorite for the ROY award and there is some sentiment that Cleveland's Terry Francona will be named top manager.

The BBWAA awards announcements begin on Nov. 14 with the rookies in each league and the AL and NL manager winners will be announced Nov. 15. 

The online sportsbook BetOnline listed the win over and under totals for teams in late March and the Orioles were at 62.5 for the season. They won 83 games. Cleveland's total was 76.5 and the Guardians won 92 and an AL Central title. Seattle's Scott Servais should get some votes and the Mariners won 90 and made the postseason after a preseason over-under listing of 84.5.

Division-winning managers Dusty Baker of Houston and Aaron Boone of New York could also get some votes. But nothing that happened in the postseason will help or hurt any candidate as the votes had to be in by the first postseason game in the wild card round.

This was the year that Hyde got noticed nationally as being a good manager. It was hard not to notice when he took a team from 52-110 to 83-79. The plus 31-win gain was the second-best in Orioles' club history behind only the 1989 "Why Not" Orioles who won 87 games a season after the team won 54. 

By the way, Frank Robinson of the Orioles did win the 1989 BBWAA AL Manager of the Year Award after that turnaround.

I have said for a long time - starting during the lean years like in 2021 when they lost 110 - that Hyde is the right man for the Orioles. He could be here a long time and has done so much right as O's skipper.

Among his best traits - and it has played well within the clubhouse - is his consistency toward his job and his players. He brings the same positivity and energy every day. He doesn't change whether they have won or lost five, six or eight in a row. He handled his team and was the same person while winning 52 in 2021 and while winning 83 games last year.

Joe Maddon is a mentor for Hyde. When Maddon led the Chicago Cubs to 103 wins the World Series title in 2016 - ending the Cubs' 108-year drought - Hyde was his first-base coach and he would later serve as his bench coach.

The two remain close and talked often this season. It was a season where Maddon was fired as Angels skipper in June with the club at 27-29. But his resume is strong - he has taken the Cubs and Rays to the playoffs a combined eight times and is a three-time BBWAA manager of the year winner.

When Hyde and the Orioles were playing Maddon and the Angels on the west coast in April, Hyde talked about what he learned the most working every day with Maddon.

“I say this a lot, but consistency every day” is a key element of Maddon’s managing success, Hyde said. “He’s the same person if you win five in a row or lose five in a row, and that's for the entire season, including playoffs. Just super steady, in a great mood and he’s incredibly fearless.

"He doesn’t care what people think. He’s going to always do what he feels like is the right thing to do. He’s not afraid of anything. What it might look like, how fans might react. Or anybody. He is going to always do what he thinks is the right thing. I think the players feed off that. They play fearlessly and they play loose. The teams we were on were extremely loose teams. The Tampa teams he had were incredibly loose teams. He buys into that culture, and you know, (I'm) trying to do the best I can with that here.”

The mentor did a good job here with the pupil. Hyde learned well and hopes one day in the future he can win a World Series as Maddon did. But in his immediate future he could be joining Maddon as winner of a Manager of the Year award. 


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