MOY Bueno Bob!

At the beginning of the 2007 season the expectations for the Arizona Diamondbacks were to continue their youth movement and get the young players some experience to set them up for success and hopefully a play-off run in 2008 or 2009. Manager Bob Melvin felt that the level of talent that the Diamondbacks had on their roster may provide them with an opportunity to improve on the team’s 2006 record of 76-86. Melvin also realized that his managing ability would be challenged this season as he moved from a veteran team to one filled with players having minimal major league experience. The 2007 season would be a telling sign of how adaptable Bob Melvin could be as a major league manager. Bo-Mel’s management style has always focused on open communications with his coaches and his players. He believes that roles should be properly defined and each member of his staff and team should know their responsibilities within those roles. This style makes Melvin an easy guy to work for. You know what is expected of you and you know you will be held accountable for how you go about your business. But how would that style work with an inexperienced team?

Part of Melvin’s success in getting his team to perform has to do with how he has surrounded himself with some very good coaches. A lot of managers see their coaching staff as a pack who is just one bad decision away from taking his job. Melvin is different in that way. He enables his coaches to express their ideas and in many cases are given autonomy to try new things to make the team better. There are not a lot of egos that are willing to do that. On the surface Bob Melvin appears quiet and reserved and some would question if he even has a competitive side. Those assessments could not be further from the truth. Melvin prides himself in having his team prepared for each and every game. He makes sure that every person on the staff and on the roster understands what is expected of them and how they should be ready for various situations. This management style obviously made a connection with the players. As a collective group they were able to overcome individual shortcomings to come together as a team and be successful.

The 2007 Diamondbacks had one of the lowest team batting averages in the National League and their run differential suggested they should be a below .500 team. Instead the team found itself with the best record in the National League when the season ended and owned home field advantage through the National League play-offs. The accomplishments did not go unnoticed by baseball and Bob Melvin’s name quickly entered the conversation when people began talking about Manager of the Year. This is another one of those awards that no Diamondback has ever won. Not Buck Showalter who led the 1999 team to 100 regular season wins and the Diamondbacks first ever play-off berth in just their second year of existence and not Bob Brenly who led the 2001 Diamondbacks team to franchise’s only World Championship. It should only be fitting that the quiet and unassuming Bob Melvin should quietly outdistance his peers without calling attention to himself. So congratulations to Bob Melvin the 2007 Manager of the Year. It is an award that is well deserved!

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