What makes a father figure?
Love, or a specific kind of sentimentality.
A good father figure is a teacher.
He fights for his kids.
He picks them up when they get hurt.
And he shares in their joy when they succeed.
The voters at the Baseball Writers Association of America have decided not to award Scott Servais with the Manager of the Year award. But they should have. Terry Francona’s Guardians won the AL Central, yes. But it was also the AL Central. Floating to the top of a pond is not a feat of managing.
Meanwhile, Servais and his Mariners had to claw and fight for every single win. Managing a baseball team is not as decision heavy as in other sports, but each decision matters more. As with the players, the managers come under pressure the most in close games and extra innings games. And that’s where Scott shined.
The Mariners won 34 one-run games in 2022, more than any other MLB team. With an 11-5 record in extra innings games, Scott managed the Manfred Man perfectly to take the best extra innings winning percentage in the AL. The Mariners had 40 come-from-behind wins, nearly half of their total wins. Scott’s squad also had 13 walk-off wins, tying the franchise record. We can talk about game one of the ALDS all we want, but during the regular season Scott was excellent in managing his bullpen, with the second fewest blown saves in MLB, just behind the Baltimore Orioles. However you slice it, Scott was fantastic at doing the baseball things and making Seattle’s number bigger than the other team’s.
But making the numbers go up is only half of a manager’s job. The trick, the real trick, is to lead. And every day, Scott put on his uniform, walked into the dugout, into the conference rooms, onto the field, and led. More than that, he inspired. Both the players and the fans. We feel like we want to be better for Scott. Not because of or in spite of him. That’s why we jokingly call him “midwest dad.” Because, deep down, we want Scott to say he’s proud of us.
Just as we are of him.