With what has been thus far a dream season for the Washington Nationals, at some point individuals on the club will start being recognized with awards. There could be some Gold Gloves handed out, maybe some Silver Sluggers, and possibly a Rookie of the Year trophy.
But of all the potential accolades, the best bet seems to be Davey Johnson winning National League Manager of the Year. After finishing with 80 games the previous year, the Nats are in the playoffs and have a chance at the best record in the majors.
If Johnson wins, it will be his second time winning the award as he took the hardware home for the American League in 1997 as manager of the Baltimore Orioles. Though it would seem the award comes as a high honor, Johnson doesnt have the fondest memories of the first time around.
I just have bad thoughts about that. Last time I got the award, the same time I got my pink slip, Johnson joked to the media before Mondays game. He was let go by the Orioles after winning 98 games in the regular season and taking the club to their second consecutive League Championship Series.
The Orioles are in fact headed to the playoffs this season for the first time since Johnson left Baltimore. He was asked for his thoughts on them joining the Nationals in the postseason.
I think its great. It is great, they beat the Yankees. Finish ahead of the Yankees, that will get you fired, he said.
Johnson and the Orioles finished two games ahead of New York in 1997 to win the division and squeak out the A.Ls best record. This year the Orioles remain tied with the Yankees with a record of 92-67. This is the first season they have won 80 or more since Johnson was sent packing.
The Nationals have three games left and have bigger goals in mind. After having some fun with the matter, Johnson put things back into perspective.
Im not really big on individual awards. It has always been what the team is doing as a group, he said.
Being in the playoffs, thats step one. Winning the division is step two, and winning the World Series is step three.
Suzuki still going strong
Catcher Kurt Suzuki is starting his tenth game in as many days on Monday night as the Nationals continue their quest for the N.L. East title. Johnson was asked if his backstop was starting to wear down from the workload.
He would be choking me if I wasnt playing him. I checked him, he is feeling great. He doesnt out of there, he doesnt look tired to me either.