SAN DIEGO -- Make no mistake, Jayce Tingler's first season at the helm of the Padres was a wildly successful one. The rookie manager led San Diego to its first postseason appearance in 14 years after nine consecutive losing seasons.
It wasn't quite enough to earn Tingler the 2020 National League Manager of the Year Award, which was announced on Tuesday night.
Marlins skipper Don Mattingly took home that hardware instead, receiving 20 of 30 first-place votes (124 total points) from the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Tingler finished second with six first-place votes, 13 second-place votes and two third-place votes for 71 total points. The Cubs' David Ross finished third.
Considering the expectations in Miami prior to the season, Mattingly was a deserving choice. But so was Tingler.
A surprise hire last offseason, Tingler handled countless unforeseen challenges thrown his way by the COVID-19 pandemic. He did so seemingly with ease, earning rave reviews from his players for his intense but down-to-earth leadership style. They lauded his relatability, and several noted the importance of his fluency in Spanish.
On the field, Tingler helped foster a no-holds-barred playing style, as the Padres flourished with a fiery and expressive brand of baseball. They were one of the sport’s most aggressive teams.
“We just fed off our players' personalities and who they are,” Tingler said during Tuesday night’s announcement show on MLB Network. “They were, for the most part, young, athletic. Once we established the way we wanted to play as far as the fundamentals, we gave them a lot of freedom to go be themselves and play -- and play with energy, and play with passion and play hard. That just took its own energy, and the guys just kept feeding off of it, and it kind of turned into our identity.”
Much of the baseball world came to know Tingler in mid-August when he rebuked Fernando Tatis Jr. for missing a take sign on a 3-0 pitch before hitting a grand slam. What fans may not have seen was the way Tingler responded to the situation, learning from the backlash and changing his tack. A rookie manager in his fourth week on the job clearly grew from the moment. His relationship with his star shortstop didn't suffer in the slightest. (Quite the opposite, in fact.)
After Tatis' fateful grand slam, the Padres took off, and they finished the season 37-23, the second-best record in the National League. From their record to their swagger to their style of play, it was a wholly different ballclub from the past decade in San Diego.
That can mostly be attributed to significant roster upgrades last winter. But Tingler deserves credit, too. Ultimately, he was given enough credit by the BBWAA for a second-place finish.
The Padres' streak without winning a BBWAA award could soon hit 10 seasons. Jake Cronenworth finished tied for second in NL Rookie of the Year Award voting, which was announced Monday. Manny Machado is a finalist for the NL MVP Award, which will be announced on Thursday night, but the Braves’ Freddie Freeman is the consensus favorite.